Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
That's the diagnosis, probably. I am still waiting on results. For now, however, I am in hiding.
When I was in my early 20's, I started to break out in cystic acne. I rarely broke out as a teenager (lucky me!) so this came as a surprise to me as a young adult.
I started to feel so insecure about the inability to go make-up free and how my face looked that I fell into a deep depression. My husband talked me into going to a dermatologist for treatment. The dermatologist put me on a really harsh and powerful drug called Accutane.
I had to swear within an inch of my life and sign all sorts of documents promising that I would not get pregnant while taking Accutane. It causes fetal deformities. Yikes.
I also had to stay out of the sun all during that summer as I could easily fry to a crisp in moments.
But it worked and I was happy.
In the meanwhile, I was on the birth control pill for years, controlling hormones in my body.
I was already showing signs of PCOS while trying to get pregnant. It actually took a few years before it finally happened. I was thankful for that, at the time. I was definitely in no place to have a child.
Within a year of my separation and two years of giving birth to my youngest child, I began losing my hair.
I have very thick hair and it's always been that way. My hair normally falls out but suddenly, it was coming out in handfuls. Even my friends began asking, "Are you sick?" when they saw my quickly thinning hair.
The doctors could find nothing wrong with me and attributed it to stress. Thankfully, my homeopath was able to get on top of it with a remedy that stopped the thinning.
Hormonally, I was no longer on birth control pills but on an IUD. My estrogen/testosterone levels were not being regulated.
Six months later, in 2008, the cystic acne came back.
I was depressed, trying to get out on my own and seal the deal on my divorce. I was in love with a soldier who was actively deployed to Iraq. I was overwhelmed and it was taking a toll on my body.
I began seeing an aesthetician who treated me with microdermabrasion and harsh chemical peels. It was a slow and not-always pain free experience but it did work.
It's never been completely under control but it looked MUCH better than it did before.
Well... over time, it has gotten worse.
I'm falling into yet another depression and finding that I want to hide out at home. I don't want to wear make-up, my skin literally aches, I can barely look at myself in the mirror without crying...
Just writing this post feels like I'm going out in public for all to see the flaws. I'm tired of fighting it. I'm tired of denying it.
I've tried EVERYTHING. If it's out there, I've tried it. From natural to medical grade. Even my daughters, who catch a few shows on Teen Nick and see all of the acne commercials, ask me if I've tried this or that.
It hurts when your 5 year old says, "Mommy, why don't you try ProActiv?"
This time it was Gentleman Jack who asked that I take it a step further. He remembers the problems I had with the IUD I had previously and the one I tried and had removed. He knows how I get so down, so hormonal that I cannot get out of it. Yet, I'm fully aware that it's not how I'm feeling truthfully, I just can't seem to stop the downward spiral.
"Go get your hormones checked."
Between the PMS, acne, very high sex drive, depression and other less than fun hormonal side effects, I knew he had a point. But it was when my aesthetician pointed out to me that (1) I take really good care of myself, eat healthy, workout, etc. and (2) that I have the cleanest face on the planet with how well I take care of my skin... that I realized there must be another reason for it. She, too, recommended that I get my hormones checked.
I've now given at least 10 vials of blood.
Yes, the hormones are effed up. Yes, they point to PCOS. Thankfully, my doctor is now testing for issues with the organs and glands that are supposed to regulate these levels, instead of throwing fake hormones at the problem.
And thankfully, my doctor believes in diet, supplements and other natural ways of handling such issues.
I'm ready to fix this. Once and for all.
In the meanwhile, I'm hiding in my office hoping my co-workers will stay away. I've had yet another harsh treatment on my face and cannot put on make-up yet.
The skin on my face is numb from the treatment and I'm to expect more tenderness and pain this evening.
I can't talk to Gentleman Jack about it without crying. I can't even type this without crying.
I don't want anyone to see me. I find myself staring at everyone else's face and admiring blemish-free skin.
Call me vain but I want to feel beautiful again.