This story briefly starts 3 days before my 11th birthday when I was gifted an early birthday present of womanhood. Not in the slightest bit prepared or even aware of what was happening to my body I was quite convinced I was dying. Mum to the rescue with the lady parts band aid of a surf board like pad. I remember being horrified that I’d have to endure this on a monthly basis for the rest of my life. And if I’m honest I’m still a little pissed about it. It seems like a pretty rough deal right?! Something about an apple and a boy?? Fast forward through my early adolescence where my periods got increasingly more painful and heavy. I vividly remember throwing up in the back of one of my boyfriends parents car from the pain. At 14 I started my first contraceptive pill to alleviate this. My first experience of a doctor giving me the ‘pill’ as a quick fix.
I've always struggled with the symptoms that skip and in hand with my periods. Pain being the leading one, I take some pretty heafty drugs in order to parent my kids for those 7ish days a month. I experience what I can only compare to labor when I go number 2's. Then all the other good stuff to like bloating, low iron, back aches.
I'm now a year on from having my last baby and back at what feels like square one. My periods are beginning to get less and lass manageable. My skin is breaking out worse than it ever had as a teen, I am moody bloated and frustrated. But here I was just living like this. Sweeping it under the mat, hoping that ignoring it meant it would go away. If you dont address it, its not a problem right?
A few months ago, I was on week 3 of what seemed like a never ending period. Worrying - sure, but it wasn’t until I had a type of menstrual hemorrhage while shooting a very important job that I knew something was really wrong. (Don't worry if you didn't know this was a thing, I didn't ether!) I stood up to use my camera and blood poured down my legs, I was instantly dizzy and nauseous. I ran to a near by bathroom, abandoning my camera and client. When I sat down I almost fainted at the sight of so much blood. It took me about 10 minutes to literally mop myself up. I cried and cried. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. I visited my GP the next day. To which I was given the simple solution that we all love to hear “wait and see”. I was wearing maternity sized pads and my youngest baby was one, were they serious?? I couldn't believe I was leaving with nothing but a "oh sucks to be you" attitude and a script for ibuprofen. I could have sworn I would bleed out by that evening. So back home I went, to curl up in bed lying on a towel. The next day was even worse I couldn’t stand up without almost fainting. The doctor was now suspecting a miscarriage, cue an appointment to have an ultrasound where they saw "nothing wrong". I felt like I must be crazy. Why did no one share the same panic I did?? The following day - again another trip to the GP with no solution. Then the next day I tried a different doctor, maybe a second opinion and a female perspective would help? Nope. Although more sympathetic she too didn't offer me much, she did however give me a complimentary uncomfortable pelvic exam and told me if it hadn't stopped by tomorrow I should come back. Fantastic. You best believe I was in her waiting room at 8am the next morning. We tried a total of 6 medications to get the bleeding under control. I saw a doctor 6 times in 8 days before they finally gave me a blood clotting medication that eventually put an end to a horrific month long period. For the last few appointments I couldn't bare to go alone, I had to bring Arie with me for support. It was the only way I felt like they might take me seriously. It was a really unsettling experience, to say I was left feeling drained and uncomfortable was an understatement - both mentally and physically.
I felt like I had to beg, borrow and plead to be head. It sucked BUT I wanted to share this potentially horrific story with you in the hopes that if you too are pushing symptoms like this under the mat then maybe you shouldn't keep doing that. If you have something you KNOW isn't right, then turn up at that doctors office every day until they understand you. You know your body better than anyone.
My GP did refer me to a gynecologist who I was able to visit a few weeks ago. He was very surprised it had taken me this long to push to be seen by a specialist. I will be undergoing an exploratory surgery in a few weeks to hopefully get a better understanding of what is going on in there as well as potentially (and likely) remove endometriosis. The gynecologist explained that what he could offer me would likely only be temporary solutions. I am now at 26 years old putting plans in place to have a hysterectomy within the next few years. I'll save that process for another post but it seems unreal that these are the cards I have been dealt. I'm back to being that confused 11 year old with the surf board pack of pads and I CAN'T wait for that to end.