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Couple develops resiliency skills to deal with incurable medical condition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
This article is part of a feature series on how military members and their families apply skills learned in base resilience course by Airman 1st Class Jacob Eckhardt.

When 22-year-old Senior Airman Paula Coleman found out she had an incurable hormone disease, she said she thought it was the end of the world.

The symptoms she had been experiencing last year was diagnosed as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, an incurable condition and the leading cause of hormone imbalances in women who are of child-bearing age.

"I felt as if I didn't have control of my own body or my future," said the information manager for the 375th Air Mobility Wing command staff. "I didn't know what was going on with me, and I felt like no one understood."

PCOS symptoms include increased body hair growth, ovarian cysts, acne, oily skin, dandruff, weight gain, male-pattern baldness, dark brown or black patches of skin, pelvic pain, anxiety, depression and sleep apnea.

But, thanks to the support of her husband, Senior Airman Jefory Coleman, an information manager for Air Mobility Command, and their decision to attend the base's resiliency training, she said they both developed the skills to deal more effectively with her condition.

"The class helped me identify my positive characteristics," she said. "It helped me find the positive in my life, and it changed my point of view on how I see problems."

Before the class, she said she was "stuck in a negative tunnel," and when she was first diagnosed, she couldn't see the help she was being given from the people in her life. She said the most important thing she learned was how to react to "the icebergs of life" by finding the positive aspect in any situation.

"I learned that I can control how I deal with my medical condition and in turn, help other women who have it," she said. "There are resources available and there is always something positive in every day we can focus on."

Her husband said he's seen the changes not only in her, but also how it has strengthened their marriage.

"I wanted her to know that she didn't have to go through this alone," he said. "We are definitely in this together because whatever she is going through does affect us. I wanted to be there to understand and help her work through any issues, and the resilience class gave me the tools and the skills to be a better Wingman--and spouse."