Life Update

It has been 16 months, or nearly a year and a half since my last blog entry. I became disillusioned with life with endometriosis.

Starting around March 2017, at the age of 45, my periods started becoming irregular.
I would stop bleeding, then a day or two later, start bleeding again for a few days.
Or I would bleed for eleven days in a row.

I skipped a period from April to May 2017, going 36 days. BUT I spent most of May with cramps above level 6 on the pain scale.

I had a new ultrasound in May 2017, but the GYN said everything looked good; my ovaries showed no cysts and my uterus looked smaller. However, several intramural fibroids and a subserosal fundal fibroid was noted. The GYN told me that it shouldn’t be causing the elevated pain and weird cycles I was experiencing, to which of course I called bullshit.

I skipped a period again between July and August 2017, going 44 days between periods.

August to September 2017 was 36 days, and I spent most of September with cramps above level 6 on the pain scale.

I had two periods in the month of October 2017, with most of the month yet again cramping.

I’m back to having roughly one good week a month without cramps.

I should also note that for about a month (from March to April?), I experienced serious night sweats and hot flashes. Though they abated, I know it was just a taste of what’s to come. Though they abated, my core body temp has been elevated, and I’ve been running more warm to actual HOT since Springtime.

Also since Springtime, I have been experiencing hormonal rage, the likes of which I have not experienced since I was a teenager. It’s the exact same ragey feelings I had when I was in my teen years, only now I’m not screaming at my loved ones in public. Though I have lost my shit several times at my partner, and had to apologise.
That said, I feel like I may snap at any second.

Since early 2017, I have been trying to find a talk therapist to no avail, because Kaiser outsourced all of their psychological treatment to an already inundated program. I even tried calling Gaylesta and local community psychiatry, but everyone was overwhelmed with people calling for help. This is because of the political crisis people in the United States have been experiencing since November 2016 when The Orange Troll was installed into the White House and began systematically rolling back civil rights for everyone and everything.

On September 16, 2017, I was t-boned, and my car totaled. This, on top of a year of dealing with an epileptic dog, a Troll in the White House, a former friend/housemate shitting all over me and then crying to other people about how mean I am when I begged her to repair the damage she’d done to the room she’d rented, and me ending 8 years at one employer, hoping to switch careers, only to be scooped up again by another even more dysfunctional employer in the same industry.
So I’ve been suffering anxiety/panic attacks the likes of which I have not seen since my mid-to-late twenties.

I have been on a thin edge of sanity for the entire year of 2017, and I think I have an idea of what is happening to me, along with all the above-mentioned life stress:

I have entered peri-menopause.

WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!

I’m that much closer to the end of my period, and hopefully the end of bedridden horrific bloody cramps.

HOWEVER, I’m gonna be honest here and say that I had it in my head that I would have this sort of magickal timeframe to start preparing for peri-menopause before it actually hit. You know, time for me to enroll in yoga class, meditation classes and a stress-management program…so I could go into peri-menopause gracefully.

My body took one look at that idea and threw its head back, laughing maniacally.

That moment last Spring when I thought to myself, “Hmmm, could the is be peri?” It was already too late. The hormones were already going sideways, plotting to take me down hard.
Nope, no mindful meditation and graceful for you, buttercup.
HIT THE FUCKING DECK!!!!

So, from here on out, this endometriosis blog is ALSO my peri-menopause blog. Because, you know, I STILL Will Not Suffer In Silence.

Peri-menopause and Menopause are just as taboo as Endometriosis. So I will still be here, tellin it like it is.

Oh, one last thing before I conclude this journal entry:
PERI-MENOPAUSAL CRAVINGS ARE A THING.

I have never eaten so much peanut butter IN MY LIFE.

Actual peanut butter. Reeses peanut butter cups. Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…” ice cream.
Peanut butter cookies.

Don’t ask why. I don’t know. This at least is the only thing about peri-menopause so far that has me giggling.

Feeling really down.

I am in a lot of pain. I hobbled into work this morning because I had a parent conference at 8am. I’m shocked I lasted the entire day…I certainly thought several times to just bail, but I gritted my teeth and hung in there.

On the bus ride home, I felt nauseous because of all of the motion. Just walking from one bus stop to the next across the street felt like a death march because of the pain and nausea.

I have 3 remaining parent conferences tomorrow. The one first thing in the morning has already been rescheduled twice, so I can’t cancel it.

I may just go to work long enough to do the conference, come home, and come back in the afternoon for the other two conferences. Not sure if I’ll be able to stay at work all day tomorrow.

What sucks is having to take a bus to and from work when in so much pain. I thought driving was bad? Try walking three blocks to the bus stop first thing in the morning when the pain is at its worst, then getting on a herky-jerky bus.

Kaiser (and all HMOs) sucks.

I almost made it through the work day. I remained around a 5.5 on the pain scale for much of the day, with only Ponstel to take for pain relief (which doesn’t work AT ALL at the dosage I am given).

At 3:37pm, another wave of level 8 pain took me down at work. At that point, I still had no authorisation from my doc to refill the Norco…since last Thursday.
Pleas to my primary doc went unnoticed.

The advice nurse couldn’t reach anyone in that department. I was stuck in the teacher lounge with a heating pad, clutching my abdomen in pain, waiting to hear back from the advice nurse. She said, “If you don’t hear back by 5pm, call.”

I called at 4:45pm and was told that another doctor filed the script (for 10 pills), and that I should follow up with my GYN ASAP.

This is exactly the same thing that happened last month.

THEN, I’m told the GYN I have been trying to reach is not my primary GYN doctor! When did that happen? I have only ever been dealing with the one GYN.

There is a ray of sunshine in all of this – I have the best co-workers EVER!
My boss drove me to the pharmacy, while the school secretary drove my car home. The director dropped me off at home and picked up our secretary. THEN, my newly appointed assistant teacher dropped off my backpack, some soup, yoghurt and juice! I am SO thankful for these wonderful women!

Tomorrow is another day. I can hope again that the pain subsides.

Bedridden days are here for me again

Today I threw up from the pain. My period arrived yesterday after a 34-day hiatus.

My last post was May 7, where I was dumbfounded by an extension of my period, which was alarmingly odd. That pain and bleeding lasted until May 13. I then experienced days of no pain, days of some pain, off and on like that through to the end of the month. I thought my next period was due May 24, but that date came and went with no sign of george.

Then he arrived yesterday as I mentioned above. Obviously the endometrioma is wreaking havoc inside of me.

Yesterday and last night, I had moderate pain. It was manageable, though. This morning, as I was leaving the house for work, the pain suddenly shot up to a 7 on the pain scale. It happened right after I had to swerve and honk the car horn to avoid an asshole trying to run a stop sign. That minor adrenaline rush was all it took to set the pain in motion.
I had to turn around only a block from my home, drive back home, take some Tylenol 3 and put on a heating pad, and then try again to get to work. I was about 10 minutes late to work. I popped 800mg Ibuprofen and tried to go about my day, but the pain just kept getting worse throughout the day.

I took another half Tylenol 3 just before lunch time to no avail. I then popped 800mg more of Ibuprofen after lunch. I thought getting to 8 on the pain scale by lunch time was going to be my worst, but no… the pain got to 8.5 while I was in a head teacher meeting around 4pm, and was accompanied by a horrible headache. I tried to leave immediately after the meeting, but ran back inside the building to vomit. Yes, I vomited because the pain was so bad. I haven’t done that in a long time.

I got home and just like that, the headache subsided, as did the pain. I’m seriously exhausted from the trauma of it all, so I took a nap for an hour, only waking up because of the pressure on my bladder from all the buildup of menstrual fluid.

As soon as I used the bathroom, WOOSH the pain level shot up again and the headache returned. I just took a whole Tylenol 3.

Please kill me now.

August cycle

This month was a blue moon month, and also a blue cycle month. Two full moons and two cycles in one month. My friend Kristine calls my period my Wolf Time, since my periods seem to happen around the time of the full moon. ;)

This cycle began last night in the middle of the night. For a day or two prior, my body felt heavy and I was out of breath easier. I had very mild twinges of cramping, especially on Saturday. The PMS cravings were on the increase this month, a full week before my period.

This cycle is painful – I’m guessing a 7 on the pain scale. It got to be enough that I got nauseous this morning, whimpered in pain or cried out throughout the day, and finally dug into my old medicine stash of Vicoprofen.
Now I’m happily dissociated from the pain, but I’m bleeding heavily and have to go to the bathroom often.

While I’m sad to miss the Labor Day weekend’s events because of the pain, I’m happy that the worst of my pain will hopefully happen while I’m off work for the holiday, so I don’t have to miss any work.

I think my pain level is increased this month because I’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol this month. I’m still going through major depression in the wake of the divorce. Even though the divorce was final on July 5, 2013, I’m still a bit of a basketcase over it.

Today I spent the day sleeping; on the couch and in my bed. I used the heating pad all day. Right now I’m going back and forth between writing this entry, watching Ghost Hunters and watching Sleepy Hollow. I can’t seem to focus on any one thing for too long. I blame the vicoprofen. ;)

July cycle

So it’s been another 30 days, and george decided to show up yesterday. I’ve got my calendar set to 30 day cycles, now. Better than the freak accident of last month, when he showed up at the 19-day mark.

Today is Day 2 and is a bit heavier than yesterday. I went through 4 pads today.

Starting yesterday, I was depressed because I am easily out of breath, heavily fatigued, and in general bloated. This is so not the right time to pick back up on the exercise regimen, but the mental bashing happens every month around the time of my period – guilty at not having spent 3-4 weeks of uptime as a gym rat, working out and getting beefcakey. BAH. Whatever. I’m tired of the self-inflicted guilt trips already.

I’m tired – so tired. I had an asthma attack today – first one in many months – don’t know if it was brought on by weekend campfire, cleaning the tub last night with Tilex, or getting an email from my ex husband asking for his ring back (which sent me into a rage). The wheezing definitely does not help the already feeling out of breath issue. meh.

I have consumed 1,600mg of Advil to quell the pain today, and I used my rice heating pad at work. I have already added 100mg of gabapentin daily to make 300mg/day while in the endo flare. I hope I am not in any more pain tomorrow than I was in today. If I start missing work again, this will pile more guilt and fear on me, since I’m supposed to take a head teaching position come end of August.

Ugh. I can feel it – it’s getting heavier. I’m going to bed.

Are you kidding me?

I’m only at 19 days since the last onset of my cycle, and I woke up bleeding! WTF! I’m not supposed to be due for up to ten more days!

First my cycle lengthens from 25 days to 29ish days, and now I’m starting it at 19 days?
Is this the start of peri-menopause?

I had prior warning signs for the last few days, but I mistook it for just being too active on the dance floor. I took half a Tylenol 3 pill after going dancing on Friday, because the lower back and left hip were killing me. The low back pain was a sign of george, though.

The pelvic and low back pain, combined with right hip pain and mild nausea from said pains has led me to take another half Tylenol 3 pill today. I’ve also consumed 1,200mg of Ibuprofen today. The pain of everything has had me constant at about a 6.5 on the pain scale today.

Despite the pain, I still went out and got my hair cut, then met up with two friends I haven’t seen in several months, then did a bit of retail therapy before coming home and setting up this year’s AIDS Walk donation page (I organise a team for the walk every year). I have been hobbling quite a bit today – mostly due to the hip pain – but dammit, I still went and lived my life. I will call the doctor tomorrow about the hip, and I will call my surgeon about the early menstruation. Of course, I should probably read up on peri-menopause again, too. I don’t know if it’s too early for me – I’ll be 42 in September. My Ma entered peri-menopause around this age, so it’s not unheard of.

Tomorrow begins a week of tearing down classrooms and setting up for the Summer session. This past Friday, my head teacher and I successfully graduated 17 first- and second-graders. I made it through an entire school year without missing much work from endo, because I’ve been on Gabapentin. I have seen more money in my paycheck as a result, and have earned my worth with the management, who are finally considering me for a head teaching position. So, I’m still in pain, but I’m no longer averaging an 8 on the pain scale. I modulate the amount of Gabapentin I take during my cycle, so I’m getting 300mg a day instead of 200mg. This helps, but the side effect is that I forget everything. So long as I’m not taking 300mg every day anymore, it’s worth the side effect for now.

We’ll see how this week goes for me…
In the meantime, here’s a pic of my new ‘do!

haircutbystarr06092013sideview

Last gasp?

Here’s hoping today is the end of it for another 28 days!

The bleeding and pain subsided overnight, but returned with a vengeance around 10:30am today. I got to the point of wanting to cry ‘Uncle’, and then the pain began to dissipate, thanks to 800mg Ibuprofen and another 100mg of Gabapentin kicking in.

I had some REALLY good news yesterday on the job front – I’m not allowed to say much at the moment. I’m hoping this turns out well, that’s all I can say!

On the depression front, I’m still struggling to keep myself groomed and fed, and employed due to the depression. I’m on medication to help (the Gabapentin does double-time for mood stabilisation and neuropathy relief, and I’m also on Zyprexa for depression/anxiety).

Divorce sucks. People suck. Endometriosis sucks. Part of the reason he told me he left me was because of this stupid illness. :(

May 2013 cycle

The endo flare began on Sunday, and presented with full body exhaustion. Granted, I had gone out dancing on Friday, ran around on an aircraft carrier for 7 hours on Saturday, then went dancing Saturday night.
On Sunday, I slept for 14 hours, got up for 4 hours, then went back to bed for another 10 hours.
When I awoke on Monday, the pain and bleeding began.

Today is Day 2 of the latest cycle. I have been no higher than a 6 on the pain scale, but I am still thoroughly exhausted and body-fatigued.
I took half a Tylenol 3 for the pain last night, because I had to go see my shrink when I just wanted to be in bed, and the drive to and from my shrink’s office knocked my innards all over the place (I drive a 16-year-old Dodge Neon, which is like a go-kart).

I have been following my psychiatrist’s advice and taking an extra pill per day of Gabapentin during my endo flares – I’m convinced it really is helping to reduce the pain.

I went to work yesterday and today, and made it through the entire day. Hopefully, tomorrow the flare will begin to subside, and then I’m golden again til next cycle.

The pre-menstrual cramping and symptoms have been nearly ommitted by taking Gabapentin, so for the past three months, I’ve been surprised when george does show up. Though Monday morning I knew when I got out of bed, I’d be greeted by the bastard, cuz I was cramping upon waking.

Today’s pain has consisted of gnawing lower front uterine cramps, as well as intermittent stabbing left side ovarian pain. Great. The endo is returning for a third time to the left ovary. Get thee to menopause, stat! No more surgeries!!

Pain at work

…Annnnd a pain flare, 7 on the pain scale, shaky and nauseous, hits right before a school assembly. Kill me now.

12:30pm – I pounded 800mg of Ibuprofen on the way to work, and it kicked in by the time I was leading the children to their assembly. However, I had to be up and down, sitting or kneeling on the ground, and it was still quite painful. Add to that a woman with a broken foot seated next to me, and so I could not navigate around her with ease in order to sit in front of the class to direct them during their assembly song. As a result, the children did poorly, and I got in trouble from my head teacher for not moving back and forth from next to the students to in front of the students and back again. I told her about my pain and about the woman’s broken foot in my way, but she was still upset. Of course, she herself could have gone in front of the children, now, couldn’t she?
One of the parents (a friend’s significant other) told me not to worry about it, but I am. The whole ordeal was just bad, because the owner of the school’s husband insisted that my first and second graders learn and sing California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and the Papas.
WHY. WHY did my head teacher allow that song for a Secretary’s Day assembly? I went to her weeks ago vetoing the song, and pleading with her to confront the guy and ask for another song. But she told me she picks her battles with him, and caved in for that one, but won’t cave to him for the graduation songs. Of course, SHE picked the graduation song to be You’ve Got A Friend by James Taylor. It’s a more poppy version by another artist, but still, it’s that song.

I meant to rant about my pain, and it turned into a rant about work politics. But there you have it. And I’ve popped another 800mg of Ibuprofen for the pain to keep it at bay.