I’m not talking time to pay bills or change your air filter. I’m talking about that time of month for us women that comes around every 28 days or so. Ever since my first period, THAT time of the month has been a literal pain. Dysmenorrhea they call it. I remember calling from school asking to be picked up because the pain was so bad that I’d have hot flashes. One time I was in the bathroom in my high school and felt nauseous along with light headed to the point I felt I would pass out. Off to the nurses office with me. I probably could have gone to the doctor about it, but getting my parents to let me go to the doctor was a figurative pain to go along with the literal pain. Most of the time, I had to just suck it up and deal with it. That’s what I did for years. So, usually for at least one day a month, I was curled up on my bed in pain thanks to the wonder abdominal and back cramps that came with the THAT time.
Then, after moving to Louisville, a friend I worked with suggested going to her gynecologist. Good idea. I had never been to one. I had no idea to what to expect. I think that was the best visit since I had no idea what to expect. Every year I know what to expect and I dread that appointment. Nothing like being poked and prodded with cold metal instruments. So, during my first appointment we talked about The Pill. Sure, let’s try it. I’m game. Wonder of all wonders, THAT time of the month wasn’t so bad anymore. I could actually function even if I had cramps because the cramps weren’t so bad. Last year, my gynecologist discovered that I have a tilted uterus. Well, hey, apparently that causes dysmenorrhea but there are only two fixes. A medical procedure to change the position of the uterus or get pregnant and have a kid. Uh. Okay.
Fast forward to last year when I’m still trying to figure out this whole hypothyroid thing. Hypothyroids cause dysmenorrhea, too and everything I was reading was telling me to stop taking The Pill. Are you freaking serious? The Pill wasn’t just The Pill. It was The Pill. But the more I read, the more I knew what I had to do. You see, the more extra estrogen in our body, the more Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG) is produced. TBG is the carrier for thyroid hormone in the body. The more thyroid hormone bound to TBG the slower the metabolism gets. Think of it as too much traffic in the body’s metabolism. No wonder women gain weight on The Pill! Dr. Brady does a good job of explaining it in his video on his website. Extra estrogen in the body doesn’t just come from The Pill either. Soy is a big culprit. I have cut down on the amount of soy I have, especially soy that isn’t edamame, tofu, or gluten-free tamari sauce. My naturopath and I had a conversation about the soy and he told me I was okay with fermented soy especially. However, soy is in almost everything, like corn and gluten. It’s been altered and processed in our foods. Not to mention a large percentage of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
Can you see the dilemma I was faced with? In the end, I had conversation with my husband and planned for the change. My first period without it was actually okay. I didn’t cramp at all and was taken by surprise. After so many years on The Pill, I always knew when to expect it. The second period, unbelievable pain the first day. Oh here we go again. It’s been like that pretty much since then. Sometimes it’s the day before, the day I start or the day after. This month, it started as soon as I started.
Monday night as I was getting ready for bed, I felt the cramps coming on, so I got out my trusty Diva Cup. Thanks to my best friend, Stick, telling me about the Diva Cup so I have less waste each month. Yes, it can get a little messy. But, using pads were messier and more uncomfortable. Tampons were just plain uncomfortable. You stick a big wad of cotton where the sun don’t shine and tell me how you feel.
When I went to bed, I was attempting to go to bed earlier than usual, but the cramps decided to deter me from that goal. It was near 1am when I was finally able to fall asleep. Then, at 5:30am, they decided to wake me up before a big storm rolled through town. The storm and the cramps went on for over an hour. I was getting up periodically to warm up my heatable scarf to wrap around so I could have heat on my abdomen and back. It was nearly 7:30am when I finally fell back asleep, until my alarm went off at 8am. I hit the snooze once, then got up when the alarm went off again.
I started on my routine, which was to fix breakfast. I was starving and I figured some food might help with the cramps. I decided to make some tea, too, thinking a warm drink would help. Wrong! While sauteing onions and mushrooms, and scrambling eggs, I started to feel nauseous and a hot flash started. I should mention here that my sense of smell tends to heighten during this time and sometimes certain smells will make me nauseous. I never know what it will be because it’s different every time. Once it was coffee from the coffee pot that was right behind my desk at the job I had at the time. I took a sip of the tea to see if it would help. Wrong again! The hot flash intensified as well as the nausea. I quickly turned off the stove and took the frying pan off the burner before running to the bathroom. I won’t bore you with the details of the bathroom, other than to say, I didn’t toss whatever was in my tummy at the time. Instead, the hot flash got so bad I felt I was going to pass out. I wound up lying down on the floor outside the bathroom, fanning myself, until the hot flash subsided. I got up, but I was barely up with the hot flash started again. Down I went to the floor again, fanning myself, until it passed. The next time I got up, I managed to get a small watermelon cube down before I had to lie down again. Next time up, I managed to eat about a cup of watermelon and less than a handful of almonds. That was all I could manage without feeling like hurling. I went down one more time after that. While I was down, I decided if I got back up and the hot flashes and nausea started again, I was calling into work. I had already been up for over an hour and I couldn’t do this at work.
The last time I got up, I was good to go. Well, not that good, but I managed to stay upright while brushing my teeth, washing my face, changing my clothes and putting on a little foundation. I was in a bit of a fog at work, but I started to feel better as the day went on.
Did I have a reason for telling you all this? Not really. I was just bitching.
Hey, gimme a break. It’s THAT time of the month!