First Laser Hair Removal Appointment

So, after much deliberation, I decided to bite the bullet and get under my chin/neck as well as my lip lasered.

This was one daunting and embarrassing topic and after asking around, went to someone recommended by a family friend.

I was so awkward and nervous and humiliated going in and talking to someone about this situation, but have to say she made me feel relatively at ease. She advised that she deals with a lot of women with PCOS and much worse situations than me who have had great results.

First off, she started with shaving all the areas she would be lasering and then applied an ice pack to my chin to try and numb the area as it is most sensitive and then began lasering my upper lip as well as a small bit below it.  This was totally different to when I first began laser about 10 years ago on my under arms and belly, this was almost bearable!

Then came the chin… I have no say, I hardly felt anything! Phew! It is literally like a tiny elastic band flicking your skin very mildly. It was almost relaxing in a way.

I am booked in for 4 weeks from now for a follow up appointment – fingers crossed this all works for me!!! Ill have to see if she can send through the before and after photos from the first appointment, because it is insane how bad it really was. (If all goes to plan, I will be looking at lasering EVERYTHING!)

A Hairy Situation

One of the worst things I have found about PCOS, more so than the weight gain, is the hairiness! I hate it! For as long as I can remember I have always had a faint moustache (which resulted in years of bleaching throughout high school, only to still be picked on by it) and in later years, waxing it. But boy oh boy does this become tiresome! Every single week having to wax my eyebrows and lip. There has always been those rogue “chest hairs” which pop up every blue moon. I’ve always had ‘blonde hairs’ everywhere, even all over my face and under my chin/neck but they haven’t been much of a bother, until now!

Of late, there has been more and more hair growing and getting darker. When I was in high school, we went to plenty of beauticians and laser clinics but they all said they couldn’t help me because I had what was referred to as “the blonde gene” which they couldn’t laser these hairs for some reason or another. But lately, these hairs, particularly on my chin/neck and chest/boobs, are getting darker, and longer! It is daunting and humiliating when your own father points out, very loudly, that something should be done about it and then your husband REALLY starts to notice them too.

I have tried to keep on top of it all by plucking darker ones out over the years, but now they are all going that way. I can deal with the hair on my arms, and the hair on my legs can be shaved away, but the rest on my face, neck and chest, is a nightmare. I have read that it could be caused by a number of factors, including too much testosterone and drinking too much milk.

One thing I have learnt recently is apparently I should be steering clear of dairy, as it releases IGF-1 aka Insulin Growth Factor 1. This apparently explains my excessive hair growth – I am so paranoid about the hair under my chin as it is so hard to get rid of/hide – and acne breakouts. Apparently, I can eat cheese within moderation but should avoid milks, especially low fat or fat free milks.
So far I have been good, have avoided ice creams and yoghurts, haven’t touched milk in a couple of weeks, and only had cheese on top of my chicken parma. Fingers crossed this reduces the acne outbreaks and stops the hair growth. Apparently it can take up to six months to see results, so I will post an update in approx. 5 months’ time to see if there is any reduction in this hairy situation.

Tales of a Fellow Cyster

My journey into PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for those new to the lingo) was hard and sudden. Growing up, I was always tiny, and up until I was 17, I weighed only 43kgs. I didn’t have an eating disorder – heck, I ate terribly, Maccas every day! – I guess I was just lucky in that respect.
I was always an active kid growing up, from a young age participating in a multitude of activities: tennis three nights a week, gymnastics, dancing, Scouts, Little Athletics, swimming almost every day… I did it all!

Once I got to year 12, I decided to change my horrible eating habits and switch to a healthier lifestyle and that’s when I noticed a lot of changes very quickly. Throughout my high school life, I always had a hairy upper lip, but that was easy enough to conceal by bleaching it each week. Also, my period was all over the place – it would go from once every 3 months to 18 months without getting it! And when I did get it, boy was it pure hell for the first 2-3 days. Then, the weight began to pile on quick and fast. Within a two year period, I had put on 20kgs! I had no idea what was going on! After visiting the doctors, they recommended I go on Levlen ED (the pill) to try and regulate my period and hopefully control this rapid weight gain.

Sure, the pill helped with minimising the awful period pain, but the weight kept piling on and by the time I was 24, I had doubled my weight from when I was 18 years old. I had stretch marks galore all over my hips and thighs, confidence was gone, I became extremely depressed and also described as having Chronic Fatigue. Facial hair was getting worse, and the pill was doing nothing with the pain, with me having to call in sick once a month for the first day of the cycle due to the pain.

After going to a different doctor to find out what was going on, he asked me to get an ultrasound done as well as my first ever blood test (I am a wuss with needles). Here it was confirmed that I had Polycystic Ovaries and they lit up like a Christmas tree – there were so many cysts!

During this time, I had to be rushed to hospital on three separate occasions due to ruptured cysts in my ovaries and let me tell you, the pain is excruciating when it happens. Pain ripples up from your abdomen, through to your chest and back down again. You can barely walk. Laying down does nothing. Painkillers barely dull the pain. It is a horrible feeling and one I do not wish on my worst enemy (well, maybe that one person back in high school….)

In 2015, I married the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, and before the wedding I amped up gym sessions, had a personal training session once a fortnight, and cut out all sugar and gluten from my diet – I managed to drop two dress sizes and felt amazing. I was still overweight but not as much. It was only recently I have come to realise that those could have been a godsend if I continued them but with life, there is no rest for the wicked and I overlooked this piece of information and went back to putting on weight and adding a few more stretch marks to the collection – hellooooooooo to my tummy, I have stretch marks only on my right hand side due to a chicken pox scar!

In March 2016, I invested a lot of money in seeing a fertility specialist to try and get the baby wagon rolling. Sure I was still on the pill but wanted an out from all the pain I was experiencing with these bursting cysts and hopefully get somewhere with finding out how best to achieve any weight loss to (hopefully) fall pregnant. This was also coming off of a sex session with my hubby where I was on top and all of a sudden had a sharp burst of pain and passed out – I had to be slapped awake!
My first session with the specialist cost around the $400 mark and I was with the specialist for about five minutes discussing my history and what I wanted, what medications I was taking before being sent off there and then to get a blood test done and book in the following day for an external and internal ultrasound – those are horrible.
Upon my return visit (another $300 or so dropped) I was literally with her for about four minutes where she informed me that the blood tests were inconclusive due to the hormones from the pill, and looking at my ultrasound I have Polycystic Ovaries – duh! Tell me something I didn’t already know! – she then proceeded to tell me that my symptoms sounded like I possibly had Endometriosis as well but there is no way to confirm that and I will never have kids! Wait, what?!

I was in shock from her last comment that I couldn’t even muster what to say next, such as ask how she came to that conclusion of me not being able to have kids! The only thing she said was if I wanted to have some surgery done to try and remove cysts it would be a minimum 2 year wait and wasn’t worth the wait and I had to lose weight. I left the clinic in a daze and broke down in tears as soon as I got in to my car. I didn’t move for almost an hour as I was too much of a mess to contemplate driving. Who in their right mind tells them they will never have kids, doesn’t offer an explanation and thinks it’s okay?! I went in to a really dark place then and to be honest, still am.

Since that awful day, I went back to the doctors to be asked to be taken off of Yasmin and to be put back on Levlen ED 1) price factor 2) no difference in weight. As she was a new doctor, she asked my family history and when she found out that my mothers side had a history of breast and cervical cancers and my biological fathers side a history of blood clots, she told me to stop the pill there and then as I was already a high risk without the pill and had no idea why no other doctor had asked these questions for the past five or six years of me taking the pill.

It has now been approx. six months since I stopped taking the pill, no major weight loss as of yet but did manage my first ever period two weeks ago! It was horrible, lasted 12 days, but so glad it happened! I began to work out also in January whilst on annual leave and in the space of 4 days dropped 5kgs – it was amazing! I was getting up, going for a Fat Burning Walk for 30-45 minutes each morning, doing some exercising such as lunges, push ups etc. and overall was eating healthier – no sugars, no gluten, I was doing so well! Thennnnn….. I went and broke my toe! I am now beginning to walk again once every few days so hopefully by this weekend I can kick start my plan of losing 35-40kgs and hopefully prove that lady wrong and can get pregnant!

I will document the best I can my journey to weight loss, fertility treatments – yes I am looking in to those – and general life of a fellow Cyster! As with the hormone imbalances, this will be a bumpy ride.