After graduating from college in June of 2015, I was excited to get away and start adulting (not really). But nevertheless it was the start of a new chapter and I was all for it! Two weeks after graduating, I moved to Denver, Colorado for a new job, and life after college couldn’t have started out any better. Not too long after moving to Denver, I started noticing some  drastic changes in my body. I was always tired and my hair started falling out in large chunks. I’ve always experienced fatigue and hairloss in the form of shedding, so I thought more sleep and a deep conditioner would do the trick. As time passed I grew even more tired, and my hair kept falling out. What really pushed me over the edge was the fact that I gained a whopping 40 pounds in less than 6 months, without any change in diet or physical activity.

13699954_1230997706923842_7310524111851156521_n

Thanks to my extensive medical training (binge watching Grey’s Anatomy & House), I finally decided to visit with a gynecologist. After meeting with her, she suggested a series of blood test and an ultrasound which confirmed what looked to be like a number of cysts surrounding my ovaries (one of the many PCOS symptoms). At the time I didn’t know what to think or what this all meant? But boy was I about to find out. As the title to this post suggest, I was diagnosed with (PCOS) Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS is a condition in which a woman of child bearing age experiences a set of symptoms due to hormonal imbalances. Symptoms vary from person to person, but most often include irregular periods, excess body hair, weight gain, infertility, male patterned balding and pelvic pain. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to associated conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cervical cancer. In addition to being diagnosed with PCOS, my doctor informed me I was prediabetic and immediately put me on Metformin. Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it is also used to treat PCOS patients dealing with insulin resistance, as this can eventually lead to diabetes.

When I found out I had PCOS, infertility was the first thing that popped into my head. I’ve always wanted children, and now there was a chance that I couldn’t have any. I started to question all the decisions I made in my 23 years on this planet. Did I do something wrong? Could I have prevented this? And at the end of the day, the answers really didn’t matter. All that mattered was how I was going to move forward. For the next couple of weeks I spent most of my time researching PCOS and reading the stories of other women dealing with it. According to Womens Health, PCOS affects between 5% to 10% of women of child bearing age (14-44), however, it is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose. In fact, it took me three visits to my primary physician until I was referred to my now gynecologist.

10898238_918010814889201_1527117993784023390_n

Although PCOS has been a major thorn in my side, I have taken the necessary steps to manage my symptoms and get back to being that optimistic young college graduate. I was a bit hesitant to share my story publicly, but saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness for such a common disease. Please visit the PCOS Awareness Association website to learn more.

 

When I told my boyfriend I was doing this post, he suggested I rename it “5 Things he told me, but Ignored Before Becoming a Dog Mom”. I will admit, i’m impulsive by nature. Once I have my mind set on something, it’s hard to convince me out of it, hence my beautiful dog Oliver.

I got Oliver during my last year of college, long before I started thinking long-term about what I wanted out of life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog and couldn’t imagine my life without him. After 2 years with Oliver by my side, I have grown tremendously as a responsible pet owner, and below is a little list I put together for those of you who have recently become dog parents or are thinking of becoming dog parents.

1. A dog is for life

Before getting a dog, it is extremely important to remember that you are committing to a creature for the duration of its life. Once you open your door to a furry friend, you become they’re world, and they are dependent on you for basically everything. So don’t get a dog unless you’re prepared to see it through despite the ups and downs.

2. They ain’t cheap

I can’t even begin to explain all the financial responsibilities that come with being a pet owner. In addition to the basic cost of food and toys (which add up really fast), you must also consider the financial cost of things such as vaccines, annual check ups, lease deposits, and training (which I highly recommend!). Let’s not forget emergencies! Dogs can get sick too!

3. Forget about personal space

If you like to sleep comfortably, spread out across your king bed or just enjoy time to yourself, well i’m sorry to tell you, but that ain’t gon happen. My bed no longer belongs to me, it belongs to a 55 pound fury dog named Oliver. I just get to lay in it from time to time and I guess i’m completely fine with that…

4. Patience & dedication is key

When you adopt a dog, you never know what you’re going to get. I adopted Oliver at 8 weeks and it was love at first sight. He immediately bonded with me and my boyfriend, but after a couple months we started noticing some less than favorable behavior. Despite the number of people that told me he was a lost cause especially because of his breed, I never gave up hope. After spending tons of time socializing and training, Oliver has become a burst of joy and captivates the hearts of unsuspecting humans.

5. Brace yourself for unconditional love

I mean, what more can you expect from man’s best friend.

There are many other aspects of owning a dog beyond this list. It’s a learning process that can be frustrating at times, may cause some anxiety, and a little degrading (i’m talking poop duty), but all in all it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I have partaken in thus far… I mean there’s a reason they call us dog moms.