Disclaimer, right up front: this topic is a bit tough for me to talk about and it’s a little fresh in my mind, but I knew I wanted to write about it, because it’s a huge step on my path to wellness. Please keep that in mind if you decide to read on.
Earlier this week, I went to the doctor for an annual check up. This was a new doctor (new job, new insurance, yay!) so we had to go through medical history and all that. We came to a question that I honestly don’t even remember now. But I brought up my on going issues with acne.
I explained that I’d been dealing with acne for a long time and was hoping she could help me find some answers. She offered birth control first as an option. I know I don’t want to take that – to those who take it for the benefits of getting rid of acne, that’s great, but not what I want – I told her that I don’t want to cover up the symptoms, but I want to find out what the root of the problem is and treat that. She said okay, and started digging a little deeper, asking other questions like, “any abnormal hair growth, like on your chin?” and “any sudden fluctuations in weight?” and “what’s your menstrual cycle like? heavy? light? non-existent?” and “how long have you had acne?” After answering these questions (“not really?” and “not really, sort of?” and “heavy for one, maybe two days, then that’s pretty much it.” and “since I was 11.”), the doctor then said she would have a nurse draw blood to complete some testing. I answered these questions pretty averagely – and it’s likely because I have no other baseline to draw from to compare. I assumed that the amount of hair on my chin and jawline was normal, but after the doctor looked, she said, “yeah, it’s kinda long.” I thought that the average number of days in my cycle being between 30 and 35, with outliers like 28 and 45, wasn’t awful (and by the way, it’s definitely not) but the fact that it can vary so frequently can be a symptom. My point being – just because the answers to these questions aren’t in the extreme doesn’t mean something isn’t quite right. There were some other questions, but I’ll spare those ones – if you are answering these questions similarly to me, feel free to ask me about the other, slightly too personal for the Internet to know about me, questions. Long story short, based on my answers, I’m going to be tested for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), any sort of thyroid problem, as well as the levels of bound and unbound testosterone in my system, to see if one of these things could be the underlying issue.
Total honesty: I’m an even mix of worried but also excited. I am looking forward to finally (hopefully) having an answer, a diagnosis, that I can work with and treat, instead of flailing about in the dark. But I am also really worried, because these aren’t just average, easy to fix problems, and I haven’t done enough research to say comfortably that I understand how to start treating these problems.
I debated about writing about this for a little bit, mostly because this is pretty personal, and I share these posts on social media – meaning a lot of people I don’t necessarily keep in touch with closely are given a link on Facebook that says, “read me!” But I also realized that there could be someone I don’t keep in close contact with who might be dealing with some of these problems too, but doesn’t really recognize these symptoms are related. I hope I can be a little help to someone out there like that.
This is a huge step in my journey toward well being – because this issue, whatever it may be, could be the root for a lot of the other issues I experience – even the digestive problems. I want to be able to share the updates as I move forward and figure out what’s wrong. Not to mention, support from friends (and strangers) is always nice to have.
Anyone else have problems like these? Any advice you can give to someone biting their nails in anticipation, waiting for results?