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.

Infertility Awareness Week

Last night on my Instagram I stepped into some very vulnerable shoes and shared some very heart felt thoughts about how I feel about Infertility and what going through it has taught me.

I shared parts of me that I don’t like to share a lot because I usually end up in tears by the end of it… I actually was crying to myself while composing my thoughts because I was really digging deep when it came to my feelings about Infertility.  I thought I would share those thoughts here:

“Last week, was “Infertility Awareness Week” I wasn’t feeling like sharing my thoughts, but today I want to share some thoughts I don’t often share……❤️Infertility. The word that surfaces so many emotions but in the same moment brings peace to my heart knowing everything is going to work out…eventually, even if it’s not today. A trial that most days I willingly take on because life is still wonderful but other days I don’t want to be understood or given advice rather just allowed to cry, because I know the hard moment will soon pass. The word that has taught me to forgive quickly when others may not fully understand my situation, and the moments that have opened my eyes to not judge because you never know what is really going behind the smile or what may seem like the “perfect life.” The ache that comes with being truly happy for loved ones having the baby you yearn for every single second each day and not allowing yourself to be bitter. This is what infertility has taught me. To be thankful for this experience because God has decided to refine me this way. I don’t know when the final outcome will be, I just have to trust that this life is the plan of HAPPINESS, and I am happy… Even on the hardest days. I am happy. #infertility #pcos#makingsimplejoys

love, hannah jane

My Emotional Tubes

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Truth.

This last weekend I went up to Pleasant Grove to have a HSG done… or in normal people words, have my Fallopian Tubes cleaned out with dye.

During this 3 month period of getting “baby healthy,” our doctor is wanting to eliminate different reasons as to why we haven’t been able to get pregnant on our own, so in addition to getting my body to cycle regularly, they also wanted to make sure my Fallopian tubes are clear and don’t have any blockage.

I had heard of this procedure before, my sister and two of my best friends had gone through this and they mentioned that it was similar to having uncomfortable cramps (which I’ve hardly had my whole life because I’ve always struggled in the regular cycles department anyway) but also that it was a pretty quick process.

***Side Story: The year I got diagnosed with PCOS, my PA was wanting to make sure I didn’t have Endometriosis or any Cancerous cysts as well, so they completed a vaginal biopsy (TMI? Sorry.), and it was the worst pain I had ever experienced.

From the start, it didn’t look like it was going to be so bad, my PA just mentioned that were going to do a quick swipe down there, but if I didn’t hold still in the right position they would have to do it again.

Well, not ever really experiencing major cramps, I got a RUDE awakening of the worst cramps I had ever received.  It felt like someone was taking my lower abdominal area and wringing it out similar to wringing out a wet cloth.  IT WAS MISERABLE, and they had to do it twice because apparently I was moving too much… MY BAD!

And to add to everything, I wasn’t only crying over the pain, all my emotions with infertility that I had kept bottled up, while trying to remain strong, came flowing out like a dam had just broken and there was no holding back after going through that biopsy.

So when approaching the Fallopian tube cleaning… I figured nothing could compare to the pain of that biopsy (except perhaps child birth 🙂 ).

My Mother, on the way to the procedure, kindly reminded me that when she delivered me, I was 10 pounds and she did it without any drugs, so I would probably be okay with this 5 minute procedure… thanks Mom….

Thankfully the nice front desk worker encouraged me to take some Ibuprofen about a half hour before the procedure to help with the pain (Bless you for your kindness!)

Upon arrival I had to complete a pregnancy test, and then I was prepared for the procedure.  I was so happy and thankful to have a Nurse Practitioner who was so kind and thoroughly walked me through every step of what would happen before starting.

From the start, I tried to focus on breathing and finding something in the room to distract me from the large ultrasound camera covering me and all the things that were going to be put inside me to complete this procedure.

The first round they were able to have one of my Fallopian tubes clear very quickly, and it wasn’t painful at all.  I could feel the pressure of the cramp, but it wasn’t anywhere close to how I imagined it would be.  They weren’t able to get a clear picture of my second tube, and were concerned it might be blocked.

Right when they started talking about the other tube not functioning and they wanted to test it a couple more times, I don’t know why it triggered my emotions so deeply, but I just fell apart.

I think part of this came from bottling up a lot of emotions, as I always try to, after having a couple of my best friends from college deliver beautiful babies in the last month, and 2 more getting ready to deliver in the next few months.

I am so happy for these best friends, they are and will make wonderful Mothers and I’m happy for their triumphs because a couple of them went through the same trials I’m going through now.  But as thrilled I am for them, I am still human and it is hard, as I deeply long to be in the place where they are now.

It’s a hard place to be where I want to see and talk about their new beautiful babies with them and maintain a positive attitude from myself and not allow myself to compare myself to them, be envious or bitter, because I don’t want to allow that kind of poison in my life.

I’m sure I’m not the first emotional patient these nurses have seen, but it still makes me feel bad, because they weren’t doing anything to hurt me, my emotions just get the better of me.

They tried two more times to clear the second tube, with no success.  They mentioned that the tube may have closed up from stress of the procedure and it may not really be blocked, or it could be blocked and Dr. Foulk will decide what to do next.

I’m thankful to have a Mother that made time to take me, since Hailame couldn’t get work off, and then allowed me to cry majority of the way home.  She also brightened my day by taking me to a Thrift Store… my shopping therapy, just ten times more affordable than the Mall. 🙂

Although the result for this procedure weren’t fully what I was hoping for, I am continually thankful for answers and knowledge that will help me get closer to getting in the right direction to have our baby one day!

love, hannah jane

 

 

Infertility and a bag of chips…

When I was in High School,  I was taught a lesson that I often think about in my journey with infertility.

In my class, the teacher held a small bag of chips.  He didn’t allow us to touch it, he just wanted us to look at it.  He asked if the bag was full.  From looking at it, it looked like a typical filled bag of unopened chips, so the whole class agreed it was full.  He questioned us again, “are you sure, how can you tell by just looking at it?”

This follow up question led to a discussion comparing the bag of chips to us personally or individuals around us.  From a simple glance, most people look happy, content, confident, they may even look like they have the perfect life.  But most times, there is something going on you can’t see from the surface.  Sometimes people feel empty inside, even though from the outside they look completely fine.

Joy

Now I’m not saying everyone is going through terrible trials, but quite often we don’t see the back story of different challenges someone is going through, it may not take up there whole life, but everyone goes through different levels of trials in life.

Growing up, I never thought of infertility as a reason why couples weren’t having kids.  I just figured they were waiting for the “right time.”  It wasn’t something that seemed hard for my Mother and Dad, as they were able to start having kids right away.  My brother and his wife never really struggled, and my sister and her husband were just fine in starting their family.  But then again, I never really saw or heard the back story, perhaps they did struggle to have kids, I just never knew it.

There were times I remember asking my married co-workers if they were going to start having kids soon.  They had been married for sometime, why wouldn’t they start a family?

I wish I had known then what I fully understand and know now.

Assume

One of my struggles with PCOS and infertility is sometimes having the “symptoms” of being pregnant, without actually being pregnant.  I’ve put on weight in my lower abdomen, making me look pregnant when wearing a fitted shirt, I regularly feel nauseated in the morning, and I haven’t had a regular cycle in years.

I’ve had multiple times when sweet older ladies in my church will come up and ask when my baby is due.  Or they’ll say, you’ve put on some weight, are you expecting?  Each time feeling like a knife is stabbing my heart.

It’s hard for me to be angry in situations like this, because I know they are doing it with the kindest of hearts, but that doesn’t keep the painful ache and strongest desire to want to say yes, I am expecting! Or my baby is due in (fill in the blank) months.  But right now, I can’t.

That simple lesson of a bag of chips has taught me, 10 years later, not to judge or assume I know what someone is going through, because most likely I have no idea.

Timing

I’ve learned to approach them with the attitude that will help them feel like I’m not judging and making assumptions about what they are going through.  I’ve had many surprising experiences talking to people, realizing that they share similar trials, but are going through a different journey than I am in their trials.

I know that people I’ve known my whole life, who have seen that I’ve put on weight and haven’t had kids yet make their silent assumptions about me, but most don’t know fully what I struggle with, and that’s okay.  The people closest to me know, understand, love and support me through it all.

But I also know that individuals who may not struggle with infertility have their own set of trials they are challenged with and they may look at me thinking I live such a great happy life (which I most definitely do) but they don’t see where I’m challenged as well.

Rather than figure the grass is always greener on the other side, get the watering pot and start taking care of your side and make it just as green, and don’t always assume their bag of chips is full!

Thanks for reading, go eat a bag of chips (like Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar, best chips ever!) and have a great weekend! 🙂

love, hannah jane

 

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