July cycle follow-up

July 14 was our eleven-year dating anniversary. We had celebrated early this year, when we took a trip to Boston to see a friend get married. On our actual anniversary day, I experienced moderate low back pain and fatigue. I was still spotting from the previous day, though I knew this was the last of it for this cycle.

Despite the pain, I had an appointment that afternoon in town, and I chose to walk to it. It was a mile round-trip walk, and I was dismayed at how much pain my legs, thighs and hips were in after said walk. This alarmed me, because just three weeks earlier, I had walked all over Cambridge, Salem and Boston, Massachusetts. The bulk of my pain then was foot- and calf-related, because I’d chosen the wrong footwear.

After my appointment on July 14, I went on to babysit for a friend around the block. That was low-key and doable, because the kid is a third-grader.

July 15 also found me in moderate low back pain, but I would not be denied a night of dancing. It had been three weeks since I’d been dancing (I danced a bit at my friend’s wedding), and I was itching to get out. Besides, it was another friend’s birthday celebration, so I wanted to meet her there. A night out and dancing was successful. :)

I rested on Saturday the 16th, and then we did the big 10km charity walk on the 17th. This is the walk we do every year. My husband and I have been team captains for three years now, ever since our friends nominated us for the position when they went off to raise pure-bred puppies for a second living.

Because my husband and I had so much going on this year, we did not devote enough energy to fundraising or team cheerleading, and as a result, we saw our lowest numbers for actual team members on the day of the walk (there were four of us total), and we did not raise enough interest to even print up the team shirts this year. Quite sad. Still, we made the best of the situation. So far, nearly $900 has been raised from our tiny team this year, and the final tally still isn’t in, yet.

Here’s a couple photos of us:

Doing the AIDS Walk, 2011

Doing the AIDS Walk, 2011


I brought my spare spoon to help me through the walk!

I brought my spare spoon to help me through the walk!

For the next four days after the walk, I was miserable. I had pulled every muscle from my hips down to my toes, and my feet and toes were blistered. I think this was the most injured I’ve felt from this charity walk. I don’t know what happened. I’ve been able to go hiking right after a cycle. This to me appeared no different. Meh. I guess I’ve just gotten very out of shape since surgery last December. I haven’t been good at bicycling or walking around town like I was before surgery. I have to change that.

On Thursday, July 21, I experienced moderate stabby pain – this would be a few days early for mittelschmerz, I think, but hey, who knows with me.

Today is Saturday and I’m helping my husband out at home. Next week I work as a head teacher for summer school. I am excited and terrified all at the same time. ;)

I’m happy to be back in uptime, and I need to get with the exercising, already. I have been doing stretches for the past two days, so that’s something at least.

Day 4 of the July cycle

A break in the debilitating pain overnight. Everything ceased, but for the throbbing low back pain. I was fine this morning, til a few minutes ago. This is the last attack – the ‘last gasp’ as my husband calls it – then I’m golden for a couple of weeks.

But right now, I’d rather be out of my body while this is happening. There’s a vice grip on my left ovary, and it’s twisting. The pain is causing moderate nausea.

I just spent the past half hour doing an acupressure move as found in “Fibroid Tumors & Endometriosis Self Help Book” by Susan M. Lark. I added something to the position, though. I had tried it her way years ago, but in 2007 I found by adding a heating pad under the lower back while laying down increased the pain relief by a lot. So I did that again today when the pain had ramped up too quickly for me to get meds down.

Push thumbs into upper arms for acupressure points
Note heating pads under lower back and upper back

Now I’m sitting straight up against the arm of the couch, cross-legged, with two heating pads behind me. I’m still waiting for all this to pass; there’s been very little blood with all this terrible pain. At least the drugs have kicked in for the dissociative part. Forgot to mention earlier – as soon as the pain hit, it immediately spiked, and I downed a whole Tylenol 3 and three Advil gel-caps. I swear, I shot it with some brandy, hoping it would help the drugs absorb into my bloodstream faster. Seems to have worked, though it’s speculation at this point. I got the idea from “The Oil-Protein Diet Cookbook”, by Johanna Budwig. In it, she mentions serving some champagne to the very ill person with their meal so that everything, including the patient’s meds, absorbs faster. Well I didn’t have any champagne, so I worked with what I had.

Day 3 of July cycle

I might just puke from the pain. I’m about 8 on the pain scale right now.

I’ve been on Tylenol 3 for bad cramps since Day 1 of the cycle this time around. Were I scheduled to work, I’d have missed two days of work already.

12:36pm update: I just now popped 600mg Ibuprofen. I was too nauseous earlier to ingest medication. Twice during this menstrual cycle, I have had diarrhea, which is uncommon for me. The pain of even having a movement made me nearly puke as well. I sat on the couch for a couple of hours with a heating pad on my front and on my back. I lay in fetal position and napped, exhausted from the pain, even though I’d just slept 8.5 hours overnight.

Now the pain is about a 6.5 on the pain scale.

I am going to see what kind of homework I can get done. Yes, I graduated school but I still have homework to turn in. I didn’t actually get my teaching certificate on the day of graduation, but at least I did get to attend graduation.

1:17pm update: I just took half a Tylenol 3 because the pain is ramping up again.

Travelin’ gal

I graduated from the Montessori teacher training center on June 24! Yay!



That night, my husband and I hopped on a plane to Boston, Massachusetts to see a friend get married.

Married in a lecture hall at MIT!

We hung out in Cambridge, Boston and Salem for five days. We literally walked until my feet bled. Granted, I didn’t have the best shoes with me for the trip (a pair of dress shoes and a pair of combat boots being the only choices).
We flew back home on the 28th, arriving late at night.

I was home for roughly 30 hours before having to board another plane, this time without my husband, to go visit my family.

As you can guess, the timing worked out well for both the wedding and the visit to family, as I was between pain cycles.

I flew in to Detroit, stayed the night at my Ma’s house, and drove with her down to Kentucky for a family reunion, in which she reconnected with a bunch of her first cousins for the first time in 8 years (the last time being at her mother’s funeral). She connected with even more family she’d not seen in something like 45 years.
It was like pulling teeth to get my hermit mother to commit, but once finally there, she really enjoyed herself.

My Ma and her aunt

We stayed in Kentucky for two days, then drove back up to Michigan, where I dropped off my Ma and bolted for a friend’s house to enjoy a reprieve between family visits. I stayed two nights with my best friend, Heather, and her family.


After some R&R, I headed up north to see my dad. It’s the same amount of time driving as I had spent going to Kentucky with my Ma. She’s nearly 5 hours from her cousin’s family farm, and my dad is about 5 hours from my best friend’s house. All told, during my week-long stay in Michigan and Kentucky, I did just over a day and a half worth of driving.

Me and my Dad

The trip was necessary but exhausting. My folks aren’t gettin’ any younger, as my dad likes to say, so it’s important that I try to see them every year. I really need to figure out though how to do this again next year without nearly killin’ myself with exhaustion.

I got back on July 7 and spent two days severely jet-lagged and barely coherent. On July 9, the pre-menstrual cramps kicked in. George arrived this morning. So even though I’ve now had two surgeries, I still only get about two weeks of uptime each month before the pain.

The good news is that the pre-menstrual pain hits a day beforehand, rather than up to a week beforehand. The great news is that instead of 7 to 11 non-consecutive pain-free days each month, this time around I had, if I marked the calendar correctly, nearly 17 consecutive pain-free days!

The bad news is that once george arrived, the pain kicked in immediately, which is a turn for the worse compared to the past four or five months, when the pain was hitting me around Day 3 of my cycle.

Maybe it’s just this month, cuz of all the stress and travel, not to mention coffee and alcohol drinking. I dunno. There’s a saying in Michigan – one that I probably used to use all the time but have forgotten about since I no longer live there. It’s a fatalistic life view, which is part of the reason I left Michigan. The saying goes, “It is what it is.” Basically, no sense in trying to understand or change something – it is what it is.

I think it might be easier on my sanity if I just say ‘It is what it is’ regarding my illness, rather than always trying to rationalise the pain – rather than trying to find a common denominator in all of it – rather than figuring it out at all.

Endometriosis is what it is. I can’t do anything to not be in pain. It’s not my fault. I was born this way. It is what it is.

But I’ve never been one to just roll over and be all fatalist. That’s a whole other discussion I could go on for days about.

June report

June 14, 2011: light cramping. Upper respiratory tract infection, thanks to a friend who attended a birthday party I went to. The coughing began on June 13 and worsened on the 14th.

June 15, 2011: moderate cramping. Went to work that day. Dealing with horrible upper respiratory tract infection.

June 16, 2011: george arrived. Went to work that day. Drugged on Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen. It was setup week for Summer Session, so there were no children to have to look after. Since I’m supposed to be a head teacher for one week during the Summer Session, it was important that I be at work to help set up the classroom from the top down, and go over lesson plans and such so all the summer teachers would be on the same page. Dealing with horrible upper respiratory tract infection.

June 17, 2011: heaviest day. Went to work that day. Drugged on Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen. Was pretty useless. Kept wanting to go home, but was too stubborn to do so. Dealing with horrible upper respiratory tract infection. Convinced at this point that it’s Whooping Cough. No health insurance to get looked at. They’d just tell me to ride it out, anyway.

June 18, 2011: Fed up with being ill and went out with husband to a monthly club night. It’s a low-key club to begin with, so it was no problem to be sitting and looking pretty with the others. I had some conversation with friends. It was alright, but I was severely exhausted from the pain and the meds. Dealing with horrible upper respiratory tract infection.

June 19, 2011: I felt well enough to go out to a Pirate Fair, which was happening by Mare Island. I knew that the ‘last gasp’ was going to happen, but I was so fed up with being in pain and being drugged, that when a break in the pain came, I went out for some fun.

The ‘last gasp’ occurred shortly after we arrived. We had walked probably one and a half blocks worth of shops at the fair, when I felt a trickle. I knew that once the bleeding resumed, the pain was not far behind. A few minutes after that, the nausea set in, and then the pain.
The other thing that sucked that day was the outside temperature. It was supposed to be in the low 80s, but ended up being over 90°F outside. I was in terrible pain, trying to pass huge clots, which elevated my body temperature, and so I was absolutely miserable. Here’s me sitting behind a jewelry booth in a spit of shade. Notice that I’m wearing a corset while trying to deal with this pain. Yeah yeah, I knew the pain would come and I still rebelled and wore a corset. How mean I am to myself, I know.

The pain strikes again.

I took a half Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen. Half an hour later, I took the other half Tylenol 3. I wandered around the fair in a daze. The heat was horrible – people of all ages were puking from heat exhaustion because there wasn’t enough water stations around and nobody thought it would get that hot outside.

Despite all of that hell, we came back from the fair, washed up, changed, and went out to dinner with my husband and his father for Father’s Day. The intense bleeding and pain had subsided, and I was spotting. The fatigue was still with me, and I was still dealing with the horrible upper respiratory tract infection.

I had residual coughing fits which lasted until around June 30th. There was bitter resentment at having gotten sick from a sick friend who attended a party or gathering – AGAIN – it happened twice within 12 months. I’m thinking too that it was the same person. There are two in our group who refuse to abstain from social events when they have a barking croupy cough. From now on I must remind myself that when they are sick, I will not go to the same events they are at, because they too easily give me their germs.

Oh – one last thing I just remembered: during the June cycle, I bled through every single one of my cloth pads. That has never happened before. Every last one of ’em got bled through, even the thickest ones. I didn’t resume eating meat until towards the end of June, so I wonder if my anaemia was up because I hadn’t been eating meat. We’ll see, because I went back to eating chicken. Now I eat chicken and fish, but still no cow, pig, deer or other red meat per the geneva convention of endometriosis treatment.