So I’m fourteen and waiting for that magical day when I can join the club of all my girlfriends who were officially “women”. My basic fear was not the pain or awaiting complications in my near future but the fact that I was sitting around WAITING to get my first period and was seriously nervous about being caught off guard! Ah! The embarrassment that (bloody) moment could cause if one were not properly prepared! I recall prodding my mother for detailed answers so I could know before the actual moment came. The cramps -- how bad do they get? What are they like? How are they different?
Little did I realize that I would soon learn all too well about my very own, very specific set of symptoms. As luck would have it I was safe and sound in the comfort of my bedroom when Mother Nature reared her ugly head. I will forever be grateful to my mother for insisting that I lock myself in the bathroom until a tampon was a simple ordeal (which was very scary at the time) so I would not need devices that appear more like mini adult diapers!
So here’s when I began to suffer unnecessarily. I was in severe pain far too often! So really painful seven-day periods are common right? WRONG!
Between the onset of my menstrual cycle at fourteen and the age of eighteen I sought minimal medical attention mostly because when I did nothing was ever discovered as a source of the pain. I just had “bad periods” and “bad cramps” and was put on birth control at fourteen to shorten my cycle and eventually skip them all together.
Genetically I come from a family of women who have experienced significant problems with their female organs as well as a long list of intestinal problems. So at the young age of nineteen when my stomach pains intensified I was not entirely shocked.
I began to take serious notice when I began to bleed in excess whenever I had to use the ladies room. I contacted my general physician immediately and I was watching it carefully while I was on a trip out of state. I was having a great time when I needed to use the restroom and all I remember seeing was more blood than I knew what to make of.