Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who and Where

In my last post I explained the 'why' of this blog. So I decided I'd go through the classic "Who, What, Where, Why, and How." Today I'll cover the 'Who' and 'Where'. Tomorrow will be the 'What' and 'How!'

Well, where is the easiest. I just moved to India!

swimming during a camping trip
I'm Pamela. I'm an American woman in her mid-twenties who is about to get married. I'm a passionate blogger and lover of Christ. As far as health goes, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS.) It's amazingly common considering that it's rare anyone has ever heard of it unless they or someone close to them has it. I guess maybe because it's a feminine disease people don't publicize it as much.

Basically it's a hormone disorder, or I heard it called an endocrin disorder. It's not actually a disease, it's a syndrome. Which basically means it's a collection of symptoms that appear to be related, but it's not cut and dry in everyone. Like when I was diagnosed, I didn't actually have any poly cysts, which is the symptom that gave the syndrome its name. That said, I had enough of the symptoms that the doctor had no doubts, and I did eventually get the poly cysts.

I was diagnosed at 16, but looking at the symptoms I've had it since I was 13 or earlier.  The summer between my seventh and eighth grade years in school I suddenly gained 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms). In one summer. We went to the doctor, but they just dismissed it as me preparing for a growth spurt because of my age, despite the fact I'd just had one. Before then I'd never been overweight, though I'd never been thin. I was tall with a large, broad frame and a round face, so I'd been mocked for being "fat" by my shorter, willowy classmates even when I was completely normal. So I already thought of myself as large, and gaining weight just confirmed it.

PCOS is related to insulin resistance... they're not actually sure why. And even though I had the PCOS first and it caused the weight gain, apparently the best advice they have for treating PCOS is to lose weight. Oh, yeah, and the hormones cause weight loss resistance.


So I battled my weight without any success in high school. I only gained. Then when I went to college I remember at the end of my first semester I got really into exercise... and gained weight. Which was probably muscle, but still, I lost no fat. Then in the spring I went on a super strict diet for a month...

all sweaty and endorphin-y after a workout
And gained two pounds.

After that I simply quit trying for a couple years. I didn't really gain much weight if I pigged out and didn't exercise... and I didn't lose weight if I exercised and ate right, so why bother?

But I did find I felt a little better after eating well and I liked the endorphin rush I'd get from a good workout (the first time I ever experienced it was freshman year of college. Before that gym class and exercise was the bane of my existence because I'm clumsy and nonathletic and it was only extremely painful, not fun. I'm still clumsy and nonathletic, but I can see the fun now.)

In the years since college I have gone on lots of exercise kicks. I found that one of the best ways as a broke person to hang out with friends was to go on walks. We'd got to a nature trail and conquer it. I've had some of the best times doing that. Also I would go as a guest with friends with gym memberships. Or would do exercise videos. The Bollywood dance videos that used to come on Discovery Fit & Health

A friend during a nature walk.
About a year and a half ago, I had been thinking about doing some walk or something for charity. And then my friend Hannah, whose daughter Sadie Mae had passed away earlier that year, announced she was going to have a 5K in Sadie Mae's honor. And I got inspiration. Why not do that trendy Couch to 5K program I'd seen people talking about and raise money for Sadie Mae's 5K? So I started "See Pam Run", because honestly I never run. I'm very overweight and so I figured people both loved seeing people getting in shape and helping out charities, so hopefully we could get somewhere with this...

So I started in earnest and did pretty well. Then I had to get a biopsy.

I'd been having my period nonstop for over a year and a half. At first, I wasn't panicked because the PCOS causes my periods to be WEIRD. I often only have a couple a year and when I do they are extremely heavy. I've gone over a year without one before. I've also had it happen where I had them every two weeks. So I didn't panic at first...

Then it kept going. And I compartmentalized it. Why? Because I was living in the USA, unemployed, pre-Obama Care and had no insurance. I couldn't afford a simple doctor's appointment let alone tests and treatment if it was something serious.

So I ignored it. Honestly I think I have ignored my PCOS much the same way. It's a way of coping, and helps with stress, and is a good way to function if there's something you can't do anything about, but PCOS is actually treatable and I've just been sticking my head in the ground. Anyway...

So I went to the doctor and he scheduled me for an ultrasound a few weeks later. That was agonizing. After bleeding for 18 months, my uterus was inflamed and I was crying... and they found a lump.

So then they had to give me a biopsy. Which literally had me sobbing and yelling. I couldn't walk for days, let alone run.

The photo I used for "See Pam Run"
Blessedly, the biopsy was negative, and sticking the needle into the lump (which I think was a fibroid tumor) disturbed it enough that I finally got rid of it and, with the aid of birth control pills, my period stopped.

Then Hannah ended up deciding to do a balloon release instead of a 5K, so I didn't really have motivation to get moving again...

But eventually I did, and I finished it this past August. And I blogged about it. And I found that when I'd not finish a week, I'd be doing other exercises and yet there wasn't "space" on my blog for that...

I didn't get too much exercising in after the Couch to 5K, just some walking with friends and crunches at home kind of stuff here and there because... I was moving to India! But I am an *avid* pedestrian and would rather walk, so long as the weather is nice.

And now I'm here. And I just got my period for the first time in 5 months (yay) after being here a month, which could be coincidence or it could be that Indian food is indeed healthy for me.

Me preparing to cook back in US
I've never had my own kitchen. Still don't have one. I don't have the will power to resist food I love for long, so when I was in college it was so hard with the cafeteria style eating, especially during stressful times. And at my parent's house, they are major snackers and always keep stuff around. And we'd do our grocery store shopping once a week, and I wasn't a part of it. I'd ask for something, and they'd say bring me home one or two meals to last me a week of lunches. So in order to get enough, I'd ask for the cheapest stuff... which in America is synonymous with the least healthy most of the time.

Here in India, I was anticipating doing the cooking. (I only moved here November 29th.) I bought a PCOS and a Diabetes cookbook (my future mother-in-law has diabetes, and consequently Ryan and I are both at risk for getting it, him by genetics, mine from PCOS. So I figured Diabetes friendly meals would be good for all.) However, his parents hired a cooking maid and so I don't cook here either. And they're like "you can cook when you want" but I can't really because again, I don't do the grocery shopping and I honestly don't know what half the spices are (they're not labelled) and I don't know how to make a meal out of cauliflower and peas. I'm used to American cooking.

So... that's the where and the who, I guess. Tomorrow I'll tell you what I hope to do with this blog and how I expect it to work!

No comments:

Post a Comment