“My Story…” Monday: My Journey with the Pill– “Ridiculous”

(Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some very personal stories.  There will be ignorance, learning, and hard choices addressed along the way.  If you have different views from mine– on either end of the spectrum– I am totally comfortable with that.  I do ask that we show one another kindness and always remember that each woman’s journey is different…)

 

I had my very first OB/Gyn appointment when I was twenty-two years old.  It is the first doctor’s appointment I ever remember scheduling for myself and I can still remember driving my pale green Saturn to the office.  Despite the giggled warnings from other young women in town that the doctor I’d chosen had “huge hands”, it all went fine.  I didn’t freak out during the exam and everything appeared A-OK.  As is typical, the doctor asked me about my usual periods.

 

I told him the truth.  They generally lasted six to eight days.  For two to three of those days, I experienced truly excruciating cramping.  I always vomited, at least once, and frequently fainted.  He listened to me, looked at me with kind eyes, and replied gently, “That’s ridiculous. No one should have to endure that.  We can do something about that.”

 

And, in that moment, I was thrilled.  Really?  I didn’t have to throw up and pass out?  I was filled with joy at the prospect.  I was so glad I had a gentle, compassionate doctor and I happily walked out with the blister pack of 28 pills in my hand.

 

Of course, I knew it was birth control.  But I also knew it was supposedly the answer to my prayers– I could hardly believe that I might be able to go through a month without the kind of debilitating cramping that left me weeping in a ball, but determined to muddle through.

 

I took them.  And, happily, I didn’t appear to have any bad side-effects.  My blood pressure stayed steady.  My weight didn’t climb.  I didn’t have any noticeable emotional changes with the hormone upheaval.  I felt… fine.

 

In fact, I felt better than fine.  For the first time since I’d been twelve, my periods were three to five days, rather than a solid week.  They came, on schedule, every 28 days and I knew exactly what to expect.  What I no longer had to expect?  Vomiting.  Fainting.  Collapsing as pain caused spots behind my eyes.

 

I moseyed on, refilling the prescription, and carrying on with my life.  At most, I popped a couple of Motrin each month and I could count on feeling just dandy.  While not at the level of miraculous, of course, it was, still, an amazing discovery for me and I was happy to keep right on taking them.

 

My reason for taking them was to manage the “ridiculous” pain from my monthly cycles.  However, I must be honest and say I wasn’t too upset about the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant in those early, early days of marriage, either.  I liked being a wife.  I liked having two incomes.  I wanted to enjoy that phase of life before moving on to another.  So, while I may not have started taking the Pill to prevent pregnancy, I didn’t STOP taking it as soon as I was married, either.

 

In fact, I didn’t stop taking it until a routine exam came back with a whole bunch of jibberish written on my charts, but my eye could only see one word, buried in the midst…

 

CANCER.

 

to be cont…

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9 comments to “My Story…” Monday: My Journey with the Pill– “Ridiculous”

  • Oh Wow! Stark reality!! I am so interested to hear the rest of this story, this is a tale which needs to be told!!
    Jennifer xx

  • …bookmarking to read the rest of the story

  • Girl, these cliffhangers kill me.

  • Oh go ahead, leave us dangling here in the wind!! Sheeeesh!! :) You sure know how to build the suspense!

  • Laraba

    Wow, I’m looking forward to the rest of the story too!

    I must say what you went through does sound awful! I’ve never had really bad periods…I’ve been reading up on hormonal stuff, though, and am hopeful that if any of my 5 daughters have similar problems to yours that we can find a natural, healthy way to deal with them.

    I’m also going to encourage them strongly not to take chemical BC as I have grave concerns about their safety.

    • I think there are lots of good, well-researched ways to deal with various “female problems” and I think it’s wonderful that you’re so open and willing to help research alternatives should your daughters need them!

  • Lori

    I’m oddly excited to hear your story. I started taking birth control pills when I was 14 because one month I had 3 periods, one normal and the other two shorter and I wasn’t sexually active yet so it was weird. My doctors solution was birth control, that was the only option I remember her giving. I’m not sure how I feel about birth control, but it is something that I’m researching. I have fertility problems so for me personally I will never take them again.

    • I’m cautiously excited about sharing my story, too, Lori. :) I think people don’t like to talk about these situations but they are REAL and they happen– to all “types” of women. I think you’ll find next Monday’s particularly interesting since it addresses some fertility stuff…

  • I’ll definitely be interested to read the rest. I was in that same place around 16 when I couldn’t stand it anymore – the giant blood clots, nausea and vomiting, and near-fainting (and the first time I ever recall fainting was the first time I got my period). My OBGYN recommended BC, but I started taking prescription Naproxen anyway, and that helped. When I first got married, I took BC. But when I found out I had PCOS it made me much more wary of it. I haven’t been on it since before we were trying to conceive Libbie.

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