Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Andrea Braverman keeps it real at the Symposium

Andrea's presentations were my favorite.   She is hilarious!   It is my belief that humor goes a long way.   I'll never forget meeting my miracle man, Dr. Pellegrini.    Infertility and PCOS are such serious topics.   Trust me, I get that.   I remember telling him, "Seriously.... you were just in all my nooks and crannies.... and you didn't even take me out to dinner, it's time to lighten up."   I deal best with humor and that's exactly how Andrea presents.  

Andrea's presentations were on Emotional Wellness in Women with PCOS and also Couples Therapy.  The reality is that when you are talking about emotional wellness, you are talking about:

  • identity
  • anxiety
  • self esteem
  • coping
  • joy
  • beliefs
  • optimism
  • happiness
  • resiliency
  • exhaustion

Andrea focused on how there are so many stigmas out there regarding PCOS, Obesity, Anxiety, etc.   She said, "Do not ignore anxiety!  Your body is trying to tell you something!"   I had to laugh about this because I can't even tell you how many times I knew something was wrong with my body growing up.   I knew it.   I KNEW IT.   And any time I said anything to my parents or my doctor, I was not taken seriously.   I was being over dramatic.   And if I were in to self torture I could wonder how many miscarriages could have been prevented had I known I had PCOS sooner.    Had I known as a teenager, I think I'd have a very different story.    But I also know that my story has inspired other women, my pain has helped other women, and even now with two children I'm still advocating for women with PCOS because I am and forever will be a woman living with this.   But Andrea made it clear that WE have PCOS.   PCOS does not have us.   

Personally, I treat my anxiety myself but I'm also in good communication with my doctors.   I eat cherries when I feel anxious (also an inflammatory fruit).    I was given this recommendation after I had Elliot, and what's ironic is my entire pregnancy with him, I craved cherries.   Cherries are proven to reduce anxiety and in fact cherry is the ingredient in several anti-anxiety medications.   I also take a Passion Flower Supplement PRN (as needed).

Andrea really had us laughing and focused on making us aware of our vulnerable places.    Focusing on knowing what burdens we carry and how to ease them is critical.   For me, it's prayer.   For others, it's counseling.    She had said that more often than not women feel that PCOS is some sort of punishment for being unhealthy, and she grounded in us that that simply is not true.   And she has the research to prove it.  

Ask yourself this question:  what about PCOS gives you stress?    

For me, it's knowing that it's a lot of work to keep me healthy.   It just doesn't happen on it's own.  

Things don't work properly and I have to be on myself to stay as healthy physically and emotionally. I worry.   Sometimes far too much.   But you know what?   It's okay.   Because I may worry, but I also care.   About myself and the other women who may be reading this.  Do I like exercising?   Absolutely not.    But you know what?   After a workout, I feel great.   I need to remember that feeling because the reality is if you have PCOS and you aren't taking care of yourself, something will shut down and you could end up with cancer or eventually dead.   It's a harsh reality.    And stress inducing.    So Andrea challenged us to find things that help us de-stress.   She suggested yoga, exercise, coloring, dancing, mindfulness practice, a hot bath, reading, and even fun sex.    

Andrea's couple session was amazing.   I was able to reach out to women who have struggled with family/inlaws who don't get it - I was able to connect.    That was important.   I made new friends.   I decided to start blogging again.   And I just have to remember that I have PCOS.  PCOS does not have me.   

So seriously ladies.... reach out to me if you need it.    I went through five years of infertility (6 miscarriages) before conceiving my son.   I then went into thyroid storm and was told more children would not happen.   My daughter is a perfect little gem and six months old.   I've made a vow to make sure I always, always, ALWAYS take her health concerns (and well, all concerns) seriously.   I've also begun working for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep where I help mothers through the birth of a stillborn.    I refuse to remain silent about PCOS.   Silence, in this case, is not the answer.   

If I can help you - please contact me - I'll do my best.    Friendleigh82 on twitter, mamageib on instagram.

Do yourself a favor --- research SLEEP and how important it is - the Sleep/PCOS connection was astounding in and of itself.   Treat yourself to a nap.

Hugs and love,

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