Should I be embarassed
It was a beautiful morning. The birds had created a veritable bedlam of chirrupings and a cool pleasant breeze was blowing. It was Mira’s first day of high school. Since her dad was in the navy and their family had to move a lot, she was home-schooled. It was after 9 years of home-schooling that her parents decided to send her to an actual school. Mira was excited, but also a little anxious. She had never been to an actual school after all! Her parents eased her trepidation by assuring her that she would make a lot of friends.
As Mira entered the gates of Rosewood High School, she experienced feelings of anticipation coupled with suppressed excitement. Her hair was pristine, her uniform was prim and proper, nothing could go wrong! As she proceeded to enter the classroom, she noticed several children staring at her.
“It must be because I am new here,” she thought. The teacher made her introduce herself to the class, and she noticed some of her classmates sneering at her.
The first half of the day passed by quickly and soon it was lunch break. She was about to go to the cafeteria, when Mehak, the school’s most popular girl, pointed at her and said “Look at her face, she has a moustache and a beard. Rahul, you should take tips from her.”
The entire class chortled. Mira couldn’t take it anymore. This wasn’t how her first day at school was supposed to go. She was supposed to make friends and talk to people, not be lampooned by them. She rushed to the washroom and had a good cry. Later, when she reached home, she narrated the entire incident to her mother. Her mother was concerned. She hadn’t given much consideration to Mira’s facial hair. It occurred to her that it was abnormal for a 15 year old girl to have that much facial hair. She regretted not being observant enough and decided to consult a doctor about it.
The following day Mira was accompanied by her mother to their family doctor, Dr. Chadha.
Dr. Chadha had known Mira since she was a little girl. When her mother broached the subject, the doctor inquired about her menstrual cycle. Mira got embarrassed. Dr. Chadha calmly explained that periods are a natural phenomena and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Mira was a little skeptical but one look at her mother reassured her. She told the doctor that she had irregular periods. Some of her periods lasted upto 2 weeks, whilst others got over after a day. She also told him that her periods were accompanied by extreme discomfort in the form of painful cramps, body ache and fatigue.
Dr. Chadha listened to this carefully and recommended consulting a gynecologist.
Mira’s appointment was scheduled for the following day. The gynecologist was well reputed in her field. She asked Mira about other details such as whether she had dark patches on her skin, body hair in certain places and her lifestyle habits.
Mira told her that she had dark patches on her neck and her armpits. She also told her about the hair on her chest. Her mother informed the doctor that she rarely exercised but ate healthy.
After carefully listening to them, the doctor asked Mira to get an ultrasound.
The reports were ready within 2 days, and after examining them, the doctor informed Mira that there were cysts in her ovaries. She was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. After seeing the worried expression on Mira’s face, she reassured her that minor lifestyle changes would help her cope up with the problem.
The doctor went on to elucidate that 1 in every 10 women suffers from it and that although there is no permanent treatment for it, it can get better by taking proper medication and improving your lifestyle. She also went on to explain that hirsutism, i.e. unwanted hair growth, is common among those who are diagnosed with PCOS, and that there was no reason for her to be embarrassed by it.
“Just start eating healthy and exercising regularly. Things will get better, I promise.”
Both Mira and her mother felt reassured after the consultation.
Mira started eating better and exercising regularly. She took her medicines religiously
She eventually came to terms with her condition and the problems associated with it.
. One day, while getting ready for her friend’s birthday, she looked into the mirror and realised how beautiful she was. Her facial hair no longer bothered her.
That day marked a new era in her life. She embarked on a journey to accept who she was, and fell in love with herself. She was more confident than ever! She was proud of herself and was unapologetically vocal about her condition.
This was Mira’s story, but one in every ten women suffers from PCOS. PCOS is a genetic, hormonal, metabolic and reproductive disorder. According to a report by Voyage Healthcare, as many as 40 percent of women diagnosed with PCOS suffer from depression and self-esteem issues.
Every year, the month of September, particularly September 1 is dedicated to create awareness about PCOS. It is imperative that we make women aware about this disorder, otherwise lack of proper treatment might result in problems. It is also important that we respect and acknowledge the women who have to go through this every day!
– Simran Kaur & Ishika Agarwal