“I don’t want to go to the store...I need to shave and put makeup on first.” This is common phrase Joe will hear from me whenever we need to get some groceries, or need to go pick up breakfast or something of the sort.
Shave? No, I’m talking about shaving my legs.
Let’s go back in time a bit: I remember my senior year of high school having some long, dark hairs under my chin. One of my friends pointed them out and offered to wax them for me. That was the first sign of my long journey.
In college, I tried bleaching and waxing. And that worked...okay. For a few years, I would wax pretty often then then spending hours with a magnifying mirror and tweezers, trying to get the stubborn ones out.
I also have had weird periods and in good ol’ Kait fashion, I ignored them irregularity. By 2012, I figured it was time I had all of the lady bits looked at by a gynecologist. That’s when I first found out about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or PCOS).
PCOS is pretty much sucky, to be honest. It’s a hormonal disorder. Many common signs are infrequent or prolonged periods, excess androgen and polycystic ovaries. I am lucky (*sarcasm*) enough to have all three: super infrequent periods, elevated levels of male hormone that gives me excess facial hair (called hirsutism), and my ovaries have more than 5 cysts on each one. Like I said, not the greatest thing in the world.
The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known but the two factors that play a role into mine are insulin resistance which increases the androgen production which causes difficulty with ovulation.
Now I know that having PCOS doesn’t make me less of a woman. I know that logically. However, when you first hear that you have excess male hormones which is why you grow basically a beard, it doesn’t make you feel too much like a woman. And I still struggle with that on some days.
I’ve suffered from complications of sleep apnea, depression and weight gain. There are some days I just don’t feel good about myself. I’ve tried losing weight, but the insulin resistance does not make it easy.
Why am I sharing this? This post has not been easy to write, but October is PCOS awareness month. I figure the best way to spread awareness is to be open about my struggles. This week has been so hard emotionally. Sharing and owning what I struggle with has been a great way for me to own and take control of what’s going on in my head and body. Plus, I’m always surprised and warm hearted when I find someone who shares the same struggles as me because they get it.
No one can understand the pain of having PCOS unless you have it. The pain of being a woman with facial hair. The pain of trying and trying but you can’t seem to lose the weight. The pain of not knowing if you can have children because you have these cysts on your ovaries that were supposed to be released eggs. The pain of some days waking up and not feeling good, being sad for really no reason, and not feeling like a woman.
So there you have it. I know things will get better and I know I have my bad weeks and good weeks. This is just a bad week and it's ok to not feel ok. If you or someone you know suffers from PCOS, let me know! I’d love to talk with you about your struggles and how you deal with things.