Shortly after turning 15 I started noticing changes in myself that I was not happy with at all. The number one thing that make me cringe was the fact that no matter how many salads I ate or how many calories I counted, I was gaining weight. Looking at my family history and digging deeper didn’t even occur to me since I wasn’t close to any of my family really. At the time I chalked it up to stress and kept doing what I was doing. By the time I was 19 and according to the chart at the doctors office I was about 40 lbs overweight. I didn’t feel “overweight”. I didn’t look “overweight”. According to the BMI chart on the wall my BMI was 30. It was absolutely ridiculous. The Doctor was telling me that my average weight should be 130-150. I hadn’t weighed 150 since I was 10 or 11. I was active, I was healthy and now I was miserable.
After a few months of pouting around, I did the one thing in my life I will regret forever: I gave up on me. My mom was fat, my dad was fat, my grandma’s were both fat. I was just destined to be fat. FAT FAT FAT FAT!!! Looking in the mirror I saw a big ball of lard. (Mind you I’m 5’4 and only weight 180 at the time.) I hated myself and just gave up.
The road to healthy is about changing how you see yourself and how you see your life. Changing your lifestyle is not an easy thing to do. I’ve gone from diet to diet pills, starving myself to purging, down to becoming a regular Crack/cocaine user. I have tried it all, I have done it all.
In November of 2008, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I cried myself to sleep for weeks (including the 1 week I was in the hospital for DKA: Diabetic KetoAcidosis). My life as I knew it was over (at least in my mind). Here I was 23 years old with Diabetes. Doctor said “No drinking, no sweets, no pasta, no rice, no bread”. WTH WAS I SUPPOSED TO EAT?!!!!! He said “If you continue eating these things, you are going to die” I wanted to die. I wanted to crawl into a little hole and never be seen again. How embarrassing! I had the Fat disease!!! At least that is what I’d heard about it. “Only FAT people got diabetes.” “You keep eating all them sweets you’re going to get Diabetes.”
At 23 years old weighing in at 285 pounds I hated myself. I hated my life. When I went back to work from the hospital I had a lot of people supporting me and encouraging me to lose weight and eat healthy I gained a few walking partners. In 3 months I lost a total of 25 lbs. I still couldn’t look in the mirror because I could see the words FAT and DIABETES tattooed to my forehead. I couldn’t watch TV because there were all of these healthy SKINNY girls running around doing whatever it is that skinny girls
Diabetes is not a fat person disease. You don’t HAVE to dies from diabetes. If you do it’s because you chose to.
I was at the doctors last friday and I knew there was going to be bad news. For starters I’m now 27 and I weigh in at 260. She says to me “Donica, yours numbers are horrible, and that is the least of your problems.” I nod and turn my face to the floor, I did this, I am killing myself. “There is traces of sugar in your kidneys, this is very very dangerous. Sugar is poison to your kidneys. We have to get this sugar under control and your weight down. Your good cholesterol is very low. There is nothing we can do about that, it’s genetics. That just means you have to work THAT much harder to be healthy.” I nod and can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. “Donica, look at me, have you ever heard of PCOS, has anyone ever screened you for this?” I look up at my doctor and see a thin beautiful older woman who is seriously concerned about me. “No, I’ve never heard of this and as far as I know no one has ever screened me for it. What is PCOS?”
Turns out, “PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common hormonal disorder in women that with interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, or ovulation. It is the most common cause of infertility among women. PCOS occurs when a woman’s body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. The hormone imbalance prevents fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries from breaking open and releasing mature eggs. The fluid-filled sacs bunch together, causing many tiny cysts. Symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS may run in families.” (WebMD)
Also according to Web MD early symptoms of PCOS include:
- Few or no menstrual periods. This can range from less than nine menstrual cycles in a year (more than 35 days between cycles) to no menstrual periods.2Some women with PCOS have regular periods but are not ovulating every month. This means that their ovaries are not releasing an egg each month.
- Heavy, irregular vaginal bleeding. About 30% of women with PCOS have this symptom.3
- Hair loss from the scalp and hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, back,stomach, thumbs, or toes. About 70% of women in the United States with PCOS complain of these hair problems caused by high androgen levels.4
- Acne and oily skin, caused by high androgen levels.
- Depression or mood swings.
Living with PCOS symptoms can affect your sense of well-being, sexual satisfaction, and overall quality of life. This too can lead to depression.5 For more information, see the topic Depression or Depression in Children and Teens.
PCOS symptoms that may develop gradually include:
- Weight gain or upper body obesity (more around the abdomen than the hips). This is linked to high androgen levels.4
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair (alopecia). This is linked to high androgen levels.
- Repeat miscarriages. The cause for this is not known. These miscarriages may be linked to high insulin levels, delayed ovulation, or other problems such as the quality of the egg or how the egg attaches to the uterus.
- Inability to become pregnant (infertility). This is because the ovaries are not releasing an egg (not ovulating).
- Symptoms of too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia) and insulin resistance, which can include upper body weight gain and skin changes, such as skin tags or dark, velvety skin patches under the arm, on the neck, or in the groin and genital area.
- Breathing problems while sleeping (obstructive sleep apnea). This is linked to both obesity and insulin resistance.2
High blood pressure may be more common in women who have PCOS, especially if they are very overweight. Your doctor will check your blood pressure.
I have every symptom that is listed in this article and my doctor saw it right away. “We are going to start treating this. I’m going to start you back on Metformin at the lowest dosage to see how you react to it and a water pill to see if we can get some weight off of you. That sound okay?” I nod. Still taking in this new information. She also tells me she wants me to “cut-back on the whites, meaning bread, pasta rice. Have whole grain things. They are good for you.” Wait WHAT? you mean I don’t have to STOP eating my favorite foods?? (sweet)
Affirmations to myself for the rest of my life:
I am going to be okay.
I am going to become healthy.
I am going to change my lifestyle.
I am going to finish college.
I am going to become a PhD.
I am going to help children.
I AM GOING TO LIVE MY LIFE!
No more miss nice girl, no more pity party, no more being a victim of genes. I am going to live my life to the fullest. I am going to make changes immediately. I emptied out my pantry and fridge of all this crap I have been consuming and I have replaced it with everything that is healthy. I hear once that “Sickness shows us what we are” . . . Well, I’m going to show you.