Recently, I’ve found myself stuck in the “in between." Through the years, I've spent substantial time on both poles of chronic illness: extremely sick (hopeless) and feeling strong (doing great!) Right now, I’m in the blurry, daily muck of it---both emotionally and physically. I’m not pregnant, I’m not having a period. I’m just wandering in the hormone wilderness.
I knew going off of the pill would wreak havoc on the normalcy I once had. I knew that going off Spironolactone (used for acne in this case) would also make my body readjust once again. I knew the probability of sporadic periods, returning acne, and the overall effects of hormone imbalance that come with PCOS. I knew what I was walking into yet even with all the preparation and preparedness in the world, it’s still really hard.
I pee on sticks to see if I’m ovulating, I pee on sticks to see if I’m pregnant. I check my underwear for any signs of blood, just SOMETHING to tell me where my body is at in the cycle. No signs, nothing to get my bearings on this path towards fertility. I feel like I’m floating in the wind, going every which way, not sure where I will land. One of the most frustrating symptoms? Acne as a 30-year old. It takes me right back to middle school with the embarrassment and hassle of it. Every day when I look in the mirror, I’m reminded that my hormones are gasping for breath, reaching out for normalcy once again.
In this journey, I’ve had to open myself up to the idea that I could be peeing on stick for a long time. I could be waiting for my ovaries to figure themselves out for longer than I dare to write. And unfortunately, that’s not uncommon for many of the women I know. There are countless stories of struggle AND hope with PCOS. Yet, knowing there’s hope in a situation doesn’t take away of the weariness I’ve felt living in the midst of it.
Living with PCOS is such an internal battle. On the outside, I’m moving forward in what I know to be true but on the inside, I’m weary and frustrated with the path that’s been chosen for me. It’s in times like these when I wish I was just "normal"---whatever that means. It’s funny how the low places make me believe that everybody else has it together, even though I know that’s not true. We all have junk to carry and battles to fight on this path we’re walking.
Whether it’s PCOS, an auto-immune disease, or other chronic health issues, dealing with the emotional and physical weight of our bodies being out of whack is HARD. Yes, there are practical things we can do to alleviate symptoms and promote healthy living. There's counseling, community, and faith to help us cope with the emotional roller coaster chronic illness can send us on. There is also a time to look each other in the eye and say “Hey, I hear you, “That sucks,” and “I'm with you.”
Can we walk alongside each another in the murky “in between” of life; when there isn’t a 3-step program or overnight solution for the brokenness we experience on this side of heaven? Can we grieve together and lean on one other when we feel weary?
So, friend. With eyes welled up with tears, I'm here to tell you: you’re not alone. Even though you feel like no one understands and are tired of fighting in this battle, don’t you dare give up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that you’re fighting a worthy cause. We can do this. With scars and limps, we’ll walk along this earth knowing that there is a heavenly Hope where our bodies won’t hurt anymore, where we won’t have to face our insufficiencies any longer. One day, we will be made whole again and brokenness will be a faint, distant memory.
Oh come, Lord Jesus, come.