Guest Post Alert: Story Swap
So today, PCOS Project and I are swapping stories on our blogs, I blog over at Post IVF World so pop over there to see what she has to say (after you have read this ideally! )
Of course, as is evident by both of our blog names, we write about our fertility diagnosis and the journey we have been on since then, but even if you are not a fertility blogger, I really would urge you to read both of our stories, you never know when this knowledge might come in handy!
For me, there have been times where, people have asked me about my fertility diagnosis, and I have answered honestly and openly, they have looked bewildered, and some, to my dismay have muttered the words ‘it’s all the same really though isn’t it?’
It really isn’t, but this is where the idea behind today’s blog post came from, PCOS project and I, have fertility issues, yes.
This has impacted both our lives in many ways, of course, but our stories are very different, just like anyone struggling with infertility, and I am a true believer that there really should be more education when it comes to fertility and fertility awareness from a young age, because it isn’t all the same, and I hope if you see both our posts today you will understand why, fertility is personal, and everyone’s story is different.
My story starts at 15 when, unfortunately, I went through the menopause, evidently a lot younger than I should have!
Despite it being termed ‘menopause’ they aren’t actually sure what cycle I ever really had, I think I had one natural period a year or so earlier and that was about it for me, so whilst for people going through, lets say, conventional menopause, loose their monthly cycle, and with it, the chances of having a natural pregnancy, for me, it was very different, I was loosing something I never had in the first place.
My late teens were spent having symptoms I didn’t understand, and were often confused with being a (very) moody teenager! But I knew at the time that my friends weren’t feeling the same as I was, I was so sensitive to changes in temperature, environment, I could go from cold to hot within seconds which knocked me out and I passed out regularly, and of course, the glaringly obvious one, I never had periods like they did!
For an impressionable young teen, who just wanted to fit in, it was hard, I was so different, and I was in pain, physically, emotionally but on the outside I just looked the same, and I had to act that way, because I didn’t want to share my embarrassing secret, not with anyone!
As time went on though, as it does with normal menopause, the symptoms subsided, by the time I was at uni, I was pretty much rid of the hot flushes and the sleepless nights, and I was glad to be free of them, for me, the physical symptoms of my diagnosis are now way behind me, but what has stuck with me all this time is the emotional and mental scars, which, at times, have become very physical for me also.
The realisation of what my diagnosis meant for my future hit me as I started uni, I think it also coincided with going out drinking more too, up to then sober me was very good at burying the truth, but as friendships grew stronger and I got a boyfriend, I felt like I should share with these people what I had been going through all this time, I felt like I owed them it, to know why I had always hid away from certain conversations, and why I could never really talk about the future much!
This was terrifying and empowering in equal measures, my friends and families were amazing, they cried with me, the laughed with me, they were there for me, they always have been and I am confident they always will be, but suddenly I was vulnerable, I felt less in control now, because more people knew, I couldn’t control when they would ask how I was or when my next hospital appointment was, most of the time I was (and still am ) able to answer the questions with a smile, but sometimes, I shut down, I freak out and I can’t talk about it, but of course, the more people you tell the more chance you have of people asking!
It was around this time the doctors had me amped up on medication, they were pumping hormones into me like they were going out of fashion, and my levels were all over the place, it made me so ill, looking back I have no idea how I made it to uni most days!
I would get severe migraines, I would be sick, pass out, I would be so tired that I could hardly keep my eyes open, let alone concentrate in lectures.
My poor dad had to come an rescue me from uni multiple times a week where I just wasn’t able to get on the bus home, it was scary, and the doctors still pushed that having me on these hormones were what was best for me, I later made the decision that I no longer wanted to take hormones, I wasn’t prepared to live my life this way!
The downside ( not the only one obviously) to being diagnosed with something you don’t really understand so young, is that you have no power, now, as I am older I have realised that actually with doctors, at least in this sector, knowledge is power, to be able to understand the jargon and fight for what you know you need is of huge importance, if you are ignorant, they treat you as such and mostly just palm you off, unfortunately it took me a while to understand this, maybe due to the fact my brain could hardly achieve simple things, never mind understanding the world of infertility, but for anyone reading this, even if you just have concerns, it is so important to keep on top of them, they don’t hand out appointments and advice unless you really push for it, so please, see the doctor, and seek out advice!
For more…visit the blog at Post IVF World.