I attended a conference yesterday (Saturday the 15th) and it was a conference for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I was diagnosed with having this condition when I was 15. I got it checked again when I was 23 (the diagnosis when I was 15 was based on that fact that the ultrasound scan couldn’t find my ovaries, which was a sign that my ovaries were small and poorly!)
Having had a sharp increase in anxiety and weight gain over the last year, I thought it was time to think a bit more about the impact that PCOS was having on me, and what I could do to ‘make it better’
The conference was jam-packed full of speakers who had the perfect specialities for women like us. I learned one big myth, which was that there are no cysts involved! As a result of this, they are working on a name change. It also hit home when they spoke about our risks of getting type 2 diabetes and that being overweight accelerated this process. Oh, the other thing that helped me was that I need to make peace with the fact that I can’t expect loads of weight loss, but should still strive to be as fit and healthy as I can, even if it means having to shop in Evans for the rest of my life! (I kid. I’m not my mum and I am quite butch nowadays!)
I am going to stop myself from sharing with you all of the information I learned, because this post will go on forever! What I am going to say is that the speakers were of such a high calibre, and my goodness, we got a lot for the price we paid for the conference – £45 for 7 different talks, and we were fed really well too! My wife came with me and we were welcomed so warmly, and I must say, I felt like I was with ‘my people’ (if it was a conference for queer women with PCOS it would have been the ultimate ‘my people’!) By chatting with different women there, I was quick to see the various frustrations that come with having PCOS – whether it is hair loss, hirutism, difficulty in losing weight, anxiety and depression, acne, irregular periods and the added worry of the fact that us women are insulin resistant, which can increase the likelihood of us getting type 2 diabetes (3-fold) and cardiovascular diseases. With these discussions came a bit of relief in knowing that there is a reason my body is like this and also that I wasn’t alone. The bigger picture was that this was affecting everybody’s self-esteem.
The charity that holds this conference annually is called Verity. This is the only charity that focuses on PCOS, and I am grateful for this. I got to see the AGM in action, which was actually really informative and helpful! When it came to money, they shared with us the annual income of various charities and showed us what their income was in comparison. My goodness, I tell you, these women do so much for the world of PCOS in their spare time with so little money – all on a voluntary basis!
The reason I am writing this blog is to raise awareness of Verity and the work they do for PCOS that nobody else does. I am signing up to be a member in the next few days, which is only £15 for the year, and this includes getting money off your ticket to the conference (this year it was £10) and access to various information booklets, as well as a digital magazine. They also have a members area, which I think would be great for me, now that I am exploring this aspect of my life a bit more.
So. For those who have PCOS (oh, I also learned that some of us just have PCO without it being a syndrome) or those who know women with PCOS, please consider a donation or joining. They really don’t ask for much money, considering the benefits, and the hard work that they do for their members. If you could see how much money the big well-known charities make, you may see that it would be worth sending a fiver over to Verity instead every now and again!
There was a general consensus that PCOS isn’t taken too seriously by the medical professions, yet it affects 1 in 5 women in the UK. I remember the second time I was diagnosed – the Dr was so vague and nonchalant about it. I didn’t feel like I was being taken seriously.
Even if you donated a pound, it would help (that whole thing of ‘if everybody did a little’!) Please share this blog to raise awareness. I know that there are so many different charities out there and it is difficult to give money to them all. I get that. This is my agenda and if you think that it is anybody else’s agenda, let them know about it!