Aging, Pain, Fear

So much has happened recently: I turned 39, I acquired a husband-guy, and I started having chronic migraines.

In the past 3 months of migraine-tracking, I have found that a particular headache starts at 10 pm on day 9 or 10 of my monthly menstrual cycle. In May, it was uncomfortable and lasted 3 days. In June the worst of it lasted for one day and it rattled on for a total of 8 days; it caused me to go to my neurologist to see about a medication adjustment. In July, it was completely unbearable for 2-3 days….and it’s rattling through the seventh day as I write this.

To cut to the heart of things, I think I’ve entered perimenopause, and I’ve set up an appointment with my gynecologist to discuss this matter. My symptoms:

  • Obviously, pre-ovulation headaches. And chronic migraines in general.
  • Shorter cycles and lighter bleeding. I’ve always been a lighter bleeder, but I could usually count on 1-2 days of needing to dump my menstrual cup every 4 hours. For the past 2-3 months, I don’t think I’ve even filled an entire menstrual cup for the entire uterine sloughing. I’ll take it out and expect a full cup and be like, “huh? still nothing really coming out?” And then it’s over.
  • Bladder control issues – urgency incontinence. So awesome. This started around October 2016 and freaked me out. Yeah, I’m on top of the Kegels and stuff.
  • Breast tenderness – I always had this around bleeding time, but now I get it pre-ovulation, and it’s a million times worse.
  • Nausea. So much nausea.
  • Increase in facial hair – SO MUCH MORE!!!! I had been getting by with a full face wax every month, but now I’ve bumped it up to every two weeks. All of my lip hair is now like fishing line, and I have a shit-ton more dark under-the-chin and neck hair. Not a fan.
  • Insomnia – always an issue, but now when it’s pre-ovulation….well, I just count on taking Ambien and still not being able to sleep.
  • Sore joints and muscles. You bet!
  • A new lower abdominal paunch that I can’t lose!
  • Lowered libido – of course, it’s hard to feel like sexy times when you have a migraine.
  • Increased depression and extreme fatigue at pre-ovulation. I spend a lot of time in bed. And I cry a lot. From the pain and feeling overwhelmed by the pain and worrying about pain to come.
  • Brain fog, memory lapses, and confusion – this could also be related to my migraine medications.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats? Hard to know! My engine has always run hot…I sweat A LOT at work and have been dealing with night sweats for a while.

If this is indeed perimenopause, I can live with most of it. I cannot, however, live with the headaches.

I fear the headaches so much. I’m already anxious and worried about pre-ovulation in August. This past week was horrible – the worst physical pain I have ever experienced ever, ever, ever, and I can’t go through it again.

I tried to minimize it by saying I felt like I had a cranky elf in my head driving a 3″ iron rod through my temples. But when I imagine the terror I feel about the headaches, I picture myself kneeling before an executioner who fires a bullet into my temple over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. While I have 5 ice picks impaled/encircling each of my eye sockets (a new headache twist that started this month).

The pre-ovulation headache gives me thoughts like, “I don’t think I can make it through this pain,” and “Is this all worth it?” I REALLY don’t like those thoughts.

I want these headaches to be exterminated by August 10. And I don’t think upping my anti-seizure/migraine prevention medication is the answer. I felt like the headache/executioner just laughed at that.

Besides terror, I feel like these headaches are just so unfair. A year ago, I started prozac because the last two weeks of my menstrual cycle had become emotionally miserable. And that misery had started to hang around the rest of the month. It was out of control PMDD. Prozac made those last two weeks okay. Not super happy awesome, but okay, and sometimes even happy. Now I feel like days 1-9 of my cycle are the only safe ones. I would like more time each month to enjoy life and Being instead of being subjected to hormonal misery.

If this ISN’T perimenopause, I don’t know what to say. I’m just totally screwed up?

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Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

Everything was going along swimmingly this morning during my lady exam with my new gyno. She and I hit it off swell. She’s matter-of-fact, smiley, wears blue scrubs and no makeup, and she’s 7-months pregnant.

As she was acquainting herself with my inside parts, we chatted away, and I said laughingly, “I never check my IUD strings!! I know I should, but hahaha, I can never bring myself to do it!!” To which she said, “Oh, hahaha, I should check those strings!!” And then, “Hmmm, these actually feel a little low.”

A new speculum was rounded up, and I was cranked open again. My new friend felt around and reported, “Yeahhhhh, actualllllly this IUD is partially expelled. It has to come out.”

Thinking this would happen at some point down the road after I’d been allowed time to become seriously freaked out and anxious, I asked, “How is that going to feel? Because getting this IUD inserted was the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me. Ever.”

The gyno didn’t miss a beat and said, “I hear ya – I felt the same way. But this won’t hurt much. Just a little cramping.”

Because I’m aware that “just a little cramping” is code for “you will feel like I just punched you in the cervix and then stuck a fork in it,” I started to prepare to work myself into a sweaty, nervous mess.

But before I could ask more hard-hitting questions such as, “will I be left alone in a room while I bleed from my cervix?” the gyno announced, “okay, here we go!”

To which I yelled, “YOU’RE TAKING IT OUT RIGHT NOW???”

“Yes. Okay, here we go!”

Surprised by the comparative lack of pain, I exclaimed, “hey, that wasn’t so bad!” Which was quickly followed by, “oh, wait, there’s the cramping.”

She showed me my IUD buddy, but I didn’t have my wits gathered to request a photo shoot. So here’s a stock image of a Paragard IUD next to a dirty dime. It is small and mighty, but apparently no match for my body’s ability to expel foreign objects.

iud_s

 

Also, I finished these.

Also, I finished these.

Waving my angry fists in style.

New Year, New Song

So many good, amazing, wonderful things have happened in the past year, but I feel like I’m at a similar point as last year.

This is my current song on constant repeat:

Maybe it’s a bit melodramatic…maybe. But, damn it, I’ve been emotionally dried out and my heart feels like it was scraped across the road. Less so now, though, which is a good thing.

So easily, I became wrapped up in an intensely intoxicating whirlwind of a person, and then I was ejected out and left alone to claw my way through feelings. Claiming oneself to be emotionally unavailable is a maddening cowardly thing to do. Claiming that love is unconditional and infinite is a way to avoid doing real emotional work required of any sort of relationship, even friendship. Claiming to be wacky and quirky is a thin veil for actually being a self-absorbed, self-important prick.

The problem with being compassionate and empathetic is that one can easily ignore red flags. Oh my goodness, the red flags.

Anyway, here I am, trying to begin another year without cynicism and skepticism, but dang it…it can be difficult.

Thank goodness for awesome friends…real friends who don’t use cop-outs like being emotionally unavailable…who don’t mind listening to me spew endless rantiness and tears.

Things will be better…I just have to get over this yucky little speed bump called a mishandled and slightly broken heart.

One Day I’ll Be Fine With That

I’ve been listening to this song on endless repeat lately:

This week has been filled with partner and non-partner yoga, and it’s brought up a lot of emotional stuff.

Mostly I feel empty and open. And sort of peaceful.

And I feel like being alone and just thinking about me.

And I know I’m not ready for any sort of serious relationship. I have a lot of stuff and growing to do still.

Nearly #1

You know what always makes my day?

Seeing all the hits I get from people searching on the phrase “benefits of androgyny.” Thanks to a post about scoring extra turkey after being sir’ed in a food court, I’m number 2 in Google search results!

Hurrah!

It’s nice to feel tops in something after not doing as well as I wanted to on a final today. I take responsibility for not studying as much as I should have. I prioritized working on a group project over my final, and well, I have to be okay with that. I didn’t do terrible, but I sense a B+ rather than an A.

More Dream Encounters

Maybe it was obvious, maybe it wasn’t, but in October I had a hurt-y experience with someone. I let my little fledgeling fragile heart loose, and it got caught in some ickiness.

And I think my unconscious is finally letting it go because I dreamt about it last night.

There was a slight confrontation, which ended with the other person staring searchingly into my eyes and telling me that I have the palest eyes he has ever seen.

Which doesn’t make much sense because we all know I have black eyes.

Dreams.

******

In other news, the semester is winding down with much craziness. Everything is due at once, there are a couple of finals next week, and people keep giving us new assignments.

The semester has flown by with much activity. I enjoyed it, and I think I’ll enjoy next semester even more.

Human cadaver lab, here I come!

******

And, a couple of weeks ago I was lucky to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops perform at the Sheldon (thanks to a friend who works at KDHX!). It was awesome to see this guy play the bones:

Well, Hello, Mr. President

Last night I dreamt that a friend and I were to appear on Good Morning America with none other than the president. The reason behind it seemed unclear even in my dream.

However, it was quite clear that Obama sat between my friend and me on the pre-show couch, and I found his hand making its way up my thigh.

This development found no protest from me.

*******

I also had night sweats for the first time since getting off citalopram.

That development was met with cursing protests from me. Four times I woke up in drippy disgust.

I’m hoping this was due to an anomaly in internal body temperature or my hot presidential dream, and not a new trend.

Blargh, tiredness.

*******

I also dreamt that Scout shat on me.

Which sounds about right.

I feel bad that she’s so alone, but she’s such a jerk. Porkchop tried incorporating Scout into her flock, and it was a bit of a disaster.

Porkchop’s hens welcomed Scout into their coop, and Scout reciprocated by pecking their eyes.

Such an ungrateful little hen.

Put Your Lips Together

I’ve been listening to this song obsessively lately:

When I have a break between classes, I plug my earphones in and traipse around the CWE, half whistling along.

My school program is an intensely overstimulating social one. There is group project after partner project after community project. And while I like most of my schoolmates, my little introverted self gets so exhausted.

Sometimes I just need a song, a sidewalk, and a stroll.

Being in School is Hard

Here’s a summary of highlights from my school week so far:

  • Practice juggling.
  • Do origami.
  • Build paper airplanes.
  • Fabricate splints.
  • Play with a therapy dog.

My cooking lab starts next week, so I’ll be doing some soul food research.

Yo, it’s rough.

(Just to be clear, we also do hard things in the midst of this fun. I’m actually pretty stressed out about the rest of this month. I mean, my gosh, juggling is hard to master.)