Friday, January 10, 2020

It Is A Curious Thing- To Own A Body and Not Just Be a Spirit . ( Dyspraxia, Autism, Chronic illness Ponderings)

It is a curious thing- to own a body- to not just be spirit but flesh, bone, neurones and muscles . To feel symptoms and wonder what is and is not legitimate. It is a curious thing to be entrapped yet also set free from the expression that is presented to the world of what one is.

The outer sometimes mixes with the inner and at other times it is completely at odds with what is being presented. At least that is how it feels to me. I can not figure out what parts of my confusion are dyspraxia and what parts are chronic illness or autism. Existence is confounding at times.

I feel as if I'm a cold ghost then all at once I am encompassed by fiery reality. It's a bewilderment when I catch my reflection, eyes sparkled, when I am expecting to see a dreary pale, face from a time of pain. Whom is this? Is this what the world sees? At other times I expect to see joy or beauty and I am shocked to find a shell staring back. But how? She felt such glimmers inside- where is the proof of it? How does the reflection seem to be so disparate from the inner mind of self?

The truth slants. It slides around on cement instead of absorbing into the porous, empty spaces. Like wax in a bag coating an injured foot, the heat contains but does not soak like water. It stays and hardens, creating a mould that when peeled off is a pile of mush instead of a cast of what was. Yet, somewhere there was magic. If, perhaps, magic is tiny bits of healing?

Orange and chocolate flake from forbidden muffins. Cream cheese absorbed, present but not shown. Yet, it teases the tongue with it's hidden charms. Are we not the same?

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, they swirl and become parts. Some manifest in pain while others are surprised, frozen joy. Lanterns hide the shadows as much as they brightly shine. Delicious delight in a forbidden night. Or foreboding in the midst of delight. It goes either way.

Unlocked words, locked up movement folded into one human soul. Pain is subjective yet true. How does one judge?

I find myself asking for help when healing is easy, and forgetting to ask when it is needed. Befuddled. Aid can often also disturb on a soul level. Rare, is it that aid is pure. Often it leaves me feeling like I'm covered in a white gown splattered with specks of dirt. Noxious is the nightshade of doubt.

Yet, there! There in that raw, overworked knuckle is hope in packed, hot fabric. Suction cups that are supposed to be pinching soothe. Perplexed healers. Why? They ask. Why do you feel fine when you should feel pain? Why do you feel pain when you should feel fine? Soft tissues, mysterious organ and visceral pain, smooth muscle and firing neurons sending wrong signals or perhaps they are right? Who is to say?

Lace out of fashion yet delicate stories embroidered as snowflakes. Bitter coffee spills, awakens, enlivens and ruins. Yellow splotches forever stay. Is the lace story any less valuable? Was the coffee the perpetrator or an innocent in it's own journey?

Sometimes I am the Diva and sometimes I am more passive than I should be. Sometimes my prison is my freedom because it enables me to see, to write, to be, to ponder or notice the small joys. And sometimes my freedom is my prison because I fool myself into believing it can be my every day. I grasp the freedom of 'normalcy' and soon after it becomes my personal bullet in the foot. It shatters the bones of illusions with cracked certainty. The doctors set 'what should be' back and nothing is the same again. Each time I think it will be fine it is not. When I think it is not fine - it is. I am Alice yet look in the glass at Kmarie. Is it important what I see? Is that a reflection of me? Is it important what you see? Does that factor into me?

How can I be so sure of myself on one hand but completely unsure of the next? That is what paradoxes do at times. This is how chronic illness undermines. Disability doubt. Mixed messages of acceptance and conformity.

I will not lie about it. I will not say something is that is not. I will not feel what I can not. I do know this. But that sometimes is all I know. What world do I live in where a gift that makes a face light up is not allowed because it is thought of as a bribe by establishment? Why is innocence so easily trampled, squelched, lost? Yet the gritty is lauded and applauded. Especially if it is attached to the 'righteous'? How do I embrace such paradoxes? I suppose since I myself am a paradox, it should be easier? Should's and could's do not change the world but how pretentious is it if I think I can be that change?

Yet, life is for the living. So that is what I must do. At least that part, for what is now, is as real as it is true.

Song Choice: Show Yourself- Idina Menzel

Saturday, December 28, 2019

People "As Trees", Ageism, Grace in Each Stage, Christmas and Yule.

Over the Holidays strangers, old friends, in laws, close family, new friends, and acquaintances often pop into our normal routine. This year some advice changed these interactions into magical affairs (for the most part.)

"...You see all these different trees... some of them are evergreens and some of them are whatever and you allow it. You see what it is - the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn't get enough light, and so it turned that way and you don't get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans you lose all of that. And you are constantly saying, "You are too this, or I'm too this." That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are."

I had to google whom Ram Dass (the speaker of the quote) was but I read this quote randomly and it hit hard. Often wisdom can come from people we wouldn't completely agree with nor fully support or maybe we simply have no idea what they stand for but quote them anyway ( like I just did.) There is still beauty. Just like the trees. I have not read a Ram Dass book yet his advice arrived at the right time. The same day I read a quote that basically asked the reader to allow their inner daisy (being yourself) to shine on every interaction and see how different the end of the day could feel with that mindset. I put the two together and asked myself, "If I could look at the people I invite into my home as trees, in the fact that they just ARE what they are, I would not judge them based on their facts- especially for one night. If I could view them this way, then allow myself to just BE, and purposefully try, when I can, to spread light and joy...or at the very least a bit of love or the gift of being SEEN for a moment in time to them, would my experience be any different? Would theirs?"

I can not testify to their experiences but I can to mine. I have three conditions related to my cycles. PCOS, Endometriosis and my new diagnosis of Adenomyosis (with Anemia). With these I bleed heavily and feel awful amongst other things. Christmas happened upon my worst day of my cycle and the days surrounding were not much better. Despite this, I woke with a tenacity to try my experiment. To show up in the best ways I could. I also took rest and respite in the down times. With the mindset above and gritty determination, I had the best possible Christmas in my personal scenario. It will go down on record as one of my favourites so far. I noticed minute details of people I often overlooked in pain moments. I stopped and allowed myself to BE and others to BE also. I put aside my self conscious weight conundrum (mostly) and realized I am whom I am no matter what weight. Thus I acted the same as when I feel skinny or fit. People I don't generally get along with, became tolerable...even enjoyable. When they were trees (metaphorically speaking) and when I viewed myself through a similar lens, it was easier to just appreciate what was and what is.

Part of being myself is honouring what is important to me and vocalizing this to people I know can handle it. (Not all can.) I took a leap with my sister a few months ago which led to her knowing the importance of the Yule celebration in my life (and subsequently my family's.) She surprised me with a text the week before asking if she could plan out Yule, decorate, make food and have us over. It was one of the highlights of my year.

Typically I despise Charades due to being an Aspie and past teen horrors, but we tried it that evening with just my children, husband and sister and I found that games can be fun in safe spaces. Spaces that are infused with mutual trust and allow for awkwardness. We ate nourishing soup my mother made and a Yule log my youngest son made with his Pappa. My parents did not join the after dinner festivities (which was just as well due to the nature of our celebrations) but it was nice to include them in the prequel...and due to my sister's new found knowledge on my self she bought me a SORTING HAT from Harry Potter for Christmas. Apparently my reaction was priceless!

Someone recently remarked that perhaps perspective is about "growing up." While I understand that rhetoric, it did not sit well with me. If I look back to my past self, I would not expect her to grow up before her time. She was what she WAS and was the best version of what she could be, with what she had. Youth also gave her a unique perspective. Maybe she was more volatile with the passion of youth? Perhaps she was a little impulsive or hasty in comment? Maybe her perspectives were still growing? Yes, she had plenty to learn but isn't that the beauty of youth? There is time. There is a cushion of protection to make mistakes, try new theories, even become a zealot for awhile in the idealized passion of change. Youth allows change, boundaries, slip ups and living without fear of the passages of time. Youth helps create the world.

This fact does not negate the beauty of middle aged perspective or the wisdom of old age or crone hood (a term we should resurrect as good and respectful.) Youth brings it's gifts and eventually, if one is lucky, experience and life turn into mid life and then onward. The gifts of life may change. Sometimes one needs to mourn in order to change, but to dismiss what came before, or to see youths as less than, seems arbitrary.

I was recently dismissed as novice in a new pursuit. I AM a novice to a degree, but that does not mean I am idiotic, do not have new perspectives to add to the conversation, or do not have wisdom. At any age we can be dismissed by others older or younger. I don't feel this is the way to go. We ALL have to be younger before older and if we are lucky, we all will eventually be older too. To dismiss, demean, or judge based on age negates the beauty, the incredible privilege of each age...and can turn any aged person into a sour shell of what they could be. Novice, naiveté and innocence bring their own gifts.

I have changed for better and worse. Mostly it renders neutral. Christmas is an excellent example of this. In my youth I experienced even more magic in one sense but I was also was more stringent about what I expected to experience with family and friends. I craved acceptance but was purely un filtered. Two options that did not always match. As I am in midlife now, I find that I am filtered a bit more and have that acceptance to a degree. It's not better or worse. It just IS. In some aspects life is easier, in others it is tougher. I may fluctuate as the seasons do and I have learned this is also part of being.

There is one thing that makes life easier as it progresses and that is the intricate lessons we take with us as we grow. 'Life hacks' so to speak. Age doesn't bring it necessarily, but often it can be a by product of age. I know older people who have regressed or forgotten that they can still grow. I have seen children at age four learn life hacks and lean into their lessons.

With these lessons I now can view people who found me disruptive or not worthy, mostly neutrally. It took a lot of work, but with new perspectives, I now see what once hurt as mostly a turn of perspective or circumstance. I can see now, why some family/friends found me hurtful, upsetting, or insulting. I can also see how I wasn't truly in most regards, but that does not change how I came across. Thus, it is easier to forgive those mindsets and also to apologize for hurt caused even if I do NOT need to give an apology for whom I was or the choices I made. There is a fine line that we all must choose to walk if we want some degree of harmony or friendship and it involves being respectful enough to extend apologies even when we do not fully understand how we hurt, but to also OWN our stories and live unapologetic within those. It's tough. I don't always find the line. Sometimes I find the line in retrospect. If that is the case I forgive myself for coming across in a way that ultimately caused hurt for myself or others and realize my best apology is probably behavioural change. Sometimes it also includes a verbal form of peace but also an acceptance in myself that it was what it WAS and I know without a doubt I did my best with what I had.

I wrote to my mother over Christmas that I wanted to age gracefully. Which doesn't mean that I won't have moments of bitterness, trauma, grief or pain. What I meant is, that I do not wish to be stuck in myself so much for prolonged periods without embracing change, differences or allowing what is to BE while still fighting for what should be at times. But mostly, I want to be a person my children or grandchildren wish to be around in some shape or form. Maybe I will be the 'reading grandmother' or the one who has outrageous ideas to talk about? I am not saying to be traditional, acquiescing, trampled on or harmonizing for the simple sake of conformity. What I am saying is that, I want to be true to myself but also temper reactions or perspectives to see others too, so that they wish to invite me to their occasional gatherings or visit me.

The last few months in my life have had both magic and mayhem. There has been gasping physical pain in which I have been on the floor wondering if I would die from it at times. But then, I have also had so much beauty. Sometimes they go together. At other times they could not be more opposite in time and space. There has been exhaustion and energy, toxicity and empowerment, insight and lessons, relationship and disintegration. That is just life. I am honoured to be a part of it. I wish to have many more years of this human experience. There is a time for judgment and a time to let go of the judging. If we have the honour of many years on this planet, we will hopefully circulate through these stages many times with new lessons or fresh perspectives. Hopefully with a bit of grace with those we love. And grace for ourselves when we inevitably fumble, stumble and shut out or down of necessity. But we WILL be the judger and sometimes we need to be, to activate change within or without, but if we get stuck too much in that pattern it's nasty. We may also become the doormat which sometimes is necessary to find our new path, but when stuck too long in that pattern it becomes depressing. There are places and spaces that are appropriate to talk about our pain or are safer and there are others that we must hide. It is impossible to be safe everywhere. At the same time it is good to fight for more safe spaces. Sometimes I'm the advocate and sometimes I am blissfully unaware. The world needs both unbridled innocence and critical thinking. Freedom recognizes the dance of opposites and paradoxes.

On the night of Yule, the six of us gazed through the large back deck windows and watched the large flakes of snow slide past. The lanterns and twinkle lights reflected in the glass. The candles flickered while the stove pleasantly crackled. We had moments of silence, where we simply just basked in each other's presence. My heart was full. I love Christmas even though we have had some tough ones. I can't help but feel the unified magic to a degree. I adore Yule. I am in love with Midwinter.

Midwinter is a tricky season of repression, hibernation, struggle and cold mixed with hygge, sharp beauty, community and gifting. To me, it represents daily life on a larger scale. Freedom embraces paradox. Joy is in the simple. Love is found where it is often lost ... in a different form or perhaps to fill the place that was lost which enabled a space for something new? Most people are irreplaceable in their forms, but the love? Love can be found in surprising places. It lights us up like the glittery lights on a Christmas tree or enhances like the mushrooms on the Yule log. I firmly believe in the magic that love can win.

Song Choice: Glittery- Kacey Musgraves ( I watched the 'Kacey Musgraves Christmas' on Prime at least three times:)

Friday, December 13, 2019

Yule. The Next Right Thing; Coming to Terms With Diagnosis, Dreams, Mother Moon, Frozen 2, and Resilience.

Beautiful bounty is often ignored by current sorrows. Mother moon sings while she empties her chalices of the past as she wanes, "Let go of the past. Other's do not want to hear about it anymore unless you still need to tell your story to heal but if your holding on simply to hold on- maybe your own self doesn't want to hear it? Don't allow the pain of today to blight out the current blessings. Move forward in hopeful anticipation of all that is and what could be. Come child, dream into this night instead of living in nightmares."

Dreams are more precious than silver. Why? Because they light us up with renewal and allow us to hope for the future. When a new diagnosis happens in life, whether in health, business, or on the home/ relational front, often we experience a temporary loss of dreams. (A diagnosis in this context meaning identifying signs and symptoms.) Current blessings flee to that elusive cloud where the lost things go and we are left bereft. Or so it feels. We feel we are that lone toy soldier trying to beat the drum to inspire cadence to a silent army of ghosts. Will we ever hear that music of the morning? Will we ever be whole again? Did our truths get mushed into the mire of grim reality? Or are they the stars shinning above but masked by the haze of initial shock? "I've seen dark before, but not like this. This is cold. This is empty. This is numb. The life I knew is over. The lights are out. Hello darkness, I'm ready to succumb...This grief has a gravity that pulls me down..." (Frozen 2 Next Right Thing Lyrics.)

And time continues to tick it's tock. We revisit the past to make sense for the future, but sometimes we get stuck. We forget to release our concerns, the blues of rejection or the security we take within pain. But who are we without that pain? And if there is literal pain that persists, how do we still make the best life we can within it? Can we let whom we were yesterday go?  "But a tiny voice whispers in my mind. You are lost. Hope is gone. But you must go on. And do the next right thing." (Frozen 2 Next Right Thing Lyrics."

Yet, yesterday perhaps troubles were not so far away. They are here now, new information, new tears, but the heart can always find another way. And if that is too comes down to the next right thing. "I won't look to far ahead, It's too much for me to take. But break it down to this next breath, this next step. This next choice. Is one that I can make. So I'll walk through this night, stumbling blindly toward the light. And do the next right thing. And with the dawn, what comes then? When it's clear that everything will never be the same again? Then I'll make the choice, to hear that voice and do the next right thing..." (- Frozen 2 Lyrics sung by Anna.)

The shadows recede in morning light eventually. Until then, through the darkness, sometimes the next step is the next best thing. "Can there be a day beyond this night? I don't know anymore what is true. I can't find my direction. I'm all alone..." (The Next Right Thing Lyrics.) Resilience is that admirable quality that requires the person whom has been broken, strained or bullied by life to recover in some shape or form and continue becoming whom they already were, are and will be...usually by taking the next step and breaking it down to the next step after that.

It's not about wondering whether we earned that next step. It's not about being only content with life when we are in control. It isn't about NOT being enough or TOO much as we are currently. In all our messy magic, it's about being what IS.

Awakening comes in stages. Transformation often happens in elusive, liminal spaces. Recovery takes much more to recover our muchness. The muchness from which we know we are worthy, imaginative, unique, loved and part of nature. We are children of sparkles, light and beauty, when with radiant clarity, the magic seeps in. But sometimes, there is so much dark it feels like there are no more wisps of music or light. We want to close our eyes against the darkness. Perhaps for a moment we do. But then we realize we are still taking that next breath. What follows is a next step. And opening our eyes we still may not see any light but we choose to walk another step regardless. Not realizing that we have entered a pocket of numb protection. It is what it is needed. For the moment. It is a place to let the tears slip, allow grief, be angry without judgement, and lose ourselves in darker dreams. And we step again. And again. And again. And again. Until we see a soft glow. The gradual gentling of nightfall reminds us that we can not rush healing.

After days of steps, falls and confusion, we enter another liminal space between. We suddenly feel a bit of certainty...we made it through for a reason. It's time to show ourselves find what is the core within. We no longer walk on trembling legs. We have lost much. But maybe, maybe we can find something different, within ourselves that is muchier. That opens the door and we grow into that unknown space. Some of it may be worse than expected but if we look for the right things, the next right thing, we see more sacred innocence, mature beauty, and wizened knowledge. Out of the darkness comes a light. It is both within and without.

Yule/ Christmas mimics this process. Eves of preparing. Our sorrows are put to sleep as we anticipate being awakened by gentle light. We are renewed. We find new dreams in the midnight blue that showcases each snowflake. The cold moon reflects off of white. It's no longer black in the sky. We can see the footprints in the snow of where we have been. Do we want to go back? Why would we want to retrace the crunches of snow back into our darkness? Holding on to remorse, regret, bitterness or the same old stories from the past are the same as walking back into that place we could barely stand.

Instead we hopefully look ahead. The crisp landscape beckons with enticing sparkles leading us onward. We see trees covered in frost. We ponder. The trees do not seem to resent their load. They don't break with the heavy cold. They bend. They don't refuse their burdens but instead with welcoming energy they enhance droplets of arctic to pleasing aesthetic. Their branches are happy to hibernate and host the complex formation of the ice crystals. Beneath brittle beauty the warmth of the tree is rooted underground. It knows what it is and what the cycles of life bring. The trees shine in the drenching moonlight as the silence ensconces the atmosphere. Swirls of snow continue falling and fly around like time often seems to do. The moon continues to reflect light.

And we chose what we are going to do. We do have a choice in some way... almost always. We look back and already our old prints are filling up with fresh glimmers. We could retreat. Some do and we don't blame them...perhaps they need more hibernation in the liminal? We know others run into the snow with abandon or fling themselves into the cold embrace to create snow angels with imprints and heat. That sounds like a nice approach too. Maybe we are that person when we decide to let yesterday go?

Or maybe we are that person who still has to carry pain? It will be our reality until we die, despite best efforts of health, meditation, faith or community. It does not give us an excuse to expire our next breath willingly... (In most cases that is. There are often exceptions to everything...even exceptions.) In general, most of us, do not want to have our footsteps lost in the snow. Walking is easier than it first was, where each momentum forward took every last bit of strength. What was a stumble is now tentative. One day it may be a marathon or at the very least a leap or jog. But for now, those who still carry pain, continue to walk a tad more heavily. But their prints are theirs alone. The snow proceeds to fill up their deep, sorrowful passings with individual and collective sparkles. The Oak moon is ever present and it watches with a soft inspiring glow. The winter night exhales and kisses the night with quiet rejuvenation. Silver lines the edges of perspective. All it takes is a step and the aura of nettle as a reminder to pay attention and dreams are in the embers of the soul. Slowly they will awaken again.

Until then it's another step, another look up through the frosted trees and up to the twinkling stars that glimmer through the snowfall, and another moment of focused BEING. No longer are you lost. North is true North. Resilience is in the next right thing. Nurturance is found in nature and community. Loving return of light is found within.

Wherever you are, whatever you struggle with or are grateful for, and for whatever season you are in or stage of light, be it Morning or Midnight, may you find yourself.

Yule Blessings;

* If you want my opinion on Frozen 2: I LOVED it. I was not a huge fan of Frozen 1 for multiple reasons though there were parts I absolutely loved and related to (AKA Elsa.) Frozen 2 incorporated depth, grief, emotion, magic, elements, and the right balance between Extroversion and Introversion. I found it was more cohesive, intellectual and emotional while also whimsical with love at it's core. The songs were beautiful lyrically and dealt with complex topics like maturity, changing (which is hard for everyone at times), growing up, being lost with choices, finding yourself, grief, and keeping that elusive tie between magic/myth and practical pragmatism.  "Into the Woods" (click) finally showcased Glees' Jonathan Groff's 80s rock band voice! My heart did several joyful leaps with that song. I had memorized it before we even stepped foot in the theatres. I loved the Bee Gees Moose scene. We have already gone twice and the songs have been on repeat. The entire journey seemed to mimic my last year and I cried through the entire movie the first time. In the second viewing I enjoyed all the incredible beauty and gorgeous songs. Idina has been a pivotal part of my healing journey since my twenties with Wicked's Elphaba and continues this tradition with Elsa.

** For anyone curious about the rest of my diagnostic process email me. I generally am not ready to talk about it except in a few places I have healthily divulged. The pictures of life are ever changing. I am not a stranger to diagnosis. Some have been accurate, others have actually been the first step to deeper issues. Each one has been a process of pain, discovery, change, crisis and sometimes ironic redemption. ( To be clear this is not about anything previous I have written. New information has come to light. Some diagnosis are more personal, have more consequences in other realms or require more space to absorb and figure out what the next right step is...for each person they are different as we all have different fears, strengths ect...)

Song choice: The Next Right Thing- Frozen 2 or here

And for Fun: Lost in the Woods- Jonathan Groff ( Immense joy has been found in playing it over and over!:)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Natural Health Brings Dignity Back to Women’s Healthcare.

Know the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

(I'm using pictures from this Halloween to illustrate this post as I feel it oddly fits.)

"You could never know what it's like. Your blood like winter freezes just like ice, And there's a cold lonely light that shines from you, You'll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics.

I wish that PCOS-A New Diagnosis sounded as cool as Star Wars- A New Hope. Sadly my title does not beg the reader to ask for a prequel or sequel. But if I were to have a prequel to diagnosis, it would begin with an obsession with wanting to have another baby. To be exact it was almost a 13 year old obsession (since the birth of my last child) culminating in two years of deep depression and inability  to move onward. Finally, my husband and I decided to get started (for the fourth time in a decade) on the process which included an expensive procedure we had already saved up three times in the past for. This time was different though, because I had already crossed over the dreaded age of 34 into US standards of geriatric pregnancy. What a frightening term! (I found out later in Canada due to different populations, health care and stats, new doctors consider the age of 40 geriatric pregnancy but still! The term needs to change.) Testing my fertility and his was crucial.

I wish I could pretend that how women are treated in the medical system is all in my head. Especially when it comes to hormonal, cyclical issues, but my current blood work confirms, after years of complaints and being mostly turned down, that I was a legitimate case of needing help. Most of the time I was told I just had anxiety or that it was pointless to get tests. I was beginning to seriously doubt myself. I honestly began wondering if it truly was all made up. My resulting depression stemmed from feeling helpless, doubting my own intuition and gut, which led to me questioning if I even knew attribute I am proficient at otherwise.

I thought I had PCOS years ago but could never get a diagnosis....but for the new symptoms of high testosterone...Signs were everywhere. For instance, two years ago I finally had enough of the embarrassing hair growth on my chin and upper mouth, belly and feet. My husband thought the amount of time I spent plucking each day was ridiculous. Plus if I wanted to be hair free I also had to shave every single day. The upkeep was exhausting. So I saved and went to Electrolysis as part of my self care regime. She became a friend, someone I still look forward to seeing each month. A year into the treatment she was baffled that I was having new growth. She said it kind of reminded her of her Trans clients before the hormones evened things out. She suggested testing hormones. I told her they had tested a few basic ones and said I was fine.
What is PCOS?
My hair dresser often remarked upon my odd hair loss and thinning out which was ironic because the rest of my body hair loved to grow! But the hair I actually wanted on my head, brows and eyelashes rapidly thinned out. We thought it was just from low ferritin. Often my weight gain was blamed on lack of restraint by doctors. I was accused by a couple Dr's. that I was lying about not consuming sugar and eating mostly Paleo. Each appointment I was told to work out for 45 minutes despite insanely low iron. I was already doing thirty! It was insinuated that I must be cheating regularly or that I was lying about my treadmill time. I began to wonder why I could not get it right? What was the point? I would switch up my food choices, research different lifestyles of eating...sometimes lose 15 pounds only to gain it all back. I had a permanent 30 pounds more after my third child I generally fluctuated around.

"My voice drowned out in the thunder. But I won't cry, and I won't start to crumble whenever they try to shut me or cut me down."- Speechless lyrics Naomi Scott

The worst part was the anger. Two and a half years ago I noticed a switch in myself. Irritation and depression took turns being my primary emotions. No matter what meditation, positive thinking application, cognitive therapy technique or gratitude practice I tried, I still was regularly testy. Perhaps these practices enhanced my life and kept a steady balance to it all? Deep down I questioned, Was I becoming a monster? What was wrong with me? Maybe I was developing a new mental health issue? Who was that girl I heard snapping at the littlest annoyance?

"And did you think this fool could never win? Well look at me, I'm a-coming back again. I got a taste of love in a simple way. And if you need to know while I'm still standing, you just fade away..."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics.

There were other terrible symptoms ranging from pain, to loss to enlargement of my thyroid to thyroid nodules, to low iron to... the list goes on. I went to a few different doctors. Some did test my hormones. Five years ago my thyroid nodule was discovered which enabled some hormonal blood work. Most results were borderline or fine.

When I decided I may want to become pregnant, everything changed. While I am happy for women who need fertility support that they are treated this way, I am enraged that it took this for me to get a proper diagnosis. Shouldn't hormones be checked regularly when a woman comes in with complaints that can not be diagnosed?

"I won't be silenced. You can't keep my quiet. Won't tremble when you try it. All I know is I won't go speechless... Don't you underestimate me. Cuz you know I won't go speechless...Stay in your place better seen and not heard, well now that story is ending!...So C'mon and try to shut me and cut me down. I won't be silent."- Naomi Scott Speechless lyrics.

Also, I found out that testing blood on certain days of the cycle and times was CRUCIAL for accurate results. Most of the time the Doctors told me that would not matter. Suddenly, when it came to pregnancy it did. That was when I was flagged for high testosterone (which explained the switch in myself 2.5 years ago.) I was also flagged for low cortisol, lower thyroid, slightly lower progesterone, low ferritin again ... and the tests are still happening. How did this happen? The immediate diagnosis was PCOS. Addison's and other issues are pending confirmation.

"Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did? Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. I'm still standing after all this time. Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics.

Funny enough, I also had to get a Naturopath to order the tests through a family doctor. Even when she initially consulted with me she opened with, "It is unlikely that you will have PCOS, which affect fertility as you do not present as the type, most are very heavy women who are obviously hairy and present a bit like a man, but we will test you anyways." When the results were in she remarked, "Wow, you're blood work shows the standard fluctuation in hormones for a PCOS woman. You will need at least three months treatment to get yourself in order before you can get pregnant. In pregnancy you will have to monitored and we will give you some natural progesterone which should help you retain pregnancy and the rest of the issues we can manage through supplements."

Later she confided, "Honestly, your obsession with wanting a baby may have stemmed from your body needing balance. A pregnancy if retained at this point would help you a lot. Your mind knew that. It's like women who crave chocolate who actually are magnesium deficient. As soon as their body has sufficient magnesium they are no longer craving chocolate. If we balance out your hormones you may not have a baby craving, but if you still desire to be pregnant, that may carry you through to menopause without the debilitating symptoms you are having now. That is not always the case but it can often happen if a healthy pregnancy and labour is achieved. "

If this part of the story was the riveting sequel, it would finally find me at a place where my life was given back as MINE to live. Walking out of her office, my self confidence, and my trust in my inner gut was restored. My intuition and inner knowledge of self was confirmed. My confusion cleared up. Despite having all the symptoms still I knew why and that information allowed me to make informed daily decisions. My creativity re surfaced two days after diagnosis. Long term goals were thought out more clearly. My baby obsession became a light, healthy interest. I was even able to put that decision easily on the back burner until I could see if the me, that would be brought back into myself from treatment, would even wish for a child.

Luckily because a pregnancy is still an option I am not being put on birth control pills which are the standard for treatment and often only band aid bigger issues and make things worse further down the road. My naturopath put me on natural androgen blockers as well as other supports. I checked with the one other Dr. I trust to give an opinion on the matter. He read the ingredients and said that some of them were given to men when they have enlarged prostates due to over aggressive testosterone and it should do the trick at lowering mine. Plus, the other ingredients naturally worked for balancing out other hormones. When the metabolic process is off in a body, many disruptions happen at a molecular level to cause chaos. My body can not regulate with a simple diet and positive thinking. Yes, both these attributes are large factors in chronic illness, but they are not the only way to manage.

"Now that story is ending..."- Naomi Scott Speechless

My Naturopathic Doctor also went over backlogged records of my blood-work. She would occasionally point out one and say, “Oh that November you must have felt like you were dying. That particular concoction of hormones make women feel they are slowly dying from the inside. Most doctors say it’s low normal for thyroid but it’s actually a slow functioning thyroid that when combined with other body systems creates a certain set of issues. It must have been heartbreaking to be told you were fine when you felt that way.” Or “This pattern here explains your constant low ferritin. Often that can happen with certain women in PCOS. Each manifestation is different but with heavy cycles and also your co diagnosis of Lyme and Celiac which often also go together- fits the picture.” And “ You must feel you are collecting diagnosis but don’t be alarmed as they all can often fit together. Unfortunately, after years of no support , the body can spiral into other conditions. Even though you have chronic/lifetime diagnosis we can actually get most symptoms on track and prevent other things you would be at risk for with PCOS like high blood pressure, certain cancers etc. by proper treatment.”

Last Autumn, I actually paid to take an in depth course on PCOS. The one Dr. that was actually on my team told me to look into it. Unfortunately, my blood work was done on the wrong day and did not show anything. It is crucial to be done around 8 am, preferably after fasting on days 18-21 of the cycle. Also to have fasting glucose done to rule out other conditions. *(There ARE different days for bloodwork. See Below)

"Once I never could hope to win. You starting down the road leaving me again. The threats you made were meant to cut me down. And if our love was just a circus you'd be a clown by now."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics

I was told time and time again that I did not "present" as a "typical PCOS" patient. Multiple Doctors told me I wouldn't have it because I was "too young," "too pretty," "too feminine," "not hairy enough" or "not overweight enough." All these statements sound flattering but they were condescending judgements. I did not look hairy because I had electrolysis and shaved every day! I present younger despite wrinkles and aging due to being an Aspie/ Autistic. I looked passable because I know how to put on make up and wear falsies. I seem feminine because my voice is higher pitched anyway so when it lowered, due to testosterone, it didn't seem significant. I am thirty pounds over what I should be for what I eat, my exercise and my lifestyle. It is perpetually aggravating to be SO restricted and not lose or have anything to show for it!

Honestly, I have let myself go to eat whatever the last month. In the last two weeks I have become slightly pleasantly plump as my daughter giggled when I asked her if I gained. Ha I trust my children to tell me the truth . For the first time I have allowed myself to be. It bothers me sometimes but in general, I feel awesome so that has to count for something! I have had ENOUGH of the assumptions of what it means to be a woman. I have had enough of the assumptions of what a capable, strong, beautiful woman should be like. Or what a sick woman should look like. It goes both ways. I will not conform to that standard. I never fit and never will. But just because I like to take care of myself and am aware of how I present, does NOT mean that my treatment should be ignored or I should be disregarded.

"Here comes a wave meant to wash me away, a tide that is taking me under. Swallowed with sand left with nothing to say, my voice drowned out in the thunder...written in stone, every rule, every word, centuries old and unbending. Stay in your place better seen and not heard but now that story is unending. Try to lock me in this cage - I won't just lay me down and die. I'll take these broken wings and watch me burn across the sky."- Naomi Scott Speechless lyrics.

If I could make any point with this post- it is for women to keep pushing, trust their gut, and it's sad to say, but if you are of the age when you can have a baby, and can not be taken seriously any other way, maybe consider it and go in for fertility issues to be checked. It sucks that it may come down to that for some women. Women are left in Menopause to deal with issues, when many of the symptoms could be supported. Just because it is natural process does not mean it does nor require different supplements, supports and strategies to re balance the body! Women's health care still has a LONG way to go. The injustices of how women are treated today (SEE THIS POST) should not still be happening in this century. Don't live unspoken! Let your echo never be silenced!

"I can't be broken. NO I won't live unspoken."- Naomi Scott Speechless lyrics.

PCOS is not a fun diagnosis. It's not curable in a standard way, though it can go into remission. It does higher the risks for some scary conditions later down the road. Yet, I’m happy with the diagnosis for one simple reason- I can actually trust my own process. My symptoms can be explained even if the explanation sucks sometimes. I can suffer the how better knowing the why. This is a game changer. The missing puzzle piece I have consciously and subconsciously been chasing for years is finally on the board with the bloodwork confirming high testosterone. It’s a new hopeful beginning.

Two weeks into treatment and my family expressed that I was a way nicer person. If I forget a pill, I feel it that day. Spearmint tea twice a day also helps lower testosterone and balance out androgen's. I feel back in a semi state of control over myself which induces calm. My creativity came back after a few days of diagnosis. Suddenly my brain didn't have to fight so hard to have me hear that there was a problem! My life was already accidentally magical, and I was grateful for it everyday, but often I still had a layer of unexplained irritation covering it. After diagnosis, my symptoms did not change, but I finally was able to explain my system to itself.

"Watch me burn across the sky!"- Naomi Scott Speechless.

I don't know what the future holds. Maybe I will also have Addison's, a concern for low cortisol like mine, or any other myriad condition that is caused by hormone disruption. Maybe my ultrasound will pick up ANOTHER underlying cause? Maybe the pills will only work for a little bit. In a few years I could switch back to Estrogen or Progesterone dominance, as it is speculated that is what happened nearly a decade ago. That can happen in PCOS. The body is a strange and complex entity. Life is complicated with each new diagnosis, but it can also be simplified...especially if the person was already suffering without knowing why. All I know is that I will not go speechless on these issues. These broken wings enable me to burn across the sky. I won't be silent about the struggles specific to women and the discrimination and injustice that can happen.

"You know I'm still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. And I'm still standing after all this time. Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind I'm still standing (Yeah yeah yeah). I'm still standing."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics.

I share this story for women everywhere to not doubt their bodies. Keep fighting. It took me more than ten years to be fully heard. Two of which I was asking every few months for answers! Depression is caused often by not knowing our bodies or why we are the way we are. Not everything should be blamed on anxiety or typical women's we are just supposed to be messed up because we have a different hormonal concoction! We shouldn't just accept birth control as the only treatment. We shouldn't have to deal with insane periods or menopausal issues...just as we should not have to put up with sub standard care in labour and delivery. Most of our Women's health issues require revision. Find alternatives. It is worth it to pay for a Naturopath if you can save up to afford it. It took me a few different tries to find the right one for me, but it was worth the search. Don't give up on yourself.

I also ask that men, if they are reading this, to revise their opinions on Women's bodies. Especially men in the medical world. The women in your world will thank you for understanding the complex ways in which hormones can affect whom they are and what they do.

"Let the storm in. I can not be broken. No I won't live unspoken. Cuz I know I that I won't go speechless." Naomi Scott Speechless lyrics.

My life is back. I looked back over the last few years and issues that baffled me now make sense. I am finally free of self doubt. I may struggle with general depression on the days that my symptoms win, but the depression that stemmed from doubting self was debilitating. I am so relieved that is gone from my life for now.

"I won't be silenced. Though you want to see me tremble when you try it. All I know is I won't go speechless. No I won't go speechless. Cuz I breathe when they try to suffocate me. Don't you underestimate me. Cuz I know that I won't go speechless...I won't be silent. Don't try to keep me quiet."- Naomi Scott Speechless Lyrics.

"Don't you know that I'm still standing better than I ever did? Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. And I'm still standing after all this time. Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind..."- Bernie Taupin and Elton John lyrics

Post Note: Days of the cycle vary for blood work. Overall blood work for hormones are day 18-21. (Practitioners differ on this- it worked for me but some say different days.) However, if Estradiol is the main concern day 3 after a woman's flow is the best. If DHEA is a concern (especially in combination with previous high Testosterone results) than a week before or a week after the first period day is best. Cortisol is best around 8 AM and 4:30 PM on the SAME day. It is also helpful to have ACTH done this way. Research your optimal days and even if it doesn't say it matters, try your best to get tested on the optimal days for optimal results.

This diagnosis was not 'new to me' at all but the confirmation of my concoction of hormones WAS. That was a big deal... I'm still being tested with more blood work and ultrasound ect.

Song Choices: Speechless by Naomi Scott. (Aladdin) And  Taron Egerton 's version of Elton John's  I'm Still Standing