I have previously spoken very candidly about my health struggles through my blogs about mental health and my journey to becoming healthy in the “Big in Beijing” blog series.
A physical problem that always has followed me around is my hormones and periods, no matter my body size.
When I started to bleed at 11, I would vomit and faint occasionally. My mother was concerned that I was using too many sanitary towels. When she saw I needed them, she took me to the doctor. I was put on birth control to keep the bleeding down. Since then, I have tried every contraceptive drugs under the sun—24 years’ worth of blood leaving my body each month, that’s 1440 days of blood dropping out of my uterus!
As women we are conditioned by society to feel embarrassed about this. I am not, not anymore. I walked into a café to buy my favorite brownie when I was on my period. I told the girl at the till that I was on my period and really needed a brownie. Guys in the café gasped; when women bleed, society makes us feel we have to keep this a secret. I can tell you this: if guys had periods, they would brag about it and show off their bloody pads.
This year, I started to think a lot about my period pains and how it surely can’t be normal to bleed that much. For it to be so painful? For three days each cycle, I am down with pains, in my bones, in my back, in my uterus, it’s a fucking bloody mess. Every two or maybe three weeks, I can’t stand up properly when I am on my period. I am in that much pain. Every month, I think about ways to make this go away; sometimes, I think about ways to rip out my uterus. Sometimes, I think about ways to end this misery.
I lay in a hot bath wishing the pain away. I lay in bed puffing like I was about to give birth, trying to just breathe through the pain and wishing the pain away.
In October 2020, I started to have these pains every day. I was in agony; I was battling through insane period pains every day for two months. The doctor put me on a waitlist to be on a waitlist to see a gynecologist. The NHS is severely underfunded, and Covid-19 has put all the non-essential procedures to halt.
My husband had to drive me to E&A on one occasion. The hospital is the last place anybody wants to be in a pandemic, but I was in severe pain. They pumped me full of morphine and sent me on my way. I begged the doctor to take out my uterus.
I did not know what was wrong; I paid myself to see a private gynecologist. He did not have many answers, as you could only feel so much sticking your hand in a vagina. Further tests were necessary, but paying for that private gynecologist would be insanely expensive.
The daily pains have ebbed away. I suspect I had a cyst on my ovaries. I have had them in the past. But who knows? I am not a doctor; I am forced to do my own research online and talk to women around me. I am working with the most likely idea that I have endometriosis, but I don’t have an official diagnosis. You need a laproscoptomy (key-hole surgery) for that and the waiting lists are insanely long in the UK.
This situation has offered me time to look into the problems women deal with every cycle. Many women think it’s normal to be in that much pain each month. Many women are waiting and fighting for an official diagnosis. It made me realize I am not alone. I have been educating myself and my family at the same time, what my hormones do every month. I have started to read books about the female cycle. Lisa Lister wrote the amazing book Code Red and it has helped me understand more about myself, my cycle and my uterus. Maisie Hill started a podcast Period Power and listening to her words helps me so much.
The book Code Red offers some very simple solutions and insights into knowing your female cycle and flow. I have nothing left in me but listening to other women, and delving deep into more spiritual work, as the “regular” healthcare system is failing me.
I have made some changes to my life. I record my feelings and symptoms every day. The more we do this, the easier it becomes to predict our good days and our not-so-good days. I began to take three days off when I start bleeding. I don’t want to; I’d rather persevere and go on with my life. However, this will make my bleeding worse. When my period starts, I stop talking to people; I lie in my bed drugged up on all the painkillers, listen to meditations, and breathe through my pain. I go in the bath and diffuse oils. I don’t do any chores. I let life be; I write down all my ideas and things I “should” do, but I don’t act on them.
It makes life a bit easier to listen to my period and have my own personal PERIOD of life. I know it sounds indulgent, but frankly, it’s the only way I can get through these days.
Let’s make our periods bloody normal and tell your girlfriends and doctor when you suffer. Feeling a bit of pain during your period is normal. Not being able to move for days because you are in agony is not normal, period.
Next up: Read why and how I steam my vagina and why you should try a Yoni Steam! Also, read my blog on why and how I ate my placenta after my daughter’s birth, right here.