Feeling better. Period.

WARNING: this post talks about uterine bleeding and attendant issues. If that’s not your bag, you might want to give this one a miss. Sorry, but it was bound to come up eventually.

When I was eleven, I started getting my period. It was the summer before seventh grade and, as far as I know, I was among the first of the girls in my class to cross this threshold. It was tough because I didn’t have many friends, and the ones I did have weren’t the kind with whom to share such personal information.

Enough with the sob story. The point is, this was the beginning of my own personal hell on Earth. Each month, I dreaded the rising of the red tide. With it came not only deep embarrassment, but pain that was literally nauseating. For at least one day in twenty-eight, I could not eat, nor sleep, nor think as my body mercilessly wrung unused reproductive tissues from my tender insides.

A doctor prescribed low-dose birth control that I took for several years. It certainly helped with the pain, and got me on a cycle you could set your watch by, but I can’t say it felt good or right to be dosing myself that way. When I met the Fella, I tried going back on the pill (like a responsible person does when she’s in a long-term relationship that has no money nor desire for babies), only the doctor went way overboard on the dosage. There was drama, there were tears, and my cycle was off the rails for at least three months. Suffice it to say, I’m not a fan of fucking with my hormones.

So, monthly trauma continued into adulthood. Often as not, I’d be forced to call in sick to a job or school, then spend the day curled up on my bathroom floor wishing for the sweet release of death. Once, I made the mistake of going in to work, only to have to beg off, then spend the next hour and a half doing the twenty minute walk home.

I have been brought to tears, overflowed every menstrual product there is, and vomited – all in public, and all because of lady parts.

What about painkillers? Sure, if I take them in time. If the dose is late by minutes, it will be forcibly ejected in short order.

Fast forward to now. Since starting our campaign of eating better all of four months ago, I am cured.

I repeat: cured.

My period causes me no more trouble than any other day of my life. Cramps, if they happen at all, are minimal and last for a few hours. The flow is lighter (not by much, but still an improvement). It’s so much better I can work out. I’m not sure I can adequately express the downright night-and-day difference going on here. Typically, I would have been hard-pressed to stand up, let alone walk anywhere; cramps would seize not only my abdomen, but my lumbar and hips, giving me the gait of a ninety year old. Now, I can do high-knees running.

While I’m certainly grateful for this improvement, I can’t help but think back to the many, many years I spent suffering needlessly. That’s why I’m passing this on. For anyone who has menstrual concerns, START WITH FOOD. It seems like a no-brainer, but if I’m any example, food is a solution unlikely to be suggested by a healthcare professional. Even my naturopathic doctor, though she did recommend altering diet, did not adequately emphasize the difference it could make.

You might look at this and think it’s still not worth giving up eating by whim. This is anecdotal (a sample size of one really isn’t a sample at all), and it’s hard – nay, impossible – to imagine what ‘better’ actually feels like. For me, I would gladly go back and give up every junky thing I’ve eaten from that fateful day twenty-five years ago until now if it meant no more menstrual suffering.

Since I can’t do that, I’ll stick with my new-found freedom.