Well, the lack of attention by doctors continues. I have been having heart palpitations in the middle of the night that wake me up and make me feeling like going into a straight panic, so naturally, I went to see my doctor. She chalked it up to being fat and anxiety - as they usually do - but after my insistent nagging gave me a referral to a cardiologist. However, before I get into that experience let's just get a little introduction to the connection between PCOS and heart disease.
The two are not directly linked, but the symptoms that come along with PCOS: insulin resistance, obesity, sleep apnea, etc.. all play a roll with cardiovascular issues. PCOS has long had the nickname of "Silent Killer" because it has yet to really be determined as a "traditional" disease even though under it's umbrella sits a multitude of serious causes. For this reason, anyone with PCOS should pay close attention to their heart and their head. Why the head, you may ask? Lightheaded, dizziness, anxiety, low blood sugar, etc... it goes on. Your head and heart are connected. Sometimes, my head will tell me before my heart if something is actually wrong. That being said, if I were to say that to a doctor, most of the time they conclude that it's just due to my long-term anxiety disorder.
Moving away from that, and now understanding that PCOS DOES PLAY A ROLL IN HEART HEALTH my recent visit with a cardiologist was extremely frustrating and all too familiar.
After waiting over a month for an appointment I was able to see a local cardiologist. The first comment made was "you look perfectly fine, I'm not sure why you're here." Cue my resting bitch face expression and rebuttal, "I don't think maybe people wear their heart issues on the outside of their body, do they?" Obviously we were off to a brilliant start! After we move past our obvious dislike of one another he asks me why I think I need to be seen by a cardiologist... again with the ridiculousness.
At this point I am explaining how not only do I have a family history with heart issues, diabetes, and cancer, but I have PCOS and it's been a while since I've been checked for anything serious due to the "disease." He then replied, "I don't know what PCOS is, but I doubt it has anything to do with the heart."
You can imagine my blood pressure began to increase significantly.
After explaining how to does have something to do with the heart to a g-damn cardiologist he has a nurse come in and do an EKG and listens to my heart. I don't hear anything back for about three weeks, until I received a phone call from his office stating I needed to do more testing.
Another two months pass and I finally have been seen. I did a few fun tests and ultrasounds - long and uncomfortable. I did a 24 hour EKG monitor and had a fun allergic reaction to the adhesive.
BTW - if you're in the same boat make sure you shower before hand because you won't be able to for 24 hours, AND bring a sports bra that zips in the front, or a bralette. You cannot wear a underwire bra with the monitor on due to the placement of the tabs. This is really uncomfortable if you are like me and have gigantic boobs. I had to call out for work because it would have been incredible inappropriate for me to come to work in that state.
I haven't received my final results yet - hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll have some update. This process is just a continuation of having to be my own advocate. I know many women are in the same position as I am and I've said it before, believe what you're feeling. Don't let anyone diminish your symptoms. You know what feels "normal" to you and you understand your body and what it is capable of more than anyone else. Trust your gut. Trust your mind. Find support where you can. I will always support another woman who is unsure about their body and seeking more information.
PCOS is still being treated as a "side note" disease. I don't know many doctors that have taken it seriously until it's already a serious issue. Meaning, unless you get a cancer, edge of death, or you take matters into your own hand, professionals won't pay attention. There is a community out here that will support you. Seek help. Ask. I run into women at my work all the time that feel so comforted by known there is another person going through what they are. That their symptoms are valitdaded. They're real, and it's not just because they're overweight.