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Sunday, July 1, 2012

PCOS, my reason to proclaim Independence from STRESS

Hello Sunshine!

I must apologize for my extended absence. Things happen in life which we cannot control, and sometimes we just have to go with the flow and accept everything as a lesson in this journey of life.  These past few months I have had a lot going on (lessons!), and unfortunately I lost touch with my passion of writing and coaching others towards better heath. It wasn't until last week, when I was given a diagnosis that I was reminded of my passion and my meaning for life...

I am going to share a story with you, it is a true story, and one that takes a lot of courage for me to share.... Here it goes.

Nearly two years ago I was a healthy, vibrant, vegan, young girl who was placed in a classroom for the first time.  I always knew I wanted to work with children, and teaching just seemed like the perfect thing to do for the rest of my life. Little did I know or comprehend the stress and anxiety that would accompany this new, great salary, amazing benefits, big-girl job kind of job. The trending attitude in my home state of New Jersey these days, is that teachers have it so good. What an easy job, working 9-3 and for only 10 months of the year with a week off for Christmas and Easter... Well let me tell you, it is NOT easy.

My first year of teaching, I worked 7:30am to 9:00pm, preparing, creating, and crying. I know I am not alone on this first-year-teacher hell. My first year was so traumatic that even me, a healthy vegan who exercises 5+ days a week, juices daily, meditates and does yoga, literally made myself sick.

Last week I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). What is the cause of PCOS? Well stress, of course, along with hereditary. Who knew, stress could rival healthy habits? I thought I was invincible.

I am sharing this story because it is important for you to listen to your body, to take care of yourself, and to do everything in your power (or nothing at all) to ease stress.  Stress is that little nag within each of us that often times we cannot suppress. Stress is responsible for so many ailments and illnesses from acne to bowel issues, to cancer, to heart disease.

What I have learned in this week is that PCOS is very prevalent, affecting up to 10% of women of child bearing age. I have also learned (from experience) that PCOS symptoms are often over looked by doctors, for example: in April (of my first year teaching, over a year ago) while on birth control, my period vanished. I suddenly gained a fair amount of weight (while eating a plant based diet), and my skin looked like that of a 15-year-old. So, I went off of my birth control in October that same year, and still no period, no weight loss, and only slight relief of acne. After expressing my concern to my OBGYN, and getting blood work, then being told to go back for more blood work, I finally seeked a second opinion. My unnecessary weight gain, acne for the first time in  my life, and lack of period are all common signs of PCOS that were over looked by my doctor for the past year.

An internal ultrasound was all I needed for my new doctor (an IVF doctor) to give me a diagnosis.  My ovaries were "fully loaded" with cysts. I have been infertile since last April. Infertile? But I am the catalogue-picture-perfect child bearing shaped girl, who loves children and has always dreamt of having a family of two girls, one boy, with blonde hair like their father and green eyes and freckles like me...

To be told that my reason of being does not work properly, just a few months short of my wedding.... Realizing that no matter how clean I eat, and how much I exercise, I am not invincible.  Stress over powered all of my efforts. Some things, you just cannot control.

Well, I am declaring myself Independent (in leu of the 4th of July) from Stress!

The more research I do, the more I realize that if it was not for my clean way of eating and exercising, my symptoms could be so much worst (see below)... and I am confident that with my doctor's help, my continued health eating and exercising, along with a few extra yoga classes, more mediating, and certainly more relaxation, I will be okay, and I will have children some day.

Everything that occurs in life is for a reason, and is a lesson which we must learn in order to move on to the next phase of our lives.  As difficult as it has been for me to accept my diagnosis, I believe that there is a reason I have this so called "syndrome".  Perhaps this reason is so that I can successfully fulfill my dream of helping women with fertility issues get healthy and bring healthy bundles of joy into the world... and perchance, my lesson is in using my own body to learn how to do this.

I will continue to blog about my journey with PCOS, and in a few years I promise that my blonde hair babies will be living proof that we have power over our bodies, we just have to be willing to make changes and kick stress to the curb.

Much love and health to you <3

For more information on PCOS check out this article on WebMD. If you have some of these symptoms be proactive and demand an internal ultrasound so that you can begin healing your body.


  1. Thank you for sharing his great post! You seem like you have so much willpower and strength that you will overcome this and create beautiful babies one day! I have been on the pill for 14 years and have stopped getting my period, which makes me nervous. This post makes me realize that I should keep an eye out for my fertility health now that I'm approaching that time in my life. Wishing you all the best with your new stress-less life!!

  2. Love you sis!!! We come from a strong line of strong women!!!

  3. Thank you Lauren and Lauren :) Lauren: Talk to your OBGYN, and be adamant about having tests done. With PCOS, the earlier you catch it the better! Thank you for the support- it means a lot to me! xox

    1. What great information and thank you for sharing your story. I admire your tenacity; and desire to be proactive in researching and taking the reins! Being your own advocate can be powerful and I tip my hat to you! Sharing your story with others is quite admirable, wanting to help others shows compassion. It's always beneficial to hear advice/information from fellow like-minded bloggers. Amanda, I hope that you can redirect your stress into the positive outlets you've mentioned. I believe you can do this and look forward to following you on your journey. Congratulations on finding your wedding dress, by the way! I read your sister's blog, as well, and enjoyed her post about your fun day. Happy "Independence" Day! :-)

    2. Thank you so, so much JodyLynne :) Your support and kind words mean so much to me! Yes I said "YES to the dress!" It is little blessing like that, and big blessings as my wonderful fiance and family that give me this confidence to keep on moving forward! Thank you so much! <3

  4. Hi Amanda-
    I know with your perserverance and dedication to health and healthy living that this syndrome is something that will be managed and taken care of and you will have beautiful babies.

    Stress is insidious and you are right, the quicker one learns to identify it and manage it, minimize or remove it, the better. The worst stress is the stress we put on ourselves--especially for not being perfect and for not making everything perfect for everyone else.

    You are such a joy Amanda--inhale, exhale. Thanks for sharing--knowledge is power. Take good care! Donna

  5. You are so amazing and thank you for sharing this!!! I was a teacher too, and I totally agree it can be stressful - I spent hours trying to create fun lesson plans and grading papers, disciplining children ... rewarding in a lot of aspects but also demanding in some. You will be great at helping women get pregnant, and you will have your adorable own babies to prove it!! Your blog post is so empowering to women -- thank you thank you thank you!!

  6. Hi I am a new follower. I have PCOS too and I was also a teacher until I quit this year due to stress. Check out my blog too!

    1. Hi Pixie! It is so comforting when you find people who are in such a similar place :) Thanks for following my page, I will check out your blog!! Xox

  7. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hi Hilda! I am so sorry I did not see this post earlier (very long over due!) Do you suffer from PCOS as well?

  8. Amanda,
    Im a teacher, an ultra runner and have finally after battling doctors to help me have just found out that I have several cysts in both ovaries. I fit the bill of PCOS perfectly as far as unexplained hypertension and wight gain. I work out hard 5-6 days a week as well. Not a vegan but I eat healthy.
    My question. I do not seem to have the hair growth that seems to be a symptom of PCOS. Does that have to be a symptom and did you have it?
    I see an endocrinologist on Wed. Hoping for more answers.
    Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. Hi Tara! I am extremely sorry I never saw this post unit now ( 9 months later- whoa I am so so sorry!) But to answer your question, I too do not have the hair growth that is a common symptom with PCOS, and that is perfectly normal- and wonderful too! I have found through research and speaking to many different women with this dis-ease, that the symptoms vary for each individual, where many women don't have any fertility issues, and have a perfectly normal menstral cycle, to symptoms such as hair growth. I would love to hear how you are doing today with everything! I am about to publish my latest post, which may REALLY help you out. Please let me know if you have any questions! And feel free to email ( me or message me via Facebook (

  9. How i got a cure for PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

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