Sierra's View: Dealing with a Diagnosis | PCOS

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Dealing with a Diagnosis | PCOS

It's been quite the few years.
A lot has changed in the past two years of my life. I married the man of my dreams, moved to a new city, completely started my career and started, well, real adult life.

It's been amazing.
. I have a husband who I love more than life itself. I have neighbors and friends who are good, kind people. I love my calling and my young women and my ward. I live in a beautiful city. I have a job that I love. I have friends and in laws around me. I have a puppy whom I love. I am in a play and singing and acting often, which I love. I have a body that walks and is functional.

I have a body.
I am be grateful that I have a body that works and is functional.

But, because I'm not one to sugarcoat it, I need to let you know that it's been hard.

I am a very confident person. Very confident. I love my body for it's curves and the many positive things about it.

But one of the hardest struggles is looking into the mirror and watching your body change right before your and eyes and you don't know how it happened. And the worse part about it is knowing that it happened without you even really changing anything about your life.
It is discouraging. It is frustrating. It is so incredibly depressing.

I started taking birth control a few months before I got married.
I saw something happen. I saw my body changing, gaining weight. My hormones felt like they were completely out of control. I could feel my body going crazy and it was horrible.

I would cry myself to sleep at night thinking about how horrible I felt--on the outside and the inside. I could feel the people around me judging me…thinking, "Wow…you got married so you just let yourself go, huh?" When that was not the case at all. I was trying everything to make myself look and feel like how I was "before." But I felt self conscious, and well, for a lack of better words, crappy. People, family members and friends, even said things to me. And let me tell you, when you are already self conscious about something and you feel like those insecurities are exposed to the world, it makes you feel incredibly vulnerable and that all of your cards are literally out in the open for everyone to see. It doesn't make you feel very good about yourself, I'll tell you that much.

I would tell T Money often that something was not right. That something was going on with my body. I had no idea what was going on, but that something was not right.

Finally, I went and saw a specialist for my hormones. I needed to figure out what was going on.

I was diagnosed with PCOS, hypothyroidism, my insulin levels were extremely high, and my hormones were quite inconsistent.

Last week, when I was diagnosed, I got teary eyed when I found out the answers.
I felt like the past ten years, more specifically, the past two years, of my life have been answered.

PCOS stands for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Here is the 6th grade version of what it is:

First of all, my doctor is convinced that I have had this syndrome since I was about fourteen because I have had the signs for most of my life. The birth control I had been taking is essentially what jump started it and made my hormones go out of control. It made my PCOS "come out", if you will.

PCOS is when there are cysts on women's' ovaries (hence the name). The cysts are not harmful but lead to many hormonal imbalances.

In PCOS, the sex hormones get out of balance. The cysts create more androgens, therefore leading to more testosterone which causes acne and more hair growth.

PCOS has had a problem using insulin, called insulin resistance. When the body doesn't use insulin well (thats what is happening with my body) blood sugar levels go up. My high insulin levels were basically taking over everything I was eating. Instead of turning that food into ATP energy, it was automatically transmitting it into fat, hence the weight gain. This also correlates how I don't function when I don't eat. I have been that way since I was a little girl.

The hormones also affect the clinical depression that I have been struggling with since I was 14. There may be a chance that the hormones are stopping the serotonin and dopamine in my brain, hence my depression. 

I don't sleep very well--getting up often in the middle in the night, my irregular periods that I have always had, the severe, often migraines and the fatigue (I am always exhausted) correlates with it all. Now, I don't know if I have infertility problems, but we will cross that bridge when we get to that road. 

I am happy that I now have some answers. This doesn't necessarily mean it will solve all of my problems, but it is nice to know that I have some answers. 

But it's also been difficult because….

This all may sound childish or immature, but I hate that so much of who we are as humans is defined by our weight. It's as if someone gains weight, it makes them a bad person, or less of a person, and I can't stand that.

I hate that I have parents and a family that stress being skinny and looking good all of the time.

I hate that since my diagnosis I am being told what to do, what not to do, what I did wrong to receive this in my life. I am simply doing everything in my power to do what makes me happy and healthy--isn't that enough? 

I hate that I feel frustrated that I have yet another thing to deal with in my life. Call me unfaithful or whatever, but that is how I feel. I was fine for a few days and it's as if it all just hit this weekend. 

It's been a really good lesson for me, though. 
It's been crucial for me to remember that I am still beautiful, even though my body is not perfect. I am still beautiful amidst this diagnosis. I am still beautiful in many ways. I have to remember that, even when all sources from around me and inside of me are telling me otherwise. 
It's also been a good lesson for me to remember that you have no idea what people are going through. You have no idea why someone has gained weight. You have no idea what people's struggles are, either physically, emotionally, or mentally.

May we all stop and remember the good things about ourselves.
One day at a time, right? Thats all we need to do. Thats always been my motto. 


  1. I have two friends that have this! One of them is ALWAYS sick and tired and she barely can eat anything (although still not sure if that's a symptom of PCOS..she's very picky.) And the other one gets migraines, but she's had two kids (with fertility treatments) and they've actually helped a lot of her symptoms go away. But you are right, I have no idea what you are going through...But I do know that God is faithful and that he is the ultimate healer!

  2. First of all, I am sorry. I know quite a few people who have PCOS and all of them have experienced the feelings you have as a result of the symptoms. It's hard. I gained weight during my pregnancy and I have struggled (and failed) to get it to come off. I hate the way our bodies and selves are defined by weight, too. I keep reminding myself that it has to start changing somewhere...that has to start with me. I have to tell you, though, you are absolutely positively GORGEOUS and STUNNING and you embrace your body and every curve and you DO IT WELL! You (honestly) inspire me....I wish I could be more like you. I wish I had your confidence. In the meantime, I hope maybe you can find some more answers that might help you tackle this diagnosis to feel a little more balanced.

  3. My cousin has the same thing! So much of our culture is defined by perfection and the way women look. I hate it. I think the pursuit of health and happiness is all that matters. Have you heard of I love this organization so much.

  4. Basically... birth control ruins everything! You got it all :( Dang girl, I'm sorry! I definitely know the struggle of weight gain, I finally went an entire year without gaining anything after I got my IUD out, but I still couldn't lose (part of that was lifestyle, but still....) I definitely am not a fan of birth control anymore because of stories like this. Even if the problems were already there, too many women have them surface and attack after they get on birth control. Evil, evil stuff! I'm glad you've found out what's wrong though, even thought it's frustrating, I think knowing makes it a little easier because then you're just not crazy and feeling like you have no control!

  5. Ugh this sounds so frustrating! I feel like every bc pill I have ever been on (and I have been on a lot, ever since I was about 15) have really messed with my emotions. Cranky, irritable, moody, ultra sensitive etc. Luckily now my bc does more good than harm but it took me a long time to find one that wasn't just making me miserable. I'm curious what your other symptoms are like. Do you get a lot of cramping? Painful abdomen etc? Do your cysts ever burst? I think that is one of the worst pains of all. I pretty much always drop to the floor in pain when mine rupture. Usually only a few times a year now but its the worst. Ugh I wish you didnt have to deal with this! Torture!

  6. I have this (as well as endometriosis). Birth control was the only thing that helped mine, but when I stopped to try and get pregnant, my weight ballooned up, and it took me a year and some Clomid to get our son. Not I'm 5 months post partum and it's back. It feels awful to know that you're trying but can't do anything. I've stopped blogging since my son was born, but if you need someone to vent to, my email is Thinking of you and hoping you can get it under control to some extent <3

  7. You are amazing. Even though I struggle with different things, you make a good point. We are all beautiful amidst our struggles. We all matter and we're all human regardless of our outward appearance. Thank you so much for posting this.

  8. So sorry you are struggling with this! I have hypothyroidism, but not PCOS so I don't get quite the hormonal symptoms you do with that. But I do know what you mean about the frustration of watching your body change even when you aren't doing anything differently! You really are absolutely gorgeous, though!

  9. Sierra, I have been where you are. I don't have PCOS but I have major hormone issues that make it difficult for me to lose weight, and function well. And to top it all off, the starving I did for the 14 years of dieting made it worse. There is nothing more frustrating that feeling like you're crazy and having to justify your actions defensively because people assume that you've got a junk food problem. This year, pretty much at my heaviest, I decided that my body has done so much and I won't stop living my life because it doesn't look a certain way. I won't give up on making it healthier but I don't have to wear shorts with my bathing suit. I don't have to cover up the flabby bits. I am going to live my life and love my body for what it can do, not inhibit my life for what my body doesn't look like. I hope you find some peace with your answers!
    The Accidental Mama

  10. You are awesome for sharing this, because I have struggled with health problems myself and still don't have too many answers except that I have hypothyroidism. I completely understand what you mean when you say that it's hard when people point out the things that you already felt. I'm so glad that you know that you are not defined by your weight, because you aren't at all. I am so happy for you that you finally have answers, and hopefully the doctors get you on the right meds!!

  11. oh girl, where do i begin? well you ARE in fact beautiful. you always have been. always will be. i'm sorry you have this new obstacle in your life. but everyone who knows you also knows you are not your diagnosis. you are YOU. and you are something amazing.
    weight is the devil. we let it define us... which is funny, because if i were to describe you, your size wouldn't be used in that description!
    i hate all the things you said too. &i also hate that you don't always like you what you see. because i see something worth being jealous about.
    i hope you find peace and love yourself completely... because you're completely worth loving.

    1. ps, have you ever considered a hormone free bc like paragard?

  12. I look at all the previous comments and I am always amazed by the kindness and the support you can find in the blogosphere - if you are ever feeling down, just read these comments again. So sorry this has happened to you and you said it, the most important thing is to love yourself and don't let others tell you what your body weight should be.

  13. A big hug to you, sweet girl! I am so sorry you have to go through this. Be strong and whenever you feel life is unfair just think about all the love and support you are surrounded with. Take care!

  14. Hey dear! Thank you so much for opening up about this! Great, honest post. I was testing for this years ago... sounds like almost an identical situation. Seriously! I was crying all the time (i was never a crier), I had hair growing on my chin, I gained 20 pounds in ONE MONTH. After tons of testing, my doctor diagnosed me with the same thing, except I didn't have any cysts so she wasn't sure. From my experience, I would HIGHLY recommend you look into clean eating and the paleo diet. More specifically the whole30. It helped me SO MUCH. I feel like a completely different person. I have a ton of whole30 (clean) recipes on my blog. If you ever have any questions, please hit me up! Take care!

  15. Ugh this sounds so frustrating! I'm so sorry to hear that your struggling with this!

  16. I have never heard of that but I couldn't ever handle birth control. I have tried to be on different kinds throughout my life, but they all make me hysterical cry and gain a bunch of weight adding to depression symptoms. I've chosen to use other birth control means than the pill or rings because I just don't want to feel like that. Sorry about your struggle. Keep your chin up.

  17. Girl- you are so great and brave to be willing to share what you are going through. Know that you aren't alone and these are all the things I have felt while dealing with my PCOS and Hashimotos. I love your insights and you are truly a person I look to as I am going through difficult times myself. Fight on, pray on :)

  18. Such huge hugs and lots of prayers coming your way.

  19. I am so sorry you are going through this situation. I wish you all the best -- including support, love, and acceptance. You are still YOU no matter what the hormones do to your body.

  20. Aw, I'm sorry you're going through this. I think you're coping miraculously well. Thanks for sharing!

  21. It's an illness - by definition it is not your fault. Ugh. I'm used to that stuff because I have anxiety and I'm very vocal about it. People are awful about these things. I'm glad you have an answer for what's been going on. Best of luck and you have my support.

  22. First off, you are gorgeous. I have to go and get my hormone levels tested because I've been having... hair problems, and I know that can be a sign of PCOS. Thinking of you! xx

  23. I've heard about PCOS before, a few friends have it and are going through similar things that you are. I'm glad you actually found out what's going on with your body. Hugs to you.

  24. Wow this is such an amazing post! I am so happy that you finally know what is going on with your body and I feel for you. You are beautiful! I am have 3 cysts on my ovaries and experience a lot of things that you are going through. It tough but this defiantly should not define who you are as a person and you have such an incredible support system here!

  25. I've never heard of this before. Sending prayers your way, the good thing is now you have an answer, hoping things get better for you soon. I also try to live the be kind to everyone rule, you truly never know what someone may be going through!

  26. Wow, this is so hard. I'm glad that you were able to figure out what is going on with your body. Hopefully now you will be able to deal with it and feel better!

  27. I think you are gorgeous! Im so sorry to her you were diagnosed with this but also glad you found answers. I have been waiting for answers for a few years to issues I have been having without luck/

  28. Dang....that is a lot! I don't know what you are going through but you seem to have a GREAT head on your shoulders. You are truly postive throughout it all which makes you my champion. Yes, life hands you things that are truly challenging, but my sheroes are always those who understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and don't let the challenge consume them. Hopefully, knowing what it is makes the next steps easier to navigate.

    Thrifting Diva

  29. I'm glad you finally have answers. And thank you for explaining exactly what PCOS is. My sister-in-law has it, and I never really knew what it was.

  30. It must be really tough. my friend also has hypothyroidism.. and because of it has had to do all sorts of other surgeries like on her knees etc. i'm glad that you are trying to turn it around for yourself though despite what your family or people around you are throwing at you.

  31. Hun I have this. My dad was urging me today to go to the doctors and finally get it sorted. I went through so much trouble a while ago to get it sorted and then I moved house and had to go through it all over again. Now I really need to get my scans so that they can put me on the right hormones to counteract it all.

    My worry is that I won't be able to have the 12 kids that I've always wanted! This is also why I haven't been on any contraception since i've been dating my BF.

    I hope you sort it all out hun, I hope I do too!

    Katie <3

  32. Oh wow. A good friend of mine deals with this too. Thinking of you!!

  33. You are so amazing and brave for sharing this. Thank you so much! :)

  34. Hang in there! Light will come at the end of the tunnel. Birth control can do really awful things to your body, so once you get the PCOS in check, look into the birth control because it could be making it worse. I had to quit mine because I had hot flashes like 12 times a day, stomach issues, and depression.

  35. I'm so sorry that you are having to struggle with this diagnosis. I can relate on a much smaller lever, however, because I just had a baby and being pregnant dis crazy things to my body. You are right thankful for a functioning body. You ARE beautiful and you will get through this. Xo

  36. I too have PCOS, so if you ever need a warm shoulder.. I use BC to control mine, but the weight issues are the hardest.

  37. How amazing of you to share this personal struggle you have. I can't imagine how hard it must be to deal with as I don't have PCOS but I feel for you x

  38. Oh honey, I could have written this post word for word. I, too, was diagnosed with PCOS with almost the exact same symptoms as you. I was diagnosed at 23 years old. I'm now 29 years old and we are expecting our 2nd baby in just two weeks! I was told by a handful of doctors that we'd be lucky to have children :) PCOS is scary, but manageable! Are they putting you on Metformin? That is what I was put on, and it helped tremendously. Please feel free to e-mail me if you ever want to talk! I'm in your shoes, and can completely and totally relate! <3

  39. I know what you're going through and it's hard. It definitely helps to write about it and get it off of your chest. My cousin has PCOS and she has two beautiful babies.

  40. How can I start with this. I am barely 22 years old. About to graduate from college. I have had ovarian cysts that have range from tiny things to a ten pound cyst that had to be removed surgically. I had to go through a chemotherapy treatment due to this, just in case it was malignant (it wasn't). I started taking birth control pills in order to avoid future cysts. And yes, my cycles are off balance, I got more acne, etc, etc. But honestly, this is nothing in comparison with what other people are going through dear. Gained weight? Exercise. I am sure you have time. You will feel better, you will loose weight, your skin will get cleaner, and your acne will decrease dramatically.
    And nothing you do will ever be enough. Life happens. Please do not hate yourself, do not hate life, and gosh, do not hate your family. They are the only people that, when something that is actually serious, happens are going to be there 24/7.
    I relate to this, but I disagree on your point of view. The first three paragraphs of this post should have been enough reason to stop writing the rest(:
    Good luck:)

  41. It's really crappy to deal with a diagnosis like that. It takes a lot of time to adjust. Hope things look up soon.

  42. Ack, diagnoses are always bittersweet - thankful that you know what's going on, but dreading what's to come! Hopefully, it becomes a manageable routine! Your words at the end on body weight and appearance are so inpsiring. We are all here for you!

  43. I've been hearing more and more women get diagnosed with this and it's such a bummer. I hope you find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable, you got this girl!

  44. I totally hear you. There is nothing worse than knowing something is wrong with your body, but not knowing what. I am glad you have some insight into what's going on.

    As for the weight thing, the older I get, the more I have to realize I'm never going to be happy with it. But I think we all have to learn that it's not as big of a part of who we are as we think it is. It's hard. It's really, really hard.

    And on acne -- I totally thought it would be something I wouldn't have to deal with in my 30s. Insanely frustrating.

    Flipping birth control.

  45. Hey girl! I have PCOS and was able to have two children with the help of my endocrinologist who is also a board certified nutritionist and OBGYN. Read the book "Why We Get Fat and What to do About it" by Gary Taubes, and check out the website on how you can use nutrition to heal your PCOS and get pregnant. It worked for me, and for loads of his patients who also followed the advice.


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