Because I am OVER THIS.
I turned on my side in my sleep and suddenly my body flung itself upright and I nearly projectile-vomited, like something from scene from Carrie.
NOT AGAIN, I thought, as I rushed to the loo and heaved my guts up while clutching my side.
Another ovarian cyst had burst.
I knew it was coming. The previous day I was at a friend’s house and every time I stepped on my left leg I got a pain like a hot knitting-needle stabbing me in my left ovary and travelling to my groin.
You’d think I’d go to hospital, but it’s happened to me so often I now know when the cyst is big enough to worry about.
I have Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS.
And that’s fucking painful.
I’ve now had three cysts burst and three surgeries (four if you count the one where my ovary was attached to my bowel with scar tissue from the previous surgeries). I’m getting tired of getting sliced and diced. Plus there are other awesome side-effects like infertility, insulin resistance, weight gain around your middle, acne (on your jawline and back) and excess hair on your chin. Mmmm, pretty.
So when the latest ovarian cyst burst I sat hunched over the toilet with uncontrollable diarrhoea (charming I know) that only stopped long enough for me to vomit again.
I started crying, hot, angry, “why me?” tears.
So I thought screw it, I’m 41, I don’t want kids and I’m going to go into menopause soon anyway, so I want a voluntary hysterectomy. Cut out my ovaries and throw them in the bin where they belong.
I spoke to my GP, who specialises in women’s health, Dr Ginni Mansberg, but didn’t get the answer I wanted.
“I have so many women come to my practice in tears asking for a hysterectomy because of PCOS,” she says. “As tempting as it sounds to have a simple solution it doesn’t work that way and I would not recommend it.”
“You would instantly go into surgical menopause, which is hell. 50 percent of breast cancer survivors have their ovaries removed and go into instant menopause. It’s horrendous. You have no idea what Angelina Jolie went through.”
“A lot of women think a hysterectomy is a solution for a hormonal problem when it’s only a solution for problems in your uterus such as fibroids.”
If I was a bloke I’d punch something. Instead I did the chick thing and filled my body with self-loathing.
“I know it’s a hard pill to swallow. Women with PCOS have to work hard to control the symptoms and it can be soul destroying,” Dr Ginni says. “A vast number of those women are extremely stressed and often depressed.”
The only answer is a holistic approach: medication, exercise and diet. But it’s like a three-legged stool in that if you don’t have all three working together everything falls over.
Don’t forget what you put in your mouth. “As for diet, it’s best to follow a low GI diet that includes good protein. Eat five small meals a day. And never miss breakfast,” she says.
You don’t have to remind me to eat. One of the symptoms of PCOS, insulin resistance, causes increased hunger.
In 2014 I saw my endocrinologist, Dr Warren Kidson, he told me women with PCOS and insulin resistance find it three times harder than normal women to lose weight. So you need to do three times the exercise and restriction of calories to get the same result as the woman sitting next to you at work. How much does that suck?
Then he showed me some studies which blew my mind.
I explain in this video diary from last year…
He said it shows people with insulin resistance have a chemical imbalance in their brain so they are always hungry.
He then said to me: “See you’re not a psycho, it is literally all in your head.”
It was such a relief for me to hear this. I cried. For years I just thought my hunger was down to a lack of willpower.
So I’m taking my drugs, watching my diet and exercise religiously. Oh and one more thing… you need stress management.
I guess I need to work on my stress because I want to kick that dumb stool against the dumb wall.
Sigh. A hysterectomy is not a quick fix like I was hoping.
The only thing making me feel better at the moment is having a good old vent.
Fellow Soul Cysters feel free to share your PCOS complaints here.
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