Yesterday afternoon was fantastic!! The light at the end of a very long journey if you will. I found a doctor. A really terrific ob/gyn to be exact. I am over the moon. I had to travel 70 miles to meet with her, but it is so worth it.
Some might ask so what. The "so what" is at about the age of 13 I stepped in womanhood BIG TIME. *If you are male and/or squeamish about such topic...look away and run very fast, I'm about to get graphic.*
I once saw an old episode of the Bill Cosby show; the one when Rudy started her period. Mrs. Huxtable took the day off work and Rudy was excused from school. They spent the entire day shopping, dining and enjoying togetherness and celebrating as Rudy embarked on this new journey. Awe, it was a beautiful moment and most likely written by a man. After that show, it was never mentioned again. Me on the other hand, if only my step in womanhood was as wonderful and lovely and full of daisies and togetherness. I have always experienced extremely heavy bleeding and knock-down cramps. Cramps so bad when I was younger they would shoot down my legs leaving me doubled over in bed and the bleeding. Oh the bleeding! I'm not over exaggerating when I say I was just shy of mass hemorrhaging. The result? Many days absent from school and many trips to see doctors. The first, easiest and usually the only option ever offered was oral birth control. Back in 1987 I was given a prescription (heavy on the hormone) that basically turned me from a 98 pound tomboy into a 120 creature overnight. I hated myself! I hated my symptoms. I was miserable and every month it was hell for eight to ten days. Horror stories became a regular occurrence for me.
I once went on vacation with an aunt and her family when I was about 14 or 15. I started my period half way through the trip. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized I had soiled the sheets. So embarrassing!
When I was about 17, I was at a family member's house babysitting. I was sitting on my cousin's bed as I felt a blood clot pass. It wasn't until I got up I realized I had leaked through my clothes and her blankets and sheets just narrowly missing her mattress. All of this happened within seconds for as soon as I felt what was going on, I knew I needed to get to the bathroom. I felt horrible!!
When I was around 15 or so, I was babysitting for my step-dad's brother and his wife's daughter. Because they had to get up so early for work, I slept over. They put me up on an air mattress in a spare room. Early morning I woke knowing something was not right. It was a huge mess and the stress of the situation was more then I could bare.
Oral birth control was to control the bleeding. Ibuprofen was to control the pain. Rolaids was to control the stomach aches the ibuprofen would induce. Vomiting would happen because of too many ibuprofen and Rolaids. Dry heaves would occur when there wasn't much else to vomit. A trip to the ER was the result and a phone call from a nasty doctor announcing she and her colleagues had a "little professional laugh" over the situation.
These are just a few stories and I realize so many women have experienced similar horrors and humiliation. The difference for me was this was a monthly happening: different month, similar situation. To avoid humiliation from my peers, I would stay home from school. I also knew I wouldn't be able to make it through three hours of classes before getting to use the bathroom trying to manage the pain and bleeding. Being able to make my way through a P.E. class would be near impossible.
Over the last 21 years I have learned how to handle my situation discreetly. Heavy bleeding is a sign of fertility so I've heard. And luckily getting pregnant has never been an issue. However, for 45 months of my adult life I have experienced pure bliss not having a menstrual cycle because of pregnancy and nursing babies.
Three babies, many medical doctors and gynaecologists, 15 years (10 married) and a little medical procedure the J-man bravely succumbed to, we find ourselves no longer in need of birth control. Having spent most of my life taking some form of the birth controlling drug to control births and menstrual cycles, at the ripe age of 34, I have decided I no longer wanted to endure.
After the birth of Baby Love, I approached the topic with my then ob/gyn. The same ob/gyn that delivered both girls told me she doesn't perform hysterectomies for birth control. She totally missed the point, I lost all respect for her and her practice and my search continued. Which led me to Dr. D 70 miles away down in Olympia. She specializes in abnormal and painful periods. And at a last stitch effort, I made an appointment with her about two months ago. I figured it would be a meet and greet and she would give me a few options to mull over. One of those options hopefully being an hysterectomy leaving my assumable healthy ovaries but most likely she would steer me towards a procedure called Novasure (which every doctor in the last two years have advised for me), a procedure I had read up on and knew I really didn't want to go that route. This is not about taking steps for me. I don't want to "try" anything else. After many different kinds of oral birth control pills, IUDs, and depo shots all of which left me reeling with horrible side effects from depression, weight gain, mood swings and uncontrollable PMS. I want my situation resolved once and for all. I want to be able to plan family vacations and camping trips without always worrying I might be on my period. I want to get my symptoms under control and mostly eliminated. I want quality of life!
My meeting/appointment with Dr. D was more then just a meet and greet. After filling out all the online paperwork, she came into room with her lap top computer knowing where I stood. I didn't have to convince of her of how I had been living for 21 years. She just knew and she wanted to help. There was no steering to other, less helpful procedures. She listened and understood. She told me I could have surgery as soon as two weeks. There was no messing about. No belittling. No pats on the back telling me to hang in there, sending me off on my way losing all respect for the medical profession as a whole. In fact, at the exact moment when she said "Your thinking is not unreasonable." was when I wanted to get down on bended knee in my paper gown and ask her to be my doctor forever and always because my dreams had just been answered. My relief and gratitude was evident. She examined. I breathed relief. And I have an ultrasound appointment in two weeks to check my ovaries, kidneys and bladder. Ingesting mass amounts of ibuprofen over the many years could have left a lasting effect. As of now, the hopes is to perform a hysterectomy vaginally leaving my ovaries, no scaring on the outside and less recovery time. This would alleviate having to take hormones for the rest of my life but relieving me of the menstrual cycles and painful periods as well. I can't wait!!!
The scheduling nurse called this afternoon to set up a date. The fast pace has me elated but nervous. The kids and J have very busy work, school and activity schedules. Having me laid up for two weeks would take it's toll. In the midst of shuttling kids, work deadlines and preparing a house for sale, we have to figure out a good time for me to go under the knife. I'll keep you posted. But I leave with you this. If you suffer from painful, abnormal periods there is help and there are doctors who will help you. Don't give up. My wish for you is that it doesn't take 21 years.