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Written Interview: “It’s been easier to fight since I stopped fighting it.”

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***A reminder that nothing written on this site is intended to be taken for medical advice. Please check with your health provider before adding or making any changes to your treatment.***

This interview is from a 32-year-old, European woman who would like to be called CatLady. This struck me on several levels. She is incredibly strong and insightful, and has been through so much. CatLady, I am honored that you responded at all, and with such thoughtful, courageous content. Thank you.

When did you first discover you had facial hair?
It’s not just facial hair, it’s everywhere. And it’s those “other ones” that I noticed at first. I was about ten years old. I realised I was growing a beard around 16.

How did you react?
When I first saw my legs looked different than girls (and boys…) at school, I thought something was very wrong with me. I was told “something was wrong with me” since I was born, about everything, so it was nothing new… I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, my parents were, let’s say, not available. So, I just avoided gym classes, changing clothes, sleepovers – basically, any situation that would require me to take clothes off. Then I finished elementary school, moved out of the “family home” and figured, if I stick to clothes that cover everything, I’ll get through it. Around fifteen I had a “boyfriend”, and one day after “making out” he asked me if I plucked hairs from my face. I didn’t. I didn’t really think about my face. I had a nervous tick – I would pull on my face hairs when anxious (often). But I didn’t realise what these hairs meant. When he asked, that’s when I started looking. And plucking. I think, back then, I had this thought that it was only temporary, that one day I won’t worry about this issue. I didn’t know it was only going to get worse with age.

What is the cause of your hair?
I was three years old when the Chernobyl “accident” happened, I didn’t live far away. It affected a lot of my peers’ health, in many ways. Also, my understanding is that my parents have allowed for medical experiments to be conducted on me when I was a child. My doctor explained it to me this way: my cells are not working properly, haven’t developed right. It’s a bit like a building built out of dry sand. It shouldn’t really stand, but hey, here I am! 🙂 It’s not just the hair, it affects the whole body. As you can imagine, all of it put together, affects the mind, too.

What have your medical experiences been like? How has it affected your life, other than the hair?
I have tried going to doctors, all kinds of them. I don’t really want to recall that, none of it was pleasant. Then I finally met the doctor I mentioned above, he really made an effort to figure out what is going on with my body. Then he retired and referred me to some young lady who passed me on to someone else who then referred me to a psychiatrist. Yup. In the meantime, I was given various meds. Since then I learnt one of them (anti-conception) caused some deaths in the country. Other one (hormones) took my period away for two years. Another one made me really sick. None of them did anything about the hair. About two years ago I started taking a herb: agnus castus. I cannot really tell if it affects the hair growth as my hairs are on speed these months plus laser plus plucking – but I *think* it makes it a bit… softer? As in: not as aggressive as they used to be. Though still on speed 😉 Agnus castus helps with hormone levels and is recommended to PCOS patients. Takes about six months to “start” working though so patience is required.

How have your family and friends reacted to the hair, if they know?
When I was eleven, my mother accidentally saw me and told me I was a mutant. Since then, I didn’t really feel like telling people. I told some. I told my fiance of six years – he was saying he “didn’t mind”. Our relationship ended due to him wanting to “have fun”, or rather: having said fun with hairless girls. He passed away now, so I am not going to go into all this but yeah, that didn’t help either. Then I told another boy. Well, showed rather than told. He asked if I was a man. And so on. So, no, it never really ended nicely as far as relationships are concerned. With other people, I didn’t tell many, a couple girls I felt close to. It was “ok”. Now, now it’s different because I have changed these recent years. I have left behind the desires to please others and/or to impress them. I am not sure if it’s about growing up but the pressure of “how do they perceive me??” really got to me at some point. Ironically, I did not realise it at all. Until my body broke and told me: “you’re taking a break now, time to figure out what it is you really want from life”. Turned out, making a good impression on people I barely know was not how I want to spend my life. True, I have been living quite alone last few years due to this breaking situation, but still, now I am able to say: “Oh, yeah, I have hirsutism. It’s when you have hair growing all over your body” in passing. Instead of: “Let’s make an appointment, sit down, be ready because I will now tell you something huge and scary”. Yes, of course, it is still an issue. But – five years ago I’d tell my fiance not to call the ambulance if something happened to me, so that they don’t see the hair. Now, now I want to give a hug to that younger me and tell her: “silly, look what you are worrying about”.

How do you make sense of the hair? What does it mean for you?
Today I see it as a gift. And I really mean that.

I remember back when I was active in the cyster community, we were talking with one friend and we both agreed we wouldn’t “swap” the hair. Realising that there are people out there who suffer so much more due to their medical conditions and they live their lives, they try, they don’t give up – this was the first step.

Then, there is the personal aspect: I have been protected all my life. I was born into not-so-good family, the town where I was a child was creepy and dark for too many reasons, I followed path of destruction and escape as my peers did. Every time I was about to make a Really Bad Mistake, I somehow was diverted from it. I wouldn’t be able to count how many mistakes were prevented “through” the hair. I am so happy I was not able to do the things I wanted to do in the past.

Having your own self-esteem issues makes you understand others better, builds up empathy in you. You have more respect toward others, you see the world in more clearer light. You understand unrealistic expectations. You understand we can’t look like the ladies on the magazine covers. You cannot be hijacked by the corporations and businesses going after your soul. That’s, in my opinion, a super-power.

It’s what I hope my life is shaping up to be now. At some point I started comparing. I am involved in some refugee helping etc and learning about lives of people going through what they’re going through – it made me realise my blessings. Among all my blessings, the hair is just one little obstacle.

And lastly, though it took a long time and I am still working on it – that realisation that I am not my hair, I am me. That genuine belief that if someone says something stupid about it – it’s them that there’s something wrong with – not me. That realisation was extremely freeing.

Having said all that, here’s the kicker. I have decided to devote my life to the orphans and not to pursue romantic relationships. This is not to say, if I meet someone who will somehow be able to prove me that they will respect me for who I really am, not what I look like, I will run. No, no. My point is – I changed my priorities. I am so focused on my plans and have so many (realistic) ideas about them that no-husband-option is not something that I think about too much. I accepted – ok, this is my thing. Everyone has a thing. Many have way more, and heavier things. It’s the acceptance of it, on a physical and psychological level, that makes everything else so much easier. It’s been easier to fight since I stopped fighting it.

What fears, if any, have you had or currently have about the hair?
The thing that scares me is that I’d start thinking about it again; un-accept it, if you will. I don’t feel this way but there are bad-hair-days when I go back to that old place – thinking what others will think, will they notice; how I reallllly prefer winter to summer… This happens less and less but it still happens. I don’t want to be slave to the hair, to my looks, to social expectations. My fear is to waste too much time, too much life on worrying about something so insignificant.

Have you in the past, or do you currently, remove it? How?
Not on my body, because my skin is too sensitive. Ok, when it gets really too much, then I’ll shave, gently, but it means bleeding for weeks and scars – not pleasant. A lot of nasty rashes when it grows back. My face – I pluck, tweeze, use cream and do laser every six weeks. Which is why the skin on my face is ruined. Laser itself shouldn’t be done so often, and it does not remove hair for me. It just makes it easier to pluck, tweeze, cream… The ingrown hairs (and consequences) are quite bad. These months, I have been letting it grow out a little bit. Because of all the laser, etc, they don’t grow as “hard and heavy” so, when I put thick make-up on, it’s not as visible. Still visible, but it’s that part of me not wanting to care so much. Putting cream on is painful, my face hurts for days afterwards. So, I do it less often. If they stare, let them stare. I wouldn’t know, I always look at the ground anyway 😉

What has happened when you have removed? What methods have worked, and what has not?
As above, meds did not work. Plucking I think is most successful, however it takes way too much time. Cream is the easiest if you have “thick skin”. Laser, if your insurance covers it, and if you have dark hairs, and if you are not expecting miracles – may or may not work. I’d say, try but if it doesn’t work for you after a year – leave it.

If you do not remove, how did you come to that decision? What has it been like for you?
On the days I let go (more and more often), it surprises me how I don’t really care that much. Of course, I’d rather didn’t have a beard. But, once I force myself to leave the house, once I’m out and about – it’s not so scary. Admittedly, I haven’t had any negative reactions as I don’t interact with people much and I stare at the ground a lot 😉 I guess that’s my way of coping with it until I am strong enough to hold my head up high. Hopefully, that day will come 🙂

Have you ever been made fun of for it?
Not fun as much, as hurt. It was back when I would “date” people. Some guys can be quite nasty. But this was my fault. I wasn’t talking to the intelligent men with priorities worth exploring. I didn’t see myself worthy of the “good guys”, I was reaching out to the, erhm, not-so-good ones. This was a big change in my attitude – I no longer blame myself (or my body) for someone else being rude and/or stupid.

What kinds of thoughts come into your mind when you think about the hair?
The mind. How hirsutism is a psychological issue more than it is a physical one. How it is do to with the world around us and expectations; how we do not realise that maybe someone wants us to spend a lot of money on certain cosmetics. When I think of hair, I think – “why am I thinking about hair again??”.

How does it impact your self-esteem, if at all?
Certainly less than it used to. And I hope and pray that every day, it will affect me this little bit less.

Are there any positive aspects or benefits of the hair?
Most of them are benefits (see a few questions up). If we see them that way. It really is up to us. Not just about the hair, but about everything “bad” that happens to us. If we see the positive aspects, it will become a positive thing. Faith and patience help, for sure 🙂

It doesn’t mean we are not allowed to cry about it from time to time. We’re human. It’s about not making it into the only thing we think and cry about.

If you grow it (don’t remove), do you prefer that people ask about it, or ignore it? What have your experiences been with interested parties?
I partially answered this above. I think, for now, I still feel more comfortable if people ignore it. However, if they ask, I’d answer – because how else are they supposed to know?

Do you have a community of other hairy females? If so, where do you find them?
I used to be more active in the online cyster community. Since I got “broken”, I moved away a bit. Maybe I should pop in and see how everyone is? 🙂

Why do you think hairy females are not considered beautiful in mainstream culture?
Because mainstream culture is idiocracy. What “culture”? There’s no culture in the mainstream. We need to stop chasing after the photoshopped ideals and focus on what really matters. The baby doesn’t care if Mom has a beard. Until the baby grows up, watches tv and learns that what baby thought was normal and ok – suddenly becomes uncool and weird.

What do you want to say to other hairy women out there? What do you wish someone would say to you?
To all the women: trust in yourself. You don’t need a corporation to tell you if you are beautiful, smart, fashionable, “a good catch”, etc. Find out what matters to you, what is really important. Find a purpose, your purpose – not what “you are supposed to do” because everyone else is doing it. Learn about yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. Test your limits. And accept them – understand that if something is not meant to be, it’s ok. We can’t have everything. Don’t dwell on it, look for something else that will make you happy. Don’t put yourself in a cage. Face your fears – never assume how things will turn out, you don’t know the future. When you fall, don’t give up, don’t stay down. If it goes wrong ten times, eleventh time might be the one that will change your life. Have faith. Have patience. Have hope. Be strong.

I wish someone told me… I guess I wish I knew that it’s ok to be myself. This society, the media, schools – we are constantly told what to be but nobody asks us what we want to be. I wish someone told me that what they say doesn’t really matter.

Much love to everyone who is struggling. I wish every cyster to find peace and happiness.

Well Hello!

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Oh man you guys.

It’s been a hell of a six-ish months. Not all bad. Well, bad for a while, and then good stuff started to happen, and now things are feeling evened out.

Briefly, in life news… The divorce is final. Lior is doing great – she’s running and climbing and talking (sometimes gibberish, but she seems very passionate about whatever she is saying) and hamming it up. There’s been some pretty stressful family health-related stuff going on, but that’s going ok for now. I’m dating. I’ve been staying with my folks, but will be moving at the beginning of June. I got a new job.

My dad was like, “You know that list of the top stressful things in peoples’ lives? I think you probably hit most, if not all of them this year.”


My major takeaway from the past year is how incredibly, profoundly lucky I am. My friends and family are extraordinary.

Ok, now for the hair news…

I didn’t end up doing electrolysis, and I’m leaning toward no. One of the readers here sent me an email about some of the side effects and so on. I did some more looking into it, and like anything else, there are pros and cons. The cost-benefit ratio, for me, isn’t worth it right now. It seems like no matter what, you can expect redness/swelling, and likely blisters/bumps. This gives a decent, seemingly objective account of possible side effects.

It’s also been very much on my mind that I haven’t been treated for PCOS in a long time. Because of the other issues it can lead to, I want to go back to my doctor to discuss treatment options for real. The last time I went in, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to do things “naturally”. I was frustrated and angry about the treatment I had received. I spent hundreds of dollars at the naturopath’s office, because naturopaths aren’t covered by insurance, and I bought a million supplements. There is no way I can keep up with all of that.

There’s gotta be a balance.

From what I understand, it would likely be best for me to see an endocrinologist. But I’ll talk to my doctor about it and see what she says.

Along with treating the PCOS, I might like to try Vaniqa again. I didn’t give it a real college try the last time I tried it (which was YEARS AND YEARS ago). I think I got through about two weeks or so, and it fizzled out.

And of course, I’ll keep you all posted.

Good to be back, beardos. Thanks for being here with me.

How I’m Doing

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Thinking about posting in an honest, authentic way has been difficult for me lately, and I think it’s best if I just dive right in and tell you what’s up.

I have Gestational Diabetes (GD).


Here is a bit of information about GD. This part was particularly interesting to me:

“Your body digests the food you eat to produce sugar (glucose) that enters your bloodstream. In response, your pancreas — a large gland behind your stomach — produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose move from your bloodstream into your body’s cells, where it’s used as energy.

During pregnancy, the placenta that connects your growing baby to your blood supply produces high levels of various other hormones. Almost all of them impair the action of insulin in your cells, raising your blood sugar. Modest elevation of blood sugar after meals is normal during pregnancy.

As your baby grows, the placenta produces more and more insulin-blocking hormones. In gestational diabetes, the placental hormones provoke a rise in blood sugar to a level that can affect the growth and welfare of your baby.”

Before that, they say that researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes it, but I think it’s interesting that it may have something to do with the placenta.

So, backing up a bit, the pregnancy has been an intense, sometimes awful experience for me. I spent the first and most of the second trimesters vomiting and often unable to eat. I was put on Zofran, and it helped stop me from actually throwing up. I still felt nauseated most of the time, but I was able to keep some food down and drink water.

Then, I was tested a little earlier than usual for GD, because I have PCOS (which is associated with insulin resistance) and a strong family history of Diabetes.

About the test: They had me drink a super-sugary solution, then tested my blood sugar one hour later to see how I fared. My sugar level remained higher than they wanted (I have no idea what the values were – everything was kind of a whirlwind), so I had to come back a few days later to take a three-hour test. Again, a super-sugary drink – mine was orange and tasted kind of like Hi-C Orange, but less fun – and they checked my blood sugar after one hour, after two hours, and after three hours. My first level was within normal range, but the last two were elevated.

If you’re interested in more detail about what the testing is like, this gives a good personal account with lots of information.

At first, I found my blood sugar pretty easy to manage. They had me testing my levels four times a day – once fasting in the morning, and then two hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not taking insulin or other medications, just managing with diet and exercise changes. I did have to attend the high-risk clinic for a while, and have been attending appointments every two weeks to monitor my sugar (usually, people only go about once a month until later on in the pregnancy). I no longer need to go to high-risk, because my levels are usually pretty good, and they let me check three times a day instead of four. At the health system I’m attending, it’s standard procedure for women with GD to have weekly non-stress tests starting at 28 weeks, so I’ve been doing that as well. I’m at 34 weeks and change now.

As the pregnancy has progressed, it’s become a little more difficult to keep my blood sugar under control. It’s never wildly high, but it’s definitely been higher in the third trimester than it had been. It seems to go in spurts… My theory is that it coincides with periods of more growth in the baby, but no one really knows. The days when it’s harder to control are tough for me. I try to stay calm about it, and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes I cry.

I worry that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m hurting the baby, that I’m hurting myself somehow. Making it more likely that I’ll have problems later. Making it more likely that my child will have problems later. It’s terrifying.

Another, less important piece is that I’m pretty committed to having a birth attended by a midwife and without meds. I also want to add that I’ve never done this before and am flexible about using meds. I don’t know what will happen at the time! I’ve been seeing this wonderful group of midwives at the hospital where I’ll deliver. One of them told me that if I end up needing insulin or something else, then they would have to transfer my care to one of the OB/GYNs, and I would no longer be able to have one of the midwives at the birth. Makes sense – midwives usually attend “normal” pregnancies and births (though of course, anything can happen), and mine would be considered higher risk if I needed medication.

So, that’s always in the back of my mind too.

But mostly, guys?

I feel so sad that my body isn’t doing what it’s “supposed” to do. And it hasn’t for as far back as I can remember. I so badly want to be a person who can trust her body to just take care of things and do what it’s “meant” to do. What it “should” do. But my body and I have a long and complicated history, and it’s hard for me to let go and trust.

There are things I can do to heal. Things I can do to help prevent the likelihood of GD in the future, improve my PCOS symptoms, and help with insulin resistance. It’s just that I can’t do any of these things while pregnant, other than manage my blood sugar as best as I can.

I’ve been so hesitant to write about this because I fear that people will think I resent the baby or am upset with the baby or something. But the baby is the one awesome part of all of this. When I get to hear the baby’s heartbeat or feel him/her moving around, it’s incredible. Actually, as I type, the baby has the hiccups and is making my belly jump around all over the place. That’s the stuff that makes me smile. That’s the stuff I’m loving. And I’m very lucky to have a supportive, calm, understanding, and very caring husband in Craig. He has been there to comfort me when I’m freaking out, and always has something reassuring to say.

He also sings to the baby at night before bed, which is, like, the sweetest thing ever. (Baby kicks around in response!)

So that’s what’s been going on around here. Thanks for this space to write about this kind of stuff – if you weren’t as fantastic as you are, it wouldn’t be possible 🙂

A couple of pictures:

28.5 weeks:

34 weeks:
34 weeks

The Scared is Scared

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This whole pregnancy business?

Terrifying. Wonderful. Emotional. Nauseating.

A friend, who is much further along in her pregnancy than I am, and I had coffee the other day. We agreed that neither of us understand other women who say that being pregnant is the best thing in the world. “I wish I could be pregnant all the time! It’s amazing!” I mean, yes, it is amazing.

But, what about all the throwing up? What about the constant fear of harming your unborn child? What about the constant fear that something out of your control will happen to the baby? Or to you? Could happen at any time, really? What about the round ligament pain? The bizarre changes to your body that you didn’t even know to expect?

Please don’t misunderstand; I’m thrilled about the pregnancy. Heck, I’m thrilled I could get pregnant at all, and I’m absolutely ecstatic about the kid who’s on his/her way here. I can’t wait to meet him or her! We’re not finding out the sex, but I have a strong sense that it’s going to be a boy, and I’ve been having dreams about him like crazy.

Speaking of which…

One terrifying thing that happened was about a month ago. I woke up in the morning with bleeding, said a lot of swear words, did some crying, and called the nurse line. There was no pain, no clotting or tissue, but blood. The nurse said that it didn’t sound like I was having a miscarriage, but that the bleeding was concerning, and I would need to go to the ER.

A long wait and a few tests later, we found out that the baby was just fine and so was I.

Before I woke up that morning, I had a dream about the baby. He was probably about 6 or 7. We were in a big building or house with lots of hallways. We were together in the beginning, but then were separated. I knew he was safe – he was with family members – but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I walked all over, looking for him, calling his name.

When I was approaching the area where he was, I heard him say, “I know she’s looking for me. Tell mama I’m right here.”

And he was.

The video below was posted on Mommy Shorts yesterday, and it’s pretty great. The advice in it is universal, but I think those of you reading (and I!) have some extra fears/worries that others probably don’t have. Like, talking about facial hair. Revealing facial hair. Dealing with chronic health stuff. Things that add a little pressure to your daily life.

The filmmaker asked a 6-year-old what her movie should be about, and this was the result.

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!

Also, a big congratulations to Deb, who did a photo project on bearded ladies that was PUBLISHED in the Lesbian Connection! She is awesome and so is her work. Yay Deb!!

Insulin Resistance and Me

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**A friendly reminder that I’m most definitely not a doctor! 🙂 If you’re thinking about making changes health-wise, talk to your health professional first.**

Just got a new laptop. Can’t figure it out.

But at least I got the internet working! Unfortunately, I can’t yet work out how to get pictures off of my phone*, which is sad, because I actually had pictures to share with you guys today. Ah well. Another time I guess.

But I’m not here to talk about my technology woes (though, we could have that discussion for a good while).

I’m actually here to talk about how my PCOS is going.

Back in August, I saw my doctor for my yearly exam. She had some depressing news.

Remember back in July, when I thought things were getting back to normal? It turns out, they were not. I haven’t had a period in about two and a half months. My doctor said that, based on the amount of time between my periods, I am not ovulating. I was wrong about eggs trading off production every-other month – apparently that’s not the case. They do trade off, but not on a predictable, regular basis (according to my doctor).

She again suggested Metformin, which I tried for about a week and then stopped. The side effects were pretty gnarly for me. (When was the last time you hear someone use the word “gnarly”? :-)) And while I’m not opposed to medication and may try it again in the future, I had a lot of conflicting feelings about taking it.

Craig and I had a long, pretty intense conversation about it. Because he is himself and awesome, he essentially said, “I just want you to be healthy and happy. And I mean, healthy, and also happy about your decisions about how to be healthy.”

Let me back up here and admit my baby craziness right now. And actually, that doesn’t even really begin to cover how much (how very, very much) I want to have kids. And that means I need to be ovulating.

So, much like when starting the Sugar Challenge, I realize that big changes need to occur and be maintained if I’m currently going the non-medication route.

And while I can continue not eating as much sugar as before the challenge, cutting out refined sugar completely isn’t sustainable for me in the long run. As wonderful as it would be if it was.

So, I got this book.

Now, a few things right away. I do not plan to follow this as a “diet” (though that’s in the title). I’m of the mind that diets don’t work in general, and I know from experience that they certainly don’t work for me. So, that’s not what this is about. However, I do know that I’m insulin-resistant. So again, if I’m not taking medication, something else needs to change.

I’m flat-out ignoring some of what the authors say, based on what I know works for me and my love for my taste-buds. For example, they place a lot of emphasis on low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Some low-fat dairy stuff is fine, but I can’t do nonfat (not even skim milk – I don’t like it). And if I’m going to eat cheese, it’s going to be the good stuff. They also discuss using fake sweeteners, which I’m not going to do.

They talk about not counting calories, which is nice, but then immediately after, there’s a whole section on how to count calories.


So, some of it is very much diet mentality stuff that I don’t want in my life. But the basic principles seem sound and sensible.

There are really only a few things to remember:

  • If you’re going to eat carbohydrates, great. Just make sure to eat protein with them. Every time you eat, eat protein. If there are carbs, link a protein with it. You eat as much protein as you need to feel full.
  • When you eat carbs, not only link protein with them, but balance them as well. The authors recommend limiting carbs to no more than 30 grams every two-ish hours. Protein should be balanced at a ratio of 2:1, for instance if you have 20 grams of carbs, you should have at least 10 grams of protein.
  • They recommend eating often. I’ve found that I feel better when I eat smaller amounts more often anyway, so this is fine for me. They say in the book to eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism going. I say eat when you’re hungry.
  • Vegetables (aside from potatoes and corn, which are considered carbs) can be eaten in unlimited amounts. Apples, plums, peaches, pears, cherries, and grapefruits don’t have to be linked with protein (all other fruits do), but they recommend limiting amounts of these fruits to about 1/2 cup serving every 2-3 hours.

So, I’ll keep you posted. I’ve been doing this (for the most part) for a few days now, and I’m feeling really good.

I know there are some of you out there who have PCOS and have regulated your periods without medication. I’ve had the privilege of talking to some of you. If that describes you, let me know if you want to write about it for the blog. I’m sure others would be interested in how you did it, how long it took for you, etc.!

Now to make some food and get back to marathoning The West Wing…

*I know, right? Transferring pictures from a phone to a computer is, like, really easy. But I got a new PC after using a Mac for a LONG time, and all of my other gadgets (phone, music) are Apple products. So, what used to be a no-brainer is now much more complicated… at least to me. I’ll figure it out, but apparently not today!

I’m Alive! And Tom Selleck

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I’m still here! And alive!

My problem (well, one of them anyway) is that I tend to get impatient about things in my life. I want everything to happen RIGHT NOW, and I want to be working on everything at once to make that happen. Lately, I’ve been very focused on work stuff, thus neglecting blog stuff.

Bearded ladies gotta make a living too, you know?

Some cool news: I’ve been keeping track of my period since going off the pill, and the pattern has been about an every-other month cycle. Which makes sense, because ovaries trade off egg production monthly, and one of my ovaries has a lot more cysts (or, that was the case back in the day when I had my ultrasound). I figured one of my ovaries was producing eggs and one wasn’t.


I had my period toward the end of June/beginning of July, and figured that would be that for a couple of months. A few days ago, I started another cycle. It scared me a little at first, because it felt so early, but then I looked back at the calendar and counted from the first day of my last period to the first day of this most recent one. 28 days exactly.


I think cutting down on sugar probably hasn’t hurt. I’ve also been taking 3 capsules of Ovablend every day. Who knows? Maybe this was a fluke. Or maybe it’s a signal that things are leveling out and operating as I want them to. Of course, I hope for the latter.

Switching topics…

There’s an episode of 30 Rock (a TV show here in the U.S. and maybe Canada…? Let me know) where Liz Lemon, the main character, reveals her mustache that she has named Tom Selleck. I tried my damnedest but couldn’t find a clip of that scene (seems like NBC has that locked up pretty tight). I did, however, find this clip from the episode, which is of Jack (Liz’s boss) naming reasons why he is in love with her (he’s really not, but that’s beside the point). If you’re interested in the full episode, it’s called “Black Light Attack”

Check it out here!

Liz Lemon is portrayed as a buffoon in this clip, which is part of her character, but I like that she owns it. She’s just being herself here. Mustache and all.

Hope you’re all well! 🙂

Sugar Challenge

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So, we all know sugar isn’t great for us, right?

It’s especially not great for those of us with PCOS.

I’ve read and heard a lot about this topic over time, but I just finished this informative article that breaks it down. From the article: “Sugar causes a rush of insulin within our bodies, and that rush causes quick spikes and then quick drops of our blood sugar. Because insulin is a hormone, it affects our other hormones, causing a cascade of issues surrounding imbalanced hormones. When we have to much sugar in our blood, our livers turn the excess into a lipid, which then shuts down a gene called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), which reduces the amount of SHGB protein in the body. This particular protein plays an important role in the amounts of testosterone and estrogen available for the body to use. It also depletes the body of vitamin B which is an essential nutrient for fertility and ovulation.”

Remember when I went to see the naturopath, and she told me that I shouldn’t be consuming more than 20 grams of sugar per day (not including fruit)? Turns out, that was very difficult for me. I quickly, and shamefully, abandoned that. It was overwhelming for me, and I found that counting sugar grams made me want to eat more sugar. No good.

So then I went to see a new doctor, who was fantastic by the way, and she gave me an optional prescription for Metformin. I took it for a few weeks, but then stopped. I felt like I was using the med as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (read: chocolate cake daily), which isn’t the purpose and not the best plan ever.

Since then, I’ve just been doing what I’ve done forever, which is eat a lot of sugar.

So… Nothing’s really changed.

But I want it to, and I also want to do this as naturally as possible, and without medication if possible.

(If you are taking meds and it’s working for you, keep doing what works! These are just my personal preferences and thoughts.)

When I eat a lot of sugar, I feel lethargic, I get headaches, and I feel irritable. I recognize it’s a problem, and yet I have a very difficult time NOT eating sugar.

It’s time I listen to what I tell my clients: In order to change, you have to CHANGE.

Here’s what I’m thinking: 30 days with no refined sugar, which will hopefully continue beyond 30 days. Each day, I’ll post here about how it’s going. I’m not going to strictly stick to the 20 grams per day rule (because, as previously stated, it was driving me a little nuts), but I AM going to make great efforts to not eat refined sugar.

Trying to stay away from sugar means trying to stay away from processed foods in general, but if I do eat something processed, I’ll be on the lookout for the sugar codewords on the label, listed here.

I’m not quite as concerned about small amounts of raw honey and pure maple syrup, because I don’t eat a lot of those foods and they’re in their natural states. I don’t crave honey and syrup like I crave sugar.

My plan is to take the next few days to get the refined stuff out of the house, make a meal plan for the week, and then start this thing in full force on Monday.

Anyone want to join me? PCOS diagnosis not required 🙂

Dr. Awesome

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**Just want to put it out there that I’m not a doctor, so make sure to check with your health professional if you’re thinking about making changes to meds or anything. You knew that already though :-)**

Guess what, guys…

I found a doctor!

I saw her on Monday. I didn’t think to get her permission to talk about her here, so I won’t name names, but if you’re in need of a fabulous doctor in the Minneapolis area, let me know…

Remember when I told you about my trip to the naturopath? Well, as wonderful as it was, it turns out that it is pricey. And, not only is it pricey to see her, but it’s also pricey to buy the supplements.

And, if I’m really being honest with myself, making a lot of lifestyle changes at once is tough. Remembering to take all of the stuff I was supposed to be taking at the right times was hard for me. Keeping my sugar intake to 20g or less per day was hard for me. If I start trying to restrict food or watch food or try not to eat a certain type of food, that tends to make me want it more. Anyone else feel that way?

I actually found that when I told myself to relax about the sugar intake and restricted it less, I ate less sugar. Go figure.

So, back to Dr. Awesome. First of all, everyone that I encountered in the office was really nice. Pleasant, helpful, and non-threatening. The nurse spent a lot of time with me to enter my history and information into their system. The only semi-annoying thing was that I had to wait a while for the doctor, but when she got to me, I understood why.

She spent about 45 minutes with me. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a doctor spent more than about 20 with me. That includes doing a full exam.

This was a consultation. I told her that I want to have a kid, and that I don’t want to wait until the last minute to find out that it’s difficult for me. Since I already know it will likely be more difficult for me than for some, I figure it’s good to be proactive. She agreed.

She explained things in a concrete, but not condescending, way. She suggested that I consider going back on birth control pills, because “that’s really the best defense we have right now”. She explained why, and talked about hormone levels and all of that business.

So I explained that I don’t want to take them.

Her response really surprised me. I was prepared to hear, “Too bad. You’re going to have to take them.” Instead, she said, “I get that. There are other things we can try, and if you want to do things in a more holistic way, that’s totally fine.”


I told her that I’m not opposed to taking medication, it’s just that I’m skeptical after 14 years of the same thing, so I’m feeling kind of jaded. She made a couple of other suggestions, including Metformin, which is used off-label for PCOS. I most likely have some insulin resistance going on (many women with PCOS do, and I have all the signs), so the doctor suggested trying it just to see how it goes. What sold me was that she said, “I can write you a prescription now, and you can pick it up and just think about it if you want; you don’t have to take it right away or ever. Or, just go home and think about it, and if you decide you want to try it, just give the office a call and I can write you a prescription then.” Ah, choices.

I’ve read and heard good things and bad about Metformin. But the one thing the doctor said that stuck is that it can help with weight loss, which can reverse some of the PCOS symptoms. PCOS sucks for many reasons. One of them is that it can be very, very difficult to lose weight. This isn’t simply a vanity concern. Women with PCOS tend to carry weight around the middle, aka visceral or adipose fat tissue, which can lead to other diseases and problems. According to, about half of women with PCOS will develop Type 2 diabetes before age 40.


Metformin can apparently help. I decided to try it and see how it goes. I started on Tuesday, and I’ll keep you posted. My plan is to do other things while taking the med – lifestyle changes – and then not take it anymore when I either no longer need or want to. I was inspired and excited to hear that a few of you ladies out there who were interviewed are managing your symptoms with no medication. I’ll be joining you someday!

Has anyone else taken Metformin or other PCOS meds? What have your experiences been?

So the doctor was great. She really listened to me and had some great suggestions, and she said that the patients she has with PCOS are the ones she has the most success with getting pregnant. Yay!

Anyway, on a completely different topic:

WordPress has this new cool thing that allows me to see where in the world people are checking out the site. In the last week, people have visited from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Brazil, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Australia, and I know there’s more…

I just want to say that you guys rock! I’m so excited that you’re all here, and humbled that you’re reading. Thank you.

Some History, or My Journey to Beardiness, Part I

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I imagine that this sort of entry will be broken up into parts. As we all know, journeys take a while, and it’s a lot to explain. We’ll see how things unfold.

I want to introduce you to more of my own story, and I welcome you to tell me (and others) more of yours, too.

The summer after 7th grade, I was at a hotel with my family for my cousin’s bar mitzvah. All was well and usual… except that my mom and I started noticing that I had more sideburn hair than ever before. I think I had noticed it before she did. I figured I’d just ignore it, and maybe it would go away on its own? But, like moms do, she noticed and worried and made a doctor’s appointment.

So I went to the doctor. And then I went to the doctor several more times during my 8th grade year for “check-ups”, as I told my friends.

The doctor I went to see was actually a family friend, and I feel lucky to have had her, because I knew I could trust her and she seemed to know what was going on. She said that my symptoms were congruent with a diagnosis she was thinking about, but we would need to do more testing.

So I had an ultrasound. Have you ever had an ultrasound? They’re pretty darn uncomfortable. Just in case you have never had the joy of experiencing one, I’ll explain. You have to drink a TON of water beforehand, but you can’t go to the bathroom. They want your bladder to be full so it’s easier to see what’s what. Then, they PUSH DOWN on your (extremely full) belly, which only made me want to pee all over the exam table out of spite. Ugh.

It turned out that I had cysts on my ovaries, and I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the most common causes of hirsutism in women, but I’ve never been able to get a straight answer about where the PCOS itself comes from.

I’d like to take a moment here and address one of the comments on the blog, which talked about the frustration of not knowing the cause of these issues we deal with. I agree. There’s a part of me that thinks, “Oh well. It’s here, and I’ll just do what I need to do. Live with it. No big deal.” And then there’s another part that thinks, “Good lord. Aren’t there enough women with this issue that they might have found some kind of cause???” But, the answer is still no. As far as I can tell, they’re making guesses.

Let me know if you’ve heard/read otherwise. I, and I’m sure others, would love to know!

Anyway, at age 13, I had my first gynecological exam, Pap smear, the whole thing. I had built it up in my mind as way scarier than it was in reality. Fortunately, I had a good doctor with good bedside manner, who was sensitive to my age and situation, and I had my mom with me. The doctor was quick. It wasn’t comfortable by any means, but it was easier than I imagined. I know that not everyone has that kind of experience, and I feel lucky that that’s how it went.

How was yours, if you don’t mind me asking?

I was put on birth control pills, which I still take. By the way, the pill has changed significantly over the last 14 years. When I first started taking them (and this might have been partly due to my age), I felt sick almost daily. I was throwing up at school on about a 2-3 times weekly basis. That was Ortho Cyclen. Then came Ortho TriCyclen, which was supposed to gradually build up to a dose of hormones, but still made me feel sick. Then Ortho TriCyclen Lo, which had a lower dose of hormones. That was better, and I’ve continued to take a variety of low-hormone pills since then. I was taking Yaz for a while; now I’m on the generic version, Gianvi.

I worry about the pills sometimes. Sometimes I think about the fact that I’ve just kept taking them because I’ve been told to… but how will it affect me in the long run? So far, I haven’t had any major issues (except the crazy side effects when I was younger), but I don’t know… Mostly, I feel concerned that I really have no idea how my body functions without the pills. I do know that one time, I didn’t refill the prescription for like 3 months, and I had horrendous cramps and felt terrible. So is that what life would be like without them? That blows.

This is really coming up for me in a big way now, because my boyfriend and I have been talking about trying to have kids within the next few years. At my last yearly exam, I had a substitute nurse practitioner because my regular doctor was out of town. I asked her a bunch of fertility questions, including how to get off the pill after being on it for so long, and she literally Googled the questions I was asking right in front of me! My med school friend said, “What was your co-pay for that Google search?” Ha! So I still don’t have any satisfactory answers. I can do my own damn googling.

Wow, this really turned into a medical discussion, eh? To be continued…

I’d love to hear what you have to say! If you’ve had related medical experiences, good or not-so-good, do tell!