PCOS Awareness Interview with Molly Thompson

 
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September is PCOS Awareness Month!

It is so important to educate others about this syndrome so that better treatments options and care can be given to women. To help spread awareness about PCOS, I have decided to dedicate this month to interviews with kick-ass women who have PCOS. They have been kind enough to share their struggles and successes along the way to help you.

The goal of this month-long series is to show you that PCOS comes in many different forms. No two women with PCOS are the same. Women with PCOS do not have a certain body type. Women with PCOS come in all shapes in sizes. PCOS does not discriminate.

If you are struggling with PCOS symptoms, know that you are not alone. You will see that these women have been where you are and understand the emotional side of PCOS. Hopefully, these honest and real answers will inspire you and bring you hope.

Kicking off this month-long series is my interview with Molly Thompson. She runs the blog What Molly Made where she shares delicious and healthy recipes that you will be dying to make. What I love about Molly is that she took control of her PCOS and was a true advocate for herself and health! She is very honest and genuine about her experiences and I think we will be able to relate! And some really exciting news is that Molly and her husband our expecting this first child (a baby girl) in November.

 
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Below you will see the Q&A that I had with Molly.



1.      When did you get diagnosed with PCOS and did you have a difficult time getting diagnosed by a doctor?

I was diagnosed with PCOS in the summer of 2018. After my husband Zach and I got married that June, we decided it was time to cross our T’s and dot our I’s in terms of having children. We weren’t ready to have children at the time but my husband has a hereditary heart condition that can be passed down to our children.

In an effort to get all the information to make the best decision when were ready we decided to visit an IVF clinic to learn more. I went into that apt thinking the only shock I’d get was sticker shock with how much IVF would cost. But after a few tests and a chat with the doctor, I left that office completely confused and deflated. That day I was officially diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).

Prior to this appointment, I did have a difficult time being diagnosed by a doctor. It took over 10 years to officially be diagnosed.

I was put on hormonal birth control (HBC) in high school when my OB/GYN put me on it to help with irregular cycles and severe anxiety.

Then last spring I started to feel very overwhelmed and stressed. I was gaining weight, had serious anxiety and was plain tired.

I went to my OB/GYN and I remember sobbing in her office saying something wasn’t right. I just knew it deep down. I told her I think I have a hormonal disorder and she told me it wasn’t possible because I was on birth control. She talked me down, took some blood and told me I was just stressed and I needed to be less stressed. Sobs turned to anger and I left that office determined to know what was wrong with my body.

I started listening to podcasts about women’s hormonal health and ultimately made the decision to go off hormonal birth control last summer (2017). I figured if there was something wrong with my hormones, the HBC was just masking the symptoms, it wasn’t actually fixing the imbalance that was occurring in my body.

About 5 months after I stopped birth control, I noticed the same symptoms from 10 years ago were starting to surface. It was right in the middle of wedding planning so I kind of swept the symptoms under the rug until after our wedding when we went to the IVF clinic.

You have to fill out a full profile of your symptoms and issues before your appointment. Once we saw the doctor, we were reviewing my information and the doctor goes, “oh, you have PCOS.” I should note, my oldest sister was diagnosed with PCOS about 15 years ago. I had that on my chart so I thought he was confused and was reading where I had written about that. I responded and said, “no, actually my sister has it.” He replied and told me that by looking at all my symptoms it was clear I had it too. We did an ultrasound as part of the appointment and he confirmed that I do indeed have PCOS.


RELATED: The Long road to my PCOS diagnosis


2.      How did you feel when you were diagnosed with PCOS and why?

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m just plain angry that I have PCOS. When they confirmed I had PCOS so many thoughts filled my head.

This isn’t fair.
I eat so healthy.
I work out 5 days a week.
I know I have some stress, but I can manage it.
Will I gain weight forever?
Will I ever be able to have kids naturally?
Why is this happening to me?

Then I left the office and started comparing myself to everyone around me. Every thin girl I saw I’d think:
must be nice she doesn’t have PCOS
if I didn’t have PCOS, I’d be skinnier than her
it’s not fair my friends can eat whatever they want and they’re still smaller than me

I’m not proud of these thoughts, but they were the real thoughts that went go through my head. They’re the result of a giant hurdle I don’t want to face and some of the biggest adversity I’ve come against recently.

It’s a weird feeling thinking you’re doing everything right, yet your body does the exact opposite. I felt like my body was failing me. Like somehow I was cheating and wasn’t doing things right. I remember telling family and friends “I have no business gaining weight with how well I take care of my body.” But here I was on the scale, and yet again the number went up. And I was breaking out and exhausted and just nothing made sense.

So, when I was finally diagnosed with PCOS, I also felt relief. Because I had answers. Because I wasn’t going crazy. There was a reason for feeling the way I did. And now that I know what it is, I can make a clear game plan to start the healing process.

I Bet On Me Every Time Shirts! Get yours now.  10% of profits for the month of September will be donated to PCOS Challenge for research and funding for PCOS!! Help the cause!

I Bet On Me Every Time Shirts! Get yours now. 10% of profits for the month of September will be donated to PCOS Challenge for research and funding for PCOS!! Help the cause!

 

3.        You have mentioned that you work with a functional medicine doctor. Can you explain how that experience has been compared to working with a traditional doctor? If someone is looking to work with a functional medicine doctor, how can they find a qualified one?

The experience I’ve had with my functional doctor has been wonderful. She believes the exact same things as me and has read all the same hormone books about healing naturally. She was on board from the beginning to use labs and natural remedies to reserves symptoms.

I filled out a long questionnaire, got blood work then got a customized plan based on my history and labs. Two months after seeing her I had regular cycles naturally for the first time in my life and 6 months later I got pregnant on the first try!

Sign-up to learn the strategies that helped me lose the weight and get pregnant naturally!!

Sign-up to learn the strategies that helped me lose the weight and get pregnant naturally!!

 

4.      Congrats on your pregnancy!! A lot of women with PCOS struggle with infertility. Did you have difficulty trying to conceive? What would you say to the woman struggling with fertility?

I luckily didn’t have any issues conceiving. In fact, I got pregnant on my first try with PCOS. However, I’d been putting in work to heal naturally for about a year prior to this.

I took online courses, read books and started following an anti-inflammatory diet. I did a food sensitivity test and cut out the reactive foods for me (almonds and eggs!) to help get inflammation in my body under control. I also saw my functional doctor who pinpointed a thyroid problem, which she says is very common in women with PCOS. I also was also put on a new supplement and workout regimen in addition to lowering my stress.

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS they tried to put me back on birth control to manage my symptoms but I knew we’d want to start trying soon and I didn’t want to be in the same boat when we were ready with the exact same symptoms I was struggling with before, especially irregular cycles which I knew would make it really hard.

So I made the commitment to do all the natural things I could to reverse my symptoms and get my cycles regular. I started tracking my cycles with all my symptoms starting 6 months before we even tried so by the time we were ready to try, I knew my body so well I could almost tell by symptoms when I was going to ovulate.

I started taking ovulation tests 2 months before we were ready to see if I was actually ovulating and I was! So I say we got pregnant the first try but it really was a year’s worth of preparation before we were even ready to try.

I’d say do everything you can to reverse symptoms naturally. I did it and I’ve seen so many women do it so I know it’s possible even though some doctors say it’s not.

Find a doctor that believes in you and your healing. You have to advocate for yourself and sometimes even push doctors to do more tests, especially a full thyroid panel.

Don’t ever settle for “this is just how your life is going to be.” Believe you can heal and make a decision to do so if that’s what you want. Read as much as you can, soak in all the information and surround yourself with people who understand and believe in you.

RELATED: How I got pregnant naturally with PCOS in 2 months


5.  Which PCOS symptoms do you struggle (or have struggled) with the most?

My cycles were typically around 70 days.

Since I went off birth control in August 2017 I gained about 12 pounds. This is probably the most frustrating and defeating symptom of all because I have been cleaner than I ever have in my life, yet I continue to gain.

Anxiety has come and gone, but it’s been pretty steadily there for over a year.

Fatigue is definitely there. I was blaming my tiredness on wedding planning, running a blog and having a full time job, which obviously is a lot, but now I know it was more than that. I did blood work at the apt and found out my thyroid is inactive too, which causes fatigue.

Acne is a new thing for me and I typically get it around my mouth, especially at random times during the month.

Headaches are definitely an annoying symptom and they come and go as well

RELATED: 10 Surprising facts about PCOS

6.     How have you had success managing your PCOS (any tips or tricks that have worked for you)?

Yes, I’ve definitely had success! Seeing the right doctor was huge as well as completely changing my diet to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, getting rid of toxic products, getting the right supplements, exercising the right way and managing stress all played a huge part in my success. Seed cycling also worked! I started seed cycling the cycle we got pregnant.


RELATED: How to manage your PCOS symptoms

7.    Did a need for healthier versions of recipes, prompt you to start your blog What Molly Made? Can you tell me a little more about your blog and passion?

I actually started my blog 4 years ago, before I even knew I had PCOS!

I’ve always loved to cook and knew I wanted to have a creative outlet to share my recipes with people.

It’s been amazing to see the way my business has changed over the years as my health has changed.

I’ve definitely made a decision to use my website to reach and impact people who have PCOS and provide recipes that fit into an anti-inflammatory diet.

GET THE PLAN THE CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!!!

GET THE PLAN THE CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!!!

 

8.   Would you be willing to share one of your favorite PCOS friendly recipes?

Oh this is a hard one!

It depends on the time of year, but a few of my favorite recipes right now are one pan sausage, butternut squash and veggies, crockpot healthy buffalo chicken dip, sweet potato gnocchi and rice crispy chicken with honey mustard.


9. When you are craving something sweet, what is a healthier alternative that you recommend?


When I’m craving something sweet I usually go with something made of natural sugars like naturally sweet blueberry popsicles, or a keto fudge. I will also have a small handful of dark chocolate chips!


10. What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with PCOS?

I know it can be overwhelming so don’t feel like you’re alone. Journal and get your feelings out. Talk about how you’re feeling with someone you trust and can just vent to.

After you’ve taken some time to accept it, make a simple plan to move forward. Decide if you want to reverse symptoms naturally and find a doctor who believes you. Do as much research on your own as you can.

My favorite books are The Period Repair Manual and Women Code.

If healing naturally is what you want, start with one thing at a time and don’t try to completely change everything at once. I made changes to my diet, my stress levels, my exercise, my beauty routine and my supplements but I did it over the course of a year. Don’t feel like you have to do it all right away! Give yourself grace and make a plan to get there over time if that’s what you want.


RELATED: A Letter to the newly diagnosed with PCOS


11. What is something that you wish you knew earlier?

I wish I knew that I could advocate for myself and I have a voice in my health journey, I don’t have to just listen to what the doctors told me. If I would have done that I would have been back on metformin and birth control and probably struggling with infertility.

Instead, I asked for my blood labs and made the decision to find a doctor who believed in what I did. You are your biggest health advocate.

 
Everything you need to know about treating your PCOS naturally and how to be your own ADVOCATE!!

Everything you need to know about treating your PCOS naturally and how to be your own ADVOCATE!!

 

12. What keeps you motivated when you are having a bad day or going through a difficult situation?

The people around me that support me help me so much!

I’ve also learned to give myself grace and not try to be perfect at everything 100% of the time. You still want to live your life so being completely strict on diet and everything isn’t always feasible so don’t be hard on yourself.

Seeing small changes each day and how far I’ve come keeps me motivated.

I think about WHY I’m healing naturally and that gives me inspiration. For me it was having kids someday and I knew it was critical.

It also helps to talk about your WHY so everyone around you understands even though they aren’t making lifestyle changes too.

RELATED: Inspiration and hope for difficult times

13. What is the best piece of health advice you have ever received?

Food is medicine. What we put in our bodies makes a huge difference in how we feel and how our bodies react.

Make choices not because you want to look good, but because the foods you choose serve you and your body so you can be the best version of yourself.

Make choices out of self love and everything becomes to much easier.



I'd like to thank Molly Thompson for her time and willingness to share her experiences. I encourage you to check out her blog and follow her on Instagram where she shares recipes and about her life.



If you are enjoying this series, please share them on social media! Let's help spread awareness about PCOS.

The items listed above are accompanied by affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if a purchase is made through my links. This has no impact on the cost to the consumer. I link to products this way whenever possible, and it has no bearing on the products I choose to review or recommend.

 
 
 

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PCOS Living Faces of PCOS Interview Series: Molly Thompson, she talks about how she is beating PCOS. Read her tips and advice.  PCOSLiving.com  #pcos #hormones #womenshealth