I've never been one of those girly women, the kind that are really soaked in self-awareness when it comes to hormones, periods, PMS, every inch of their bodies, and all of that. I took my periods as they came, dealt with it, and got on with things. Once I got the hang of tampons, made a habit of having extras on hand and knew that camps could be overcome with tylenol, I was good to go during "that time". I suppose it helped that I didn't get my first one till I was 14 and that compared to the stories my more bodily-in-tune friends were telling, mine must have been pretty light. So, a week of having to remember to change a tampon a couple of times a day and having to pop a couple of tylenol the first day or so never made much of an impression on me. PMS? Not me. Pamprin? Didn't need it. Bloating? Really? Were they serious about that? I never even let it slow me down much in the sex department, partners willing, but that I know is a matter of personal choice.
Move forward to the recent past. I am 51 and things have gotten quite out of hand. I suppose it's a payback of sorts for all the years my period was a non-event. Now, instead of 7 days of normal flow, I get one or two days of death defying blood loss. I'm thinking it's the same volume, just condensed in delivery time. Here you go! Seven days worth in 36 hours! I have ruined sheets and nightgowns, I am a disgusting mess at times. I go through tampons like they were candy. I wear a pad (!) for back up. And it's scary. I've seen my share of gore but I feel like a character in a bad horror film, "The Flow of Death". I've promised myself that if I start to feel dizzy, to the ER we will go and screw 'em if they can't take a joke (really, who dies from a period?).
And it hurts! Wracking, gut wrenching full belly and lower back pain where I can't even THINK ABOUT doing anything remotely productive. My body and my brain just want to curl up with a hot mug of tea and a heating pad and be left alone with my sweets. Now I'm starting to understand why some of my friends always made such a big deal out of their periods, poor things! If they've been suffering like this THE WHOLE TIME, I need to give each and every one of them a big hug and apologize for my cavalier and seemingly uncaring attitude towards their past suffering. I've treated the sisterhood badly.
I was given a reprieve of sorts over the holidays, no period for two months! Was it the end? Did Aunt Flo pack her bags and leave in a huff? Would I need to mail those boxes of tampons (I started REALLY stocking up and have at least three unopened boxes!) to my daughters? I was ready to embrace that. But, heck no, she's back and she's still holding whatever grudge she's recently acquired.
I know that by tomorrow, I'll be back to my old self again and things will be all sunshine and butterflies and tough, happy, sweat workouts once more. I just wanted to get this down on paper (blog=paper these days) so I can look back and remember that this wasn't easy.
On a side note: We women are not always comfortable talking about our "periods" and I hemmed and hawed over what words and phrases to use in this blog, for a second or two. Then, I just wrote what I wanted. But think about it, we've been conditioned to use slang words and terms when talking about menstruation. "Menstruation", what an awkward word, right? No one uses that in conversation. Only the doctor says that. Even when we girls get together and really start talking to each other, let down our masks and get to the nitty-gritty of things, we use a zillion different slang terms for sexual things and the ones for menstruation are so numerous and silly!
Here's a list I came up with, what do you and your friends call it?
Redball Express (this one has sexual connotations!)
Charlie is Visiting (think this might be regional?)
On the rag or OTR (hated how guys used this one to explain why they were suddenly being called out on their bad behavior! ha)
That time of month
This me yesterday and today-
And I know I will feel like this tomorrow!