Guide to a Healthy Body II
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). My body felt heavy and was bloated on random days, the hair on my face was growing back quicker than it has before (1-1½ weeks vs. once every month), and the back of my neck was unnaturally darker than the rest of my body. I was also having unbelievable pressure on the right side of my pelvis.
During my first visit, I was told that it looked like I had PCOS based on my ultrasound, which showed that my right ovary was significantly larger than my left; and the hair growth. My blood work also showed that my HbA1c and insulin levels were elevated (PCOS causes insulin resistance), which makes me prediabetic.
I was prescribed Spironolactone to help with my hair growth and hormone levels, and birth control pills (Alyacen) to help regulate my period again. I was also told to lose weight to help bring down my insulin levels. Eventually, I was also prescribed Metformin which is a pill for those with diabetes...even though I was not diabetic.
I didn't entirely trust this doctor's diagnosis due to her cut and dry tonality. I probably spent a total of 15 minutes with her across the two visits. It felt like she was incapable of listening to my concerns. I specifically asked for a different birth control method, the NuvaRing, due to a positive history. However, I was informed that the dosage wouldn’t be sufficient due to my weight. I was also prescribed Metformin and a higher dosage of Spironolactone without being informed as to why and without new blood work.
During this process, I kept wondering, “where do I go from here?”. At the time, I had almost 23 years of being within my body and having an understanding of how my body functions. I assumed that I had PCOS based on my symptoms and intuition, but to have it confirmed was heartbreaking. My body and I were partners, I felt as though I knew it well. But then it felt as if we detached and it disappeared to do its own thing. I had an idea of what health meant for my body but I had to relearn what that looked like in more ways than just one.
I decided to research holistic ways to heal and reconnect with my body. I have crystals for my personal spiritual practices and discovered that Moonstone and Carnelian help regulate menstrual cycles. I also rejoined the gym and used detox waters as a way to cleanse. I wanted to have fun through the process of healing and used shaving cream as a way to not only rid my hair but also fulfill my childhood dream of wanting to play with my dad's shaving cream.
I eventually stopped taking the medication because it made me feel like utter crap. The bloating got worse and the Metformin made me feel like my insides were ripping apart; so I decided to get a second opinion in my hometown. The first the doctor said was "I don't know why you were diagnosed with PCOS. You have no sign of cysts in your ovaries; and even though your right ovary is larger, if it was PCOS both would be enlarged due to it being the same bloodstream." My heart dropped to my stomach. At that point, I went through about 5 months of mental anguish due to this diagnosis just to be told that I was misdiagnosed.
When we discussed my history with birth control, I informed him of what the previous doctor said regarding the NuvaRing. He said, "well any birth control will have a small difference in you compared to someone who might be smaller. However, that doesn't mean it won't work for you; especially if it worked before." That said, I was prescribed the NuvaRing and a second ultrasound showed that my reproductive system was fine.
When I asked what could be causing the pain and discomfort if not my ovary; he said you probably just need to improve your colon health. Basically, I just need to shit better...all I could do was laugh. From day one, all I needed was a better fiber intake. After this entire experience, all I could do was think "if I was smaller, would I have gone through this?" Every decision seemed to be based more on my weight and appearance rather than what I actually needed.
As I reflect, I realize that my body was still communicating with me but I wasn't listening. I wanted to believe that this doctor, a trained professional, knew what was right for me. Isn't that what we're taught as kids? Go to the doctor regularly to maintain your health. Go to the doctor when you don't feel well and they'll make you feel better. I did what I believed was the right thing through medical and holistic intervention, but that wasn't exactly the right thing for me. This isn't to say that one shouldn't seek professional help when needed. I'm simply saying to listen to your body and when something doesn't feel right, find someone or something that can help you down the path to feeling whole again.