It's been almost 2 years since I regularly posted. What's the deal? What have I been up to?
I decided to step away because I found myself identifying too much as "someone with an eating disorder" even as I tried to recover fully. At some point I realized that blogging as "someone with an eating disorder" was a self-perpetuating cycle. Identity is a huge part of many people's eating disorder maintenance, and that was certainly true for me. "I'm anorexic," or "I'm bulimic," or "I'm a binge eater" becomes as sure an identifier as "I'm from the U.S." or "I'm an Aquarius."
I knew I wanted to get healthier, finally, for good, largely because 2012 was a crap year, and I couldn't take another one like it.
The bigger reason, though, is that the husband and I realized we both would genuinely like to be parents. We'd both been in denial about that for a few years, for a variety of reasons. But in 2013 we started having serious thoughts in that direction, and it proved a fantastic springboard for a real, true recovery for me.
Maintaining recover hasn't always been easy. In fact, sometimes it's been really, really hard. But it's going very well. Better than I'd ever have thought.
Which brings us to today, or, to begin at the beginning, to January 2014. At the ripe old age of 19, I went on the Pill largely for its on-label purpose, but also because my periods had never fully regularized, and I thought it couldn't hurt to have something to help my acne. (Ortho Tri Cyclen had just become the first official BCP for that.) I stayed on BCP for 12.5 years. When hypothetical family planning came up at annual exams, I'd ask my gynecologist about my irregular periods before, and she'd wave off any worries with, "That's normal; once you're an adult, and exercising regularly, and eating right, they tend to even out."
I went off the Pill in January 2014 and I waited... and waited. By April there was nothin' doin'. I had to find a new gynecologist due to new insurance, and my first meeting with her revolved mostly around my eating disorder history. She sent me packing with instructions to call in 4 weeks if my period didn't arrive. By May she prescribed Provera to jump-start my period (and to see if a period would happen at all; she figured my ED had screwed up my estrogen regulation). Got my period, got told "come back in 6 weeks if nothing else happens."
I was back there 6 weeks later. Since about March my skin had been getting worse and worse; I'd started putting some weight on my belly despite no diet changes (that was particularly fun); and I felt like I was constantly pulling more and more bristly, dark hairs out of my face.
Finally, in late June, I strong-armed my gynecologist into ordering an ultrasound for me. I suspected, after some basic Googling, that I had polycistic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thought to be one of the most common endocrine disorders in women.
If you're not familiar with it (I wasn't): PCOS is essentailly a hormone imbalance: your body makes excess androgens such as testosterone. This in turns leads to ovulatory dysfunction and other reproductive disruption, as well as to fun inflammation-related things like cystic acne and (later) higher heart disease risk. Jackpot!
"I don't think you have PCOS," my new gynecologist had said at our first appointment in April, solely based on my weight.
She called me the evening after my June ultrasound, clearly surprised, to tell me that I did, in fact, have polycystic ovaries.
Isn't being right just the best?
She put me on Clomid (unmonitored -- something I learned is a reeeeeeally bad idea) in July. By early August we started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, and are still.
So NOW that brings us to today. PCOS is diet-sensitive, in that it's directly related to insulin levels in the blood and insulin resistance. Having to rewire diet and operate from the mindset of not eating certain foods in certain amounts is a tough adjustment for anyone, I imagine, but having an eating disorder history complicates it further.
I debated for several months about whether I'd open up about this here, having known for a good year+ that I wanted to come back to blogging. After several failed medicated cycles, I find I'm ready to write about it.
As you can imagine, the focus of this blog is going to shift a bit from what it used to be. I still plan on covering timely topics related to eating disorders, food, feminism, the portrayal of women in our media, and all the things you're used to seeing here. I feel I'm ready to do that again from the identity of someone who's recovered, not someone who's in an eating disorder.
But I also plan to focus on the journey of infertility; on what it feels like to be diagnosed with and then try to live around PCOS; and on the intersection of all these themes, old and new. Because boy howdy, do they ever intersect.
So there you have it. Welcome back, [hypothetically-still-here] readers. And welcome back, me. I've missed you!