I have had symptoms of PCOS since I was 13yrs old (hirsutism, obesity, and no periods) and was diagnosed at the age of 22yrs.

Over those years, and particularly since 2003 when I first heard about Verity (the UK charity supporting women living with PCOS), I have bought, read, and found many books useful.  Below I will give a brief description of the ones I still refer back to – both PCOS-specific and general books I’ve found useful in my PCOS journey.

Please note that some of these books will have been updated and republished since my purchase!

 

I bought these two books back in 2002 and they include numerous passages which have been highlighted, underlined and had notes written beside (or ‘graffiti’ as a friend calls it!).

The Woman’s Guide has information on the exact nature of PCOS and its possible causes, how to get a diagnosis, treatment options, long term health implications, and emotional support.  It also explains ways to self-manage your condition to improve symptoms. The Diet Book looks at all things food and weight related, and also includes an informative chapter on the emotional relationship with food.

 

I bought this book in 2005.  It starts off describing the history of PCOS  and goes on to talk about the occurrence and significance of insulin resistance.  The book then discusses different carbohydrates, and the role of  fats and protein in our diet.

The second half of the book talks about how to put all that knowledge into practice, and gives some menu tips and a useful table of commonly eaten foods with their GI and GL values to help you plan your own menus.

 

My final PCOS-specific book in one that I purchased this summer (2020), as a present to myself after winning an oral presentation competition for my PhD research on PCOS.  It has a more academic flavour and level of information, but is still very readable for the non-academic.  The eight main chapters cover areas of biological & psychological aspects of PCOS; depression and anxiety; the impact of testosterone; issues on insulin resistance, diabetes, mood and binge eating; fertility; psychobiology; and finally treatments looking to improve psychological heath in PCOS – probably my most favourite chapter (although it was a close call!). It is not cheap, but maybe you can find a few friends to share it with…?

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Sheridan Voysey in April 2019 as we were both being filmed at TBN London for a series called ‘Honesty Over Silence’, where he and I were interviewed by Patrick Regan.  After listening to Sheridan’s interview, I was inspired to buy his book.  It takes a look at the often difficult subject of what happens when life takes too many unexpected turns, and covers topics of identity, purpose, and infertility among others.  Sheridan shares his experiences while also describing his pilgrimage hike from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to Durham.

At the end of the book there is a very useful chapter by chapter Reflection Guide for further meditation.

 

This interesting book by Angela Duckworth was bought for me by a friend in summer 2019 as I celebrated my first prize win at an academic conference for my PCOS research.  The three main sections of the book cover what grit is and why it matters; how to grow grit from the inside out; and how to grow grit form the outside in.  I didn’t agree with everything suggested in the book, but it’s a great read to challenge your thinking on the topic of resilience and what success may look like for you.  Certainly when living with PCOS and its various twists and turns, this is a very relevant subject!

 

In the few months leading up to my PhD interview at Huddersfield University while I was writing out my research proposal, an academic friend mentioned a quote from this book which resonated and kept him going through his part-time doctoral studies.  It is a spiritual book – and again I did not agree with all the quotes and stories in it, but some are very relatable to.  I share my most inspiring quote from pg18 here:

“A warrior of light carefully studies the position that he intends to conquer.  However difficult the objective, there is always a way of overcoming obstacles.  He seeks out alternative paths, he sharpens his sword, he tries to fill his heart with the necessary determination to face the challenge.  But as he advances, the warrior realises that there are difficulties he had not reckoned with.  If he waits for the ideal moment, he will never set off; he requires a touch of madness to take the next step.  The warrior uses that touch of madness.  For – in both love and war – it is impossible to foresee everything.”

 

Last but certainly not least, is my Bible.  I have been a practicing Christian for over 39 years, but in the last ten years as I’ve gone through quite a life-transformation, my personal faith and relationship with Jesus Christ has deepened and become more and more vital to me and the way I live my life. My Bible reading for today (7th Sept 2020) was from the book of Luke chp 8 and verses 43-48.  It tells of the immediate healing of a woman who had been bleeding continuously for twelve years!  She had seen all the medical practitioners possible, had tried all their various treatments, had spent all of her money, and yet was no better – or even felt worse after all she’d been through.  As I live with the symptoms of PCOS and have been prescribed many treatments and endured many side-effects and no-effects, I can totally relate to how this woman must have felt.  She too was an outcast and rejected by society.  Yet she deliberately reached out to Jesus in faith, and was rewarded with an immediate physical healing.  This passage and so many others in the Bible give me daily hope to keep pressing forward in my journey with PCOS and life in general – trying to live life to the full, one step at a time, in partnership with an all-powerful God.

Tomorrow’s blog is entitled ‘Monday Motivation’.  Until then…   Sharon 🙂