>“CURVES ARE BACK!” screamed the headline of a woman’s magazine displayed at my local newsstand. How nice that my body type – something of which I have no control over – is back in style. I have no idea how I ever got through the period of time when it was not “in.” My heart goes out to those women whose genetic codes are no longer in vogue, and for those still waiting their turn to be trendy. I recommend against attempting to change your genetic destiny, though, for the sake of fashion. What will you do if you get hip, breast, and/or butt implants when “curves” fall out of favor again?

I saw the exciting news that I (with the aid of a tummy tuck – there’s only so much curve one is allowed!) am “back” while I was walking home from a doctor’s appointment. The day before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) by a reproductive endocrinologist. It only took 12 years for doctors to confirm that I had cysts on my ovaries. Oh sure, I’d been to many “specialists” since I stopped menstruating at the ripe old age of 17, and none of them thought to do a transvaginal ultrasound, which is the only way to truly see whether there are ovarian cysts or not. But I’m not bitter or anything.

The week after the PCOS diagnosis was made, I went back to the doctor’s office for a glucose test, as PCOS often leads to insulin resistance which is the direct path to diabetes - a “Do not pass Go; do not collect $100” kind of thing. Here’s where my vanity comes into play. (I like to think of it as the top hat or Scottie dog Monopoly option.) Ever since puberty smacked me upside the head in a most painful way, I struggled to control my weight. By 1998, I was a smidge over five feet tall and 167 pounds. Clothes that fit me were not plentiful. I hated looking in the mirror, and getting dressed brought me on the verge of tears. Like most people, I got dressed every day, so this was not a happy time.

One day I decided that it was time to make a big change. As much as I hated exercising and loathed restricting myself to one dessert a day or eating vegetables, it was better than crying every morning. I found a gym with TVs and forced myself to go every night after work. In the first year, I lost 20 pounds. Another six came off when I had breast reduction surgery, as well as a tremendous amount of shoulder and neck pain relief. I worked on watching what I ate. Sometimes that meant watching as I shoveled crap down my gullet, but allowing myself to really enjoy things once in a while was part of my plan. I lost another 20 pounds. Shopping for clothes and getting dressed became much less torturous, although many of my body insecurities remain. And today, my body is even in style. Whoo-de-doo.

So what does this have to do with PCOS? As the doctor looked over my test results, he expressed surprise that my glucose level was only slightly elevated. He recommended diet and exercise to keep it under control, instead of drugs. When I undertook my diet and exercise plan almost nine years ago, I didn’t do it because I wanted to be healthier. I only cared about looking better. Fuck it if “curves are back.” It’ll be out again in a few months, but my vanity got me to the point where I can deal with my health issues with no dramatic intervention. That’s what matters.

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