A new diagnosis

Many of you know that the past few months, “weight loss” has been non-existent. I stopped doing the weekly weigh ins, frustrated that extreme morning workouts and calorie restricting had me gaining weight. My jeans got tight. I felt fatter, and worse, I felt flummoxed. How on earth could I be doing everything “right” and gaining weight? “It’s muscle,” people told me, and while my measurements went down, the button on my jeans dug more and more into my flesh, an unwelcome reminder that my body had decided it was going to stay fat, despite my best efforts. I had my body fat measured, and the scale at the office was up 13 pounds, to which I decided had to just be the scale, not my actual weight. I saw it in my progress pictures, and cried, humiliated and frustrated. The day I graduated with my master’s degree, I saw pictures of my bloated face and instantly felt crushed by what I saw. I thought, why can’t I do this? I can get a master’s degree. I can find an awesome husband. I can write a blog. I can decorate a cupcake, I can go to Thailand. I can do anything I want, I can be anything I want to be… except thin.

There have been a lot tears the past few months. Tears to my husband. Tears to my friend, to my sister, to my mom. “Why?!” I’d ask, not knowing why I’d been busting my ass, over and over, refusing friend’s birthday cakes, sticking to salad, working up crazy sweats… and I lost nothing, except my motivation. The scale went up. I didn’t know what was going on. I chalked it up to bloating, to stress, to my new job, to my thesis, to my allergies, to my birth control… you name it. There were 1,000 reasons the scale wasn’t moving– right? I didn’t know anything about why my body was revolting, but I did know one thing – something WAS WRONG. I’ve always been persistent about listening to my intuition. I’ve quit great-paying jobs after three weeks, knowing the first day that it wasn’t the right place. I’ve walked away from places where something bad happened shortly after I left. I’ve known when people are upset, when people are lying, when something’s going on. I’ve always listened to the voice in my head when things don’t feel right. I have the sixth sense of Haley Joel Osment on crack. I’m glad I listened to my intuition, because today, after suspecting something was off for many, many months, I got the results I knew were coming.

I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, in addition to a vitamin D deficiency, an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone, and elevated liver counts. These things were confirmed through extensive testing – a transabdominal and pelvic ultrasound, metabolic panels and fasting blood measurements. When I got the news today, I had a simultaneous sad and happy response. I’m sad that there’s something wrong with me, but I’m happy because it explains so much. It explains how I struggle every day of my life with my weight, unable to get past the numbers glaring at me on the scale. It explains why several years ago I became riddled with anxiety, having months of panic attacks before I realized the out of breath, heart-palpitating fear I was often feeling was not normal. It explains why several times in my life, I’ve showered and gasped at the amount of long, blonde hair coming out of my head, the tendrils curling around my comb like an ominous, disease-ridden joke. It explains how sometimes I missed my period altogether, assuming it was stress from school and work, not once thinking that my ovaries were on strike. It explains so many things.

The fears about this diagnosis are large and looming; the possible infertility, the cardiovascular disease, the tiny voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering “cancer”. However, I feel so much better knowing what’s going on. This struggle with my weight has not been a failure of effort. It is not the birthday cupcake, the glass of wine, the night I opted to go to the movies instead of the gym. There is now a concrete medical reason why my body wants to stay fat — because the insulin inside of me prefers I be sweet and sugary and roly-poly rather than lean, mean and efficient. My next steps are to meet with my doctor, likely start an insulin-resistant drug like Metformin, begin a daily 5,000 mg Vitamin D supplement, and re-check my liver enzymes to make sure I don’t have hepatitis. One thing that freaks me out about the liver enzymes is that I ate the Costco berries that have caused over 49 cases of hepatitis A in Southern California. Eeeek. I’m going to call my doctor about that tomorrow!

I hope you all know that I’m sharing this with you because I want you to be vigilant about your health. If you feel like something is wrong, get it checked out. If they say it’s nothing and you still feel “off,” follow up. I have known too many people who avoided a problem because of fear, and are no longer here today because of their refusal to get it checked out. On the flipside, one of my best friends is alive today because he overcame cancer — and he beat it by taking the scary step of going to a doctor, knowing something was wrong. Another best friend pushed for tons of tests, refusing to give up until she was diagnosed with Crohn’s. Today she rocks her diagnosis, having adjusted to a new diet and exercise routine that’s changed her life. You have one body in this lifetime – take care of it. It isn’t easy for me to come on here and share intimate details about my life, my most personal issues – but I’m sharing my story with you because I know it’s not over yet, and if this post can help one woman out there struggling with her weight, it will be worth it. The next few months, the blog will probably have lots more information about this as I research and learn how to treat my condition, and I hope you’ll read along with me. You know I always value your time and support, and I know with my blog, my family and my friends, I’ll work through this and get where I want to be.


31 thoughts on “A new diagnosis

  1. Girl, you are one tough cookie! I am so sorry to hear the bad news about your PCOS diagnosis, but I know you’ll get through it. The fact that you’ve chosen to face this head on and with a smile is a testament of your awesomeness!

  2. I just wanted to let you know how brave I think you are for your honesty and how you are facing your health issues head-on. I’m hoping that the new medication you will be taking helps you feel better. Also, I wanted you to know that it made me sad to read about your reaction to your photo from graduation day. When I saw your picture on FB the day you graduated, I saw a beautiful young woman, beaming with pride. All of us Double Chin ladies need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

    • You’re still to date one of my favorite “moms” ever. Thank you πŸ™‚ And I know I’m beautiful… just felt irritated that I looked so chubby, haha! But you’re right, we need to be kinder to ourselves. Good reminder.

  3. What an entry Alyssa, know we all love you in this family no matter through what, and I’m sure you will accomplish your goal just like all the other ones you have.

  4. Let’s get together soon–just the two of us. I know how hard it is to deal with a body in rebellion, but I also know that you are finally going to be able to take some control back. And THAT is awesome. Also, I have a vitamin D deficiency, too, as well as liver enzyme issues! Huzzah! (although mine were mono-induced years ago.)

    PS. hep in berries, lead in ginger…I think our food is trying to kill us. Let’s get on that organic farm with baby goats bandwagon pronto!

  5. I have PCOS too! It’s a struggle and often times it can feel overwhelming but knowing about it and how you can “treat” it is a step in the right direction. Just remember that you CAN lose weight, you CAN be healthy, and you CAN have babies with PCOS. You just might have to work a little harder than the average person. You’re a strong person and I believe that you’ll be able to handle these new things just fine!


  6. I love that sharing something like this can bring people together! Look at all of you coming out of the wood works with PCOS. My buddy told me it affects 1 in every 10 women, that sucks!!!

    I’m proud of you, sistah, for taking care of yourself. I suppose I better go to the doctor for an actual check-up soon since it’s been a long, long while.

  7. Wow, I’m so sorry for the stress that can be caused by such a shocking diagnosis and for all of the it has caused you! I am, however, so happy that you now know and understand the source of much of your struggle and can take steps to overcome this! I’ve always known you deserved so much more out of the effort you put in- you are THE most dedicated and inspirational person I know and I know you have the strength of mind, spirit, and body to this PCOS that you will NOT let it control your health! I know, too, that your healthy lifestyle and the way you have been living to the fullest and making your body work for you will have HUGE positive effects against any and all of the possible related complications. You are one tough cookie and the Alyssa I’ve come to know will surely not be held back, but use this as a step-stool to reach even higher heights! Thank you for your bravery, I know someone will find strength because you shared your story! πŸ™‚

  8. (Line 2 edit) “for all of the angst and frustration it has caused you up to now!” (Not sure how that got mangled in the original post lol)

  9. I’m really glad you have an explanation now Alyssa! While I am not happy that you have PCOS you did the right thing to check fully into what was going on with your body.

    Very often being overweight or weight gain isn’t just about that we ate too much or that we are lazy (as many people seem to believe) – it goes beyond that. It can be emotional, but it can be medical. Your next challenge is to find out now how to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate PCOS. Knowing you, I believe you can get through this! No matter what happens – you have your friends and family who love you and will support you through any challenges relating to this!!

  10. I have PCOS as well, along with Hypothyroidism. It’s super rough, but it’s doable. I haven’t been taking the best care of myself and I’m seeing a new start in my future. I feel like we’ll be doing it together in a way, and that makes me feel a little more at ease. Sorry if that sounds creepy!

    You’re strong and you can do anything! πŸ™‚

  11. I’m so glad you finally have answers. I know you’re going to be ok and you’ll get through this because it’s you! Through it all you know you have us. Love you!

  12. I’m sorry to here about your diagnosis but you can change this. I had PCOS and after losing four stone it eventually disappeared. It is something thats curable. You just have to work a bit harder for it.

    Having said that I have recently regained some of weight due to depression and some of symptoms you have said about have come back for me so might be worth me going back to doctors. So thank you for sharing your story.

    S xx

  13. To my beautiful daughter, your mom is so proud of you and wish more than anything all of these issues were not part of your life.
    But knowing how incredibly strong you have been your entire life you will get thru this like you always do! You will always have my heart with you, I love you! Mom

  14. I swore I commented on this but I guess I didn’t. You know exactly how I feel, though!!! So glad we have each other (and all the other ladies who have PCOS too- it’s SO SO COMMON and so many women don’t even know it!) to support one another. Love youuu!

  15. Alyssa, I was diagnosed with PCOS over 10 years ago. Just a 25lb weight loss made MAJOR differences in my symptoms. I would really think about adding medications, none are without there own side effects. You can do a lot with specific diet modifications!

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