Me First

I’d first known that something was wrong when I was roughly 13. My periods were debilitating, I was diagnosed with Acanthosis Nigricans (a primary marker for an imbalance in hormones), I struggled terribly with hormonal acne, I had a really long/irregular menstrual cycle, and I was consistently gaining weight despite every effort I made to lose weight (a signal that I had a thyroid problem). I’ve never been the quote on quote “skinny girl” but I always kept myself in good shape. I go to the gym roughly 3-5 times a week and I was always very active. Despite taking calcium supplements, vitamins, midol, etc. I was still in absolute agony every single month to the point where it brought on severe bouts of depression and my medical condition affected almost every aspect of my life. It wasn’t until this summer that I even began my journey to finding out what was really wrong with my body.



I was 19 when I was diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS is known as polycystic ovarian syndrome and it affects your metabolism and hormones. I’ve always struggled with migraines and for a very long period of time my migraines would be so severe to the point of where I’d actually lose my vision. When I came home to my parents for winter break they were concerned but we all dismissed my worsening migraines to stress and me adjusting to being so far away from home. However, they just continued to impact my life during the spring semester to the point of where my vertigo that would accompany my migraines became almost unbearable.


I came home for the summer in May and asked to have a full blood workup by my doctor and I told her about how uncomfortable I was emotionally, mentally, and physically on a daily basis. My sugar levels came back fine (meaning that I’m not diabetic), and I was tested for PCOS during a blood test (one of the most unreliable ways to test for this syndrome and the test came back negative), and my thyroid levels came back at an unusual level. Taking this information, I went to a top endocrinologist who tested me for two extremely rare syndromes. When those tests came back negative I was really at a loss with where to go next. I went back to college this fall feeling really ashamed and almost defective. I felt like it was all in my head because every doctor I’d been to dismissed me despite the results of my bloodwork.


When I came home in December, I went to my GYN in tears. She’s been with my family for 3 generations and even saved my grandmother’s life when she was given a terminal diagnosis for breast cancer. My doctor is absolutely amazing and is the reason why my grandmother and my mother, who’s also a cancer survivor, are here today. I went to her explaining my issues, the fact that every other doctor had dismissed me, I explained my discomfort, and just laid everything out there for her. She was proud of the fact that I refused to give up and advocated for myself and me to have some tests run. I had a sonogram done and in the images were clear follicles, cysts, covering my ovaries.


Taking into account all of the above I was finally given my diagnosis of PCOS and put on medicine to help regulate and reduce the severity of my symptoms. I learned that you need to advocate for yourself. You know your body better than anyone else and you need to trust that it’s going to tell you when something is wrong. Fight for yourself and fight for your health because if you don’t, who will?