This is Us, PCOS Month, & Infertility

****Just so you know…I’m talking about the Episode 1 of This is Us.  If you haven’t watched it, just know I warned you before sharing spoilers!

***If you don’t care, by all means keep reading!

**If you haven’t ever watching This is Us, please go and watch it!

I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts about PCOS all month, but I couldn’t gather my thoughts the way I had hoped.  I’m glad I kept putting it off because last night watching one of my favorite TV Shows ignited so many insights and impressions!  So here I am, two day’s before the month ends, sharing my thoughts about PCOS Awareness!

Enjoy!

I love that one of my favorite TV Shows, “This Is Us”, shared the raw and heart wrenching pain that comes from Infertility and PCOS, especially since September is PCOS Awareness Month.

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The reasoning why Kate was diagnosed with PCOS wasn’t fully accurate because PCOS is not always weight driven.  It is just one symptom of many other factors that are a part of PCOS (and for some, weight isn’t even involved in their diagnosis), but I still love that it was shared in this situation.  This article from Bustle was a great read for appreciating the exposure for PCOS, but wanting to clarify that there is so much more to PCOS.

Kate’s birthday party emotional break down is what really hit home for me in this whole episode.  I felt like Kate was reading my journal when she literally exploded all her frustration of being trapped in a body that wouldn’t lose the weight she worked tirelessly for, and couldn’t make the baby she yearned for.

I’ve been in situations when I’ve tried to explain my frustrations to a friend and I know that they fully care for me and want to help me, but just as Kate’s friends reacted, don’t always know what to say in moments like that.

For me, I don’t necessarily need to be told anything.  Most times, I just want to be heard and loved, but don’t want to be told what do to.  I’ve done so much homework on PCOS, and so I know what I need to do, and I actively try to work on everything I can to thrive in PCOS and Infertility.

So, when I unload my heart ache and frustration on someone (usually a very close friend, family member of my husband), most of the time it’s because I just needed to get it out because I had been bottling it up for so long and I needed to detox my soul.

I’m so thankful to those who have patiently listened and allowed me to open up.  These moments are not daily, but do happen every now and then and I’m so glad I have family and friends that I can confide in.

PCOS is a part of my life that I’m learning to accept and be actively taking care of, however, PCOS does not define me.

Most days I am spot on in taking care of my self, and I almost forget that I even have PCOS.  Some day don’t go so well and my symptoms are slapping me in the face.

I am 1 in 10 women who live with PCOS.

This 4 letter acronym answered so many questions I had been struggling with and in the exact same moment empowered me.

Infertility is not the end of the road for my husband and me.  It has been a bumpy, long, and emotional road, but we know there are other ways to grow our family and we are working our tails off to get through this Adoption Adventure.

Just like I appreciate Kate’s vulnerable moment of PCOS and Infertility watching this episode, I really loved Randall’s moment of joy when Deja told him she was ready to be officially adopted into their family.

I cannot wait until Hailame and I get to experience that moment of finding out we get to finally be parents through the sweet opportunity of adoption.

love, hannah jane

Some of my other insights and experiences with PCOS and Infertility

PCOS: A letter to the newly diagnosed

Infertility… and a bag of chips

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Infertility Awareness Month

 

Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies

I have been wanting to learn how to be more resourceful with Almond Flour.  It can be difficult to bake with alternative gluten free flours, because they absorb and bake different than regular flour.

Earlier this week I was having a sweet tooth and wanted to try my hand at almond flour cookies.  I have been craving thumbprint cookies (not sure why) and have been looking through Pinterest to find the right recipe that doesn’t involved me going to the store 🙂

I finally found a recipe from #Bakerita, and it was just what I needed! —>Recipe

These cookies were super simple and easy to make!

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The recipe says to roll the dough into a ball and then chill for 30 minutes to 24 hours. However, since I was planning on baking them right away, I rolled them into balls immediately and then chilled them for 45 minutes.

I used my own homemade strawberry jam as the filling and it was perfect (because there is nothing more perfect than homemade jam!!)!

Jam

Sweet Tooth satisfied!

love, hannah jane

PCOS and Lifestyle Realities

A couple of aspects that are hard with having PCOS is accepting that my body doesn’t accept and digest certain foods the way it use to, and “cheat days” are NOT worth it.

I have read and studied 1,000’s of articles regarding eating lifestyles that are beneficial for PCOS, and about 99% of them say that adapting to a gluten free/dairy free lifestyle is best in treating the symptoms of PCOS.

When I was first diagnosed, I went full on gluten free/dairy free.  It wasn’t easy, but I kept thinking in my head, if I follow this lifestyle, I’m bound to lose weight and get pregnant.  I did lose a few pounds, but never got pregnant.

I would get so frustrated because PCOS had put weight on me, and it was hard to lose it, and the way my body holds the weight mixed with the symptoms of PCOS made me look pregnant and so I was regularly asked it I was pregnant….which I wasn’t.

Most who asked if I was pregnant had no idea I was struggling with PCOS and infertility so I couldn’t be mad at them (even though sometimes I wanted to) because they had no idea what was going on.

As a result, I would get down on myself and my situation and eat all things comfort food… which usually involved all things I shouldn’t be eating.

This resulted in my hormones being out of wack, me putting on more weight, and feeling even worse about myself.  Good job Hannah.

So for the last few years, my eating lifestyle has been an absolute roller coaster, to say the least.  Some months I’m proactively following the “PCOS Lifestyle,” and other months not so much.

I’m human.

I’m a human who struggles to take care of myself because it’s hard.

It’s hard to see other eat whatever they want and not gain weight.

It’s hard to look pregnant and not be able to get pregnant.

**Complaining rant over**

So here I am… again… trying to be better about my PCOS Lifestyle, remembering that because I’m human I can keep trying.

Trying to be better about taking care of my body.

Not justifying cheat days…knowing the next day I’ll be regretting it.

Taking it day by day.

Continuing to learn more about PCOS and eating lifestyles.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! (thanks Mom)

Food

So, to start this off right, I am going to share some of my favorite PCOS appropriate recipes that I make.

Quite often when I’m cooking, I think, “oh, I should share this,” and then I completely forget to take a picture and share it’s goodness because I am just so excited to enjoy the great meal I made…. I’m going to try and be better about that!

Please note that I am NOT a photographer, and so most of the pictures I take will look like an amateur took them… because an amateur did!

Happy PCOS eating!

love, hannah jane

 

 

 

 

PCOS… a letter to the newly diagoned

Dear PCOSister,

Welcome to the unique sisterhood and world of PCOS.

You’ve just left the doctor’s office, and received the news that you have PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Something that millions of women live with, and there are a million different versions of it, not just one molding of it.

As you move forward with this news, I wanted to share a few words of advice that really helped me and a few that I wish I had taken and acted upon.

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Surround yourself with support.

I know right now you may think your body is fine and you might be a little in denial of this situation, but surround yourself with support.

Go to the doctor if that works for you.  I know it can be hard to go to the doctor while you are sitting in a sea of pregnant women and there you are not pregnant, trying to find out why your body won’t get pregnant.  I know, it really stinks.  But go to the doctor.

If you aren’t the doctor going type, find yourself a community of support, because you are going to need it.  Some things can’t be explained outside the world of PCOS, and only those who share this can really relate.

Find yourself a listening ear in your mom, sister, friend co-worker who will be there to fully support, listen and just be a positive presence in your life.  There is no reason to go through this alone.

Live a healthy lifestyle.

I wish I hadn’t allowed PCOS to be an excuse to not lose weight, and now I’m paying for it and having a hard time getting the weight off.  Although it may be a factor to having PCOS, you have more power than you think.  Bad health lifestyles will not only effect your weight but your body’s ability to function properly.  Take care of yourself and your body, because it’s the only one you get.

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Be patient.

You are going to tried mentally, emotionally and physically with some of the health trials that come with PCOS.  Be patient.  Learn from these trials and find ways to help those around you.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

You are going to find that family and friends especially close to you will be able to start their family sooner than you, some may even have PCOS and will be able to have kids.  Don’t compare yourself.  Don’t even think about it.  It won’t do any good.

God’s timing for everyone is different, and you are going to grow and learn to appreciate so much while waiting to start your family.  Learn as much as you can and don’t compare.  No one’s life is without trials.

Be quick to forgive.

Not everyone is going to fully understand what you are going through. They may assume different things, judge from what they think they may know, a few may think they have the answers that you’ve heard a million times, BUT no matter what, forgive quickly and endlessly.

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Live abundantly.

Don’t allow the symptoms of PCOS to engulf your identity.  Live abundantly.  You have PCOS, but PCOS does not own you.  Life will go on past PCOS, and you can learn to live a full wonderful life with it.

If you need anything.  I am here.  I’m no expert, but I feel like I’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on living with PCOS.

There are aspects I am great with and others that I still learning to live with.

I’m not perfect.  I would like to say I live the perfectly healthy balanced lifestyle, but I’m still human and I have “cheat” days… weeks… months… and then somehow I find the motivation to start over again and keep going.

You can too.

love, your fellow PCOSister

hannah jane

 

 

 

 

Difficult Roads

On Mother’s Day, I received an anonymous gift.  In side was a card letting me know someone was thinking of me this Mother’s Day, a beautiful necklace and a quote that was just what I needed at that very moment, and still use it to draw strength and encouragement from:

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”

Mountains to Climb

Growing up, I’ve always loved mountains.  Being raised in Salt Lake City, I was surrounded by beautiful mountains.  My parents would regularly take our family camping in the mountains, and I grew up loving Yellow Stone, the Tetons, and other beautiful sites.

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My Family- Mirror Lake- July 2014

But it wasn’t until college, while working at Jacob Lake  Inn, that I really came to appreciate and love mountains.  For 5 fall seasons in a row, I spent 6 days a week working as a waitress and 1 day a week hiking the trails of Zion National Park, Snow Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona and the Kaibab National Forest.  During my 2 hour work breaks, I would go trail running in the forest close to the Inn, and I hiked Rim2Rim of the Grand Canyon 3 times.

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Grand Canyon’s Cape Royal- May 2013

It was in these moments that I pushed myself to do hard things.  These experiences gave me that drive to challenge myself and try new things and see beautiful, amazing and breath taking views and destinations (cue Hannah Montana’s “It’s the Climb” 🙂

I’m continuing to learn that life in its self is a mountain that we are climbing everyday, or maybe more like we are climbing multiple mountains with different experiences we have…. marriage, careers, family,  goals, daily tasks, etc.

Not every experience is a trial, and each experience brings learning and new outlooks on life no matter how simple or drastic it is.  With each trail in life, I’ve learned that my attitude and outlook  has a lot of control in how much I take away from my experience and what I learn.

***BACK TO THE NECKLACE***

As you can see, that small act of kindness from whoever sent me the necklace and quote really helped me remember what I’m capable of.

I love this necklace, and it has helped mold my outlook on the kind of woman, wife, mother, and individual I want to be.

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Colorado River- New Years Day 2018

Just because I’m not regularly plateauing Angel’s Landing, crossing the Colorado River while doing Rim2Rim or running through the Kaibab Forest doesn’t mean I’m not capable of conquering the mountains I have in front of me right now.

I can conquer every mountain I’m climbing right now.

I can take control of how I approach PCOS, and not allowing the symptoms to define who I am.

Hailame and I will be able to have a family of our own.

I am capable of disciplining myself to become healthier.

I will be a Mother… one day.

Why?

Because…

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations…

and my road of life is beautiful.

love, hannah jane

p.s. If the wonderful person who sent me this gift is reading this, thank you for thinking of me, it was and is just what I need.

Baby Making Journey Update

I can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by…It’s already May!!!  And May is practically over.  One good thing about this year flying by is that we are getting closer to having our next appointment to find out what our next step will be in this Baby Making Journey.

The last few months have been good for us.  It was motivating having something to work towards.  The Infertility Specialist placed us on special medications to get us “baby healthy ready,” and we have been so dedicated at staying on top of these medications, taking them faithfully.

One part of this time that has been a highlight for me is working together to get healthier.  Hailame and I are eating better and exercising together regularly :)… at 5:00am 😦  but we’ve learned it’s the only time we can really dedicate to going to exercise, because when we both come home from work in the afternoon, neither of us wants to go to the gym, we just want to stay home.

So every morning at 4:30 am, my alarm goes off, and at 4:31 (why one minute after mine, I have no idea) Hailame’s alarm goes off… but he rarely hears it so I end of turning off both of our alarms.

I have to really work to wake Hailame up, he is the deepest sleeper, but the minute he is up, he is the biggest morning person in the world (and really chatty), compared to me where I will wake up, but that is all.  I don’t want to talk, or interact with a lot of people.. give me about 30 minutes, then I may acknowledge your presence. Hailame has learned when he talks to me in the morning, he may or may not get a response, and if he does, it is short and to the point, and then back to silence for me.  🙂

But having Hailame and I go to the gym together has been perfect because I don’t think I would make it over there if I didn’t have his perky energy getting us out the door in the morning!

We are eager and ready to find out what our next step will be in this journey.  We were told three months ago that the usual process is first trying to get pregnant on our own, using clomid.  If that doesn’t work for us, we will do an IUI, then have IVF as our final option.

I’m praying that we are able to get pregnant on our own, obviously because that would save money and time, however at this point, I am willing to do anything!

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Happy Tuesday!

love, hannah jane

 

 

 

PCOS: 5 Things I’ve Learned

I recently went through some of my past journals reading about the experiences I’ve had since being diagnosed with PCOS in October 2016.  While reading, I re-experienced the feelings of sadness, yearning to have a baby, and unanswered questions that I was going through.

It also reminded me some of the challenges I conquered and while daily doing my best to maintain a positive outlook on this trial I was experiencing.

It was good for me to revisit these experiences.  In a way, it’s rejuvenated my desire to better take care of myself, but has also help me realize what I’ve learned from having PCOS.

I have PCOS, PCOS does not have me

After finding out I had PCOS, I started blaming PCOS for every hard thing going on in my life.  It’s true that PCOS was a factor for a lot of the trials I was experiencing, but what wasn’t good was that I was identifying myself as a victim of PCOS and allowing it’s symptoms to become who I am rather than letting PCOS be apart of me and living my life fully despite the trials.

I don’t remember when I shifted my attitude on PCOS, but ever since I have not allowed it to dictate my life, I have had an overall health improvement mentally, emotionally, physically and PCOS is not something I am constantly moping over.  I have decided to treat it like any challenge or goal I’m working on, and finding ways to conquer the symptoms, even though PCOS is with me forever.

PCOS is for Life

I was born with PCOS, but finding out I had it when I was 26 years old took some getting used to because I knew that adapting to a healthier, stricter lifestyle would help my symptoms and my overall health, but it was hard accepting that I couldn’t cure it from my body.

Something that has been a wake up call and drive for motivation for me in continually researching PCOS is that if I didn’t take care of myself and my symptoms, PCOS could lead to Diabetes.

This commitment to take better care of my health is not only for me to try and have a baby but for the rest of my life.

PCOS is diagnosed individually

PCOS is hard to diagnosed to a specific individual because everyone has different symptoms and results from these symptoms, so I can’t compare my struggle with anyone else.  One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with PCOS, and was successful with getting pregnant on Clomid, my sister-in-law struggled to get pregnant for 8 years but has since had 5 successful pregnancies, I follow a few women on Social Media who struggle with severe weight gain, others irregular hair growth.

Obviously my biggest struggle was been to conceive however, I do struggle with regular menstrual cycles and have put on some weight that is like try to pull tar of the road to lose.

So with this, I have had to learn what’s best for me.  What diet, exercise, mental health, and overall lifestyle because my experience with PCOS is going to be different from everyone else’s.

Discipline and Consistency

This part of my experience with PCOS has been a roller coaster, a really crazy roller coaster… because I’m human.

It takes discipline to keep up with good eating habits, exercising daily, taking medications and vitamins, maintaining a positive mindset, getting back up again and again after getting lazy with these habits and continuing forward.

When I’m consistent, I always feel better, even if I’m not getting the results I fully want, I always feel better.  Every time I’ve look back at pictures in the last couple of years, I can always tell when I was living a disciplined and consistent life because I looked healthier.

Patience

Quite often on my social media, I share what I’ve learned through being patient, and how good it has been for me, and how much stronger I am now because of it, and I have learned a lot and grown as well, however I feel like sometimes I put it out there just so I can keep convincing myself to be patient, cause there are a lot of days when I really am ready to not be patient anymore.

I’m ready to start losing that extra 75 pounds that PCOS so willingly added to my waistline.  I’m ready to have healthier hair. I’M READY TO HAVE MY BODY TO BE BABY HEALTHY.

But at the end of the day, somehow I continue to be patient.

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Picture of us… just because I love him a lot!

I’m thankful for the ability to stay actively engaged in my life that I’ve been blessed with, to have a husband who keeps me on my toes (and lets me cry when I’m not having the best day), and truthfully I am thankful for what I continue to learn about PCOS , and myself (even on days when I’m tired of being patient).  This is not the path I expected to be taking, but I know we will never be given trials and experiences that we can’t take on.

love, hannah jane

P.S.

These are some articles that my Mom shared with me recently and I really enjoyed reading them:

Cause of polycystic ovary syndrome discovered at last

Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome