Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear PCOS,

It's been awhile since I told you that you suck. Today I just want to tell you that you still suck and I'm back and ready to boot you out. It's on.

Sincerely,
Rachel

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dear PCOS, You Suck.

Cycle Day 50. At this point a woman with a normal cycle and functional ovaries would probably have taken a pregnancy test and gone to see a doctor, either because she is pregnant or to try to find out why she hasn't gotten her period. But a woman with PCOS doesn't have it so easy.  My last three cycles have been 33-37 days long, oddly regular for me. I liked it. I can handle almost-regular. It keeps me from going crazy, thinking I might be pregnant, even with full knowledge of my lack of functioning ovaries. This is the misery that is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

It's a mix of fear, hope and annoyance. A mix of feelings that I have dealt with since I was 17 and found out that I have PCOS. When I was 18 I went five months without a period, while on the pill. I was terrified, but after a few tests I knew I wasn't pregnant. Over the years I've had plenty of scares, like many women do. The difference was that I knew the possibility of me having an accidental pregnancy were pretty slim.

When my ex-husband and I were trying to get pregnant, I found out that I don't ovulate on my own. But I kept up serious hope that it would happen. I peed on a gazillion sticks, spent a bunch of money on an ovulation tracker gadget, took my temperature every morning, did three cycles of Clomid, tried herbal ways to help me ovulate, and just about anything else you can think of. I drove myself crazy, even with full knowledge that I couldn't get pregnant. Now, I don't want to get pregnant, but I'm constantly convincing myself that maybe I ovulated, maybe I'm pregnant. It's a giant game of "maybe" and it's not doing a damn thing for me.

Today I decided that maybe I should pick up a pregnancy test. Why? Because this cycle is much longer than the last few have been, I've had a couple days of queeziness the last couple weeks, I've convinced myself that I'm peeing way more than I usually do, I'm breaking out, I've been more tired than usual, my appetite is all wacky, and my mood has been all over the place. So, of course, all of that together means "OH MY GOD, I'M PREGNANT!", right? Maybe for some, but it shouldn't for me.

I know that the long, irregular cycle is simply because of my PCOS. I know that the queeziness and feeling "off" is probably because I'm obsessed with Dunkin Donuts' Pumpkin Latt├ęs and have been drinking one almost everyday for the last couple of weeks, along with a Mtn Dew, and I really don't respond well to caffeine. I always pee often, and I know that if I actually am going more than before it's because of the caffeine and suddenly drinking more water. I know that I'm breaking out because while I'm using basically the same face wash as I usually do, right now I'm using a different version (liquid soapy type instead of the cream wash). I know that I'm tired more than usual because the caffeine I've been drinking makes me fidgety for a bit and then pretty much knocks me out. I can blame the appetite change on eating very late dinners and the caffeine upsetting my stomach. And my mood? Well, who knows.

I KNOW that the caffeine is pretty much to blame for my thinking I may be pregnant. I also KNOW that my PCOS never wants to cooperate and make life easy for me. Do I dream of someday having my ovaries work and having children? Yes. Would I be thrilled if that day were now, even though I know my boyfriend and I are in no place to have children? Yes. But I'm a smart girl, and I know that's not the case. But, every cycle I have that is longer than the last gets my mind racing. Have I looked to find out when I would be due if by some miracle I were pregnant? Yes (early July). 


Why do we torture ourselves like this? I know how important it is to know my body, and I've gotten to know it pretty well. I know I didn't ovulate. I know it was really odd for me to have three very similar cycles in a row, so I know that I'm due for a totally wacky one. PCOS is evil. Evil I tell you! Not only does it mess with our bodies in ridiculous ways that make us self-conscious (unwanted body/facial hair, anyone?), it gives us a truckload of dangerous health issues (high EVERYTHING), it gives us large bellies that already make us look pregnant, it messes with our minds ("Did I ovulate? Was that an ovulation cramp? OMG!", "Hmm, long cycle, am I pregnant? OMG am I pregnant?!") and more than anything it messes with our hearts. I know that my whole life, through my many changes in career dreams, the one dream that stuck was being a mom. At 17 I found out that might not happen. At 24 I found out that if it were to happen, it will probably end up being very expensive and impossible for me. At 26 I realized I have to start accepting that it will probably never happen, and I would have to learn to redefine the woman I want to be, because PCOS has taken my one solid dream away from me. At 27, I'm growing more and more comfortable with this new definition of Rachel that I'm working on, but I am still freaking out because PCOS is holding my period hostage. My PCOS has defined me, and that's not okay. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Coming Out of Hiding...

I haven't posted in over a month. I kind of slipped into the shadows for awhile, as I was studying for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam, which I took on October 16th. Studying was pretty consuming - both of time and mental ability, so I honestly did not even think about updating the blog.

Donnie and I made a weekend out of my exam. I took the exam at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, MI, which is about 3 hours away from where we live. We drove out Friday night and came home on Monday. It was so nice to get a few days away, even if it wasn't for some exciting vacation. On our drive home we decided to take a bit of a detour and stopped in Hell. This is one of those towns where if you blink, you miss it. There's a restaurant/souvenir shop, ice cream/souvenir shop and an inn. We picked up a few things, had some super yummy ice cream and (pumpkin in a waffle cone made right there! yum!!!!!) took some pictures.
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Since then, I was busy with work and just being lazy. I've realized I've put on some weight, so this will be a serious focus starting in November. I plan to set up a tv and dvd player in our empty bedroom upstairs so I can start using my exercise videos again. We also finally had money to do a big grocery shopping trip, so I put a few freezer meals together. I bought a bunch of pumpkin puree, so I'm on the hunt for pumpkin recipes. So far, I have made Pumpkin Pie Bread, which is delicious!!! It made me realize that I haven't been keeping a list of recipes I've tried, which I need to do for my 101 in 1001 list. So, I have to work on remembering some recipes I've made over the last few months that I've forgotten about.

On the topic of my 101/1001 list, I've made some changes, edited some items, and added to my list, making it a total of 110 items! I'm really so excited about everything on it, and can't wait to get to a few specific items.

I promise to work on updating more often, now that life has calmed down a bit and I've had my time to relax. *crosses heart*.

Monday, September 20, 2010

DIY Street Fair

The thing I love most about where we live is that there are tons of awesome festivals going on all summer. This past weekend was a three-in-one art fair. We only made it to one part, the DIY Street Fair. There were tons of tents of locals artists selling their work, a beer tent where the local microbrewery, The WAB, had a bunch of local beers on tap. I fell completely in love with Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company's Coal Stoker's Blackberry Ale. I'm all about fruity beer, and this was just delicious. I will definitely be seeing if I can purchase it anywhere around here. Donnie loved Atwater Block Brewery's Dirty Blonde. We didn't get to any of the food, but it was all from the bars in town and smelled delicious! The music was all local bands, and I must say, Detroit is still filled with incredible musical talent! I wound up buying a necklace from a local handmade glass artist who had the most amazing pieces. I seriously wanted to buy everything she was displaying! We chatted with the artist a bit and she was super nice and really sweet. I will definitely be buying more of her work in the future!

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It's reversible!
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

My First OAMC Meal!

So, I did my cooking for my freezer meals on Monday, but we just ate the first one tonight. I can't complain, since we have eaten at home all but one day this week (we ordered pizza once), and now I can wait even longer to do a big shopping trip again! The first meal we tried was the Chicken Broccoli Casserole from Once a Month Mom. Overall, it was really yummy! I forgot to a picture, but it definitely didn't look like the picture on the website. I will definitely be making this again. The only problems I ran across involved our oven taking forever, as usual.

I also made Donnie's spaghetti sauce for the first time on Friday! It's far from my "kind" of food, because it has both ground beef and pork sausage, but it's so yummy that I really can't complain. And it came out awesome! I am excited because we love spaghetti, but Donnie never wants to make it, so now I can make it myself!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New Favorite Snack!


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Originally uploaded by Rachel0506

I had a coupon for Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds, so I picked some up on Monday. I got the dark chocolate covered ones and just tried them. WOW! Delicious! I had to jump on the computer and write a post to share this!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

She's got legs...

For those of you who have never been overweight, you may not understand how excited I am about my latest "I think I may be losing weight" realization. I swear my legs are getting thinner. I've noticed over the last few days that my thighs don't seem to touch as much as they used to. I don't feel like I'm losing weight, but I can FEEL a difference in my legs when I'm walking or standing. I wear a t-shirt for work and you can't even see where my thighs touch because the shirt falls lower. I don't think I'm just imagining this! But even if I am, it's motivating me, and that's enough for me.

It doesn't look like I'm going to ovulate this cycle. Taking my temperature drove me crazy too much. I started taking it at 5:25am because I randomly woke up at that time the day I wanted to start. This led to stressing over getting enough sleep, sleeping poorly, and waking up WAY earlier than I wanted. We also turned the a/c off during this cycle and started sleeping with the windows open, and that seems to have really thrown things off. My cervical mucus doesn't seem to be showing any changes in my hormones, either. We will see how things go in future cycles.

I've started really trying to focus on my diet again. I am trying to make sure we eat home more than we were, so I'm trying once a month cooking. Now, I don't have the freezer space for a month's worth of meals, but I have five meals in the freezer right now and have two more that I will make in the next day or two. Our biggest issue is not planning ahead and when it comes time for dinner we can't decide on anything, are missing a bunch of ingredients or just don't feel like spending the time to make anything, so we order out. I'm really excited to see how this works out for us.

On another note, I found out today that I am eligible for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam that I registered for, so I ordered my study guides today and will be taking the exam on October 16th! I'm so excited! I don't know if this will help me find a job in the near future or not, but it won't hurt when I apply for jobs.