Needless to say, there's been a lot of backlash. Men are annoyed at being intentionally left out, and rightly so, seeing as how breast cancer affects them, too, both directly and indirectly. My friend Erin Palette points out that it's time to give equal attention to other more common and deadlier types of cancer that nevertheless hardly receive any media attention. And then there's the IF/RPL crowd, of whom I'm a member, who finds this meme, at best, insensitive, and at worst, downright hurtful. Others have expounded on the reasons why far more eloquently than I can, and if you're wondering, then I encourage you to read those posts.
I admit that when I got the memo encouraging me to participate in the meme, I felt a little hurt and annoyed. I thought about how great it would make all of the friends and family feel, who've been hoping and praying for me to have a healthy pregnancy, to see me post something like that only to turn around and tell them, "Just kidding!" But mostly I felt bewildered, because, what does pretending you're pregnant have to do with breast cancer, exactly? And also, Breast Cancer Awareness Month isn't until October.
This month, September, is actually PCOS Awareness Month. If you've been paying attention to this blog for very long at all, then you know that this is a cause that's near and dear to my heart. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is the reason all of those people are praying for me. It's most likely the reason neither of my previous pregnancies made it to the end of the first trimester. It's the reason I'm terrified of even trying to get pregnant again until I lose enough weight to cure my insulin resistance. It's also the reason that there's no guarantee that I'll be able to get pregnant again once we do start trying, or that it will happen quickly or without difficulty and a lot of heartache.
In the interest of doing something that actually raises awareness about a cause, here are a few facts about PCOS:
- It's a disorder that affects approximately five to ten percent of all women.
- It's one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
- It's closely linked with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
- Those with PCOS who do manage to get pregnant face an increased risk of miscarriage, most likely due to said insulin resistance.
- It can be diagnosed at any phase of life and is not limited to women of child-bearing age.
- Irregular periods, or no periods
- Painful periods
- Acne, especially at an age where acne isn't a common affliction
- Excess hair growth on the face and body
- Hair loss
- Unruptured follicles, or cysts, on the ovaries
There is no known cure for PCOS. Currently, the only known medical treatment for PCOS is the birth control pill, which is not exactly helpful for those with the disorder who want to get pregnant. Fortunately, however, studies have shown that treating the related insulin resistance through a healthy, low-glycemic diet and regular exercise, or even with medications such as Metformin, can serve to lessen the severity of PCOS symptoms, and has even resulted in healthy pregnancies in women who have been prone to miscarriage.
That last part is why I've been knocking myself out with Project Oven Repair.
If you'd like more information on PCOS, or if you think you or a loved one might suffer from this disorder, or for information on treating the disorder, please check out the following links:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association
- The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination's PCOS FAQ
- Natural Health Solutions for PCOS
- Mary's PCOS Treatment FAQ