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katehaney

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05:56 pm: This one may not pass...
 ...though time will, and Teh Issue will be resolved (eventually).

With all the incredible shit that's happened in the last few years, including my mother's and brother's deaths and the floods and the job changes, the one that seems to have kinda sorta broken me (at least temporarily) is peri-menopause.

woo hoo! girl stuff! First, a little history; then, The Crux of Teh Issue.

I've had a very mixed relationship with my uterus since I was 11, when I first got my period.

Well, at least since I was 12, when I started getting cramps. I was pretty damned excited to get my period. Because, y'know... 11! First among my peers! Also, my family had a nice Chinese dinner to celebrate. So that was cool.

And then the pain began. And that sucked. Fortunately, I had a wonderful gynecologist who believed me from the very beginning (from what I understand, not every girl or woman is that fortunate). He tried all kinds of different medications, with varying levels of success. I’m allergic to the one that worked best (Indocin), which was a bummer, but my doctor believed me and worked with me to try to find something that would help. I spent around 20% of junior high either not feeling very well or really spaced out on Codeine (my perpetual backup, which is likely why recreational drugs have never appealed – who the hell wants to feel that way on purpose?).

Eventually (well before I was sexually active), I went on the pill. And life was good. I trained karate and won lots of trophies, when I’d never been able to – or, to be fair, inclined to – participate in a sport with much regularity because of the cramps.

And then I went to Florida and gained weight and moved back home and went on Redux, which damaged my heart. To forestall taking blood pressure medications, I went off the pill. And the cramps returned.

Which sucked, of course. But I was a fair bit older and found that while Ibuprofen (then prescription only) didn’t get rid of the pain, it could take the edge off, which I combined with sorta biofeedback/sorta self-hypnosis (and heating pads and hot baths) to make it bearable.

Fast forward 10 years or so, the pain became really bad, I got more extensive tests. Lo and behold, endometriosis! So I had some surgery and that helped for a few years. Then I had Teddy, and within 2 years I’d start peri-menopause.

At first, it meant irregular periods. As in, I haven’t had a period in the summer for about 10 years. Weird. I had 2 hot flashes in that time, both apparently triggered by stress. No biggie.

Last year, things got Really Weird. Turned out I had a large fibroid (filled the whole uterine cavity). Got rid of that, no periods for 2 months. Then we went to London and I got slammed. I spent our first 2 days in London doing laundry and trying to track down a heating pad. So that was fun. But it passed.

Came home, big flood, lived in a hotel, yadda yadda.

So we come to now, when the longest time I’ve had without my period since Thanksgiving is 5-6 days (just back aches, rather than full-blown cramps, thank goodness). It’s light, it’s outrageously heavy, it goes away, it comes back. Ugh. About a month ago, when the flow got really bad, my gynecologist put me on something to slow the bleeding.

It worked! w00t! The medication also made me a bit dizzy, but hey! I can function! I like functioning!

Until my prescription ended, then it Started All Over. This time, with cramps. Hellacious cramps. Break-out-the-codeine-and-whimper-in-bed-in-the-fetal-position cramps. Also can’t-take-a-hot-bath-because-it-makes-the-bleeding-worse cramps. And I started having crazy problems controlling my temperature. Teeth-chattering cold, particularly at night (this has never happened to me in the history of ever, except in subzero temperatures), followed by multiple awakenings in the night, drenched in sweat (puddles, hair-dripping, change-pajamas-and-sheets-and-try-to-sleep-on-the-sofa-wet). Oh, and I got period zits. Yippee.

This time, my GYN wanted to see me. So I went.

As upsetting as it was (I’ll get to that), it was SUCH a relief to hear that what I was experiencing was not normal.


 “This is a LOT of blood” and “you have a LOT of clots” are not actually reassuring, but to have it confirmed that it was not in my head, not me over-reacting?  That was incredibly reassuring.  After all, we had flood #3 when a tampon violently ejected itself from my body (pushed by blood flow) before I could get to the toilet because why would it be urgent when I’d just put in a new super-plus tampon 30 minutes before? And the panties I threw into the sink (my favorite, because of course) apparently blocked the drain so the sink overflowed while I was in the shower frantically scrubbing the blood off my entire lower body. And we used all the towels in the house to mop up the water so I couldn’t dry myself off, despite the aforementioned teeth chattering setting in with vengeance. So THAT was fun.


Anyway! My doctor and I had talked about my getting a Mirena a couple of years back, but my insurance at the time didn’t cover it and we both thought I’d be all the way to menopause (when this crap stops altogether) very soon, so it didn’t seem worth it. I'm already past the average age for menopause, after all.

Now? I don’t care who pays for it, I just want to end the madness. So I have to get a few more tests (thyroid, blood counts, another hysterosonogram to make sure there are no more fibroids), and then the Mirena.

If I can have one. Which we don’t know yet.

And if I can’t?

Hysterectomy.

Which is where I kinda sorta broke. I’ve actively wanted a hysterectomy at least half my life. I was uncertain about having children.  And pain and pain and pain and blood and inconvenience.

Basically, I’ve known there was Something Very Wrong since I was 12. And I wanted it fixed – drastically, if need be – most of that time. So I’ve fantasized about getting a hysterectomy for 80% of my life. I can't say they've necessarily all been positive fantasies; after all, I was an angst-ridden, overly-dramatic adolescent who indulged in periodic (HA!) morbid fantasies, too. But still, it’s been an active possibility for me forever.

And now that it could be real, I suddenly don’t want it at all.

I’m not having another kid – that ship has long since sailed.

I’m having quite bad symptoms that seriously hamper my enjoyment of life.

And I’m really, really scared that I’ll have to have one.

It’s not the surgery that scares me, particularly, though I’ve never had major surgery like it. It’s the loss of my fucking uterus. My uterus! The organ that’s done exactly ONE GOOD THING for me in my entire life – granted, the best thing ever, but JUST ONE THING.

And I can’t call my Mum and talk to her about. My Dad finds conversations about menstruation highly inappropriate and, much as I love him, he couldn’t possible understand.

And Mum is dead.


edited to fix typo

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: scaredscared

Comments

[User Picture]
From:xtingu
Date:January 29th, 2017 12:05 am (UTC)
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Holy sweet shitballs! I thought my periods were bad... bleeding through a super-plus tampon and an overnight pad in 2 hours, but you've got me beat by miles.

I have also started peri-menopause (though my periods have mostly stopped... i only had 3 in 2016, but they SUCKED). I completely understand the soaking bed, changing clothes and sheets and laying down towels in the middle of the night... i fucking get it.

I was also having (this is WAY TMI) middle-of-the-night-while-sleeping hands-free orgasms that hurt SO SO SO badly afterwards that I wanted to die.

So for these things, I went to my Gyn a few years ago. She wanted to put me on the pill, i said fuck no. She said I wasn't a good candidate for Mirena (but she wished I was) because i've never had a kid and my cervix is teeeeeeeny and she wouldn't be able to get it in, no way, no how. She was stumped re: Satan's Orgasms and referred me to a specialist who gave me valium vag suppositories which were a screaming joke and totally useless.

Couple all this prior blood loss with the fact that I am horrifically anemic, so my hematologist and my regular doc both said "Why not get a hysterectomy?" And I said "YAAAASSSS!!" And i asked my Gyn for one, saying my hematologist and GP both recommended it, and she got VERY pissy saying, "I don't tell them how to do their jobs, they shouldn't tell me how to do mine. I don't just go removing perfectly good organs."

But i hear you. I've been dreaming of a hysterectomy but can't find anyone willing to do it.

My friend had hers out in her late 20s due to hellacious periods and insane fibroids and she said it has been a complete joy.

I hope the Mirena brings you some relief... you might look into endometrial ablation (sometimes called uterine ablation) which is where they basically cauterize the inside of your uterus so it can't make a montly lining anymore. Recovery apparently sucks, but afterwards many women have next-to-no periods.

My fingers and toes and crossed for you that you find relief with whatever you choose.
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:January 29th, 2017 01:52 am (UTC)

perfectly good organs?

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WTF?

My gyn would love to give me a hysterectomy (she's a surgeon and geeks out on it), but we're hoping I'm ok for a Mirena. C'mon up to Western MA and I'll get you hooked up.

Dunno how feasible that is, but she's fantastic.

Ablation is what I had for endometriosis (I called it slash and burn, but I'm stupid that way). Definitely helped for a few years. But, y'know... recurring. Yippee.

If I heard about unprompted orgasms without your details, I'd've said SIGN ME UP, but now? Not so much.

On the meds, at least I'm not bleeding through a super-plus every 20 minutes. THAT sucked donkey balls.

I'm so sorry that you're also suffering. It does help to know I'm not alone.
[User Picture]
From:xtingu
Date:January 29th, 2017 06:08 am (UTC)

RE: perfectly good organs?

(Link)
"Slash and burn." I think you're my new best friend. :-)

The good news is now that my periods have (mostly) stopped, life is pretty spiffy. I really like not thinking about periods. Of course, since I had just a few last year there is that element of surprise, but still... it's very pleasant. I highly recommend this stage of menopause... sounds like i'm farther along than you. There is light at the end of the tunnel, i promise!

Xo!
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:January 30th, 2017 05:13 pm (UTC)

Re: perfectly good organs?

(Link)
I am sooooo looking forward to actual menopause. I don't care how recently I bought sanitary supplies (at this rate, I should buy stock in Tampax). Sounds ridiculous, I know, but one of my issues has been Thinking It's Over and thus not wanting to buy a bunch of stuff that I won't use. And then getting caught short.

I'd love to donate all that crap to a women's shelter. Though a ritual burning would perhaps be more satisfying (that stuff burns like a mofo), I can forego the s'mores.
[User Picture]
From:swingchickie
Date:February 5th, 2017 10:54 am (UTC)
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OMG you gals are making me go "thank god i'm not alone!" i just started to experience the delightful "flooding" phenomenon, and i think it was relatively mild in the scheme of things... so i'm dreading when it'll get worse (unless maybe it won't since i already have an IUD? dunno.) and sorry kate, but you have me beat by miles. i am so, so sorry it's gotten that bad.
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:February 6th, 2017 05:34 pm (UTC)

which IUD?

(Link)
Mirena's supposed to keep things milder, which is why I hope to be able to get one. Gyn says she'll test my hormones every 3-6 months until it's clear I'm post-menopausal.
[User Picture]
From:swingchickie
Date:February 8th, 2017 02:52 am (UTC)

Re: which IUD?

(Link)
mine's a paragard, so now that i think about it, it won't help at all because it's non-hormonal...
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:February 8th, 2017 06:59 pm (UTC)

Re: which IUD?

(Link)
Exactly. Bummer. But everyone experiences peri-menopause differently. I hope you'll get a mild variation.
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