September is PCOS Awareness Month and I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about PCOS and our experiences of it. PCOS impacts on every area of our lives and robs us of our femininity.
But, I have also come into contact with so many inspirational women who fight their PCOS on daily basis with such strength, courage and determination and it keeps me motivated to keep fighting my own battle with PCOS.
PCOS can also leave us feeling isolated and alone, particularly if we don’t know anybody else with it. So, for PCOS Awareness Month, I’d like to put a face to PCOS and introduce you to some of the amazing and inspirational women have PCOS as they share their PCOS story with you.
Danielle is 33 years old and lives in Oxford, England although she describes herself as an “all American girl”. She moved to the UK in June 2013 and lives with her British husband. Danielle has a Bachelors in Social work and is on the look out for a job in the UK. I’ll let her tell you the rest of her story….
When and how were you first diagnosed with PCOS?
I was first diagnosed when I was 22. The only thing consistent about my body, was that it was inconsistent. I was having maybe one period a year. I knew, compared to my friends, something was wrong with me. I decided to pursue the issue and get an answer, so I went to my doctor. He completed a blood test, and from there I was diagnosed with PCOS. I began treatment, first only with Metformin. I really saw no change in my symptoms. I did this for several years. My doctor did stress to me that I should change my diet at the start…but I refused. I was young and dumb and wanted to do what I wanted to do, and still wanted my body to work. I continued this way for a while. Then at age 26, I decided that with my ex-husband that we should try and start a family. We went through all the fertility hoops, and medications. Nothing worked…but again I refused to change my diet. Subsequently my marriage ended a few years later, so I am grateful to this condition in many ways. Now that I am remarried, I have since changed my diet, still taking Metformin and many vitamins. I have seen 100% improvement. My body is working J So it is only a matter of time…
How did you react to getting the diagnosis?
The moment my doctor told me, I was not given a lot of information. It was basically put “ You are young, you have this, no worries”. So, in the doctor’s office I had a pretty bland reaction. But when I went home and did the research…I was devastated. I realized at that moment I was not going to be in the “club”, which is what I call womanhood/motherhood. I felt like an outsider. My looks changed, my hair fell out, I had gained a lot of weight, I had acne…this condition robbed me of my youth in many ways. I felt alone. No one in my family truly understood it and to this day they still don’t.
What is your biggest frustration with PCOS?
My biggest frustration is fertility. In many ways PCOS was a blessing in my life, but it has also been a curse in the regard to fertility. I was married for 9 years, and we tried and tried but nothing to get pregnant. That marriage deteriorated and I divorced in 2010. I have since remarried to an amazing man, who is my everything. So, I am grateful in many ways that my body didn’t work for so many years. But currently, it is frustrating. Acne, weight gain, hair loss are all things I can deal with…it is the prospect of being childless that I cannot deal with so easily.
How do you manage your PCOS? (Medication, diet, exercise, etc)
I currently manage my PCOS with Metformin, excerscise, vitamins and diet. In the last 3 months I have finally realized and accepted that changing my diet is truly key to managing my symptoms. I have been following the PCOS diet and have noticed amazing results.
What is your biggest success in terms of PCOS?
I have yet to achieve my biggest success, which to me is pregnancy but I am getting close. The change in my diet has caused my body to kick into gear and begin working. I look forward to my biggest success happening in the near future.
Who do you get emotional support from?
My doctor mostly. I now have a female doctor, and from her I feel she gives me the most support. Second, my husband who is relentless in his positivity in creating a family. He is there to support me when I want to binge on sugar and reminds me of how devastating to my body it would be, he is there to remind me that I CAN do this. And of course the PCOS blog. Hearing other women’s stories has been a real help to me and a quiet supporter. Knowing other women are out there, and have kicked PCOS in the butt really fuels my fire and motivates me to take control of my own body.
What would you like to say to other women with PCOS or those who have just been diagnosed?
Do not live in denial. Own it. Accept it. Beat it. Follow your doctor’s advice but more importantly do the research for yourself. Follow the diet completely, exercise and take the medicine. NEVER GIVE UP! Fight this battle with vigor, positivity and determination and you will win in the end.
If you want to inspire others and have your own PCOS story to tell, please contact me here. I'd love to hear from you!