Monthly Archives: September 2016

Crazy Heavy Period Bleeding – A Public Service Announcement

My last Pap / Gyn visit was in 2008.  I am pro-science, pro-medicine, pro-vaxx — but I am anti-invasion if there are no symptoms or no reason to expose myself to a non-disposable speculum.  This has been supported by recent studies backing off the high-frequency GYN exams for people who are low-exposure, but I anticipated this trend by some years.  Around three GYN exams in the past 15 years and no problems.

But I’ve always had Crazy Heavy Periods.  They run in my family, like high cheekbones and short fingers and wide feet.  I have missed work at about the rate of one day per month  when working in places that didn’t allow frequent bathroom breaks (missed zero during the work-from-home years) but the manageable bloodbath and occasional day-off for uncontained murder-scene-level bleeding has become unmanageable.

Now that I am perimenopausal, I have begun having a period between my periods.  Imagine having a ten-day period, with ten days off, followed by an eight-day period.  This has now happened three times in the past year and it’s no longer a fluke.  I called the nurse line and was asked other questions:  is intercourse extremely painful?  (Yes, it’s been overwhelmingly painful for years; I figured it was just that I had gotten fat.)  Do you have breakthrough bleeding at ovulation?  (I do now.)  How many pads do you go through in an hour?

God, how I hate that question!  I use the best pad in the world, Always Infinity with Flex-Foam, and they are too expensive to waste.  My flow isn’t steady; it’s a trickle that is sometimes non-existent.  Then there is a little “pop” feeling, and a gush.  Old Faithful Erupts.  I dash to the loo for that.  When I  was at work yesterday, in a situation where I couldn’t hit the loo for 50 minutes, I *soaked* an *overnight maternity pad* — and my panties, and my most heavy-duty dark denim jeans, in one gusher.  So I left work and called the doc.

She scared me shitless, with “come in immediately for an endometrial biopsy and a lab screen and a Provera shot” after hearing my answers to her questions, and I exercised control over the situation by scheduling a visit for  next week and No Thank You Very Much All The Same to the shot.  I don’t mind needles, but I do mind hormones.  When I was on the Pill in college, I was suicidal, homicidal, and generally out of my mind.  I know it’s not the same hormone, but it’s still manipulation that has an unpredictable effect.

PSA For Crazy Heavy Periods Per The Nurse Line:

600 mg of ibuprofen can reduce bleeding by up to 40% — per Nurse, “It’s what the doctor has me telling everyone since that new study came out.”  I am not a medical professional and do not pretend to have evidence to support this, personally; I did not even have ibuprofen in the house and have not tried it myself.  I am writing this down to remember it for another time.

Iron-rich foods:  we are out of heme iron sources at home (I don’t eat liver anyway, except as a cutoff in mystery meat) but I chowed down on fortified rice, pineapple juice, and my complementary salad of cruciferous vegetables and glutathione vegetables with some ham.  I drank pineapple juice and tart red cherry juice and took an iron pill that nauseated me.

Water:  drank lots.

Protein:  ate lots.

I think they helped.  And I go to the doctor Tuesday.

I am Bad at Respecting My Own Boundaries

When you see a friend posting witty banter and wicked barbs and being the life of the party…but you notice minuscule clues that say she’s posting from a medical treatment center rather than a hotel…do you:

  1. ask outright?  HEY, that is clearly a hospital blanket, are you in hospital?
  2. jump to conclusions?  OMG are you sick?  How serious is it?
  3. ignore her “context clues” and send a private demand for information?  “We are your friends, and you can be open with us” (even if you don’t want to, are not ready to, and worry that you would break down if you did).
  4. match her witty banter, offer convivial spirit, and end with an undemanding message of approval and affection?

If you are me, options 1-3 are oblivious, callous, and appalling.  I strive to provide option #4 as valiantly as possible.  But…

If you are me, you will want, a good portion of the time, option #5:  to see the light dawn in your friend’s eyes, and have her throw her arms open to hold you, and say, “Oh god,” just from knowing, and sharing, or being with you.

At least, you think you want it.  If confronted with it, given your (my) Norwegian prairie farmer upbringing, you would probably cringe internally, insist that Everything Is All Right, and end up comforting your would-be comforter.  Comfort doesn’t get the cow milked, feelings don’t help you chop wood, and when the baby died, I just went out and painted the barn to get over it.

It’s hard for me to accept nurturing.  It terrifies me; it makes me feel weak.  It’s one reason I’ve always gotten along better with men, who were raised to be alienated from their emotions.  When they have decided it was safe to give me a punch in the arm and say something half-insulting, half-reassuring, I was safe to take it and not be overwhelmed.  I could recognize that my boys from home did not throw that crumb of support casually, that it was really a feast, and they struggled to provide it.

But when a waitress calls me “Honey” and keeps my coffee hot, when a porter calls me “Kiddo” and doesn’t wait to be asked for help to give it, I tip big, and I get choked up later when it comes to mind.