my background

My PCOS background...

All my life I've struggled with my weight. I've tried many different weight loss programs: weight watchers 3 or 4 times, LA Weight Loss, and The South Beach Diet. The highest I've ever reached, weight wise, is 220 at the beginning of November in 2011. That's a lot of weight on a 5'4" frame.

I've had PCOS my whole life but I was diagnosed with it in January 2012 at the age of 28. Here are the symptoms of PCOS that I continuously live my life with.

{ACNE} I've had acne since what seems like the beginning of time. In middle and high school I was on every conceivable acne medication both oral and topical. Finally taking Acutane for 11 months during my junior year my skin was clear for years. My acne started flaring up in about 2007 which was about 7 years after I stopped taking Acutane. I went for a Dermatologist appointment in the fall of 2008 because I'd had enough. He told me I had rosacea which I most definitely don't.

{SKIN TAGS} The same dermo in the spring of 2009 removed about 30 skin tags from my eye lids and neck. See, we'd had our engagement pictures done in fall 2008 and I could see them in the pictures and I wanted them removed before our July 2009 wedding.

{FEW OR NO MENSTRAL CYCLES} I started my MC the summer between 4th and 5th grade, at girl scout camp of all places! I was always irregular but like many pre/teenagers I didn't pay attention. Back then my friends and I didn't talk about that and I wouldn't have been caught dead talking to my Mom about it either. Thankfully that has all changed and I openly talk about almost anything :)

In college I had a roommate who was a regular as the sunrise in Hawaii. That's when I first noticed that I was "irregular" but again didn't do anything about it. At best I had 1 or 2 cycles a year. I started taking BC spring of my sophomore year and things became regular - which I thought was a good thing. Turns out it was the meds doing their job and not my body doing it. It wasn't until my younger cousin got diagnosed as being 'somewhere on the spectrum of PCOS' that I started rethinking my own personal timeline. That was in 2007/2008. I was just dating my boyfriend - who is now my husband - so I guess I didn't think too much about it. I saw an OB in Pullman, WA to talk about my concerns, I had some blood work done and an U/S but I was on the pill so everything came out "normal". Again, it was only because the pill was doing its job in my body that all my tests came out normal!

After getting married in 2009 I found an OB at a clinic that had been recommended to me by a friend who is a nurse. I liked my OB and she seemed nice. I did voice my concerns about PCOS right away but was given the "we'll wait until you're ready to have a baby" speech. We went off BC in October 2010 and that Christmas break I went back to my OB to talk about PCOS. I had a blood draw and that was it. Most everything was "normal" again so we waited to see what my body would do. It didn't do much.

{INFERTILITY} In June 2011 I went back to my OB since it has been 8 months with 1 MC and we were ready to start seeing what we could do. I again expressed my concerns about PCOS and was just told to try Provera and Clomid 'to see what would happen'. Looking back I should have demanded as many tests as they thought I needed - but I truly think my OB had no idea what PCOS was really about. Considering I'd told her that my ample skin tags were a side effect of PCOS and she said she'd never heard that before. I mean, even WEBMD knows that...

{WEIGHT GAIN ~ WEIGHT AROUND THE ABDOMEN} I've always felt like I was "over weight" or "fat" or "not skinny". Little did I know that it was my body working against me. Sure, I didn't take the best care of it but I didn't know how! I'd eat those dang weight watchers meals and nothing would happen! I know now that is because they are laden with carbs which is what my body does not process.

{SUPPORT SYSTEM} My whole world changed on September 28th, 2011. Two of my friends from work and myself went to a local establishment to do some online safety trainings. Two other teachers from my district were there and one was a friend of a friend. My friends and I were talking about when I was going to start any drugs again and the other teachers overheard us. After talking for a bit she asked me what it was I was taking drugs for and I told her "I think I have PCOS but can't get a definitive ruling from my OB". Her face kind of went blank and she said "Well I have PCOS and I've been trying for 4 years to get pregnant, we need to be friends". And so it was.

While meeting K set my brain in motion it was my tipping point at a Halloween party on 10.29.11 that really did me in.

After that it was an uphill battle into health, weight loss, and a path that I will be forever grateful I went down! In December 2011 I started working out with a personal trainer and took my first barre3 class - both of those events would change my life for the better. Amanda believed in me long before I did and I feel in love with barre3 slowly but surely.

I made small, thoughtful changes. I took my time and didn't focus on the number on the scale. I learned and taught, splurged and bought. I changed where I shopped, how I cooked, and what I put in my body. It did it the slow, long, hard, and hopefully permanent way.

left ~ July 2011
right ~ July 2013