Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beautiful You with LeAnne

It was such a wonderful revelation when I learned I did not have to live by my feelings. It was liberating and a great relief! Before I learned this valuable truth, my emotions were all over the place! I was glad I'd managed to lose a few pounds, but sad that I had so much further to go; hurt that I'd been spoken about so terribly by co-workers, irritated with myself that I was still bothered by the opinions of others; feeling victimized even by strangers (a new neighbor) who made comments about my height and weight, and beating myself up because I wasn't as far along in life as I should be. Imagine living life according to such feelings.....it was absolutely chaotic! There was very little genuine self-esteem, and besides going into total social seclusion, my relationships suffered, also. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin with misery! But one day, in the middle of another one of my one-woman pity parties, I heard someone say "You need to stop letting your feelings have a vote in everything. Feelings are fickle and, therefore, unreliable. We were given emotions to feel, but not to live by!"
Of course, this is me paraphrasing, but those words set SO many things in motion! As dramatic as it sounds, I felt like I'd been set free! Yes, PCOS was and is a royal pain in my backside and, most days, it made me feel like Ursula, the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. But just because I felt this way doesn't mean I WAS this way. There is a difference between feelings and the actual truth. The truth was that beneath that misery was a goddess of beauty waiting to uncover and share some juicy, life-changing secrets. And, slowly but surely, amazing things came to light, and I began to change. I thought of the person I wanted to be and, battered and bruised, began to walk in that direction. What's even better than all that, is that the same thing is about to happen to you!.....if you want it to. I'm here to help. And though it may be a long road, it's surely an exciting one! To make things a little easier on your road to winning the battle against PCOS, here are a few true beauty secrets to remember.

You Are No Victim!--You are not powerless, and you certainly are not "less than". PCOS does not make you less of a woman. In fact, it brings out the woman in you even more! What other species can war against something so difficult and draining, yet still come out laughing and strong, their ability to nurture still in tact. Only a woman! We were created as nurturing and uniquely feminine creatures; nothing will EVER change that. For good measure, and so it will sink in, I'll repeat myself: Nothing will EVER change the fact that you are a woman". Not infertility, not struggles with facial hair or male-pattern baldness, not rapid, excessive weight gain; not anything. You're not beautiful just because I say so, or even because you or anyone else says so. you're beautiful because that's the way you were created. You can argue that all you want, but this is the truth, not opinion. Being a woman is a beautiful, surreal thing to be. And to show our gratefulness for being it and having it, we first have to accept it and appreciate it. It must be maintained with grace and humility, and we should allow it to be uncovered for every one else to see. Remembering this is your first beauty secret.

Love Your Skin--PCOS can cause premature aging and, combined with unhealthy lifestyles and harsh weather conditions, this can wreak total havoc! Two of the best secret weapons? Exfoliate and hydrate. Using a gentle exfoliator on your face and skin about three times a week is like pruning and caring for a delicate, exotic flower. Sloughing away the "dead" cells to reveal newer, younger ones means dewy, radiant skin, and a more even complexion. But be sure to use a more gentle exfoliator for your face, since it's skin is more delicate! Follow up with a moisturizer that's thick enough to coat and hydrate skin, but still light enough so it won't clog your pores. Want a natural moisturizer? Try grapeseed oil! This oil naturally renews skin and deeply penetrates to soften and enhance skin tone.

Use A Masque...For Your Legs!!--Masques (or masks) or normally designed for the skin on your face, and there are a lot out there that do a fantastic job (I recommend using one that contains avocado and/or oatmeal). But what about your body? Generally, though it's only the face that has troublesome pores, it's the body that collects the most dirt and oil. Like teenagers, women with PCOS can also have troublesome spots on the skin that are plagued with acne and other oily, hormonal bumps. So before exfoliating, wet your skin, then apply a mask to the legs, thighs, and any other area you choose. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off in the shower. That way, once the impurities are drawn to the surface of your skin by the mask, you can allow the exfoliator to slough them away along with dead skin cells. This will allow your naturally radiant skin to shine through!

Remember that Beautiful You is about YOU!....No one else! There are more secrets to come next week, but only a few will be revealed at a time so that you'll have time to practice and gradually incorporate these tricks and hints into your routine. It's up to YOU to do YOUR part in contributing to YOUR happiness! You're not alone, woman soldier...we're in this together. And, before it's all over, we'll be writing and living out our own amazing stories! Next week will bring more beauty secrets and I'll also share jeweled pieces of encouragement from my wonderful friends all over the world (Nigeria, Ethiopia, England, Scotland, and Japan). Stay tuned!

*Please note that I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or trained counselor. I am not qualified to give out any emotional advice. I am a woman with PCOS, who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I ask you to consult a professional.

Monday, December 26, 2011

FUNtastic PCOS Fitness with Gina - Final Week of the Challenge!

So, here we are at the week between Christmas and New Year's.  I don't know about you, but Fitness during this week is not usually something that takes a huge priority for most of us, including me.  We still have obligations to meet and shopping to do, cleanup from the holidays, company to entertain, and kids (if we have them) on vacation!  How can we possibly manage to add in one.more.thing!?

When coming up with something for us to do this week in dealing with Fitness, I decided to make it very personal for me, thinking that there will be some of you in the same situation I am in right now.  I want to get myself moving in the right direction though, while also making it something that will be motivating in getting me excited about Fitness this week and the weeks to come!

Here's the Challenge for Week Four:

1.  Set aside time for the next five days (Monday to Friday) to move your body.  The time you exercise, the location, the type of exercise does.not.matter.  Try to make it a group thing, if necessary if you have company/the kids/the pets hanging around!  Bring them in as part of the FUN!

2.  Sit down and take a moment to envision yourself a year from now.  Where are you in the journey of taking charge of your PCOS?  What does your health look like?  Are you setting fitness goals. . . and achieving them?  Are you stronger? More confident? Then, write down three specific steps you can take this next year to see that vision of yourself come true - and POST THEM on the Power Up for PCOS page on Facebook!

3.  Move, envision, POST!  That's it!

Hope to see you on the Power Up for PCOS Page!

---Gina

Power Up for PCOS AZ Representative

*Remember: I am not a medical or fitness professional and I am just sharing what I am doing in this Challenge as a fellow member of your community. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to ensure that you are healthy enough for physical activity/exercise. *

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Bye 2011 and Hello to 2012

This year has been an amazing year.  It is hard to believe that all this started this February(24th). We had an amazing year and I feel so blessed to have had a part in it.  Here are some of the things we accomplished this year:

*We started the Power Up for PCOS website where you can join our network, register for our events, check out reviews on doctors in your area, submit reviews, shop our Shop Cysters store and our CafePress store to raise even more money for PCOS research.
*We had the first ever Power Up for PCOS Walk-a-thon and Virtual Walk-a-thon in which 12 women walked and we raised $2,634.18 for the InCYST Institute for Hormone Health, not bad for a first year. Check out our event photo's.
*We helped to connect PCOS women with some wonderful sponsors and PCOS friendly items like St. Joseph Hospital, Growing Naturals, Boston IVF, Cerene Linens, Maxim, Arizona Mesquite Company, Beauty Foods, iBitta, Stoneyfield Organic, Hannaford, Nashua Medical Group, PCOS Diva, Danielle Ellen Hunter - Interactive & Graphic Designer and Nashua YMCA.
*We have some amazing Representatives that are  starting Power Up groups in 8 different states starting in January
*We completed the first ever Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge where 7 women got some very cool certificates to frame
*We had a picture day in which 33 women posted their pictures, this gave me so much inspiration to see all of your faces and to know who I do this for(it brought me to tears)
*We have built a network of 100 women so far that want to do something for their PCOS like attending our Power Up Groups
*We have 13 wonderful volunteers to help us with our special projects so we can reach more women
*Started a great blog where we have a Share your story section, a FUNtastic Fitness with Gina section, Beautiful You with LeAnne section, Journey Along with Me by Beth section and more.  Some with prizes too.
*And most importantly, we have helped to create lots of wonderful new friendships with other PCOS women

Here are some of the plans for 2012 so far:
*Starting up groups in atleast half of the country and even some overseas
*Starting up local events to raise awareness and money for PCOS research
*Spreading the word to Doctors about Power Up for PCOS so they can recommend their patients check us out for support and education
*Education to involve you spouses and families so they know how to support us as women with PCOS
*Getting more volunteers on board to help with our special projects
*Having our 2nd Power Up for PCOS Walk-a-thon and Virtual Walk-a-thon in September
*And more to come

Thank You from all of us at Power Up for PCOS for a great year and we look forward to a great 2012 and to spreading the word even more.  Without all you wonderful ladies, sponsors and volunteers, this would not be possible.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beautiful You with LeAnne

I recently wrote an article titled "Your Beautiful Way: 10 Secrets To Getting Gorgeous and Winter Ready!" (available on voices.yahoo.com). The purpose of this piece was to share my best winter beauty secrets and, while I knew I'd enjoy writing about one of my most favorite subjects, I had no idea how absolutely exciting it would be to share them with the world! Instructing the best way to hydrate, exfoliate, and moisturize was Secret #1; by the the time I'd reached Secret #4, I'd poured a lovely glass of wine, popped a brightly-colored bowl full of popcorn, and settled in to write and enjoy "reliving" my favorite beauty tricks and tips! There seemed to be a permanent smile plastered across my face as I happily typed away! Who doesn't love beauty of some sort? Makeup, natural conditioners, green tea toners for bright, youthful eyes....this article was a goldmine on achieving easy, breezy, winter beauty.
But then my fingers suddenly froze in mid-air, hanging distractedly over the keyboard. All of my thoughts seemed to form into one question: Exactly who am I helping? I couldn't think of an answer right away. My peers? Teenage girls? Or maybe women already loving the skin their in. But what about the ones who don't? Women who's skin discolorations that actually needed medical attention, not just good exfoliation. Women with skin conditions that even prescriptions can't cure. Facial hair and male pattern baldness, quicker aging and skin pigmentation. Even excessive weight gain around the mid-section, something incredibly difficult to reverse! With a wide range of symptoms as dreadful and disheartening as these, we struggle to even think of ourselves as attractive, let alone beautiful or gorgeous. Our problems go beyond fixes for broken nails or our best winter shade of lipstick. Instead of asking ourselves how we can still look glamorous while pregnant, we instead have to spend hours in doctors offices getting help for infertility. PCOS has plagued some of us and not only warped our bodies, but also our way of thinking. But it doesn't have to! I quickly realized that there were more than just certain types of women that needed help in reaching their best "get gorgeous" potential. I also realized that, especially for women with PCOS, real beauty starts with the mind.
Do you know that there are many "secrets" for women with PCOS to discover! Did you know that? Has it ever crossed your mind that there is a physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, magnificent beautiful you that is waiting to be uncovered? Imagine yourself with dewy, glowing skin and thick, shiny, voluminous hair. You no longer struggle with infertility and your energy is positively through the roof! You've conquered PCOS and are now sharing your success with other women around you. That's one of the most important steps to winning in the battle against PCOS; envisioning yourself as already being the woman you want to become. And you should always remember that your thoughts become things. Therefore, whatever you feel or think about yourself should always reflect something great and amazing, so that those same great and amazing things can "manifest" in your life. Yes, I'm sure it sounds a bit hippie-ish and whimsical, but I know it to be true. Instead of thinking of the past struggles in your war against PCOS, envision yourself not only victorious, but happy and thriving. Next week, in Beautiful You with LeAnne, we'll begin to uncover some beauty secrets specifically targeted to women with PCOS. They're quick, easy, and their benefits are almost instant! You have a life, babe. Do you want to look out the window, watching it go by? Or get out there and start living it? You decide.

*Please note that I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or trained counselor. I am not qualified to give out any emotional advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.*

Monday, December 19, 2011

FUNtastic PCOS Fitness with Gina - Week 3!




Week three:  Power Up for PCOS 
Fitness Challenge


So, here we are at week three, the week before Christmas!  Your schedule is full and there will be things that are going to distract you from fitting in your daily times of exercise and movement - - - but, there is no better time to show your commitment to this Challenge (and yourself) than this coming week!

I have been excited to share with you the form of exercise that has helped me lose 80+ pounds and take charge of my PCOS - - - and it is none other than Leslie Sansone  and her Walk at Home videos!  

Here is a clip from one of her videos, courtesy of YouTube;  take a moment to watch it and see what it's all about.  Although you may not have walked a mile in your life, by the end of this video, you will have walked a MILE in the privacy and comfort of your own living room!

Here's our Challenge for this week:  get up and try to walk as long as possible with Leslie in this video for the next FIVE days.  You don't have to worry about the special steps or following the "choreography" - just MOVE with her as long as possible.  You can take it a little bit slower if necessary - or - move your legs while siting in a chair to the beat of the music, but try to see how long you can move with Leslie!

Then, to be eligible for the prizes, please check in with us daily, posting your time spent exercising and what you did, on the Power Up for PCOS page on Facebook!  Let us cheer each other on and see how we are each taking steps to POWER UP!

See you on Facebook!

---Gina



*Remember: I am not a medical or fitness professional and I am just sharing what I am doing in this Challenge as a fellow member of your community. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to ensure that you are healthy enough for physical activity/exercise. *

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 2: FUNtastic PCOS Fitness Challenge!

Welcome to week 2!  I hope that you were able to join us on the week 1 Challenges!  If you are new here, welcome!  Feel free to start in with us now!  Jump right in!

So, last week our Fitness Challenge centered on getting up and moving for 5 minutes or more a day, for five days.  This week, we are upping the Challenge!

This week, take your five minutes and double it!  Simple right?  I don't know about you, but I need to keep things simple and achievable, especially this time of year!  The only thing to focus on is moving for 10 minutes for the next five days! Dance, swim, walk, bike, DO HOUSEWORK - - - MOVE your body and feel empowered that you are taking charge of your health and PCOS!

If you don't believe that 10 minutes can create changes in your insulin resistance, moods, and fitness levels, take it from me!  It is a baby step that when added to others can take you closer and closer to achieving some awesome goals!

When I was just under 300 pounds, I could hardly do anything, much less exercise on purpose.  I was only in my early 30's, but I felt like twice my age.  In taking little steps in getting more activity back then (1-2 years ago) I was able to work up to walking/jogging (and finishing) a 5K in under an hour last November!  Yes, it can be done - and I am living proof that the power of little things can add up to awesome accomplishments!



Before my baby steps towards fitness:  295+ pounds. . . . 







After taking those baby steps day by day . . . 220 pounds and finishing my first 5K!

You can do it too!

So join in with our Challenge this week - get in 10 minutes of activity for the next five days - and please be sure to check in with us on the Power Up for PCOS page on Facebook!  Share your stories and what you are doing this week to Power Up for PCOS by joining in on our Fitness Challenge!  Baby steps!

See you around Facebook!

Gina








*Remember: I am not a medical or fitness professional and I am just sharing what I am doing in this Challenge as a fellow member of your community. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to ensure that you are healthy enough for physical activity/exercise. *

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Journey Along with Me by Beth

I have learned so much along my journey.  I wanted to share something that happened.

To give you some back story, I have reoccurring polyups on my endometrium.  I never knew why I kept getting them but I just did.  It was so frustrating to me because every time I didn't have a period for a couple months, I would get them.  I was told to stay on Provera every month for 10 days so I would have a period.

Back a few months ago, I wanted to go off the Provera because I was sick of the mood swings it gave me.  It's bad enough for my husband and family when it's THAT time of the month, then add in a bunch of mood swings a few days after starting my cycle of Provera and then a few days after stopping the cycle.  He was fighting a losing battle of hormones and so was I.  I researched what causes polyups and I found that it isn't clear what exactly causes then but some believe it is because of excess estergen.  Well, everyone has monitored my testosterone levels but no one said anything about estergen.

About this same time, my health coach, the PCOS Diva had recommended me to look into this product called MacaHarmoney from Natural Health International. She told me about how it can help balance hormones.  I was excited but went off to do my own research too.  I went on their site and they gave me a lot of information but I also researched Maca in general.  I was amazed that I had not heard of this before.  I can take a natural supplement that may help make my body work the way it is supposed to.

OK, getting off the point of this.  I am not trying to convince you to but Maca.  I am very excited about it and that's why I blab about it.  I tend to do that if there is something I really like.  I don't get money from any of these companies for sporting their product.  Boy, do I wish I did.  I would be rich by now for all the talking I do.

The point of this was that I was not being monitored for something that was pretty important for my personal PCOS and my recurring polyups.  I should have been monitored for my estergen levels as well so I could be controlling those and not end up with the same result of getting them again, going in for all those really fun tests then back in for a D&C.

What did I do?  I called my doctor a week ago and told them I wanted my estergen levels tested as well as my iron.  I have problems with my iron because of my heavy bleeding.  No one had monitored that either.  Today, when I went in for my blood work, they had not added it.  I was very polite and said, I am not going to pay to go through this twice so can we get these added.  She went to talk to a nurse that went to talk to the doctor and a little while later, they were added.  I pushed to get what I NEEDED.  I also set it up for me to get a paper copy of my blood work.  I know when I get it, I won't have a clue what most of it means and I will have to go look everything up online but that's what it takes.

I am not saying my doctor is a bad doctor because they didn't order these tests.  It may have sounded harsh above but that's not really what I mean.  PCOS is a VERY complex disease and it shows so differently in everyone.  They don't even have all the answers because this is something that is just now starting to get out there.  We have to give them a break and understand that when they went to school for this, it probably wasn't that prominently known.  If I only went on what doctors said then I would probably not be managing my PCOS well.  I do so much research online and figure out what works and what doesn't.  I do talk to those treating me before I start something to make sure I'm not doing something that will hurt me or interact with anything.  The point is, this is YOUR journey and sometimes you have to put in the work too by being informed and asking for what you need.

I am proud!

Thanks for letting me share this with you and I encourage you all to take the reins in your journey.  The more we work with our doctors to understand this disease the better our journey will be.  Print research out and bring it to appointments to discuss.  Some tend to not like to discuss supplements.  Most were not trained in supplements.  Even if they don't want to discuss your supplements with you, at least ask them to be supportive of you trying them anyways.

*Please note that I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give out any medical advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.*

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Beautiful You with LeAnne

I'm in love with you. I'm in love with everything about you; your eyes, your spirit, your heart, your drive, your nurturing, and your smile....There's nothing about you that I haven't fallen for. Sounds a bit strange, doesn't it? Especially coming from a woman you've never met before; a woman you've never spoken to, seen, or even heard of before today. But what I say is true. The magnificent, beautiful you is so fall-in-lovable and amazing, that you're out of this world! Once you believe this truth about yourself, even your naysayers will ask, "Who's that girl?!"
They'll be asking this about you! Allow me to explain.....
Being "in love" can be defined as a deep and tender feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. After seeing the pictures submitted for "The Many Faces Of PCOS", I saw every reason to fall in love with those women who are just like me. And I saw every reason why those women should love themselves! These were women who were fighting and winning the war against PCOS; women who realized they were not handed a death sentence, but given an opportunity to show what fiery strength they had. In those pictures, I saw this: gorgeous, bold, and courageous creatures who desired to live a free, happy, and zesty life! Not even Gone With The Wind could make me cry, but after seeing so many different "mirrors" in those pictures, I was moved to tears, and wanted to share my story, too.

My name is LeAnne. I am 31 years old, and I have PCOS. I was diagnosed in 2005, but knew long before that there was something wrong. I was 22 when the symptoms first began. I'd been on the phone for nearly three hours with my best friend in California when I'd suddenly gone quiet, trying desperately not to wince in pain at the throbbing in my stomach. I finally confessed to her that in just 3 months, I'd gained about 40 pounds and couldn't understand why. How is it possible to gain so much weight after months of cleaning and dusting my night away while singing Cher at the top of my lungs?! Cleaning and dancing at the same time was sure to burn at least a few calories, right? That, combined with snacking on yogurt and carrots instead of Taco Bell, should have at least kept me in my favorite pants. But my body kept gaining, especially around my mid-section. After hearing my concern, my best friend immediately urged me to make an appointment with my doctor. As scared as I was, it still took me nearly three years to get the nerve to see my primary care physician. That's when I was told I had PCOS. I was relieved! Not because I had an illness, of course, but because this "thing" actually had a name. I wasn't crazy. My symptoms were real and, even better than that, they were treatable! However, my excitement was short lived because with that newly found information, came a new set of problems and realizations. My doctor didn't really seem interested in getting me better, but instead wanted to "fix" me with medication and push me to lose weight so that all of my "problems" would go away. This was the same doctor who'd told me just moments before that there was no cure for PCOS, which meant that my "problem" wasn't going anywhere. Metformin, birth control, and prescriptions for appetite suppressants were being shoved at me from every angle.
But what about my feelings?! How would I deal with infertility, skin discoloration, and even the threat of morbid obesity? In a world where women were already expected to be dainty and perfect, how could I fit in? Now that I was diagnosed with PCOS, how would I live a normal, happy life? It took me six years to find the answer to these questions....but when I did, it was like discovering the juiciest, most delicious secret! My worries gave way to excitement and passion and, from that, my life and body began to transform.
Lean a bit closer....are you listening? Great! Because I'm going to tell you everything I know.

Beautiful You with LeAnne is your entry way into a new life. It's goal is to be a place where you can determine how to become your most magnificent self. This blog will enlighten you to new and powerful weapons to fight PCOS and uncover your own amazing physical and mental beauty, the natural way! What you can discover is so surreal, you won't want to just take pictures. You'll want to be on the cover of a magazine! I can help you there. Follow me!

*Please note that I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or trained counselor. I am not qualified to give out any emotional advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.*

Monday, December 5, 2011

FUNtastic PCOS Fitness with Gina

Welcome!

My name is Gina and I am your fearless leader for our new Power Up for PCOS Fitness Challenge*!  I am excited to begin this challenge with you this month as a fellow member of our online community!

I can already hear some of you groaning over that F-word,  but don't despair!  By the end of this challenge, I hope you start to associate the word fitness with two other F-words: fun and fabulous!  Fitness should be fun and motivating to you and it should also make you feel fabulous and healthier!  I don't advocate the "no pain no gain" viewpoint when it comes to fitness, but I will encourage your best efforts and dedication to YOURSELF in taking on this challenge!

Please know that we are in this together. I am a woman with PCOS and currently serve as the Power Up for PCOS Representative in Arizona.  In heading up this challenge, please know from the get-go that  I am not athletic by nature and was the slowest runner in my gym classes with my flat feet and asthma.  I don't own a gym membership or run miles every day.  I am just like you.  :-)

A short time ago, however, I weighed just under 300 pounds and getting exercise was the LAST thing I thought of when trying to juggle the life of a wife, mom, and teacher.  Looking back at that time, I can see that I was slowly dying and had given up on ever feeling better in body, soul, and spirit.

But. . . then I learned that small efforts, when consistent, can make the greatest changes in our lives for the better.  I decided to start learning more about myself and how eating better and moving more would help me gain better health as I lost weight.  Little bit by little bit, I started to change.

Today, I am over 80+ pounds thinner and have found that I really do like moving and exercising my body!  I owe most of that to Leslie Sansone and her Walking at Home programs!  Even at 290+ pounds, I was able to get on my two feet and start walking a few minutes here and there with her at home, in privacy.  Now, I am walking more than a "few minutes" here and there - - - and I LOVE IT!  Who knew?

Yes, I love to exercise now and I don't avoid it anymore!  Hopefully by the end of this challenge you will experience this change for yourself too!  All it takes is baby steps and changing your mindset about moving your body!  Come on!  Are you ready?  Here are the details!

Fitness Challenge Details: Week One

This first week, we will take the first step to commit to the Challenge and then set aside the time to move our bodies each day for FIVE minutes (5 days this week)!  All it takes is FIVE minutes for five days!  That's a baby step you can do!

Check in with us on the main page and let us know that you are going to take on the Challenge and MOVE (dance to some tunes, walk around your home, bike, climb your stairs) for five minutes for five days this week!

I am in. . . . Are you???  Lace up those walking shoes!

Gina  :-)


* Please note that I am not a medical professional and I am not qualified to give out medical advice.  I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experience in this blog/Challenge and I advise you to consult your doctor or a medical professional to ensure that you are healthy enough for medical activity/before starting a new exercise program.*

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Journey Along with Me by Beth

This blog post is about my personal journey finding and living with my faith.  I do not push my beliefs on anyone.  This is a blog series I do for myself and those out there that wish to view it.  Please do not take offense from anything I say and please do not post negative comments on it.  If you wish to comment, please post only positive and encouraging words.  Please do not challenge my beliefs.  We all have our own and I am merely sharing my personal journey.  Thank you for understanding.

I feel that if I did not have PCOS then I would not have found my faith again.  I will tell you why.  I did not grow up learning about God.  When I was a teenager, I got invited to a Pizza party and they were talking about God there.  We ended up starting a teen fellowship.  I went for several years but it was a situation that whenever I found a new boyfriend that didn't believe, I stopped going.  This is how it was until this time.

So now we skip forward to this year.  I recently found my faith again after working with the PCOS Diva.  We were discussing the different aspects of life like relationships, work, spirituality.  I kept thinking that something was missing there.  So I really started to think about it and I suggested to my husband that I would like to go back to my old home fellowship.  He said he would go with me and try it.  So we started going as a family with my daughter.

One day I was telling my minister about my PCOS and he told me to pray for it.  I was shocked I never thought of doing that.  He said the bible is full of healings and promises that God will heal if you ask.

I had a chance to personally experience this when I got some bad news that I had pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and Endometrium.  I also was having signs of cervical polyups as well.  I was devastated.  As I was telling my husband what the Doctor said, he asked me, what should we do and I told him to just pray.

We did pray.  We prayed for my health and for everything to heal up.  I went in to the Doctors to have the tests done that would tell me if it was actually cancer or just abnormal cells.  They took 3 biopsies.  I had several abnormal spots.  They also checked for polyups because I had all the same signs I had the 2 previous times I had them.

I got my tests back and I had no polyups and all my biopsies came back great.  Some can say, I just didn't have them but I know I had some serious heath issues going on and I KNOW I had polyups.  I know for me personally, that God healed me and saved me.  As an added bonus, my PCOS symptoms are not as severe and I think they are going away more and more every day

I am glad for my gifts from God and I am glad I have found my faith again.

Here is my favorite verse right now: Matthew 21:22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Thank you for letting me share this with you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Journey Along with Me by Beth

So I have some great news to share!  Today, I graduated the PCOS Diva's Discover Your Diva Health Program.  It is a 6 month program that completely changed my life.  I am proud of myself today for all that I have accomplished in the last 6 months.

When I started her program, I was in that desperate state where I didn't know what to do.  I didn't believe everyone when they said I had to change my lifestyle to a more natural and physically active way.  I never thought it would work.  I was very wrong.  Within the first 3 months of working with her I had lost over 15 inches off the various parts of my body.  I am still losing at would give you a total today but I can't find my tape measure.  I will update you on that later when I find it.  That was also a big change.

I started her program with the goal of losing weight which I know is what a goal for most of is.  I ended the program with a "I don't give a crap about my weight" attitude.  I FEEL healthy.  I am working on my activity still and will continue to lose as time passes but I finally figured out that it's not about the weight.  It's about getting in touch with your inner Diva.  I know what my body needs now and how to take care of it.

It has been an amazing 6 months and this was definitely the lifestyle change everyone was talking about.  She is an amazing coach and I will forever be thankful to her for saving my life.  Because of her, I have found my self and I am happy for the first time in a long time.  I am proud of who I am and I do things everyday for ME.  She has taught me so much that I really could go on forever with this.  Biggest thing of all is I now KNOW how to be healthy.  I am on supplements and only one medication.  The health benefits are great.  I get my blood work done next week and I am excited to see the results.

Because of the PCOS Diva, I LIVE!


Here is my gift for graduating her program.  You can just see on my face how proud and happy I am.  I am no longer that woman that sits on her couch day after day feeling sorry for herself because nothing can help her.


Of course I also look like I'm point at my boobs, but I am actually pointing at the I'm a Diva.


Please take this blog post for what it is and understand that I do not get anything for telling you about the PCOS Diva and her program.  I am writing this post for ME because I am sharing what I am proud of accomplishing.  I talk about the PCOS Diva a lot because I believe in her program from first hand experience and think it's worth sharing those experiences with others.  Thank you for understanding.


For more information on the PCOS Diva, you can visit her website at http://www.pcosdiva.com or check her out on facebook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Join the Power Up for PCOS Network

What is the Power Up for PCOS Network?
The PCOS Network will help connect women with other women and professionals in their home state for the purpose of arranging get-togethers, activities and fundraising events.  All proceeds from our events and sales are donated to the inCYST Institute for Hormone Health which helps fund research about hormone disorders with a focus on alternative/nutritional/complementary treatments that are difficult to find funding for.

We are looking for members to join our group and to volunteer with special tasks such as event planning, crafts, promotion, brainstorming, photography, and more.  Have a talent that’s not listed?  We probably don’t know we need it yet, why not tell us?!

Members can choose how much time they are able to give.  You can choose to become a regular member that attends monthly tele-conference meetings and helps with the different projects going on or you can choose to be on a volunteer call list to help only when the needs comes up for your special talents.

Monthly meetings are held once a month (date and times to be determined) through a tele-conference call.

If you are interested in joining this network, please click here complete the form below.  If you have already completed the top portion of this form, I am sorry for the trouble.  We have changed how we are building our network and this is new information we need if you are looking to do something more with your PCOS journey.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 10

So this is it.  The last challenge of the Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge.  You all have done so amazing.  I could not be prouder of you.

Which brings me to some comments that I have read about this challenge.  Some have said that they are sad this challenge is ending.  Why does it have to end?  Why can't you just take over from here and challenge yourself every day.  Throughout this challenge, you have discovered lots about yourself and what you really need for your PCOS and for you as a person.  After this challenge is over, are you going to go back to the way things are?  OR are you going to continue to take action EVERY DAY?

For the last challenge, I would like you to reflect on the last 9 days and look at what you have discovered.  Then I would like you to do some journaling and goal planning.  Look at where you are right now in the different areas on your life and where overall you would like to be.  Then break it down into goals for 1 Month, 6 Months, 1 Year, 3 Years, 5 Years and 10 Years.  10 Years would probably be the overall you would like to be.

With as much trouble as most of us have had in the past, we need to be very forward focused.  It will keep up going and our passion focused in the right areas.

During this 10-day challenge, we have not only talked about PCOS but other areas of our life as well.  Make sure to include ALL areas of your life.

The most important tip about goal planning I can give you based on what I have experienced is to focus daily on those goals and to make sure you are actively doing this to keep it going forward.  I created a vision board of my goals and hung it right next to my bed so when I wake in the morning, it is the first thing I see.

This is your life and you will only get out of it what you put into it.  Let's put all we have into it so we can live the best life we can.

Please post an "I did it" or share your experiences with us.

After completing this challenge, please send an e-mail to Info@powerupforpcos.com with your full name.  Put in the subject line: PCOS certificate.

It was a pleasure throughout this journey working with you ladies and hearing about your experiences.  Please feel free to update us anytime on your progress.  You never know who you will inspire.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 9

I have been so inspired by the women that are taking this challenge.  I'm glad to know there are others out there that have found their own faith and beliefs.  I can honestly tell you there was some fear and uncertainty when writing yesterdays challenge but I pushed through and did it anyways because I felt that it was just as important as all the other challenges to our PCOS journey.  I'm very glad I did.  Thank you so much for sharing with me.

So we have 2 challenges left and I am just so moved by this commitment.  I know I keep saying that but I honestly am.  For this next challenge, I would like you to basically do the same thing as yesterday, mediate or contemplate for a short period of time.  This time is will be on mental/emotional health.

For a lot of women with PCOS, depression, anxiety or other mental/emotional health issues come along with it.  I personally had severe depression during my teenage years and right after I was diagnosed up until about February when I decided to start Power Up for PCOS.  I still have days where I just get dragged down or I just have weepy days.  I find that totally submersing myself into my Power Up for PCOS network and evolving that has helped me stay sane.  It gives me an area to focus my passion on instead of focusing on my emotions at the moment.

In my opinion, we PCOS women tend to be more emotional than others but we also are very passionate people because of it.  We should be aware of our emotions and mental health and how we can improve it in general and if we are having a rough day.

So that's the challenge, mediate or contemplate for 15 or more minutes quietly on where your mental/emotional health is, where you would like it to be and some of the things you can do for it.  After that, I would like you to pay particular attention to it all day and focus on having a peaceful relaxed day.  Even if you have lots to do as we all do, try to do it with ease and calmness.  See how much life get's better when you do that.

Just a side note too, the chemical that stress releases also makes our PCOS symptoms more pronounced so if we made it a priority to be less stressed, our PCOS wouldn't be as bad either.  I have formed the habit of telling my husband that I can't handle a particular task right night or I can't discuss something right now because my PCOS will get worse when I get stressed out.  Of course, we can't avoid things but waiting until I am calmer does help my PCOS AND it helps me deal with the issue at hand with a clearer head.

Good Luck Ladies and please post an "I did it" or share experiences to let me know you are participating.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 8

We are heading into the home stretch.  3 more challenges including this one.  You have done amazing.  You all should be very proud of yourselves.  You have EARNED the certificates coming your way.

Challenge 8 is another important aspect of our PCOS and health in general.  This post will touch everybody differently.

This challenge is to meditate on your spirituality.  Go into another room and spend some quiet time with your eyes closed and away from the world for 15 or more minutes.  Think about your current beliefs.  Do you believe in God?  What are your beliefs as far as healing goes?  This challenge is not to tell you, you need to go believe in God and everything will be great.  This challenge is intended to open up the mind and get you thinking about the possibility of a better way of living.  If you find you are completely satisfied with your beliefs, then that's great and you have completed the challenge.

So, let me share a little of what has happened to me.  I did not know any higher being or God growing up.  When I was a teenager, I found a teen home fellowship.  I went for a few years but didn't really follow the word of God or do much different.  Now, fast forward to just a few months ago.  My marriage was in deep trouble and I was kind of not going any further with my PCOS journey.  My husband and I watched the movie Fireproof and we contemplated on what that could do for our marriage.  We started believing in God and living by his word.  We started teaching our daughter all about God as well.  Instantly, my marriage as well as my PCOS journey started moving forward again.  My health has improved greatly.  I still have PCOS and i still have my problems but life has changed so much and brought so much more happiness since I became a believer.

So, this is my story.  We all have our own beliefs and our own journey's.  I truly believe that my faith has made me whole and changed my PCOS journey.  The challenge is to just meditate and contemplate on what your beliefs are and if there is anything you want to change about them.

Please reply with an "I did it" to let me know you are participating and feel free to share anything.  Good Luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 7

Great job on Day 6.  Hopefully you all found some great resources out there.  Thank you so much for taking a little bit of time out of your weekend to participate.

Challenge 7 is to create a list of 10 activities that you can do for JUST FUN.  If you like going to the gym that go ahead and ad it to the list, if you don't like it then don't put it on the list.  FUN STUFF!  Some sort of FUN activity that gets you moving.  Some examples that I like to do are: go to the park and just walk around, go on a walk on a walking trail, badminton with friends or family and yard hockey.

After you create your list, choose one activity off of your list and DO IT.  Aim for atleast 30 minutes.  Pay attention to how much fun you have.  Personally, I think of exercise as not fun and I tend to procrastinate about it as much as I can.  I like taking time with the family and finding something fun to do.  It's really takes the work out of exercise.  Another example is that Just Dance game for Wii.  My daughter loves that game so I leave it somewhere visible so she will ask me about it and we end up playing for over an hour easy.  I don't know about you, but if you really do the moves, it kicks your butt.  You don't realize it too much because your too busy having fun and probably laughing with eachother.

So that's it.  That's the challenge.  List 10 fun activities then do one.  Feel free to share your lists to encourage others as well.  Please respond with atleast an "I did it" to show you are participating.  Good Luck!

P.S. My daughter wanted me to add in that she always kicks my butt on Just Dance.  She thinks it's funny and I get to have a little competition with her trying to beat her.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 6

How did the whole/natural/organic eating go?  Hopefully everyone was able to do atleast 80% for the day.  Hopefully, we all saw the results in how our bodies and minds felt.  This is a great experience and I find it encouraging if I have a list of how I feel when I eat unhealthy food versus healthy food.

We are now half way through this challenge.  Great job to everyone participating.  You should really be proud of yourself.

For Challenge 6, we are going to do some research.  I would like each of you to research the web for PCOS sites.  I know there are a lot out there but not all are reputable and useful.  There are a few type of website that women with PCOS frequent.  One is forums or message boards.  Another is sites that we follow to keep up to date on PCOS related information.  Every woman with PCOS needs her "go to" places for accurate, dependable information when you have questions.

When looking for forums/message boards, keep in mind that some only serve the woman that just go to complain.  Try finding some that are uplifting and helpful.  We don't need more to bring us down.  I have recently switched to using facebook pages instead of forums.  One more thing to keep in mind, unless you see credentials, these people are not qualified to give you medical advice.  Take what they say as suggestions to research further and please talk to your doctor before actually doing anything that you question may be right.

When looking for sites to keep you up to date on the PCOS world, keep in mind that not all are going to give you accurate, proven information.  You don't know who is on the other side of that.  It could be a 15 year old girl just finding out about PCOS and posting everything she finds.  Nothing wrong with that but you may want to frequent the sites that are created by professionals like doctors, dietitians, nutritionists and such.  I personally frequent InCYST, PCOS Diva and Dr. Corey on Facebook.  I have a few others like Boston IVF and Natural Health International.  These are what sites I have researched to be credible and up to date in the PCOS world.  It is changing everyday as we learn more and more about this disease.  We need to find sites that are on top of this new information.

Even though I have told you where I go for my information, I would like YOU to research where you feel are great places to frequent.  Bookmark them so when something changes or you need to know more about something, you know where to go quick.  I know we have all googled PCOS symptoms and such.  I have seen numerous times, the same sites pop up with all the different searches.  If there is a place you keep landing for great information, bookmark it.  Simple.

Let's do it!  Feel free to share some of the great sites you have found with us all.  By the way, all the sites I mentioned are on the Power Up for PCOS facebook page under "likes".  I do not get credit or paid to brag about them, I am just sharing what has personally helped me.  You need to judge each site you find on your own to determine if it is useful to you.

Please respond with an "I did it" on the facebook post.  Good Luck!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 5

After this challenge we are officially half way through.  We are doing good.  We have lost some participants but those that have stuck it out are definitely putting their whole heart into this challenge.  Day 4 Challenge of possibilities were inspirational and amazing.  I thank each of you for sharing those with me.  Hopefully, this challenge opened your eyes that you CAN do these things.  I strongly believe that PCOS is very much a power battle to be won.  For the first portion, you feel like it has you and you can't do anything but once you turn the tables, everything gets so much easier and you feel so amazing inside and out.

On to Challenge 5.  This one is a good one and one that you will definitely agree is a challenge if your not used to doing this already.  I know that those of you that have stuck this out so far WILL put the same amount of heart into this that you have for all the other challenges.  I have faith in you that you CAN and WILL do this for ONE day!

For Challenge 5, I would like you to eat whole/natural/organic foods for 1 day.  I use the 80/20 rule.  80% of my food is whole/natural/organic and the other 20% is not terrible but not perfect either.  If I need food in a hurry and would normally go to fast food place, I make a stop at the grocery store instead.  Right as you walk in, they have fruits, veggies, and over near the blueberries section, I found a whole bunch of to go stuff.  Still be careful about what you are picking up.  My point is, this is possible even on the run.  Don't get me wrong, I still struggle with this.  This is something that I have worked hard on with my health coach, the PCOS Diva.

As you go about your day, write down your feelings here and there.  Try to notice if you feel more clear minded or if you have more energy.  Pay attention to your body.  The biggest thing I have accomplished has been to get in-tune with my body.  I know now that when I eat junk, I feel foggy and can't think clear.  I am tired and sometimes get a headache too.  I have become very aware of what's going on inside me.  It has helped me figure out which supplements I should be on, which foods my body needs right now and if I need to stop and take some me time.

So, there you go, eat whole/natural food atleast 80% (aim for 100% for atleast today to challenge yourself more) and journal some thoughts and feelings of what you feel going on.  We can do this!  I am right there with you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 4

I'm so proud of the ladies involved in this challenge.  You have proven you will not give up and you are committed.  You are now ready to be part of something bigger.  Which brings me to the Day 4 Challenge.

Day 4 is about possibility.  We do not realize what we are capable of until we are pushed to that point.  This is that point.  You have a choice right now to take your PCOS and DO something with it.

Let me give you a quick peek at how I did that.  I chose to do something for ME to get healthy so I said I was going to walk to raise money for research.  I knew that I was probably going to be the only one walking but I was going to do it anyways.  I found courage at my worst moment and that was what I needed to overcome all the obstacles in order to get this walk going.  I did not give up and I pushed through finding a place to donate the money to, where to have the walk, getting sponsors and so much more.  You can read more about my story here http://powerupforpcos.blogspot.com/2011/09/blessed-to-have-pcos.html

Now, let's get to the Day 4 Challenge.  Your challenge is to create a list of 10 big things you can do that would help you and others in the PCOS world.  Think of things that you would enjoy doing and you can find passion in.  I created a walk-a-thon and a PCOS Network that is helping women all over the world.  This started with just little old me deciding I was going to walk by myself to raise money for PCOS research.  Anything is possible.

Some examples are making PCOS awareness jewelry, knitting or crocheting PCOS items, becoming a Power Up for PCOS Network Representative in your state or holding a event like a cooking class.  Figure out what you would LOVE to do.  Then you could donate all proceeds to PCOS research.  We personally donate all proceeds to InCYST Institute for Hormone Health.  They were the only place out there I could find that actually did research and not just awareness.  FYI:  Read the history of why this institute started and it will bring you to tears.  It was because of my calls for my walk. http://www.incyst.com/2011/03/what-would-you-all-think-of-research.html

OK, back to the challenge.  So i'm not asking you to go out there and do all these things.  I'm just challenging you to create the list of possibilities.  My hope is that after this 10-Day Challenge, you will feel so inspired that you will actually go out and do one of these items on your list.  I know from my experience that the more I focus on helping others, the more I tend to focus on my PCOS as well.

Please post atleast an "Idid it"  Feel free to post your list as well as comments on here or Facebook.

My PCOS story - Holly M.


Holly M.
Day 2 Challenge- My PCOS Story

My PCOS story is just beginning. When I was 18 years old I started noticing that my periods were becoming irregular. I would go for months without a period. Out of concern, I went to see my doctor at the time who ran a Pap Smear and explained it away as just a hormone imbalace. Over the years the cycles would become more erratic or sporatic with no real indication on when it would start or stop. I started developing severe menstral pains so bad they would bring me to my knees. Heeding my doctors advice I chalked it up to nothing more than a hormonal imbalance and stress. I tried to deal with it as best I could.
 
Then, in December 2010 after 20 days of menstration I decided it was time to revist my doctor. Thankfully for me, I had switched doctors since my initial misdiagnosis. After a barrage of testing to rule out cancer, several blood tests, and a sonogram I was given life altering news. I had PCOS. Suddenly all of my peculiar annomolies made sense. The unsightly excessive body hair (remarkably it's all baby blonde, but still noticable nonetheless), the extra weight around the middle, the night sweats, the irregular menstrual cycles, the ovary pain, the baby fat in the face that never really seems to go away. My .sonogram had revealed so many ovarian cysts that my doctor didn't think my ovaries had released any eggs in years. I was labeled "barren" with a slim-to-none chance that I would ever produce offspring. Since I never saw children in my future to begin with, that last discovery hasn't impacted my life.
 
So at 33 years old, my PCOS story is just beginning. It's been quite an adventure so far, but I am glad I have found there are others like me who struggle in weight loss, are baffled at those pesky little hairs that seem to pop up in the oddest of places, play the medication management game, and seek new ways each day to better improve the quality of their life and live with PCOS.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My PCOS story - Shonda R.

Shonda R.
Day 2 Challenge- My PCOS story

High School for me was brutal.  I was overweight, awkward, and not like everyone else.  When I was 16, I was diagnosed with PCOS after going to the gynecologist because of irregular periods and “peach fuzz” that was rapidly growing on my face.  After my diagnosis, things got worse.  I gained more weight despite trying to lose it, and my peach fuzz was turning into a dark mustache that my parents refused to let me remove despite my pleas.  I was officially dubbed “the mustache lady” in my school and my humiliation carried with me to my adulthood.

I went through a period of my life where I had had enough of being overweight so I ended up not eating very much for three months…doing so resulted in me losing a lot of weight and finally feeling good about how I looked but what I didn’t realize is that I was making my PCOS condition worse.

Eventually, the weight started coming back on slow at first and then it seemed like all at once it was there and I weighed far more than I ever had in my life.

I was going through some aggravations with my Dr because nothing seemed to work to help me and my condition and she was extremely insensitive to my feelings.  I ended up leaving her and that started my on again off again fight with myself to even go to a Dr. to help treat PCOS.

Several years went by and despite having finally lost 100 pounds on my own with determination and hard work, I was still grossly overweight and I had finally hit my plateau.

Recently, I got married and we have been talking about starting our family but have not had any success at all.  On July 18th, I started a cycle that still to this day has not ended (October 11).

This concerned me so I made an appointment with a new Gyno that I was referred to.  I went today for my appointment where I found out that I was going to have a biopsy because she thought I was showing signs of either pre-cancer or cancer.  I now have to wait until the results come back before knowing what my future holds.

Prior to today I have been in PCOS denial.  Telling myself that no matter what, I will get pregnant and have children all the while not being honest with my own fears and allowing myself to prepare for what I had to face today.

All I’ve ever wanted was to be a Mom.  I am determined that one day I will be and have finally accepted that adoption is the way that I am meant to take.  It is my only desire and dream to help other women like me who are unsure, scared, and don’t know what way to turn.  Being aware of the disease and knowing your options are two very important things I have learned this last year.  Though I may never be rid of the disease, I can and will control it.  It is in my power to change my life and control my future…it is in your power to do so with your life as well…will you?

My PCOS story - Holli R.

Holli R.
Day 2 Challenge- My PCOS story

I was 8 years old and came home from school one day and told my mom that I was bleeding from “down there.” My dad freaked! My mom went and bought me some pads. From then on I would always tell me mom when I needed to go to the store for “that”, as I described it. My periods have always been abnormal. They were either really heavy or really light. At the young age of 15 I was raped and ended up pregnant. I did have an abortion. Before anyone asks, yes it is hard to live with at times but it was not my decision. My parents are the ones that said it was in my best interest. I went to an Ob/Gyn. It was then I was diagnosed with PCOS. My doctor told me that I would never have kids and gave me Metformin. I was taking it for a few weeks when I noticed I was really nauseated from it. I called my doctor to tell him and he said to stop taking it, so I did. I was really uncomfortable with him the whole time I was a patient in that office. In 2008, I married the best man in the world. As a result of getting married I ended up changing insurance companies which means a change in doctors. My current Ob/Gyn is amazing. She didn’t act like she was the best of the best. She talked to me through my first PAP with her. She also explained to me in English, not doctor talk that my struggle with weight was due to the PCOS as well as the abnormal periods. From then on we made plans and I made notes. I explained to her that we really want to have a baby. I also let her know about the other problems that I have been going through with my periods. She knew that having a baby was very important to my husband and me. For two and a half years I would have periods that would last two days to six months. I was then prescribed Megace to stop the bleeding for the next month. She then gave me a prescription for Provera to induce a period and Clomid to stimulate ovulation. I was also to get at home ovulation tests, so I did. I did 3 rounds of this at different times throughout the year. Then, I started to get these painful contractions in my lower pelvic area but I continued like always. So after several rounds of no ovulation, even with the medication my doctor decided to go one step further. In early December, I was in so much pain from the contractions that I just couldn’t take it anymore. My doctor recommended we check for Endometriosis. She also did a PAP and saw that my uterine lining was too thick. With all that said it was time to move on to step two. Step two took me to the hospital for surgery. At the ripe young age of 23 I went in for my very first surgery ever; Laparoscopic surgery for the Endometriosis and a D & C for the thick lining this past January. From January to the beginning of August I was fine…no pain! September comes around and the contractions return. I go back for yet another PAP and that shows “normal.” My doctor tells me she has done all she can do and refers me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Now we move onto step three. Since I don’t trust my body to just anyone I do a little research on this doctor. I found out that this doctor, female, specializes in PCOS. On my first visit to her, my doctor, my husband and I made plans and asked questions. She said that the contractions were due to the lining building up over time because I wasn’t having regular periods. She first suggested that I go back on birth control and we do an intravaginal ultrasound and a biopsy on my endometrium. I started the birth control last month. I am getting ready to start my second pack. Today, 11 Oct 2011, I went back to see my doctor. The ultrasound showed that the lining was “normal.” She also looked at my ovaries; she was unable to see the right ovary. She did state that my left ovary looked good and did not look polycystic. The biopsy on the other hand was the most painful thing I have gone through thus far in my life. I have to wait 7-10 days for the results of the biopsy. I will inform every one of the results when I get them. If anyone wants to talk or have questions about any of the above please feel free to contact me. I will be glad to share with you how I worked through the guilt of the abortion several years after it happened.

My PCOS story - Nicole T.

Day 2 Challenge- My PCOS story
Nicole T.

My name is Nicole T and this is my story. In January of 2009 my husband and I miscarried a child we had been trying to conceive for 10 months. We were devastated. The doctor at the hospital said he saw no reason we wouldn't be able to conceive again easily. Unfortuantely, he was wrong. My periods started coming later. I went from a 30 day cycle to a 47 day cycle until October of 2009. They just stopped. I took many pregnancy tests only to get negative results. I was so frustrated and confused. I spent hours researching the reasons you would skip a period without a pregnancy to no avail. I couldn't find anything that stuck out like, yeah, that's what is going on with me. In 7 months I had gained about 30 pounds which seemed odd to me, but I figured it was because I was still greiving. So around the end of December, my period finally showed up. And then for the next 8 months, it played the same game of being random and 2 or 3 months late. I started getting hot flashes. I became unnecessarily mean. I couldn't sleep. I was so frustrated and nothing seemed to be working right in my body. I felt out of control, and that freaked me out. I started to think I was starting menopause at 29. In Septmeber of 2010, I had the worst period of my life! I was vomiting from the pain. I was passing clots. I couldn't understand why this was happening and at the time, neither my husband or I had a job- not to mention insurance. So I just dealt with it, thinking it would work itself out. My period went back to being random. I would go months without it or a month or two with it. In December of 2010, I quit smoking after 15 or more years of the habit. Apparently, my quitting opened the flood gates on my hormones. I became violently angry, even at the smallest thing. I couldn't control how mad I got. It seemed like when I got mad, I was ready to kill! It got to the point that I didn't even like myself anymore. And although I have an incredibly patient and understanding husband, I am really surprised I am still married. Finally, we were in a position to be able to afford to go to the doctor. I had some hormone panels done and found that I showed signs of having PCOS. I was then scheduled for an ultrasound which resulted in the doctors finding some cysts. My doctor refered me to a hormone specialist. A wonderful doctor who said basically what he could do for me was prescribe me clomid if I wanted kids or birth control if I didn't. He said the rest was up to me. That controlling PCOS meant making lifestyle changes which included a better diet and exercise. He didn't get too deep into it, though. So I decided to take the clomid. Since the loss of my angel, having kids is all that I have wanted in my life. The first month went okay, but my hormones seemed to have gotten more out of wack. My doctor said that it was normal. I didn't conceive, but I did ovulate the first month. So I gave the clomid another shot. The second month wasn't without side effects. I was vomiting. I had abdominal pain, hot flashes, and I couldn't sleep. And somehow it seemed worse than it had been in the past. I stopped my treatment with clomid. I decided to do my own research on PCOS. I came across several good websites... an entire community of women that shared in my misery. I found out that the low glycemic diet is a good basis for someone with PCOS as well as several herbal supplements and vitamins that would help with symptoms of the disorder. I decided that my health was first and foremost and if I conceived along the path, then I would be happy. I started charting my temperatures- not necessarily for conception purposes, but more to be sure that my hormones and my body is doing what it should be. I have not felt this good in years! I am happier, more mellow, I have more energy and I am sleeping better. I have ovulated every month since I was first diagnosed. I have lost 25 pounds and gone from a size 24 to a size 16. I had started walking 2 or 3 times a week and now I am doing Zumba classes for 1 hour 2 times a week. I feel so much more like myself than I ever have, I think. I am so thankful for finally knowing what I have and how to make myself better. Now, I am looking forward to conceiving my first child. I no longer feel like it is out of my reach!

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 3

Great job on Day 2.  You have proven that you will not give up when giving a harder task to accomplish.  I will post your stories soon.  Don't forget to respond with "I did it" to show us all you participated.

Day 3 is probably one if the easiest.  Join the Power Up for PCOS Network.  The purpose of this challenge is for you to take an active role in your PCOS support from others.  Our network is currently designing training programs to train representatives in each state to hold educational support groups, events like the walk-a-thon we just had here in Nashua, NH and so much more.  You will develop a support network of your own with other women where you live.  You will gain some valuable friendships along the way too as I have.  You have a choice right here and now to be a part of that.  I have seen posts and comments everywhere that people want to know what PCOS events are out there and that they want support groups.  Here's your chance!  Be active!

We will start training shortly after the new year and we will start with the states that have the most interest first so if you want to be one of the first states trained, let's get people signed up.  At the moment, we have people in almost every state, we are definitely on our way.

You can join our Network by going to http://www.powerupforpcos.com and clicking on PCOS Network.

If you are ready to take on the challenge of becoming a representative then e-mail you information to  info@powerupforpcos.com.

Hint: tomorrow focus' on possibility and it will be so much fun.

My PCOS story - Megan M.

Megan M.
Day 2 Challenge- My PCOS story

It is hard to know where to begin so I will start with a brief background.  I was the last girl in my class to start my period and have never had regular cycles since then. One of the most frustrating aspects of this journey is that my obgyn would never listen to me! I can remember being as young as 13 telling my doctor “something is wrong with me and I am afraid I won’t be able to have kids when I grow up.” The doctor always just hushed me and told me it was normal to never have regular cycles. One weekend in collage I even had severe pain that the doctor said was likely a cyst rupturing. I asked if I needed an ultrasound to figure out what was going on but they said it was normal. I was placed on birth control pills several times growing up to regulate my cycles, but the side effects were so severe that I finally threw them away (one of the best things I’ve ever done.)

I got married in May 2008 around the same time my husband convinced me to toss that birth control. We figured I would get pregnant within a few months. Two years later, I really started to worry. I researched what could be wrong and pretty much diagnosed myself with PCOS and then begged my doctor to do more testing. After an ultrasound and blood work, I was diagnosed in June 2010. I was placed on metformin and then took clomid…50 mg, then 100 mg, then 150 mg. Each time resulted in no ovulation and crushed hopes.
I changed doctors and went to a fertility specialist. This doctor performed ovarian drilling and a D & C in October of 2010. Then he placed me on two rounds of femara, which unfortunately also resulted in no ovulation.  This doctor said our chances for ever conceiving were 0-4%.

           Receiving this news was devastating. It was then that we decided to see another doctor who promoted a charting system that reveals vast amounts of information about a woman’s cycle. He tested my glucose levels, which ended up being fine and I got off the metformin. I have been charting for 8 months now, and we know more about my cycle than I ever have in my life (If you are interested its called the Creighton Model.) I also just had a surgery done called ovarian wedge resection and are waiting to see if it can correct my cycles…and so far so good.

          Looking back over the past 3 + years, it has been tough. But I am proud of myself and my supportive husband! We have come so far since I was first diagnosed. Initially, I felt like the world was caving in and that I was doomed to have diabetes and never have children.
However, I have taken this PCOS thing in my own hands. My husband and I have always eaten fairly healthy, but after doing a lot of research on nutrition and PCOS, we have drastically changed our diet- no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or anything processed.  And we mostly buy organic meats, chicken, milk, etc. It is amazing how good my body feels after making these slight changes. As a registered dietitian, I have decided I want to commit my practice to helping as many women as I can to take charge of their fertility and health through proper nutrition. Exercise is also crucial, and I commit several days a week to going to the gym or getting outside and walking. I have found yoga to be an excellent stress reliever. I have also grown in my spiritual life, and I am learning patience and trust in God’s timing.

          There was a time when I was ashamed or embarrassed to tell people about PCOS, but now I would shout it from a mountain. I have overcome the anger, guilt and shame, and I feel empowered that I can make choices in my life to control this. It is crucial to get the word out to help those suffering in silence or who may not even know they have PCOS. It takes a strong woman to fight this, and I am excited to be a part of groups like Power Up for PCOS to connect with others.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 2

Woo Hoo! Day 1 accomplished.  So many of you posted your results.  This was such an important step in our journey.  Don't ever be afraid to talk about your PCOS.  For me, it has made this journey move forward instead of holding me back.

Now on to Day 2.  Tuesday's challenge is to share your PCOS story.  This is important to show where we were or are at the moment so we can look back and see how far we have come.  I shared my PCOS story on this blog and I look back to about a year ago and I am just amazed at how far I have come.  Make sure as your sharing your story to include emotional heath as well as physical and even spiritual.  This is YOUR story and this should be the last time you are in this place.  From this moment on, you are moving on in your journey.  You are taking charge of your future and you PCOS.  During the rest of this 10 day challenge, you will be working on looking forward and MOVING forward.

To share your story, please e-mail it to info@powerupforpcos.com  You do NOT need to include your full name.  Just your first name and last initial.  No other contact information will be included.  I will post your story on this blog.

I have now decided as well that since we are all doing this challenge together and working so hard on our new path, we deserve to be rewarded.  Everyone that completes all 10 challenges will receive a personalized certificate e-mailed to them which they can print out and frame. At the end of the challenge when you have completed all challenges, please e-mail your first name and last name to info@powerupforpcos.com also included in the subject: PCOS Certificate.

Good Luck in Day 2 and have fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge - Day 1

Welcome to the Power Up for PCOS 10-Day Challenge.  I'm very excited for the journey we are about to embark on.  Even though it is only 10 days, they will all be very important challenges for our PCOS and will have such a dramatic effect on our lives.

I will post challenges the evening before so you have time to prepare yourself.  Most do not require you to get anything, it is just doing things.

So, here it is!  The first challenge is to go tell 3 people that you have PCOS.  That's it!  You are probably one of two people right now.  You are either thinking to yourself, what's so big about that or you are thinking, NO WAY!  Hopefully, instead of thinking that way, you are thinking, wow, that's great, I can't wait.

So what's the big deal about telling 3 people about your PCOS?  It is so important to talk about your PCOS OUTLOUD.  From my personal experience, it was difficult at first to talk about my PCOS.  I didn't want everyone thinking, oh my, that's why she has those tiny black hairs on her chin or oh my, that's why she's overweight.  We need to get over this thinking.  When I finally got over my fear and started talking about it, I found out people all around me have it and I never knew.  There is nothing to be ashamed about in our PCOS.  So what, I have tiny black hairs on my chin.  Ooh, big deal.  Move on!

What are the benefits of talking about your PCOS?  First, you get over fear and you finally get to the point where you don't care what people think.  Second, you may end up helping someone get diagnosed or feel not so alone our there with their PCOS and so much more.

So that's the big first challenge.  Go out there and tell 3 people about your PCOS.  Let them ask questions and try to answer them if you can.  Tell them a little blurb about it, like the fact that it effects 1 in 5 women or something like that.  Maybe mention some of the symptoms.

I will be doing this 10 Day challenge right along with you.  Please post your experiences, even just a "I did it" on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/powerupforpcos
For some reason, blogger is not letting everyone post, just a few here and there.  I can't even comment on it myself.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blessed to have PCOS by Beth Wolf

How can I be blessed to have PCOS?  I took a death sentence and turned into a life journey to find myself and God.

Here is my personal PCOS story:
     As I was growing up, I always had issues with my monthly cycle.  It was never regular and they couldn't find out why.  I went on birth control and then went on the depo shot.  I coudn't get pregnant either.  I finally ended up getting pregnant by chance in 2003 and had my daughter in 2004.  After I had her, things got a lot worse.  I couldn't lose the pregnancy weight, my cycle's were all screwed up.  Either I had no period or I had a period all the time for months.  I had some other not so great symptoms that we women don't like to talk about much.  I had HAIR (OH NO!) in bad places.  I had other symptoms as well but the weight, periods and hair were the most depressing.  Oh, yeah, I forgot the depression and anxiety.  I was actually diagnosed bi-polar but it went away the next day.  Get that!  Turns out your hormones have a lot to do with how you act.  I would have never known.
     OK, so on to the serios stuff.  In 2008, after being un-diagnosed for years, I was told I had PCOS. I spent the next few years sitting on my behind feeling sorry for myself. I felt like I was the only one out there and I had no hope of a better life.  My symptoms got worse and I just felt like dying.  I also found out I had Polyups which made things even worse than they already were.  I went in for 2 D&C's to get rid of the polyups.  Nothing was changing, I was alone and there was not hope.
     I sat there day after day thinking what I could do to change this.  i saw women post about how they were getting healthy to get pregnant and I definitely wanted more children but it just wasn't enough motivation to make me do something about my PCOS.  Then all of a sudden, I figured out what could motivate me to get off the couch. I would start a walk-a-thon to raise money for PCOS research and awareness. I didn't care if I was the only one out there walking. I told all my friends and family as well as posted it everywhere before I could change my mind. Then I went in search of somewhere to give my money to. I could find nothing. I was turned down by several places including a hospital. The hospital had told me that pcos wasn't a sexy enough disease to raise money for.  They considered cancer their sexy disease because it has touched everyone.  1 in 5 women have pcos, how can that not be enough to raise money for?  I was frustrated and gave up.
     A few months later, I received an e-mail asking me if I was still doing the walk and if I could give them a pledge form because they wanted to walk with me. I felt re-newed knowing there is someone else out there that wanted this. During my crazy moment of trying to figure out how to tell them I couldn't do it, my dear husband went in search of places to donate for PCOS. He found an article about a research foundation that was started because of my contacting all these places when I had originally decided to walk. I was amazed, overwhelmed and a wreck (in a good way). I couldn't believe that just little old me could spark something like that to happen. The article was by Monika Woosley and she started the InCyst Institute for Hormone Health. She created it to helps fund research about hormone disorders with a focus on alternative/nutritional/complementary treatments that are difficult to find funding for. I contacted her right away and she put me in touch with other people in my area that could be of help for my walk. Before long, we even had a hospital telling us they would sponsor us. I was amazed at all this happening so quickly.
     I look back now to where I was not even a year ago and I think to myself, I am PROUD!  I feel like a new person and I feel like I can inspire others to make changes in their lives.  At this point in my journey, I cannot say I have managed my PCOS but I feel I am on the right path and will be there very shortly.  I am so in tune with my body now and I can feel it inside.  I understand that this does not make my PCOS go away.  There is no cure.  You can take those words and do what you wish with them.  I chose to make my PCOS into a positive thing for me.  Now I go to my PCOS support group and choose to tell everyone I meet that I have PCOS.  When they ask, I have no shame telling them all about the symptoms it causes and to make them aware of how many women have it.  They are always shocked but I always think to myself, what if someone they know has those symptoms and they end up telling them to ask their Dr. about PCOS.  Then i would have helped someone get diagnosed that might now have been.
     When I go to these events, I meet so many amazing women that I relate to with-in a second of meeting.  They inspire me everyday that there is a silver lining on this cloud.  Now I look to the future and what I can do to make this world easier on my daughter and future children that may or may not have PCOS.  I will fight the battle now so they can have peace later with PCOS.
     Along this journey, I also found God which has helped me through so much of this.  I thank him for guiding me to be open, honest and confident to take on this challenge of spreading the word and hope about PCOS.