We won’t be talking about beauty or anything like that today. Instead, we’re going to be talking about my battle with PCOS and Endometriosis. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a little mia from Simply Stine lately. No, I haven’t been taking a blogging break because I wanted to, but rather it’s been more health-related instead. #NotFun
If you don’t like reading posts that include a conversation about periods and personal health stuff, I won’t be offended if you skip this post at all.
My journey with all of this began when I was a lot younger. I can’t remember the exact age but I can tell you that I don’t know if I ever remember having a “normal” period. Ever. Growing up, I’ve always had very inconsistent periods, heavy cramping that made it impossible to get out of bed some days and quite a few surgeries to remove cysts and fibroids. I’ve had doctors basically blow me off telling me to go home and take Midol, not understanding the excruciating pain I was in. I’ve had periods so heavy that I can’t move because the bleeding was so bad. It’s been a nightmare that I’m still dealing with at 36.
Somewhere down the road, I was officially diagnosed with Endometriosis. That was my first diagnosis. Basically, Endometriosis is where uterine-lining tissue is growing outside the Uterus. This growth, called implants, can cover your ovaries, your fallopian tubes and even parts of the intestines. It can cause heavy periods, infertility, severe pain including cramping, back pain and pain during sex. Each month, these implants are going through the same cycle as your uterine lining. It grows, breaks down and bleeds. Treatment options can include hormone therapy and surgery. For a lot of women, it doesn’t go away until (and maybe not) after Menopause.
Since being diagnosed with Endometriosis, I’ve also been diagnosed with PCOS. I feel like PCOS has been on the rise lately as I’ve seen so many women talking about this disease so much more often. PCOS is when a woman’s hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone) levels are out of balance. It causes problems with periods, facial hair, weight gain, depression, infertility, diabetes, acne, hair loss and hair growth and other issues.
Women who struggle with PCOS often deal with small cysts on their ovaries, which can cause hormone imbalances and pain. Here’s the thing with PCOS, a lot of doctors don’t know enough about it to diagnose it and treat it. There also hasn’t been enough findings to determine exactly the cause of this disease. Some say it’s genetic, others are uncertain.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.WomensHealth.GOV
So with a combination of PCOS and Endometriosis, I’ve had a hell of a time “dealing” with my body as I’ve gotten older. I’ve had several surgeries to remove cysts and also D&C’s. Going through the process of trying to get pregnant really opened my eyes to how little Doctors who treated me previously knew about my issues. They were quick to shove birth control pills my way and tell me to lose weight. I got prescriptions for the pain from horrible periods and was sent home.
No one ever really talked to me about options (because they didn’t know enough about what they were treating) and about what could happen when I got older and wanted children. There were a lot of things they could have done (and not done) to help inform me of struggles I would have later in life. Having children will forever NOT be an option for me because of doctors not informing me of the true nature of what I was dealing with when I was younger.
So where am I now in my journey? Well, I’ve been having abnormal heavy bleeding since around May. It started and finally stopped when my doctor put me on birth control again. The problem with that is when it was time for my period (which was August 18th) I couldn’t take the pain of my period again. I had such bad pain and bleeding I could barely walk. Also, I was in a wedding during all of this and out of town. It was horrible. My doctor at that point switched me to a different birth control as to where I would only have a period every three months. The bleeding hasn’t stopped since. My Doctor tried to tell me it was from the hormones of the birth control, but honestly, I wasn’t willing to accept that answer. This amount of bleeding and pain isn’t normal for me, even with all of my issues. So I went to a different doctor for another opinion.
I’m now waiting to have surgery. My Ultrasound showed several cysts, fibroids and a very thickened lining. They’re going to perform another D&C and possible removal of cysts, etc. They’re also going to do a Biopsy of my lining to rule out any cancerous cells. My bleeding has been so severe that I’m anemic and barely have the strength to do anything but to sleep most days. My period is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s been hell and honestly, I’m super pissed about it these days. Things could be a lot worse for me, I get that, but it doesn’t take away the aggravation and pain of it all.
I’m not writing this post to get your pity. Instead, I want to be open about my situation because I know plenty of women out there suffer through the same thing I am every single day. If you are experiencing issues such as abnormal periods or any of the symptoms I’ve listed above, please take my advice and go to a doctor. Along with that, if you are unhappy with how your doctor is treating you or something just doesn’t seem right, speak up and maybe even get a second opinion. You know your body better than anyone else does. That is something I believe in so strongly because if I would have had access to better doctors with more knowledge about what my body was going through, I might not be in this situation I’m in now. If something doesn’t seem right, never be too scared to get another opinion or ask more questions. A common diagnosis for PCOS is 7 years! That’s just not acceptable to me!
Having both PCOS and Endometriosis is something I have a hard time really explaining to people. Yes, I can tell you all of the symptoms and the facts, but unless you’ve gone through something like this, it’s hard to really put it all into words. I know so many women who deal with both of these issues and we all deal with it a little bit differently and struggle with different symptoms. I’d like to do a post on facts and issues at another time because I think it’s eye-opening when you learn more about all of this.
Just the other day, I remember telling my mom that I was in my OBGYN office waiting for an ultrasound and more bloodwork. I was in so much pain, nervous and scared. In the same waiting room were two sets of couples who found out that they were expecting. They were passing around the pictures of their baby. I remember sitting there completely gutted and it’s those moments that never make this any easier. It’s like a hard slap in the face that this will never be easy and there will be moments that are trying.
If I can be a voice to women who are struggling with these issues, I want women to know that I truly understand what they are going through. Both PCOS and Endometriosis have changed my life so much. I feel like I need to open up more and talk about this, not just for women who deal with it, but for everyone else.
So things might be a little quieter around Simply Stine for a while. I promise you I’ll be back to normal again soon. I might not be posting about new beauty products and makeup looks quite as often right now, BUT those will be back again soon! I’m trying to stay positive throughout of all of this and be as optimistic as I can. Surgery is always a scary thing for anyone, but I know I have a lot of people praying for me and that means a lot! I’ll be back with an update once I know a little bit more!
If this is something you’ve dealt with or anything, I’d love to hear your story! I know it’s never easy for anyone to talk about BUT I’m finding that there are so many women who are silently dealing with these issues. I’d love to start a conversation so we can all learn from everyone’s experiences.
Stacie Arker Hamilton says
Oh gosh, so sorry you’ve had to deal with this problem for your whole life. I know a few friends who have it too and I’ve seen how miserable it can be. Good luck with your next surgery. I hope it gives you relief. And let me know if you need anything!!
Christine C. says
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!
Honey + Pine says
::Hugs:: I’m so sorry Stine! I wish I could do something to make you feel better. If there’s anything at all, please know you can reach out to me.
Christine C. says
Thank you so much!!!!
Becca Dorr says
I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. I’ll be thinking about you! I only know a small fraction of what you’re feeling, but during IF treatments, it completely blew my mind that I could never get a straight answer about PCOS or endometriosis.
Christine C. says
I remember going to one of the many IF doctors that I saw and I remember asking him about PCOS (this was in the very beginning) and asking him if he really thought this was something I had. His answer “you have quite a few of the symptoms but it doesn’t really matter.” I was so shocked. Of course it mattered, I wanted to know what was going on with my body. I’ve heard so many women say the same thing as you, that they struggled to get an answer on PCOS and having Endometriosis and that is so insane to me. It shouldn’t be like that!
Allison @neversaydiebeauty says
Oh Christine, I am so sorry to hear about everything you’ve been going through. I had never heard of PCOS before you explained it today. I’m so sorry that the doctors know so little about it. Endometriosis on its own is no picnic, but that as well as cysts and fibroids and out of whack hormones must be unbearable. You will be in my thoughts, and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that your next surgery makes a difference. I also hope that you’ll find a physician who has made PCOS his/her area of research and who can really help you. Also, I can’t believe you’ve continued to work on the FB group while you’ve been going through all of this. You are amazing. xoxo
Christine C. says
Aww thank you! It’s been a rough summer, I’m not going to lie! I’m just trying to be as positive as I can and I’m ready to have this surgery and hopefully have some relief!
Emelia @ Dream Big & Buy the S says
I’m sorry to hear what you are going through and thank you for sharing your story. Sharing stories can help so many people and is a brave thing to do. I’m glad you went for a second opinion- it’s good to stand up for what you believe is wrong. Sending you strength-day by day!
Christine C. says
Aww thank you so much!
Bourbon & Lipstick says
I am so, so sorry, friend. I’ve been dealing with issues as you know, and it amazes me that so many doctors just blow you off! Glad you’ve found someone who seems to listen, and pray you get the relief you deserve. Thinking of you.
Christine C. says
Thank you! Finding a good doctor is so important!!
Lily Ayala says
Oh Christine, my heart breaks for you. You know my issues, they haven’t gotten better either. It took 6 years to get a PCOS diagnosis…and even then my doctor is still iffy about it, at this point she said she’s using it for insurance purposes. I hope and pray for you my friend, I know it’s not easy but with sharing this you are helping not only yourself, but so many other women. I pray this surgery helps and that this new doctor helps give you answers, relief and clarity. I’m always here for you!
Christine C. says
Thank you so much, Lily! I know you totally understand it! It’s so ridiculous how women struggle with having a PCOS diagnosis. That frustrates me so much!
Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com says
Christine, I am sending all my love your way. I am so sorry you’re going through this, I know how horrible and painful it must be for you. These conditions are so difficult to diagnose and I myself have a friend who has these issues and she wasn’t diagnosed for years, doctors have been dismissive, not believing how much pain she was in. It’s so important to have a good doctor and listen to your body, even when you’re told you’re “okay” time and time again. It’s so brave of you to share your story, I’m sure it will help a lot of women. Again, sending all my love!!!!
Christine C. says
Thank you so much, Paula!
Julie May says
I just hate this for u girl. Being someone who has dealt with similar situations, all I can do is sympathize and pray for u. But hopefully better days are coming soon my friend! XO
Chelsea Jacobs says
My heart hurts for you that you have to deal with this, but I am SO PROUD of you for talking openly and choosing to share your story. Sending so much love your way.
Autumn @ The Spirited Violet says
I read this when you published, but I realized today that I never left you any love. I know how taxing chronic pain and health issues are. I’ve seen my parents go through grieving cycles for their infertility and know how much of a life long journey. Sending lots of love and prayers to you post-surgery!