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PCOS Memoir

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"Poly-cystic what?"

Two years later I’d still remember the confused and kind of horrified look on my mother had on her face as she confronted the doctor in the small office of Raleigh Endocrine Associates.

"Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome." Dr. Glass repeated with a kind expression on her face. "It is known to be a cause of type 2 Diabetes, and that would explain why she has Diabetes at such a young age. We have some information about it here; I can go get it for you if you want."

Still looking rather confused, mom nodded slowly, and her face didn't change as the doctor stood up and left the room. The silence was chilling, and pressed on my ears as my mom looked over at me, still seeming confused. I had never heard of it before, whatever it was, but I had a feeling that there was a reason behind it having such a long name, and I wasn't sure I wanted to know what it was. Could it be an incredibly serious health problem? How would it affect me? What could happen if I did have it? An endless stream of questions ran through my head, and it felt like an hour had passed when Dr. Glass finally returned. She handed mom a few sheets of paper that had been stapled together.

"It's simple to diagnose." She informed us, but that thought didn't seem to be a comfort to my mom as she fingered through the sheets, skimming the information that was printed neatly on it. "I'll just have to give her a quick exam, and then we'll do some labs." Labs, I knew, meant blood-work, but this was something I was used to, after having trips to Duke Endocrine every three months. My older sister, however, would have been seriously freak out.

It didn't take long for the doctor to finish with me. She gave us directions to the lab, and wished us a good day. After signing the list outside of the lab room, I listened to my MP3 player while waiting for them to call my name, and I grudgingly remove it when I heard it called. The lab technician was a kind woman, and she talked to me while she stuck the needle in my hand to draw blood.


While I didn't mind it there so much as I had at Duke Endocrine, I was glad to be in the car fifteen minutes later, on the way to get some breakfast. I had grown accustomed to fasting appointments, so I told my mom that I didn't feel picky about where we ate, but I also didn't want to have to go to school. Without asking my mom for permission, I reached over and turned on the radio, feeling pleased at the moment to hear one of the songs that I had heard on the radio a lot lately.

'You called and you shouted, broke through my deafness. Now I'm breathing in, and breathing out, I'm alive again.' Matt Mahar's voice came through the speakers of the car. I picked up and thumbed through the sheets the doctor had given my mom earlier that day. Later on that day, I would care more about the syndrome I was being diagnosed with, I would want to know more, but for right now, I didn't want to think about the morning's events.

The need to stop and grab something to eat had ruined my chances of going to school, but of course I wasn't bothered by that, I was perfectly happy spending the rest of the day in Durham with my mom, but when I finally got home, my sister had already driven home from school, and as I told her how my day was, the morning's events all came flooding back. Now I was scared, and now I was nervous. I picked up the phone and seemingly dragged myself to the computer room, typing in the name of the syndrome, looking it up, and the things I saw, did all but keep me calm.

Seeing the things it could cause, including the type 2 Diabetes I'd already been diagnosed with, alarmed me. I was scared, maybe more than I should be, but at the moment, that didn't matter. My mind was in a dreamy, indifferent fog. Hardly noticing myself what I was doing, I went to YouTube and brought up the song I had heard on the radio that morning, and Matt Mahar's voice flooded the computer room, and for at least a moment, I felt calm, almost relaxed, despite what I felt I was being faced with. I could fight through this, and I could win.

The results of the blood work didn't come back until about four weeks later, and I had almost forgotten about the syndrome when my mom informed me of the information she had received that morning. "Well?" I asked as I watched my mom explain what the information had said. She was beating around the bush, explaining something about the numbers on the blood work. "Mom, do I have it or not?" I finally asked, after listening to her spend five minutes explaining something about the way of diagnoses.

"Yes honey, you do."

I almost felt like I should be more alarmed by what she had just told me, as if I should be scared or worried by the information I had found the night I realized I could have it. Even so, that feeling of calm and the grace of peace still haven't seemed to left me, and I just laughed at the expression mom had on her face when I just said "Okay." It didn't even matter to me right then, if I had already had this condition for a few years, then I could continue to live with it and deal with it now. Everything felt okay. Well, at least I didn't have to look out for Diabetes, having already crossed that road.

For the rest of my life, I might still remember that whole event, the fear that rose up inside me only to be extinguished by the knowledge that, whatever it was, I could survive, and I’d be fine. I’d spend the next few months looking up information, and finding a support group of other women and girls who were going through the same thing. I’d learn that, no matter what I’m going through, things could always be worse. That song by Matt Mahar is one that still reminds me of those days, while it also reminds me of the strength I somehow found during those events.




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