I thought this would be a really easy post to write. All weekend I was on the cusp of writing it and ‘getting ahead’ with work and then like, I’d get distracted by mulled cider or Granger napping on my face or drunk texts from Chris and I’d be like nah babes, save it for Monday.
And then this morning came and well, I’ve just been putting it off.
I’m on my third cup of tea. I’ve eaten three squares of Galaxy Cookie crumble for breakfast. I’ve freaked out about the fact I’ve possibly already Instagrammed every damn thing in this house and omg I need to upload something today but like I don’t actually want to leave the house and omg does this mean I have to put make up on and pray that today is a good selfie day?
I feel a bit sick. I feel anxious and jittery and on edge and not me. That’s it, I feel not me. I feel like a really shit version of myself. And so, as soon as this post is up and pushed out to the world, I am off for a swim and to buy mince pie baking ingredients, in a bid to add a bit of sparkle and shine to this somewhat dark and shadowy Monday.
So, err, where to begin?
Way back when in the slightly lighter and less SAD-doomed days of early November I found myself Googling a couple of symptoms. The way we all do, the way that makes us all assume that woah, I’ve probs got cancer, whilst still secretly knowing at the back of our heads that we’re fine.
Because I think that’s the thing, whenever you Google your symptoms and decide that you’re suffering from something that’s more than a one-off nothingy illness, you kind of do secretly know you’re fine. You don’t fear the worst, you fear the best, because statistically you should be a-ok. And so I guess that’s kind of what happened to me.
My skin got a bit icky and oily after I came off the pill in the summer of 2014 (which, not that I guess I really have to explain myself was because I was kinda just done with adding extra hormones into my body and not that I was like OMG LET’S HAVE A BABY. I’d come off my antidepressants, and I just wanted to be ‘clean’, does that make sense? And so we decided to use condoms instead).
Eventually my skin got a bit better with the help of a good skincare routine and eating maybe sorta kinda ok.
But then a few months ago it got bad again. It’s worse than it’s ever been. It makes me feel insecure and uncomfortable. My make-up can’t hide it. I hate it. It is always there every damn bloomin’ time i look at my reflection in the mirror.
And, simultaneously, I noticed that my periods had started coming at unpredictable times.
There was the month I had a 45 day cycle. The month I started spotting a week after my period had ended. And so on.
I’ve been like clockwork for 14 years and so I knew something was up. And so I Googled ‘irregular periods’ and ‘acne’ and landed upon Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
And it felt a bit like finding out that Earth is a reality TV show put on by another species and suddenly everything makes sense.
And then I ran and did a little cry on the sofa and Chris took me to Byron for macaroni cheese.
I don’t suffer from every symptom. But the more I read up on PCOS I became aware that ever sufferer has a very different experience of it – everyone suffers varying degrees of each symptom, heck, some people have no symptoms.
For me it’s been the slightly irregular periods and the acne. It’s been the hair loss from my head for no reason, that the doctors had put down to stress. It’s the weight gain and the mood swings.
And so I booked a doctor’s appointment. Although naturally I had to wait two weeks.
And then they cancelled that appointment BY POST the day before, and so I could either wait another week for a doctor or see the nurse practitioner a few days later. I opted for the latter.
Anyway, she was quick to prescribe me something for my skin that I’d used as a teenager when it was much, much less aggressively spotty, and quick to suggest that going back on the pill might help regulate my periods.
And then I was all like ‘erm, I can deal with them being irregular, but I’m just worried that there’s some underlying condition that’s making them irregular’.
And then, her response to that can be best matched to that time in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix when they realise that they won’t be learning defensive spells in Defense Against The Dark Arts and Harry goes but how will we protect ourselves and Umbridge basically chokes on her giggles at how naive and small and stupid she thinks he is and goes ‘there is nothing out there dear boy, who do you imagine would want to attack children like yourselves?’.
Long, boring conversation cut short where I basically stared at my lap and whispered that well maybe PCOS might be something we could possibly look into and she was then like ‘oh and look you do have problems with your sugar levels too’ and agreed to refer me for an ultrasound and get me booked in for some cervical swabs.
Admittedly, I was beyond amazed that I was being seen for an ultrasound a week later. So you score some efficiency points there, NHS. High five.
My sonographer didn’t particularly put me at ease. She made Chris sit on the other side of the curtain and wouldn’t let me see the screen or talk me through anything that she was doing.
I know I wouldn’t have been able to understand the screen and she wouldn’t have been able to have told me what she’d seen, but when you’ve got someone hovering at the same spots on your body over and over again and squinting at the screen and pressing buttons, it’s really unsettling.
It’s like being next to two people whispering and giggling and looking at you.
Her and that damn machine knowing everything about me and me knowing nothing.
Anyway, had my swabs two days later and the nurse who did those was basically the best person I’ve ever met (I wrote about her in my Friday Faves).
I was told to ring my GP surgery a few days after my ultrasound to get the results. So I waited til last Thursday at 4pm and rung and spoke to a nice enough sounding male receptionist.
He asked for my DOB and name and confirmed that my results were in. ‘Yep, the doctor’s left a note on them. Let me just check what he’s written for you. OK, all it says here is “looks like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”‘.
My lip did a little quiver and I said ‘erm OK, any guidance on what I’m supposed to do now? Do I need another appointment?’
And he was like: ‘Very good question. I’m very confused as to why there’s no instruction on here about what to do next. Let me try and get hold of the doctor and find out what he wants to do and we’ll call you back next week.’
So here I am.
It’s next week and I’m in limbo.
I know, I know Polycystic Ovary Syndrome isn’t a sentence for anything, and bloomin’ heck, I know it’s not even been confirmed, but I feel horrible.
I feel like my body has been secretly plotting against me. I feel so uncertain for the future. And most of all, I feel absolutely fucking terrified.
Fertility is such a tricky thing. It’s something you feel like you’re not allowed a right to know about until you’ve been actively trying for a baby for a good length of time. It’s not something you get the heads up about in advance, so you can lay down a life plan.
And I want a heads up. I really want a heads up. I want to know right now in this little minute as I’m listening to Ed Sheeran and my Neom candle is flickering and my hands are shaking and Granger’s snoozing on my lap, what my fertility game is up to.
I want to know if I’m broken and in with an exhausting hideous ride, or if, actually, I’m pretty average.
It’s times like this when I find it hard to admit that I’m at this point in my life already. The years since strawpedoing VKs and falling over in the street don’t feel long enough ago for me to be in a place where I’m lying on the sofa crying into my duvet about what could be wrong with my fertility.
So yeah, that’s where I’m at right now.
It’s a hoot.
And I know so many of you suffer with PCOS, I know it’s so common and so OK and so normal and it’ll all work out fine, but it doesn’t mean I’m not freaking and fragile and emotional.
I want answers and I want to know all the details so I can feel in-control and on-top of my life again.
Anyway, we’re on 1575 words right now, so I’m going to go bake some mince pies.
Thanks for listening you babes. I feel better already ?