Saturday, June 2, 2012

To My 16-Year-Old Self

My history with irregular periods has been a long one.  Most of the time I've just been pushed around by doctors telling me it was normal.  Being young I just accepted it.  But what if I could go back in time?

I got my first period when I was 11.  They were every month after that, pretty regular.  Not in the sense of every X number of days, but enough for me to at least tell the week it was coming in.  This is common for a teenage so I never thought much of it.

When I was 16 I missed a period, but then I got it the following month.  I wasn't sexually active at the time so being pregnant never crossed my mind.  I heard skipping a month here and there was normal. 

A few months later I skipped another month.  Then I skipped two months in a row.  I was 17 and had my first pregnancy panic attack.  My boyfriend ALWAYS used a condom.  Sorry I'm not as stupid as the girls on 16 & Pregnant, then again the punishment my father would have given me would be far worse than getting my own TV show.  But condoms do have a failure rate.  After 90 days I did get my period again.  

Over time it became less of skipping a month and more of just long periods of time.  Being able to approximate the week I was going to get my period in was long gone.  It was replaced with not even being able to tell what month I'd get it in.  Friends, even myself from time to time thought that was great. 

My mum was out of the picture most of the time, and I just lived with my father.  I was embarrassed to go to an OBGYN and in the early 2000's I began surfing the internet for anwsers.  I learned I would be described as oligomenorrhea, but why did I have this?  Was I stressed?  No.  Was I underweight?  Maybe, at the time I was 5'1" and 105 lbs.  The one condition that kept coming back to me in search engines was PCOS.

I went to Planned Parenthood at age 18 and they put me on birth control pills to fix this problem.  It worked but I kept throwing them up.  No one realized that I was estrogen dominance and they were giving me pill with high levels of estrogen in it.  They lead to even higher levels of estrogen in my body and a lot of time spent over the toilet.  The only thing that regulated my periods and I didn't get sick from was Depo-Provera.  And when I say regulate I mean it stopped my periods all together, for years.

Over the years I mentioned my problem to many family practices, Planned Parenthood and OBGYN.  Some didn't want to bother with testing or told me I'd outgrow it.  Sure maybe I'd have a little be harder time getting pregnant, but I'm not infertile.

It wasn't 'til Fall of 2010 when I heard that not all women ovulate.  I was one of them.  It's wasn't 'til Spring of 2011 that I was told I have mild PCOS because my periods are irregular.  Then Fall of 2011 again told I have PCOS because my irregular cycles.  Then Spring of 2012 before they found cysts and high testosterone.

It took eleven years and over eight doctors to come to the conclusion that I have PCOS, something I told them all along.

Advise to my 16 year old self:

  1. You're not going to outgrow it
  2. Do your research
  3. Birth control has evil side effects
  4. Depo doesn't cure PCOS, nor does BCP, it hides it
  5. Don't waste your money with BC or condoms for contraception, you're already infertile, you don't need them
  6. Temping your cycles is a waste of time at predicting when your period will come if you don't ovulate
  7. Be way more of a bitch than you think you need to be
  8. Don't listen to some idiot doctor tell you there is no cure or no need to know if you have something or not
  9. If one doctor will not listen then move onto another one
I don't really like country music.  But I found this video awhile ago and thought I'd share.


1 comment:

  1. If only we could go back ....
    But the most important thing today is that you're following the advice you outline above.
    That song is so heartbreaking.


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