Monday, 8 October 2012

Personal life: soulcyster

Over the past couple of years, I have not had a completely smooth ride where my health was concerned. I've come to know what it's like living with chronic pain day in, day out and to not know when I'd ever get any respite. And I've been a lucky one: daily life is now, for me, pain-free most of the time. I've come out of the other side of over a year of daily pain with the understanding of how that wears you down until you feel paper-thin and exhausted and overwhelmed by the relentlessness and unfairness of it all. Still, it's left its imprint on my life and general health now. Physiologically, things won't ever be the same as they once were. But I'm happy to take that instead of the stacks of painkillers I once took each day.

Until now, I had resigned myself (after scans, blood tests, private consultants, NHS consultants, surgery and various medications including too many hormonal contraceptives for one woman to take in such a short period of time - period being an appropriate word here) to being one of the "third of women who never find receive a diagnosis for what is causing their problems". And then, a month ago, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.

A month later and it still stirs up a maelstrom of mixed feelings when I think about it. A concrete diagnosis. A reason for a lot of the things I have had to cope with. But one which means the surgery I had last summer (diagnostic laparoscopy, to look for evidence of endometriosis - there was none) was unnecessary. One which means the contraceptives I was coerced onto were all wrong for me and one for which the signs were there in my first ultrasound, two years ago. Because of this, I am angry. Angry that a lot of the pain and hospital trips I went through probably needn't have happened. I lost out on a huge chunk of the "university experience", including study time and multiple exams. I am incredibly proud to have earned the degree that I did under the circumstances my health put me in, but now it feels like healthcare could have given me better chances. Of course, I am also relieved to know the cause of my problems, and to know that measures can be taken to treat them.

On top of this I am scared and, overall, sad. I am only 21 and nowhere near ready to have children, but I hate that it's been presented as a fact to me that I'm less likely to conceive in the first place, and far more likely to miscarry if I do. On top of this are the increased risks of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and endometrial cancer.

But PCOS is manageable, and already I've made lifestyle changes. I've been sticking to the low GI diet, exercising more and six days ago I was prescribed Metformin, to correct insulin resistance and hopefully bring my hormones in check. In a couple of weeks I will have the Mirena fitted (eek!) to protect my endometrium from hyperplasia and cancer. These are significant changes but I feel lucky that I have the chance to make them for the good of my health.

I deliberated over writing about this for a while, and even now I am anxious about posting it. I have not been particularly personal with my posts so far and it's alarming to think that many people I know could read this if they happened upon it (which they easily could). But I think that I should. I want to put me into my blog and this is an entire facet of who I am. I know that I personally would like to see blogs by women with PCOS (and I'm going to hunt them down), so why not mention it in my own?

I hope this isn't too much of a turn in another direction for the Monomyth. Thanks for reading,


  1. Aw we certainly appreciate you pouring all that on here, it is surely a good place to share because we share our bests and worsts always here at the blog-o-sphere.

    I admire you and your bravery! I am really sorry about it, it is really difficult to be diagnosed at such a young age. I am glad that you are remaining positive about it, changing your lifestyle and doing the best out of it. Very proud of you!

    The Young Bridget Jones

  2. Thank you! Your kind words mean a lot. This post has had such a reception that I'm glad I posted it, despite initial wobbles about doing so.