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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

PCOS Awareness Month

I had thought about making a video, and I am still pondering that.  But finding the time, and a good place to do it, is hard.  Here is my story, it is hard, it is long, and it is heartbreaking.  Please, understand, I am not doing this for sympathy, or attention.  The ONLY attention I want from this, is people realizing and understanding the pain and agony my mother and I have been through in the past 50 plus years.
My mother is the middle child of five daughters.  Two older than her, two younger.  Her sisters (well, not anymore, with age and so forth), growing up, were the skinny “pretty” ones.  Mom began gaining weight about the age of 9-11, and packed the pounds on pretty quickly.  I do not remember what age she has told me she started her period, but I do know, her periods have always been wonky. 
My parents married June 3, 1972.  Mom immediately began on birth control, with the hopes that during her lifetime, she could have about 6 children.  My mother was in the generation, where women could choose to do one or the other.  Either get married and have children, and be a stay at home mom (being traditional), or be a little on the odd side, and look for a career.  Although mom wanted to be a nurse (like her mother had been before she married), she chose the traditional route.  But the traditional route laughed at her, and said, “nope, not for you.”  In October 1972, she went off the bc, and within a couple of weeks was pregnant.  What is funny, her doctors tried telling her that she wasn’t pregnant, but (I) was just a mass or tumor, and they were going to keep an eye on it.  Yeah, I am a big mass alright, lol.
I was born June 25, 1973.  I was a little tiny thing.  Spiky red hair everywhere, I was nicknamed both spider moneky, and Tarzana, as once I got older, I was climbing all over EVERYTHING.  I was a very normal active child.  We lived across the street from the high school, and there were basketball courts, parks, a pool, tennis courts and a running track (the hs football field and track).  During the summer, I was rarely home, I was at one of the parks, or walking the girl scout trails (some trails that in some woods about half mile from our house).  At the pool, or just OUT.  The summer I turned nine, I went from a typical skinny 8/9 year old weighing around 85-95 pounds, to about 130/40.  I ballooned very quickly.  By sixth grade (around age 12, and when I first started my period), I was weighing 150.  By eighth grade I was 175.  When I graduated high school, I was just under five foot, and weighing in at 200.
When I was around 8 or 9, I remember being called into the principals office, and being made to take my underwear off.  She wanted to see why I smelled so badly.  I had dark marks on my underwear, and these were not from not wiping properly.  I am just NOW realizing, I had to have been having my period since around 8 or 9.  It was just the dark ugly old blood that was trying to slough off.  I was constantly teased in school for smelling, being stinky, etc. 
When I was 12, I was in the hospital to get my tonsils out.  I began having horrible cramps while there, and they tried giving me childrens Tylenol for the pain, and that is when we found out I was allergic to Tylenol.  I go into seizures, and then I sleep for about two days afterwards.  I am just like my father in this way.  He is very sensitive to many medicines, and can take very little for anything.
My father has metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome is basically a combination of conditions, that include weight around the waist, high blood pressure, high levels of blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels (sound familiar my cysters?). 
When I got out of the hospital, I truly didn’t realize my period had started, as I was still doing that brownish, blackish ick stuff still.  It just got heavier and heavier.  I started school the end of August, and between the stress of starting junior high, now having to use the locker room for gym, and well, just simply growing up, my period went wonky.  My very first period was about three months long.  In about the middle of 8th grade, my mom took me to the doctor and they put me on birth control.   Two years later I began having sever migraines, and those lasted until I was in my late 20’s.  I do not know if the migraines were part of it, but they sure did not help. 
When I was 17 years old, around November 1990, my mother found out she was diabetic.  She was put on metformin, and changed her diet.  She lost about 50-60 pounds, and was looking really good.  In early August of 1991, mom found out she was pregnant (tho had suspected it since about late May).  But it was too late, the medicine that had helped her get pregnant, (metformin), had hurt the baby, and had not survived. 
On August 26, 1991, my mother was induced, and she gave birth to my sister Judyth Eireen Heyen.  At the same time, in the same hospital, my cousin (three years my senior) gave birth to a little boy.  My mom and ended up doting on that boy.  I helped raise him til he was 8, and we are still all very close.
For the next many years, I kept to myself, trying to figure out whether I wanted to get married and have kids, or if it was dream to never come true.
I got married when I was 28.  My husband and I went back and forth with the decision.  What did not help, is that because of PCOS, I also have bipolar and anxiety disorder.  With the bipolar, I can go from being happy and dancing around the house, to attack mode in five seconds flat.  I scream, I holler, I hit, throw things.  I am not ME when this takes over me.  I have been unable to be on meds for it, because none of the doctors ever see me in the manic.  They tell me I have mild depression, throw some Prozac at me, and say I will be fine in a few weeks.
Although this is not completely what broke my marriage up, it sure as heck did NOT help.  The last few years, I have been trying to work on ME.  I have calmed my assitude (you know, the attitude that shows how much of an ass you really are?) down, but I still struggle with it.  I have gone back to school, I am single.  I am not happy, but guess what, that is ok.  As long as I am content, have my music, my books, and a place to live, I can work with it.  Being happy is overrated, I just want to survive, and some days, that is iffy.
Although my life is more than just the PCOS, it is difficult some days.  Yes I allow it to control me, but I am better than that.  I control me, my moods, my thoughts, who I am.  What will the future bring? I have no idea, but I am looking up, instead of behind.

I hope all of my cysters share their stories, and their struggles, and know how much they are loved.  We are more than just the illness, we are woman who have survived.

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