“Mom, I really don’t want to go to school today, my cramps are so bad!”
That was often the case when I was in high school, starting from 6 months after my first period, my cramps were enough to make me miss school or come home from school in pain, crying, sometimes vomiting, and wanting to be in the fetal position. Most people say, “oh take some tylenol you will be fine” “girl problems are not a good excuse to miss school” “stop using your period as an excuse”…. But no one could possibly understand the pain I felt because every woman is different, little did I know, I was very different and this was the beginning of the rest of my life and I fully expected to be in pain the entire time.
When I was 17ish, I was diagnosed with a cyst on my ovary, via ultrasound, which I had to request from my doctor. I was prescribed birth control but I would bleed a lot, irregularly, and just did not feel good on the hormones, so I stopped. I dealt with severe cramps, often taking 800 mg of motrin just be able to move from my bedroom. I laid there with heating pads and had to sleep through the pain, even asked my boyfriends to constantly rub my stomach to help with the pain. I was in agony, but I thought it was normal, this was just how my periods were going to be and I would have to accept it. When I finally did go to the dr again, maybe 2 years had passed, I was there because I was afraid of my next period. In January 2012 I noticed my periods were more painful, but dealt with it, February, more pain, dealt with it, March MORE pain, so much pain that I was afraid my next period would send me to the hospital. So I saw the Doctor, explained how I felt about the hormones and how my period was getting worse and worse, and he put me on Necon 1/35 and told me to take the pills continuously, to not have a period. 1 month passed I was back in his office, something still was very wrong with me, I asked for an ultrasound, but he didn’t think we would find anything because he didn’t feel anything in his examination of my uterus. The ultrasound revealed 4 uterine fibroids, dr said, “fibroids are normally painless and harmless, keep taking the birth control and it will stop them from growing and you should have kids sooner rather than later” So I said ok but I don’t want kids anytime soon but I certainly want them, another month passed and the pain wasn’t so bad because I wasn’t having a period, but I was STILL in pain, at this point we were considering the possibility of endeometrosis. That word is scary, you start thinking about the kids you haven’t had and the lifeling management of a disease that can be anywhere inside your abdomen. We scheduled to surgery for 2 weeks later, I spent that entire 2 weeks snapping on everyone because I was so stressed out at the possibility of endo. Surgery day comes and it goes well, no endo is found, but adhesions are (thank god I thought, I am not crazy!) My ovaries looked healthy and my tubes spilled dye HOORAY! I thought my problems were finally solved. 5 days later (I can’t sit still) I was back to work and I actually did feel a lot better, yes percocet helped during my recovery because I was on bed rest, all I could really do is sit in bed and be served because even sitting up hurt! So I healed up, I felt good, I came in for my Post-Op feeling cramping, but my dr said “That’s normal”, I went back on the birth control. After surgery my body didn’t respond to the birth control the same and I had a period despite me trying to avoid it… and It was pretty painful! I started researching other birth controls, but luckily the pharmacy only had the generic version one day when I picked up my prescription, and miraculously it worked better than the name brand! I have been successful at curbing my period from august to now. But I started to notice, if I didn’t take the BC right at the 24 hour mark, I would start to feel cramping, literally at the 25th hour mark. SO what happens when I have a period? I can expect to feel that same cramping, and probably more. We had ruled out cysts, adhesions, endometriosis, and STD’s…. the last remaining culprit, the fibroids, which are not “supposed” to cause pain, are in deed, causing A LOT of pain.
So today I spoke with another dr in the practice, who agreed that our next step is a Myomectomy. More invasive than the lapro, a myomectomy actually cuts into the uterine wall, depending on where the fibroids are, and the surgeon removes the tumors. Recovery will be longer, and I will be in more pain than the first surgery. Unfortunately I have scheduled it over thanksgiving, it just works better with taking time off. I will be updating this story regularly, I have a pre-op consult on October 9th.
Ladies, if you are in extreme pain, it is not normal, you are not crazy or weak because you can’t stand your period, get checked out and never stop until you are satisfied with your health!! Don’t be like me! Don’t be a “hero” and suck it up because “it’s the way of the world”, I probably could have prevented this from becoming so vital by getting checked more often and voicing that I didn’t think my pain was normal!!