My name is Jessica, I am 38 and I have a confession! I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and I am addicted to carbs! Breads, pastas, crackers, rice – you name it, my body craves it. Truth be told, growing up as an 80’s and 90’s child, I didn’t know any better. I don’t blame my parents for introducing me to some of my worst nutritional habits. My folks, while forward thinkers and doers were still consumed by the trends of society. They were brain-washed, just as much as I was on the glorification of fast food, processed food and the amazement of microwave dinners; oh the novelty that dinner could be made in minutes and was far cheaper and less time-consuming than making a real wholesome dinner (or lunch or breakfast). While my mother was an amazing cook, even her food was highly unhealthy and extremely high in carbs. I come from a deep rooted Italian family, where pasta was always a staple meal. Even if we were having grilled chicken we had a nice pasta salad as the side dish. So, if I wasn’t eating a ton of carbs for every meal and snack, I was eating processed foods galore. This is how I grew up…and honestly, I loved it.
Fast forward to my teenage years, I was overweight and depressed.
I found comfort in food when dealing with the depression and the typical teenage angst. My life was honestly quite lovely, but lonely! I was totally depressed; I hated my acne and my big chubby round belly! I would often be upset because I wanted to be thin like my friends. It wasn’t that I was lazy or inactive; I was very social and involved in extracurricular activities. I remember going to the doctor once and he said to me… “No offense, but your body type is an Apple”. I was like, “What the heck is that all about? What does that even mean, “an apple”?”
When I found out it meant that I am as round as an apple, my self-worth and self-esteem went out the window! What was wrong with me? Why was I so different? Why on earth could I gain 8 lbs in one day? I was a freak of nature and I hated myself.
Then when I was about 17, my life took a crazy turn.
Traumatic events hit me from every side. First, my adorable grandfather passed away unexpectedly from complications from diabetes. Within days of his passing, my dear father was hospitalized with pancreatitis. After tests and tests my dad was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the very thing that took my grandfather’s life. Then shortly after his diagnosis I was in a car accident. It was the day after a blizzard and I was driving. I hit a patch of ice coming down a hill and spun out of control into a big truck and was ambulanced to the hospital. At the hospital I was experiencing horrible stomach pains. They injected my body with a dye and wheeled me in to take a full body scan. It was after that scan that my life forever changed.
The doctors came in and said “we have found a mass on one of your ovaries the size of a tennis ball”.
I went numb, I didn’t know what that meant. All I heard was “mass” and my head grew heavy and dizzy. I remember having to set up quite a few different appointments, and that alone gave me a great deal of anxiety. At one of the appointments, I was mortified that I had to get a trans-vaginal ultrasound. This is a prop that is inserted vaginally to see inside your reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and cervix. Afterw