My name is Kate. I’m 29 years old. I have struggled with horrific periods since I was 14.
They placed me on birth control at 15 to help regulate my cycle. At 18 I was diagnosed with PCOS and battled with cysts.
If I stop taking birth control my cysts grow large and I gain weight.
I also have horrible cramping that I assumed was “normal.”
They are the types of cramps that place me in bed, strapped to a heating pad, cause me to vomit, and take away all of my energy.
At the age of 25, a doctor performed laparoscopy surgery and diagnosed endometriosis. He also removed a cyst from my left ovary.
The recovery was painful and miserable.
I then was placed on the drug Lupron to stop more endo growth.
For six months I was post-menopausal. No hormone replacement can offset the crazy emotions that drug brings.
It interfered with my sex life, it caused hot flashes and my emotions were raw. However for 6 months I was period and cramp free.
Currently: I am social worker. I work with teens who are abusing drugs and who have been placed in juvenile hall. I am their advocate to place them in rehab. I also speak as their advocate in court. I work as the undocumented teens’ liaison with a pro-Bono lawyer and I also work directly with CPS.
My job is extremely stressful. I don’t have time to be bed-ridden.
I currently have periods every 2 months. I have been on every hormone replacement on the market. I am buying time. I need another surgery.
But, in my last surgery they confirmed that my fertility is affected due to that state of my ovaries and the advanced nature of my endo. The next surgery I have will need to be done to help me conceive. And even then I have less than a 30% chance of conceiving naturally. It is frustrating and discouraging.
I just moved to Los Angeles and am trying to find a new specialist in my insurance plan. There are so many doctors that just look at me and say, “you are a healthy woman who runs marathons. You understand pain. Do you really need pain medication for some cramps?”
My answer: these are not cramps. Cramps do not make you vomit. A period on birth control should not seep through sanitary napkins. Cramps should be manageable with a little bit of Aleve®.
These are not cramps. This is hell.
It is hell no one understands unless you have it as well.
There is no cure.
There is no magic pill.
And conceptualizing that factor is the most painful part.