Tell everyone, lasers are cool.

I haven’t blogged in rather a long time. Considering I want to be a writer, that’s practically disgusting. However, this year has been one of the most hectic and emotional I’ve gone through, blogging hasn’t exactly been my top priority. Now things have settled down so I’m back and hopefully on more of a regular basis too.

I posted late last year about a condition I have called PCOS, and how I’d just started laser hair removal treatment. You can read it here. This is essentially a sequel. As of a few weeks ago I finished my treatment.This is my story of the process I went through, a process that it might actaully be available to you.

One of the symptoms of PCOS is growing dark hairs in places more common on men than women, in my case my neck and back. It’s one of the things that I’ve always struggled with, I never had the patience to wait for my awesome beard which I would obviously rock. Joking aside, as I started to get into make up and building up my own look in my teens, I always had unwanted hair to deal with first. My getting ready routine consisted of hair removal creams and a lot of plucking. Eventually I got fed up.

Laser treatment was something I’d talked about, it was something that would be a possibility in the future if I saved up. One day when I spoke to my doctor I discussed how my recent medication was helping my PCOS, it had made a little difference in hair growth but nothing to rave about, I mentioned about laser treatment, asking what the results of it are like, would it be worth it and she told me she’d find the relevent information for me. A few days later I got a phone call from my doctor with a rather delightful surprise. Through the NHS, women with PCOS can get free laser hair removal treatment. Now if PCOS affects so many women then why aren’t we screaming this information from the rooftops? I was elated. My years of nairing would be a thing of the past.

I was refered to a private clinic for 30 minute appointments every 6 weeks. I had 12 sessions treating my neck and back. For those of you who are afraid due to the expected pain, don’t be! I actually got my first tattoo before I started treatment almost like a warm up and that ended up being more painful. Most of the time you’ll barely feel a thing. Cold air is blown over the skin, giving it a slighly numb sensation. If you do feel something, it’s a nip. I’d take that nip, that physical pain over the emotional pain. I wish I had pictures to show you it’s worth it but you’ll have to take my word.

I can put my hair up without worrying, I can spend my time applying eyeliner and not hair removal cream, I can feel somewhat more confident about my image. To any of you ladies with PCOS out there that know what I’m talking about, I urge you to reach out to your doctors. Your doctor’s an asshole and won’t listen to you? Change to another and get what you know is owed to you. If you want treatment to feel more confident, sexy, beautiful and like the damn woman you know you are, then you are quite welcome to it.

Altogether now, tell everyone that lasers are cool.

A Rant on PCOS.

My end to 2013 and start to 2014 hasn’t been the smoothest. Just after Christmas, I had a bit of a meningitis scare. Spent a day in hospital getting all sorts of tests, I was well and truly poked and prodded. Luckily it wasn’t meningitis, I wouldn’t have been too happy with Santa Claus leaving me that late gift. However, the main symptom which set off my scare, a bizarre headache in the right side of my head, has led to a back and forth between my doctor’s surgery as we try and diagnose my problem. After a week of new medication, we might have found out what it is but alas I’ll have to wait until my next appointment.

Since my mind has been pretty focussed on health just now, I wanted to discuss another condition I happen to have and today seemed appropriate to do so. I was diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS years ago. Today it feels appropriate since I got my second laser treatment treating one of my PCOS symptoms.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the condition, which quite frankly wouldn’t surprise me, PCOS is a condition which affects women and how our ovaries work. To put it simply, our hormones can go rather wonky and we can develop cysts in our ovaries. I don’t want to bore you with details, but by just mentioning it I’m getting the word out. Obviously because of some of the symptoms it causes and the area of the body it concerns it’s not the easiest thing to talk about. For example, one of my worst symptoms was dark hair growing where it wasn’t wanted. That’s why today I’ve been having laser hair removal. And why would I share this information with the internet? Because not enough people do!

PCOS affects an estimated 1 in 5 women in the UK but when I’ve spoke about it with friends rarely any of them have ever heard of it. I understand that it’s rather embarrassing but the internet has managed to banish that block elsewhere. We can speak anonymously on blogs and forums and we can speak publicly in the form of video blogs and social networks about all kinds of topics. Yet despite how common PCOS is in a doctor’s surgery, it’s very uncommon online. Now I’m very aware if you search for it, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Google is a wonderful thing, I will not deny that.  The jump that needs to be made though is for it to be spoken about in real life.

I’m a very open person, I pride myself of essentially being an open book. However, when it came to PCOS, I’d get a little bit quieter. If someone asked why I had to go to Edinburgh (I have to go to a specialist there for laser treatment) I’d never specify, just dance around an answer. I’ve now had a few treatments though and quite frankly, I’m feeling happy about it! It is early days but the results are great and I already feel better about myself. When I share something on my facebook, twitter and various other social networks (yes, I’m a bit of an internet addict) I want it to be something that has made me happy.

I’m not saying that we all have to come forward but just be aware of it, this goes for any conditions not just PCOS. Don’t suffer in silence, you’d be surprised how good it feels to let it out. You never know you could help someone figure out what’s going on in their own body or make someone feel like they’re not alone.

More information on PCOS – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

The Work Experience Year.

After writing my first entry on finality, this one is strange to follow.
So this year will not be my last year of my BA education. Unfortunately I did not pass all my classes in Germany and therefore did not come back with enough credits to continue to my third and final year. Due to this, I am a now a part time student, having to take two second year classes next semester so I can then continue into my third year, next year.

At first I was obviously annoyed with myself. I clearly had not worked as hard as I thought. A lot of people have asked me if I regret going to Germany now. Every time I will answer back no. I got more than an educational experience by studying there,  I got cultural one and quite frankly a hell of a lot more life experience there than I would have ever got staying in the UK. My time abroad, in Germany and travelling has given me so much inspiration to write. I even have the boarding passes and train tickets covered in messy scribbles to prove it. Since writing is what I want to really do with my life, I’m glad I took the leap because now I’ve actually got some idea of what I’d like to write. Travel writing is something I’ve done a little of but now it’s become a passion and I certainly would not have discovered that living in Sunderland. Saying that, after being in a different culture for so long it has made me realise all the little beauties in the places I’m so familiar with like Sunderland, my home town and Edinburgh.

So instead of seeing this as a hindrance, I’m calling this year ‘The Work Experience Year’. While my fellow classmates will be writing up dissertations and portfolios I plan to get as much experience to add to my CV as humanly possible. While I’ll be graduating a year later (which I would have done had I gone to a Scottish university) this gives me one more year to make that all important CV really stand out. Whether it be with in a full time retail job, a few writing competition wins or even some unpaid work at a publishers, I’m happy getting as much experience as I can.

Have I said experience enough? No? EXPERIENCE.

Finality.

Today I began my third and final year of my degree. You could really call it the beginning of the end.

I have mixed feelings towards the end of things. Something as trivial as my favourite television show ending, I cannot stand. You’re emotionally attached to fictional worlds and characters for weeks, months, years and then all of a sudden they’re off, sometimes without a real goodbye. It’s really rather rude if you ask me.

However, when it comes down to reality, the ending of those big stages in life excites me. In primary school, I could not wait to leave for high school. Education enthralled me and finally I’d be in a place where I could learn about everything and anything. I was genuinely keen to write essays on my favourite literary heroes like Shakespeare.
Six years later, I could not wait for high school to finish. After studying everything and anything, I had realised that I wasn’t so keen on all subjects. University brought, despite limiting me down to one area, a sense of freedom. I was no longer obligated to study Geography just because of timetable regulations or prepare for a ridiculous exam which probably covered everything you didn’t revise for. Of course I would miss the people of my high school experience. Luckily I keep in touch with most of my friends from home still, thank goodness for Facebook! However, the essence of high school, the education, I was glad to see the end of.
For the second half of my second year, I studied abroad in Germany. It’s safe to say, I had the best summer of my life. I was opened up to a world of new cultures and new types of people. Considering that though, it made me appreciate home and the country I’m from a lot more. I miss Germany an awful lot but I remember that satisfying moment when the flight attendant announced we’d arrived in Edinburgh and I knew the end came at the right time.
And now here we are, my final year of university. This is one particular ending which should be handled with care. While I can’t wait to go off on more adventures (I hope to do my Masters in New Zealand), I will be sad to leave this stage behind. Sunderland is a city which will hold a place dear in my heart, despite some of remarks I’ve heard about it. It is where I lived on my own for the first time, where I marvelled over language and literature in a much brighter light and wrote my first Gothic play. Thankfully, this is only the beginning of the end. This university and city isn’t getting rid of me just yet.

Ends are certainly a puzzling thing to handle. For example, I’m not sure how this blog should end…