Monday, January 9, 2017

PCOS - An Excerpt from Given to Fly

Note: Given to Fly will be available for pre-order sometime next month!

“Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome,” Dr. LaVigne over-enunciates. “We call it PCOS for short.” She starts to explain what that means in the simplest medical terms possible, but my head is already spinning as I try to remember what I read about it during my research. My eyes glaze over when I hear words like “ovaries” and “fallopian tubes.” Ewww.

She goes on to tell us about the symptoms of PCOS: being overweight, getting acne, having excess testosterone and body hair, something about insulin resistance. So it basically sounds like I’m a fat, hairy, pimply reject. Awesome. I look down at my arms to see if I have abnormal amounts of hair. I don’t think I do? I am briefly horrified by the thought of waking up tomorrow morning covered in a thick mat of body hair.

“So the first thing we want to try is just moderating your diet and getting you more active. Some PCOS patients have good luck getting pregnant simply by losing some weight. It’s really the easiest thing to try."

What I hear: You’re fat, so lose some weight before you complain about not getting pregnant.

She continues, despite the self-deprecating paraphrasing going on in my head. “And you’re young, which it’s great, so it’s not like you’re under any tremendous time restraints.”

What I hear: It doesn’t matter that you’ve already waited a year. Just keep waiting some more.

I feel a flush starting at the back of my neck, which spreads like a wildfire to my cheeks and then to my ears. I glance over at Aaron, and he’s nodding a lot, his blue eyes locked onto hers. I think about what gorgeous babies the two of them would make, but then again, Miranda’s baby with Nathan will probably be nothing short of perfection. And I’m sitting over here with a defective reproductive system being told I’m too fat to breed.

“We can set you up with a visit to our in-house nutritionist,” she now tells me. “He’s on staff to help our expectant moms provide the best possible start for their babies, but we also send some of our PCOS patients to him as well. He’ll have you keep a food diary, and we’ll see what we can do to get you on track.” She grabs the little calendar on the counter used to help patients jog their memories of the date of their last period and flips through five or six pages.

“You can schedule a follow-up in six months. I really think you could lose fifty pounds by then, Annelise, if you really stick with it. Right now, you’re not having regular periods, and you’re not ovulating at all. But if you lose the fifty pounds, I bet your cycle will re-establish itself, and you’ll get those eggs going in no time. You might even be pregnant by the time of your follow-up; wouldn’t that be awesome?”

She holds up her hand to high five me. Seriously? I’m supposed to high five the extremely pregnant fertility doctor right now when she’s basically told me the only thing standing between me and a baby is my own gluttony? Not cool. Not cool at all.