September 12, 2014.
The day I felt like my world ended.
After far too many ultrasounds, urine samples, and blood tests, I received the call that stole a year and a half of my life. My doctor finally had an answer to my irregular and abnormal bleeding. She finally had an answer to why my husband and I had not been able to conceive our first child after nearly 10 months of trying.
Diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
I remember the call so vividly. I stood in my bedroom as my doctor explained that my ovaries were surrounded by numerous small cysts, which resulted in a significant hormonal imbalance in my body to the point where my body was producing more androgens (“male hormones”) than it should.
“Okay,” I thought, “I can manage some non-cancerous cysts and some hormonal issues.” She continued to explain the medication I would begin (Metformin), and said that I should read more about PCOS online and let her know if I had any questions.
Following doctor’s orders, I sat on my bed, leaning over my phone in my signature hunchback posture, and started my Google Doctor session.
Acne. Weight gain. Excessive hair growth.
“Okay,” I thought, “I can manage these things.”
Higher risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety.
“Okay,” I thought, “I’m prone to these given my family medical history. I can manage this.”
Missed or irregular periods. Problems with ovulation. Infertility.
“Wait a second… what???”
The word stared back at me with a fierceness I’ve never felt. I fell into my bed, curled up into the fetal position, and sobbed like never before. As my husband stood beside the bed looking down at me, he could not understand why I was so immediately and uncontrollably upset.
My doctor set the diagnosis, but that Google Doctor session set the prognosis. Absolute devastation and anger.
Why me, Lord?
I don’t deserve this.
According to the PCOS Awareness Association, approximately one in ten women have PCOS, which is the most common cause of female infertility. However, I felt more alone and far from God in that moment than I ever have. I felt like He specifically targeted me with something I did not deserve. Couldn’t He see that I did everything right? Couldn’t He see that I did everything in order? A married woman with a loving and committed husband. A master’s degree and a steady public sector job. Full medical insurance and a retirement plan. Homeowner. Successfully cared for a plant and two dogs without major incident (okay… maybe the plant died, but still). Couldn’t he see that we did literally every “right” thing prior to growing our family?
That phone call broke me. Every last bit of me. In that moment, I lost all my hope, my joy, my faith. And it only got worse over the next year and a half as I continued to struggle through endless doctor’s visits, medications, and needles. I was slowly losing myself to this diagnosis, letting it cripple me on a physical, emotional, and relational level.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve gained new insight into my reaction over this diagnosis as God continues to speak to me at church. A couple things my pastors have shared recently:
Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are opportunities for us to invite God into our lives. Anxiety grows out of control, because we don’t allow God to take control.
We don’t get to choose our storms, but we can choose our faith.
These speak so perfectly to the way I handled my diagnosis. At that point in my life, I was far from God. I wasn’t praying. I had stopped reading my bible. Stopped going to church.
And because of that, my initial reaction was to question God in anger over what was happening to me, instead of calling on His strength to see me through this trial.
It has taken me a LONG time to feel some peace in this situation. Those moments of uncertainty still come, but I now try to draw closer to God instead of questioning his plan and authority over my life.
Have you ever questioned God? Have you ever sat on your bed yelling angrily up at your ceiling as if it were Him?
He is there. Always and forever. He hears you. He sees your tears and feels your heartache. He’s waiting and hoping for us all to seek His will and strength. He is there to help us choose faith over fear and hope over despair. Call on Him, my friends.
P.S. TO THE LADIES: If there is ANYTHING (even what you think is minor) irregular about your periods or reproductive health, please be seen by a doctor. I waited far too long to seek medical treatment for my irregularities, and wish I had educated myself much sooner.