Penned in Teal
Updated: Mar 24
Posted on December 05, 2019 by Oushawndra Apple Chavers in Blog Submissions
Every year I participate in studies and trials to see if there’s any light at the end of the tunnel. Success will one day come!
As a child, I couldn’t wait to glide into womanhood. I wasn’t quite sure what that entailed, but it sounded good! To me it sounded like I’d have a phenomenal high school transition from middle school, an even better college career. It was going to be great. When I was 10 years old I heard all of my older cousins talk about Aunt Flo whom visited them monthly. When I asked why monthly, they answered, because that’s womanhood. You’re not a woman until she comes. Now in my mind I’m thinking WOW, that’s going to be great. Is this Aunty going to teach me the womanhood way? What will happen when she arrives? Now I knew what a menstrual cycle was, but they made it sound enjoyable! While enjoying it, I would become a woman! As time had past and Aunty Flo started, I waited for the joy to happen! One morning I woke up to some bleeding. I thought ohhhhhh boy womanhood is here. I went to my mother whom was sleeping, I needed to tell her what was happening. She didn’t get up. So I went to the bathroom and took a bath and stuffed my panties with toilet paper. When mom woke up, I told her and she showed me where all of the lady tools were kept. As time went by in an unhappy blur, I started to hate womanhood. This couldn’t be what everyone raved about! Writing cleared my frustrations and I remember writing down what I thought was adult staples in their careers. Doctors, carried stethoscopes, lawyer’s carried brief cases, teacher’s carried tote bags of teaching material, but me, transitioning into adulthood carried a book bag. This book bag wasn’t filled with books for educational purposes. My book bag was filled with supplies! Daily, I had to repack my book bag.
4 packs of extra long overnight pads
3 boxes of super plus tampons
6-8 sets of changing clothes (panties and all)
6 pack of soap
Towels of all sizes
What they didn’t tell me about womanhood was the pain.
My cycles were painful. They were heavy. They consumed my life. On average a woman’s cycle last 3-7 days on a 28 day cycle. Mine lasted 66-70 days at a time, off for 2-3 days between cycles and on average I had to changed anywhere from 10-35 times each day. One day in high school I went to the nurse. I walked in defeated by life! When the nurse asked me what was wrong? I said, I’m tired of bleeding. At first she was confused, so I expelled my last few years in great detail. When I was done I cried, and she hugged me! She said, Do you mind if I call someone. I know they can help you. I simply nodded! The person on the end of the phone wanted me to come in right away and see them. So the nurse took me to my first Obgyn appointment . The Obgyn understood my horror and said sweetie, you have PCOS ( Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). We conversed long and hard about what I could anticipate from life. She handed me all of these pamphlets which were stamped with teal ribbons! She also gave me a teal pen and notebook! Pen it out! She says! All of your frustrations, every time you have to change, the frequency, pain, feelings, medication or anything you want me to know. We will meet again in 2 weeks. In sadness, I walked out with my school nurse! I had a diagnosis! There was so much more too it than periods though!
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes the ovaries to enlarge with small cysts on the outer edges. Symptoms of PCOS may include menstrual irregularities, excess hair growth in unwanted areas, acne, obesity, and infertility just to name a few. It can also lead to other health problems such as Diabetes, Endometriosis, Metabolic syndrome, Ovarian cancer, Acanthosis Nigricans, and Miscarriage. PCOS has dictated the majority of my life. I have accepted it as a part of who I am and embraced it. For years I struggled with pain, nausea, migraines, and the cost of the syndrome. Fertility treatments are expensive. I’ve had to pay $1000.00 for some treatments each time that I’ve wanted to try to have a baby, and countless runs to the store to purchase pregnancy tests that all were negative. Every year I participate in studies and trials to see if there’s any light at the end of the tunnel. Success will one day come!!