My PCOS Story: Lorna Grieve shares her health and fitness journey

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Hi my name is Lorna Grieve, I am a 38 year old, mum of two, and wife to my amazing husband Mark. I am incredibly lucky to have two children who are my world. My son Ryan is 19 and my daughter Emmy is 12.

Having Ryan at just 19 was straightforward and there were no problems or complications. 7 years later when I had my daughter it took much longer to conceive. I thought nothing of it and presumed this was down to me being a bit older. After deciding our family was complete my husband had a vasectomy and I came off all birth control.

This was something I had looked forward to after years of taking pills and suffering all their side effects. It was after many months of no medication that I began to notice symptoms, such as no periods which could sometimes last for several months, the longest gap being 6/7 months. I went to see my doctor as I was so tired all the time and felt so awful. I was struggling to get out of bed at times. I was told this should settle with my periods and was put on antidepressants for the tiredness and my mood. 

This, of course, didn’t work and I felt suppressed so I decided to come off the medication. The symptoms continued and developed. I started getting acne, mood swings, excessive hair on my body, and my hair started thinning. I persisted at the doctors as my quality of life was so poor and eventually I got a referral to see an endocrinologist. This is where I had a blood test, scans, examinations, lots of appointments and discussions and was finally diagnosed with PCOS. 

I felt such a huge relief to finally have someone listen, understand, offer help and mostly confirm that there was in fact a problem and it wasn’t in my head! I feel so lucky to be under the care of an amazing specialist and his team. Over the years I have phoned the team in some awful states and am always kindly offered advice and help. I feel assured that my endocrinologist tells me that I know my body better than anyone else so I know when to seek help, this is refreshing to hear especially as I easily lose confidence in myself and have such low self esteem.

Over the years I have been on and off various HRT patches which is not ideal as they all come with their own risks and side effects which have included debilitating migraines for me, but I simply cannot function without them. 

My endocrinologist recently advised that I try and lose a bit of weight to enable me to control my PCOS symptoms. I tackled this head on and started work with a personal trainer who taught me how to exercise properly and eat well. For me, this worked well alongside the HRT patches. I changed my whole lifestyle and have continued with this. I want to help myself where I can and not rely on medication. I found my passion for fitness through this and it has made myself and my family much healthier as a result.

Lorna shares her fitness journey with us

Lorna shares her fitness journey with us

In addition to my PCOS I have had two separate surgeries to remove cysts and just last year was hospitalised with chronic pelvic pain, resulting in a laparoscopy procedure being carried out. Each time I have had health setbacks I have used exercise and and training to get myself fit and healthy again; I never let my health affect my determination. 

Living with PCOS and it’s mood swings is a major challenge for me. At times it takes away who I am for a while, it can come over me so fast with little to no warning. I crumble, cry uncontrollably, shut myself off, lose my spark and have such low self worth. There is nothing anyone can do but my husband, kids and fantastic friends are always there to walk with me, talk and hug me (although not at the moment sadly due to covid restrictions). They are just so kind until it passes. Then fun, bubbly, full of life and carefree Lorna is back. I stay positive and hope for a cure one day. My biggest fear is my daughter inheriting this from me. I wouldn’t wish PCOS on my worst enemy! 

I am so lucky to have my wonderful husband, Mark, when I mentioned that I wanted to write this blog I asked what he thought, he went away and came back with this for me to add his perspective.

‘I can usually see when Lorna starts to feel unwell. She loses her little spark and doubts everything she is good at. It can be hard to know what to do to help. So the kids and I just give her space when needed and hug her when she is upset. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love suffer and for a short time lose who they are, but she always comes back with her usual lust for life, energy and enthusiasm for her family, job and love for exercise which she gets so much from. I only wish there was a cure for this cruel condition. Lorna will as always continue to fight this with all she has and has great support from family and friends around her.’

I feel so blessed to have someone who understands and supports me. I think it’s so important to talk to those you love so that they can help you. Verity is a great place to find people to talk to who understand and may feel the same.

Lorna before and after her new lifestyle

Lorna before and after her new lifestyle

I found Verity during the first lockdown of 2020 and decided to raise funds and awareness for this charity in aid of PCOS awareness month back in September. I challenged myself to run 105.2 miles (4 x marathons) during the month and eat no chocolate at all!!!

My aim was to raise £100. I smashed it and raised £460! I completed 110 miles and ate no chocolate for a whole month. This was a huge achievement as I used to hate running with a passion!!! I used to moan at every training session if I had to run. My husband and a couple of friends ran a few miles with me which was amazing for my morale and determination when I was struggling! Particularly during lockdown I have found running to be really good for my physical and mental wellbeing. I can run while the thoughts, worries and moods go around in my head and nearly always feel better for it afterwards. 

If I could give anyone with PCOS a bit of advice, firstly, I would say you have to TALK!  Don’t think you are alone. Talk to a friend or a family member or other sufferers in the Verity community who will understand. Don’t suffer in silence and just accept your symptoms, keep seeking medical help. Getting a diagnosis takes time. Secondly, no matter how big or small, try and move, exercise in any way you can, it makes such a difference to your mind and body. 

I know how hard it can be some days. I hope in the future to help women with the same problems as me. Every woman should be valued and loved for who they are. Try to believe in yourself and never give up!!! xxxxxxx

Lorna with hher husband and two children

Lorna with hher husband and two children

If you would like to share your PCOS story please contact our Information Production Manager, Laura Faulkner, at laura@verity-pcos.org.uk