I want to address my inability to bear children and subsequent hysterectomy with oophorectomy.
About six months before the onset of my periods I was having low gut pain. Mom took me to the doctor and he thought the problem was intestinal. He put me on some pills that turned my poop green and called it good.
My first period began on my 12th birthday. Happy Womanhood! From what I had read in the ‘Red Book’ Mom had given me, I knew that sometimes women had pain with their periods. Well, that was the cause for the strange pain I had been having. I guess I could live with that.
In the next few months the menstrual pain went from uncomfortable to horrendous. Mom gave me hot water bottles and aspirin. Occasionally, she would call the doctor and I would get codeine. Mostly, just aspirin and Midol; when Pamprin came on the market I would rotate the three for relief.
The pain would wake me from a sound sleep. I went downstairs to get the hot water bottle and Dad woke up to see if I was okay. When he heard “cramps” he would get Mom. She finally told him that I knew what to do and there was nothing she could do to help me. He asked if the doctor could prescribe more codeine. Mom told him, and I heard, that the doctor just thought I was being dramatic and the pain wasn’t really that bad.
I missed at least one day of school every month. The pain was overpowering. I remember in high school when the principal or vice principal would corner me for going home early or missing a day. I was so shy I couldn’t say, “Look I have cramps and they are killing me.” My PE teachers were very understanding to the point to showing me exercises that were supposed to help. They never did.
When I was about 16 I overheard my mother talking to a friend about the amount of pads we went through each month. She was saying that with two menstruating daughters we were going through a giant box of pads every month. And when the next two started, she was sure it would be two giant boxes!
Her friend thought maybe we were changing pads too often. Mom agreed to a point but was concerned about how heavy and long my flow was. My doctor had told her not to worry, flows of up to 7 – 8 days could be considered normal.
All I know is by 8th grade I was slipping into the restroom between classes to change pads after every class for the first three days of my period. Some of my friends had heavy flows as well; so I didn’t worry. And Betty Jo‘s cramps were worse than mine, so maybe it wasn’t that bad after all.
I left for the University of Oregon after high school. In the early spring I came down with a fever, vomiting and cramps. My friends took me to the campus medical clinic where I was admitted. The doctor ‘on call’ was a pediatrician. When he examined me he found this tiny little scar on my lower right abdomen. He asked about it and I explained that it was a ‘bikini cut’ appendectomy scar. Well, this guy was ready to perform an appendectomy and now he couldn’t. I explained I was having cramps with the ‘flu’. he had the nurse give me a mild pain killer and left. For the next 36 hours I lay in the clinic having cramps with no relief. Yes, I was pissed.
When I began taking birth control pills, at 19, the pain lessened. I threw up three to five mornings a month but the pain was tolerable.
After Scott and I had been married two months I went off the pill. I just couldn’t take the vomiting. I never got used to that damn pill. Besides I wanted five children and I wasn’t going to get them while on the pill.