My PCOS Story

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Deuteronomy 33: 25

As your days are, so shall thy strength be.

What do you see when you look at this picture?

Do you see a well put together lady?

Beautiful and glowing skin perhaps?

Makeup in good taste? Or not.

Do you see the very flattering apple bottom jeans and the nice weave?

You do?

Great!

Now let me tell you about what you don’t see beneath all that.

I took this picture exactly one week before I was diagnosed with PCOS in April this year.

Before I tell you what PCOS is, let me narrate how lethargic I was feeling this day. It had taken me four good hours to get out of bed that morning. I love sleeping in. Everyone who knows me knows I can sleep for a whole week if it was up to me. But on this particular day I woke up feeling very depressed.

Last time I felt that sad I was going through a break up. You know those heart wrenching ones where you want to be in the house and just sleep because that’s the only time that your soul does not ache? So anyway, after the four hours and four missed calls from my cousins I got out of bed. Dragged myself out of it and got ready to go do some bridal shopping. I put on some makeup to cheer me up. Ladies know what am talking about. Your signature lipstick and eyeliner + some foundation is like coffee for the brain. An instant pick me up.

So anyway, PCOS.

The whole month of April was a depressing one for me. So were the months before that. I felt long bouts of sadness and looming depression. I had no reason to be sad. Work was good, family even better. I was however struggling being around people. I felt like people were constantly draining my energy. Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing friends but I found myself preferring to sleep than hang out. I was putting on more weight more so in my mid section. My eczema was back – especially on my eye and my neck. Everyone kept wondering why I was in scarves all the time. Even in the heat. I was getting tired of being asked why I had hickies on my neck. The patches on my neck looked really did look like hickies. So I learnt to laugh it off and tighten the scarves. What accompanied the weight gain was prolonged menses (a month was the longest) in this case. Other months, I had none; for like three months or so. I was busy and pre occupied with work and kept on pro longing a visit to the gynae (ladies, this is where we go wrong! We need to learn to listen to our bodies when we feel something is off) Weekends came and went and I felt more and more sad and moody for no reason. I was not projecting my sadness to anyone. I just felt like being alone all the time. I retreated further and further into my introverted shell.

**

I still remember the day I was diagnosed with PCOS very vividly. I had just come from an all day meeting at work. The day had been extremely productive and I was in a fantastic mood. I called my mum, told her I was going for a check up to the gynae for routine boring stuff. she wished me well.

So I check into the doctor’s at AAR, second time there, but I somehow feel like am a fresher in uni at the administration block. AAR have very pleasant staff! So friendly you feel like they want to hug you! So I fill in the insurance forms and hand over my medical card, and wait to be called. After like five minutes or so, my name was called. I Head over to the observation room and have my pressure and weight taken. The nurse tells me I have lost 10 kgs since my last visit a month ago. I get excited and so does she. We almost hug but we decide not to and smile really hard instead.

We get out and she asks me to sit outside the gynae’s door. She points to it and tells me I am patient no. 3. Patient 1 is inside already. She smiles and leaves to attend to her next patient. Patient 2 is heavily expectant and has such a wonderful pregnancy glow. She is on call with her hubby. I know because she asks him to pick Jade from day care and that she is in hosi. He sounds worried but she sweetly re-assures him. I half eaves drop and half read Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers on my phone. I get so lost in my ebook that the next time I look up, the doctor is calling out my name.

I think gynecologists are very interesting doctors. Owing to the nature of their work, they have seen it all and heard it all. I was slightly shy. He on the other hand was bold and brazen.

Him: How old are you today?

Me: I turn 30 in a couple of months.

Him: I asked how old you are today (types away on the keyboard)

Me thinking to myself: this guy must have been really good at those weird equations. Tap A fills a tank in 20 minutes, while Tap B fills the same tank in 15 minutes. How long does Tap C take to empty this tank if the water hose is inclined at an angle of 60 degrees?

*crickets*

Him: That would make you 29 today. So are you married?

Me: No

Him: Trying for a baby?

Me: Not yet.

Him: You are about to clock your 30’s and time is running out. Why don’t you have a baby?

Me: Looking at him like he just bumped his head against a wall. Excuse me?

Him: Yes. Time is running out. A woman is in her reproductive prime when she is in her early and mid twenties

Me: So I was supposed to drop out of uni at 25 and start rearing kids five years ago? I have no apologies to make about not having a baby earlier. I was studying and after graduation, I joined the corporate world.

He looks at me like I don’t know what’s good for me and my eggs are wilting by the day.

I look at him like you really do not want to go there with me.

Him: So it seems here you have gained weight

Me: Does it also show I have lost 10 kilos?  

Him: Ignores my catty response. When did you last have your menses and how long did they last for?

I tell him.

Him: Do you have acne? He looks at my face in scrutiny. But I cannot see since you have make up on

Me: I don’t though I have eczema.

Him: Have you noticed any increase of body hair?

Me: Not at all

Him: Does your pubic hair grow upwards or downwards?

I laugh. Heartily! For like a good five minutes to tears. He looks bewildered. I am amused.

Me: No daktari I have never been keen to take note of that. I say smiling as I wipe my laugh tears.

Him: Ok. So I think you have PCOS, but we will rule that out by you having an ultra sound done then we can know for sure. Please take lots of water and have your bladder full for the ultra sound.

I leave his examination room and head to the ultra sound room.

**

My laughter was short lived during and after the ultra sound. The radiologist was super friendly. She mentioned that my bladder was not full and I had to do the penetrative ultra sound. I was easy. She called the gynae in the room and inserted the speculum. They exchanged some medical mumbo jumbo ‘aaaaahing’ while pointing at the monitor all the while. I stared back at the monitor and all I could see was a pearl necklace like image on the monitor.

So the ob/gyn explained that I had a classic case of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Poly means many. So the cysts were several and they were aligned like a pearl necklace in my ovaries. Since my ovaries were already larger than usual size, he would put me on medication to bring them to normal size, as well as give me the pill to regulate my hormones. In most PCOS cases, the male hormone testosterone is produced at an alarming rate hence giving the patient more body and facial hair (this explained the hilarious pubic hair questions). In some, the skin darkens in some places leaving scars and blotches like one has been burnt. He further explained that PCOS if not diagnosed early leads to infertility, heart problems, diabetes or sleep apnea and depression in some instances such as mine. PCOS is the number one cause of infertility in women. He assured me that we need not worry because my case was not advanced and the medication would take care of all of that.

I am yet to complete my medication and go for my review to know whether the cysts have dis integrated or the ovaries have shrunk in size, but what I know is that this is one of the scariest things any woman could go through. Your body feels like is not yours, you have several hot flushes and night sweats. There are the constant trips to the bathroom especially in the night and the mood swings.

What I have learnt since the diagnosis is to appreciate the love and friendship from my friends, colleagues and my family. They have understood me, encouraged me, cheered me on and loved me even with my unexplained outbursts of sadness. Trust me they have been several.

To all women struggling with PCOS or any other reproduction related ailments, surround yourself with the right energy from the people who love you, always remember you are strong and a fighter.

All women are.

It shall be well..

email me:

chowderpenny@gmail.com if you have questions on my experience with PCOS

Why I Read 50 Shades

This past weekend I watched 50 shades darker..the ‘new’ E.L James inspired movie.

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Most of you keep hearing and using the phrase 50 shades but I am sure most of you do not know much about E.L James or her 50 shades franchise. Erika Leonard James is currently the highest paid novelist with Forbes placing her income at $95 million including film rights to her books. She has sold over 125 million copies of the books (they are 4 currently) since they came out in 2012 and even in 2017, she is still raking in millions of pounds.

So, boys and gals, What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase? Do you think whips and chains? Ben wa balls? Clamps? Dominatrix outfits? Or are you part of the population that does not care about a romance like mills and boon on steroids trilogy?

Personally I feel like everyone has a certain jaded perception about the 4 books by E.L James. I say this because I got shot dirty looks whenever I carried any of the books so I opted reading the e-books from my tablet just for the element of mystery and because I got tired of the many questions and comments like ‘yani you are that chic who loves bdsm’. See the not so subtle judgy remarks? I could be reading a book about robotics but that doesn’t mean I am crazy about engineering. Maybe I am just widely read.

I asked three random guys what the 50 shades hulla balloo was all about (what they really thought about the books and/or the movies)

Guy 1 – 50 shades is about porn. Lots of porn (really??)

Guy 2 – Referring to the second movie 50 shades darker said, ‘its not just about sex in a relationship, its about love and baggage, and
finding someone who cares about you long enough to help you sort through your baggage’ (aww)

Guy 3 – Don’t know, Don’t care. (nonchalant much?)

So this is why I read ALL the books of the 50 shades trilogy…and watched the 2 movies. Yes. All. Of. Them. 50 shades of Grey, 50 shades darker, 50 shades freed and Grey.

Curiosity had a lot to do with it I must say. Why curiosity?
Because I am the kind of chic who falls in love with characters in books. I envision their lives, what they have for breakfast, what they do in their spare time, the color of their hair, their personas and such then zone out as I visualize all this. I was curious about Anastasia (that’s the girl who falls in love with the billionaire Christian Grey). I wondered why she did not have an email address in 2011 at the age of 22 (while I had a Yahoo.co.uk email address at 18). I was curious about her introducing her man to her step father and him being so okay and casual with him. Let’s face it, I am African… introducing any man to your folks IS A BIG DEAL!! And African parents never forget who you introduce to them. But then I guess its all parents. No?

I also happened to be curious about this mysterious man who was so messed up he never wanted to be touched (at one point he and Anastasia use a lipstick to draw only the areas that she was allowed to touch on his body – arms, and neck and his hair). My curiosity was also focused on how this man became a billionaire at the age of 26. How and when he ran his empire since all they ever did was explore their sexuality all the time in his ‘red room of torture’. Were all wealthy billionaires 50 shades of messed up? Do they all struggle with sexual desires that are extra ordinary and forbidden? So I read on & each and every single word came alive in my head.

And my deductions after the fourth and final book, which was the story as narrated by Christian Grey were that:

We are all deeply troubled human beings. Yes we go on about life like we are happy, but deep down, we are troubled souls. We struggle with affirmation, and with rejection and we google quotes on happiness to lift our spirits but, We all struggle with acceptance and the fear of not being good enough (atelophobia). Christian felt like the minute he disclosed his darkest secrets Anna would leave and she did yes, though she came back. This I suppose is because anyone worth being in your life as your life partner will be there through the good, the bad and the downright ugly and scary. This is called love. And according to 1 Cor 13, love is not self seeking or selfish, its forgiving and remembers no wrong doings.

Love is ever evolving. And if you are lucky, you evolve in the right direction and together. Initially, when they started out Grey was too controlling, obsessive and very possessive. Anna remains true to herself. She tries to bend over backwards to really please the guy withe the kinky stuff but eventually, she realizes she can only be herself (this is what wins Grey over). He does marry her when he realizes that she is unlike anyone he had met simply because she was herself. Lover of English tea and all.
Also, the fact that she was dating a 26 year old billionaire buying her an Audi, an i-pad and going for helicopter rides at the drop of a hat never made her feel any different, the material stuff was nice, but she wanted Grey to be himself with her and to communicate! Ladies, be yourself! If and when the money fizzles out character is what sees people through life.

The person who loves you signs up for the most unflattering version of yourself. By unflattering I mean waking up in the morning with no makeup whatsoever and having crusts in your eyes yet they kiss you and still call you beautiful, when you are down with a flu, red itchy eyes and a running nose, they make you chicken noodle soup to warm you up. When you eat bad sushi from the new place that you were dying to try out and your tummy acts up at 4am in the night and you are short of passing out from dehydration on the bathroom floor they hold your weave to make sure it does not get any food remains as you retch. There is a tampon scene in 50 shades darker that got women all antsy. Anna is on her period and Grey reaches…and pulls the blue tampon string..and tosses it into a nearby toilet. Would the person you love be in a gross situation and act like a gentleman all through?

Its important to get rid of baggage in a relationship or a marriage. In the plot, Elena is the elderly lady who happens to be a good friend to Grey’s adopted mom. She introduced Grey to the kink to fulfil her own s&m desires when he was 15. Grey was a minor and did not know any better + he was looking for a mother figure in Elena and she takes advantage; besides he came from a broken home and his biological mother commits suicide by overdosing right in front of him. He was just a 5 year old boy. All through the story line Elena haunts Grey and attempts severally to rekindle what they shared. All the while, Ana makes a lasting impression on Grey and he voices it in the movie when he confronts her and the kinky demons from his past ‘Elena, you taught me how to f***, while Anastasia taught me how to love’. Additional baggage is Jose, her best friend, the guy clearly smitten by Ana but she is blind to all his advances including the showcase for his photography where he had hung huge life size canvases of her. Messy entanglements happen all the time, but the person you love should help you unpack all your baggage one suitcase at a time.

50 shades anyone?

For the Creatives & the Followers

 

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‘Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box

Deepak Chopra.

For the Followers:

This post is dedicated to my 8 followers (those who clicked on that small icon marked follow so they could be notified whenever a new post goes up).Its for the 44 people in the European union countries that clicked on my previous post, the 23 in Norway, the 9 in the U.K, the 6 in Qatar, the 5 in Australia, the 40 in the States, & the 800 in Kenya all who have read and re-shared.

My previous post was read 1,100 times. The one before that, 878 times. The stats are as I have listed. I was stunned, and humbled. But more humbled than stunned. So this post too is for the 4 people who clicked on my blog last night to see what I have been upto. Its for those who have the courage to email and ask when new posts are coming up, why my last blog post was in November last year and why I have not been writing (I am sorry).

I feel very apologetic because I have a gift that I do not put to use often. Admittedly I have struggled with consistency, managing to be consistently inconsistent with my writing. I love writing but putting in the time has been my challenge. I do not want to be the guy who lets his talent sit inactive and does not nurture it eventually that it loses meaning and now am stuck with getting it back up ->  http://www.bikozulu.co.ke/the-iron-curtain/ <- 

I want to be bold and fearless with my writing. I want to write, and write some more. I want to put in the extra time.. so please dear followers, I encourage you to share with me any topics that you may want me to write about. Let this be your platform. Your voice. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, for retweeting, for sharing and for following.

For the creatives:

Who is a creative? A creative (n) is  as a thought process leader. An artistic individual, an influencer of people through their innate gifts and talents. A creative may be a writer, a photographer, a designer, a painter, a song writer, a singer. Basically someone who colors the world with beauty and life. A creative see the world in a new and sometimes different light, we at one time struggle with mental block. As do I.

Most times mental block is as a  result of the interconnection between the emotional and personal life of the creative. We creatives are troubled human beings who constantly struggle with over thinking, fear of public failure, fear of not being good enough (atelophobia) and so on. Sometimes the deep and dark thoughts are overwhelming in the midst of the creation process. So here are some life hacks for the creatives …

Learn to work and deliver through the chaos that life bring. Life can be super chaotic with so much happening and people demanding a lot from you in all aspects of your life. Strive for a balance. Let your habits work for you as you figure out the best routine or structure and ice all that with spontaneity.

Find what motivates you and constantly refuel yourself with it by chasing it and amping yourself with it. It may be an amazing book, a documentary, dinner with someone whose company you cherish, a walk in the rain or a long drive alone. Chase your motivation and chase it fiercely!

Cultivate and grow your art. Consider taking up a class that is purely unconventional but related to what you love. A social media class for  creatives would come in handy or you may volunteer to be a photographer’s assistant if you are into wedding photography so as to learn the ropes. In short, learn your craft so you may be the best in what you do.

So there you have it folks… keep following and keep creating!

 

**photo credit: @laptopsandlatte on Instagram**