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Brave Women, Unique Tales Story Time

BWUT Part 7: Miss Green’s Ordeal

I’ve religiously read all the tales that have been shared so far and I must say I  find it quite intriguing that we each have our own stories to tell. We can pick out similarities here and there but over all we each have our own unique tale. I guess maybe that’s why it’s so hard for doctors to actually deal with the likes of us. They try this and that only to raise their hands up and let nature take its course where we are concerned.

When I compare my experience with hormonal imbalance with the rest of the stories I’ve read here, I think of mine as a lighter cross to bear.

I was 11 when I first had my period. I remember being asleep when I was suddenly awoken by a wave of pain in my abdomen. I had no idea what it was, until I felt a sudden urge to go to the toilet. It was a wave of diarrhea or so I thought. My stomach hurt so bad and I made multiple trips to the toilet throughout the night until I saw blood on my toilet paper. I freaked out. It didn’t cross my mind that it was my period. I was 11 after all, I didn’t think my period was due yet.

I therefore arrived at the conclusion that it was dysentery. I awoke my mum with a stream of tears flowing down my face and broke it down to her that I had dysentery. She asked me to explain what else I felt and she eventually informed me that it was menstruation. I cried all the more and asked if it always hurt so much, if I’d always end up with diarrhea and she assured me that it wouldn’t always be the case. She showed me how to wear a pad and told me it wasn’t necessary to take painkillers. I didn’t sleep that night, the pain kept me up…


Fast forward, my period always lasted a normal 3 days, but the pain kept getting worse. I’d feel it up to my back and legs, it wasn’t just the abdomen anymore. Headaches joined shortly after, and my oh my they’re a story of their own. It made it impossible for me to concentrate on anything else, God forbid that my period should land on examination week!! Each time I had my period, I’d make countless trips to the toilet because the diarrhea always came along with it and some months later I made a unilateral decision to take painkillers. I still felt the pain, but it was much more bearable and the diarrhea stopped.

That was the beginning of my journey with painkillers. I’ve had to switch painkillers several times ever since…none of them completely quiets the pain, but it’s better than screaming and rolling on the floor in pain(this is literally what happens when I don’t take any).
In my senior 6, I skipped my period for the first time. My period didn’t come through in January, February, March, April…now I should have celebrated the “freedom” if it wasn’t for the crippling pain that came along with it.

No amount of painkillers helped…I overdosed in vain countless times. I started getting palpitations, probably from the drug overdose. My heartbeat was wild 24/7 as though I was panicked.  Everything hurt, but my head, abdomen and back were wedging a war against each other, each trying to prove that it could hurt more than the other. I lost weight tremendously.

Then the paranoia kicked in, I had never had sex then but I thought that I might be pregnant, that maybe I was drugged and forgot. I remember dreading routine pregnancy check up but after going through with it and waiting for the nurse to pronounce me pregnant and she instead said nothing, I was all the more panic stricken. What exactly was going on with my body? I’d wear pads each day because I kept thinking my period was surely coming. When I went back home for my first term holidays. I spotted and that was it. For the rest of the year, I came to terms with living in pain and having no period.

After my senior 6 (last year of high school) exams I opened up to my parents about my scarcity/lack thereof of periods, I thought I might have fibroids or who knows what. My dad took me to hospital, scans and tests were carried out and it was ruled that it was hormonal imbalance.

I was told everything would be fine once I gave birth. I just couldn’t help but think, what about now? Is this pain to continually be a part of me? What if I never gave birth, what would happen then? I eventually got my period some time during my senior 6 vacation, irregular but so much better than none… the pain somewhat subsided, but I was introduced to ovulation pain. I’d never noticed my ovulation until the pains started. I’d crump throughout the ovulation week. The crumps were soon joined by heat flashes that made it impossible for me to sleep at night, nausea, headaches etc.

It soon became my new reality. I tolerated all of that until my breasts started to fill up with water each month. They’d hurt so bad and start to drip onto my bra. Wearing a bra hurt, not wearing one was equally a recipe for disaster. My breasts looked stretched out and shiny in a way that reminded me of breastfeeding mothers. Eventually over time, it ceased to be just water, I started getting milk in my breasts during the ovulation week. I freaked out, I figured I had cancer. I remember my mum asking me whether I was pregnant because my tops kept getting stained (I should have probably worn nursing bras). I finally tearfully opened up to my parents, hospital visits ruled it as hormonal imbalance.


Pre-period crumps, period crumps, post period crumps, ovulation crumps…headaches (migraines), leg cramps, nausea…I have it all. I’ve never known what it’s like to have a painless period. I often have people telling me I shouldn’t take painkillers so much but I just laugh it off because it’s hard to truly explain how crippling the pain is to another person that has merely experienced bearable crumps. I have become reliant on painkillers. I don’t know what new kind of pain hormonal imbalance may unfold to me tomorrow My period on the other hand has relatively been stable this year. I hope it’s the beginning of the end for me (I’ll be 24 years soon). If only the pain would subside too.


Ladies and gentlemen that was a heartfelt story from Miss Green (pseudo name) I know her personally and it breaks my heart to know that she was dealing with this and we had no idea.

I love you Green and thank you so much for sharing your hormonal imbalance experience with us. God Bless You and enable you walk through this life with strength and happiness.

You ever know how STRONG you are until being STRONG is the only choice you have.

Love Linda.

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Brave Women, Unique Tales

BWUT Part 6: Joey’s Special Story

Praise God! My name is Joey (Joey is my actual name) I’m 24 years old and i come from a humble family.

So, my whole menstrual life has been unstable. I started my periods at the age of 13 in my senior one and I don’t remember ever having a normal period. At the beginning I thought it was okay but then after a series of consultations at the hospital, I realized there was a problem.

As others had their period for a maximum of 5 days, I was always flourishing nonstop. I started in October 2009 which makes it 11 years of constant bleeding now (2020) I must admit, it hasn’t been easy. I want to narrate shortly how I got to know about this whole hormonal imbalance and how I deal and have dealt with it.

In 2009, it was life as usual, I talked to my mom about my long periods that had lasted three weeks so they said since I had just started it cannot be stable but when they came again, it was for a whole month. At the time I couldn’t even think it was going to last more than 10 years. I know you are wondering if I ever went to hospital for testing, yes I did!

I went to the hospital, we did all tests possible including a hormonal test, but we still could not determine what was wrong.

 I started sessions of ultra sounds, to keep monitoring if there was any unusual activity, so they said it was an inflammation on the womb but it was just an exaggeration of the scan so that was ruled out.

So we did all checkups that were recommended but we could not find anything so I learnt that I had to live with that. I was put on a dose of microgynon (these are types of contraceptive pills but they are also useful in regulating and stabilizing hormones) which I was to take for six months and it worked as I took it but the moment I stopped it got worse.

One day from the hospital, I was with mom and then we were told to buy some medicine which I was supposed to take for 4 months and each dose was 250k, at that time my parents didn’t have that money for the four months. Because for each week, I was supposed to take twice or thrice, so It was a bit expensive. So we decided we were going to pray our way through this situation and we’ve never looked back!

Huh…So about explaining it to people, I usually lack the right words to use but it’s usually “I’ve been on my period forever”, “I bleed for 365 days every year”, “I have a hormonal problem”, I just have to find ways of explaining it to whoever I’m telling. In most cases I’m not well and when I say I’m not well, people expect something like malaria, infections and the like, but then they ask, what’s the matter, and I’m like I’m on my period and no one gets it because that’s not being sick. The truth of the matter is when i say i’m not well, i’m really not well.

It’s not easy living with a chronic illness, and I describe it as an extreme sport. It needs a lot of patience. Like when I’m alone, that’s the only thing I think about, I get depressed I can’t even explain it to anybody so I just have to find a way of dealing with the emotions. Of course sometimes you have people to talk to and they’ll always listen. Take for instance my parents and siblings. I even want to cry just thinking about how much they have been there for me and unconditionally.

So there is pain, not physical pain per say, but there is emotional pain, I hurt every time I think about how I wear a pad from January to January!! I got lucky not to have cramps, but this is no consolation for having to bleed and wear a pad every single day for more than ten years. (Yes, TEN YEARS) I’ve actually never had cramps, the only pain or discomfort I have is in the lower abdomen. It always feels like something is flowing heavily through my stomach.

There are days when it’s so heavy, like extremely heavy of I have to change a pad after ten minutes or less, so in this situation I can’t move. On some days I just sit on the toilet and just let it flow so I can have relief from pads. Pads are so irritating, so at one point I have to use cotton and gauze (so comfortable) but I have to use it when I’m home just to avoid the public humiliation in case i stain my clothes.

The whole experience is just disturbing, it hurts, because I also want to just have a normal period like any other girl, use those beautiful period tracker apps. I constantly have to explain why I can’t do things, like swimming and other water activities. On the extremely heavy flow days, I just want to be alone but that can also be an issue because people don’t get why i would want to be on my own.

I have explained my condition to a guy before more than one actually. A couple of them were really supportive especially the guys in my fellowship, one who is married, together with the wife took me up in prayer and we constantly prayed together, they really supported me and I’m so grateful. Besides the ones from my fellowship and the males in my family, I haven’t been bold enough to tell more guys. I have to say that some act like they care at the beginning and just keep pulling away as time goes on, but that’s life.

I attribute my survival to God. I’ve seen the hand of God in my life for the last 10 years. He has made me smile, I’m healthy and all thanks to Him. And of course, I had to learn to live with it, I don’t let it get to my head, I talk a lot so it helps me so much, my mind is always occupied especially when I’m around people I always get what to talk about so I don’t have to be idle and allow the sad thoughts get to me. I also listen to lots and lots of music, it’s so therapeutic!

I also make sure I have enough sanitary supplies at all times. My parents would give me a box of pads while at the university. (in high school, I didn’t opt for a whole box because I wasn’t yet mature and so open about my condition, so I didn’t want to carry a box of pads to school) That was to avoid so many questions, school was 4 months so it would be suspicious to have an entire box of pads.

I’m from a humble family and I was lucky my parents were able (still are) to provide, and I never lacked sanitary supplies and much more at any one point.

Also being around people that love and care about me made me feel like I wasn’t alone. My roommates from A ‘level (High school) to university didn’t segregate me (I may not say the same for O ‘level). I wasn’t segregated but the reception of some people wasn’t really a good one. I think it was because we were still young and none of us knew how to deal with it. Hence i don’t dwell on it so much.

I had an amazing roommate at campus, I’d cry so much but she didn’t give up on me. Also, prayer has been and still is helpful because when I feel down and I have no body to talk to, GOD listens and He always listens to me. (No lie)

Then my mom who has never and never stops asking about my day, how I was, to an extent that I sometimes want to tell her I’m okay just to make her feel better. I don’t remember a day when my parents have not called to check on me and make sure I’m happy and fine.

My eating habits have not been affected, except when I would get a break let’s say after like six months straight. After my episodes of endless bleeding i’d get a break of like one or two days and I would decide to give myself a treat and have the nice things I couldn’t have at the time. Eating that nice food would make me really happy and it still does. Those moments when I would be on breaks were so refreshing, I felt alive and so brand new.

There are very many myths that have been said, like my reproductive health will be affected and I won’t be able to bear children, no man can marry or love me in my condition, for the bleeding to stop I must get pregnant…. etc. It was quite a lot and sometimes i felt stigmatized but I didn’t have to agree to all that, a positive attitude kept me going.

I want to let people out there know that it is okay to be who you are, considering we don’t choose how to be made, but if you ever find yourself with the same condition, you are not alone, find time, share with a loved one. It really helps. You will learn more, even love yourself because it’s not the end. 

Hormonal balance is manageable, and you are also worthy of love and all the good things life has to offer. I can’t say lastly because I will be back to say I’m completely fine, and that I have a family and babies of my own… Name it! 

2020 has been good so far and I think I’m close to getting my healing. I have periods for five days but still on an abnormal cycle, of more than 2 months. I miss two months and then have the next one so it’s not yet fully stable, but it’s better than having a marathon of 9 to 12 months.

I’m eternally grateful to God above all because if it wasn’t for him I would not have made it this far! I also thank my parents and siblings. These people have been my greatest support system and continue to be. I could not ask for a better family and I thank God for them.

Then, my friends, truly priceless. I don’t know how I would have lived life away from my parents, but these people were always there, anytime I’d call, they’d be there for whatever kind of support I required of them. I know we can beat Hormonal imbalance and we are not alone.!!! Thank you Linda for allowing us to share, and to talk to a soul or two out there. This really means a lot.

This situation was so pressing financially, considering we have to buy pads on a daily. I have used all brands of pads in a bid to get relieved from the irritation. On one of the visits to the hospital, I was told to do a Hemoglobin test (HB test) because I was beginning to get anemic. One of my friends actually paid for a blood test(HB) which I had to do, he went with me to the lab and I got tested and my blood levels were okay. 

So I had one last test to do recommended by a relative who is a gynecologist, I have to do a beta pregnancy test to rule out cancer (I’m not pregnant but if it turns out that i am pregnant, chances are there are external beings in the womb which are cancerous) that, I have not found the strength to do! I hope I don’t have to do it. And to my gynecologist Dr. G. B, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! 

Any girl can relate to the discomfort of wearing a pad and the irritation, but I had to wear it on a daily. It was too much. I constantly stained my clothes at school, my bed sheets over the night. This whole situation was so draining and emotionally painful. Save for the embarrassments after staining in public (at school, in saloons as I plaited my hair) as long as something involved having me seated for some time, i’d stain it. I couldn’t travel with people because I was constantly in fear of staining their car seats.

The heavy days were really heavy like I said that blood would flow through my pants down to my feet. It was a very long ten years, I’m now in the 11th year, it was a lot of torture especially school days. After my mathematics paper in O ‘level I had stained my uniform so I had to wait for everybody to leave, and then I used the past paper to cover the behind part of my skirt so I could be able to move up to the dormitory. A’ level was the same story during all my Literature papers. 

People always told me they understand my situation but I don’t think they did because none had ever been through this. I tried all medical recommendations, took tablets and capsules until my body got used to the tablets too. Some doctors even gave me the medication that I had been on before. All the possible medicines were done 😥

Regardless, I’ve always had faith and I was always and I’m always a happy child. It’s a lot, I may not exhaust all the 10 years in just a single story. But I thank God I can smile, and I’ve been able to share this, I am healthy, I am surrounded by people who love me and this has been a very good source of strength.

Thank you everybody who has been a part of my journey. Together we’ll win this!!! Love wins indeed.

I had some episodes of sleepless nights when I used to have on the heavy days (they were like 10 in a month) and I had to be awake because either I had stained and now I’m even scared to sleep (because I sleep in the worst positions) so there was no way I could not stain the sheets.

So I needed company to keep me awake, my roommate really did the best. And then these heroes called mom and dad would call to jazz, we talk, we pray, catch up on things we had even talked about already, all to make sure I’m not awake alone, this would go on for like hours, until I finally doze off and then they hang up. Only love!!! 

For the young girls, if you notice anything out of the normal about your period, talk to your parents about it. We could prevent it from going out of hand. Periods are not shameful, let’s embrace being girls. It is beautiful ❤

I couldn’t not mention names because to protect the people’s privacy. 

Thank you for reading. I hope to share more even on my progress, and I assure you, I’m beating this!

GOD BLESS YOU !


Well what a story that was!! Joey i’m super duper proud of you, i’ll admit it here that you have pushed me to be more positive about beating this complication. You’re positive attitude is out of this world and i love that you have fully trusted God to take the wheel. I had a conversation with her during my sick days and she mentioned she last took prescribed pills 6 years ago. If you know how helpful these pills are then you understand how shocked i was because once in a while a girl can’t survive without them.

With that being said i hope you have been inspired and also enjoyed Joey’s story. Between the lines she mentioned she’s a happy person and she really is, a whole vibe if i may add. Thank you for sharing this part of you with the world and you’re welcome. I’m doing this to give ladies like us hope and sense of belonging in this cut throat world. Let’s treat each other well and conquer hormonal imbalance, PCOS, endometriosis and all those female reproductive issues together.

WE ARE BOLD, WE ARE BRAVE AND WE’LL BEAT THIS.

Love and Light,

ALS

Categories
Brave Women, Unique Tales

Brave Women, Unique Tales Part 4: Of Heart Disease and HI

My wonderful readers, how have you been? It’s been a minute since our last Brave Women, Unique Tales episode. I missed writing so much but mostly sharing wonderful stories from wonderful women. No more pity parties though, we are back in high gear and hope you are all ready to kick off right where we left.

Did you know that hormonal imbalance can cause heart defects? When it comes to heart health, hormones play a leading role. The way they’re functioning in the body directly impacts the cardiovascular system, the heart and the blood vessels. What does this mean? When they’re working properly, they can help prevent heart disease; when they’re out of balance, they can cause it. Yes, i’m just as amazed as you are, check out the link tagged on hormones above and get to know more on the relation between the two.

Our guest today shares her truth on living with HI and the impact it has had on her life. I present to you Essy *not actual name* who chose to share a little of her story to the world. As i discussed with her about her condition, i realized for her it’s more about accepting her truth and accepting the life she leads. I’m proud of her *i’m proud of every single one that has shared thus far* and hope you enjoy her story and also do more research on the discovery you’ll find. (Or i’ll do it for you…because i can)

Ladies and gentlemen part 4 of #BWUT:


Growing up I simply knew I was the small kid, among all my peers or friends I was the small one regardless of the stage. Many times, I was double questioned about what class i’m in and for some reason a follow up was made to maybe an adult like my parent if I was really in that class or stage I claimed I was at. Well at the time I didn’t really make sense of it. I was always bagged about eating more or drinking so that I could “grow”. And I actually tried but we always don’t get what we want.


Previously amidst all this welcome back daddy moments my dad realized my heart beat was a little faster than normal but he also thought it’s probably because I was a kid and was playing most of the time. But this kept on for years, it didn’t normalize. Until one day he purposefully holds me and listens to my heart beat and says Deborah are you okay, and me being me I answered with a smile “yes yes I am”, but he complimented saying your heart beat isn’t normal, I didn’t really take it in then.
So high school comes and it’s my first year in boarding school so he decides it’s not wise to let me go without knowing why or how this is happening.


So he plans a meeting with a doctor, and almost like the next day it’s set and we off to see this doctor who refers us to a proper Cardiologist. We make an appointment and meet him the next day.
The Cardiologist said that whatever I had was normal for kids and after it all goes back to normal well I was glad to hear that but he suggested that I go for an echo cardiogram so that we are even more certain that it is okay.
I must say it was a bit scary for me at the time, laying half naked on that hospital bed with all kinds of things connected and those pegs on your fingers and that cold gel didn’t make me feel any better but as the doctor passed the thing *I still don’t know what it’s called* and said it’s all okay I started to believe him, so when all was done I was asked to dress up and we went back to the office.
I was handed a disc with the recording and some other huge X-ray like sheet showing the waves of the heart beat. I can tell you I went home and was showing off to my siblings how I had a disc with my heart beat on it.


Everything felt normal then.

In preparation for a new school term, we were required to go for medical check ups to make sure we reported to school with no illnesses.I remember this particular medical check up schedule. I had no worries, I even made plans with friends…let’s all go Wednesday…. yes we agreed so on that Wednesday we went for checkup and I will save you the details of the lines and waiting to the part where you wait for your name to be called upon and you each enter the doctor’s office, so as were waiting, talking making noise, one friend goes in and then they called my name too. I marched majestically to Room 3 knocked and entered and there was this doctor who asked me the first few basic questions then asked me if I had any problems. I gladly said no and then he took out his stethoscope and started to listen to my heart beat and he looked at me again then did the procedure again looking at his watch.


Shortly after, he asked me these questions “are you afraid, have you been doing any kind of heavy activity before this?” and my response was no to all questions. So he asked if I had a parent or guardian with me. Well I was there with my aunt, he asked me to call her in which I did.
And then when she comes in, he explains and says my heart beat is not normal and I explain that I have been to the cardiologist and all that and he still insists, this isn’t normal “go to a bigger hospital and get another opinion” he said. My aunt very concerned asked the doctor to explain what he meant by that.
The doctor then starts to throw the pain in, “Her heart beats faster than normal much as it’s normal for kids but it should have fazed out by now, it shouldn’t be this fast.
So he looks at me and then back at my aunt and says “she can’t be doing any heavy duty work, she shouldn’t be running or any other activity that will make the heart even pump faster *moment of silence…* it could be dangerous.”

On my end, I was simply seeing a free ticket to not going for that early morning jogging we had every Saturday morning at school. I smiled a little but right after that, he asked me if I have any unusual conditions and my auntie was so quick to jump in and tell him of how I always feel cold. So the doctor explains that due to this condition, I have hormonal imbalances and that’s why I
I feel cold most times; even when everyone else is complaining about the heat. For that I have grown to always have some kind of sweater or warming cloth on me.


I may not necessarily mature into what everyone else my age is, and that is to say I will not even gain as much weight or height literally anything with growth. Honestly that really hit even harder when I left high school and joined university. Most people thought I was joking when I said I was doing Arch (architecture), it felt like I have to explain myself all over again. There was a joke in school that I came with someone to go to Wonder world( An amusement park in Uganda) and got stuck there, well I learnt to laugh along with it with time.

But I must say some days are harder than others, I always wanted to be just like my peers or family but clearly that isn’t for me. It’s hard to fit in and I learnt not to I guess this is how I became an introvert because I didn’t want to try so hard, I would rather be alone than try to compare what I am to others. Being small has taught me a lot about people and myself too and that getting comfortable in your own skin is easy to say but even harder to practice.

And the sexual harassment you actually go through is another story for another day.


What a cliff hanger!! Thank you Essy for sharing your story. I learned a whole new side about hormonal balance through her. This series continues to humble me plus it has taught me to listen better and observe more.

Categories
Lock Down Challenges

Dear Endo

Today we are sharing about grief, loss and healing. It’s the 16th day of the WinterABC challenge and congratulations to everyone that has made it thus far.

I’ve always wanted to write a letter to my chronic illness and i can’t think of a better time than today. Enjoy.


Dear Endo,

In a few years to come we are celebrating a decade since we crossed paths. I hated you so much in the beginning, you made me feel inferior at the peek of my teenage years. The doctors did not make it any better when they revealed that only death could do us part. I was extremely scared and worried that my life would never be the same.

Before you, i’d never heard of any chronic illnesses in our family so i worried a lot that one day in my younger years i’d eventually kick the bucket and be gone from this world.

As i grew up, i noticed you changed too. Some days you’d cause me so much pain i’d wish to die and others you’d be silent and I got to enjoy normal painless life. God knows how hard i prayed to have you stay silent for a long time. He did answer my prayers for a bit and those painless months were my favorite.

Hysterectomy - Stage 4 Endometriosis (The Struggle is real ...
Above all you gave me an Endo Soul

Are you aware you also mess with my mental state? Anyways i had to learn later in life that many of the times i was depressed, anxious or out of my element it was because of you. Endo you broke me, made me have low self esteem and that made me miss opportunities, experiences with my friends and so much more.

What you don’t know is you helped me accept myself. Knowing i had you was one thing but accepting you to be part of my life was another. I like to talk about you so much i started a blog just for you. The day i accepted you is the day i became free just like taking shackles off my feet so that i can dance. (Stolen from Mary Mary – Shackles)

I hope to meet other females like me so that we can build an entire Endo community and use it to do good for ourselves (because we need it) and for less fortunate females carrying their own dose of not just endo but other female fertility concerns.

I love you Endo, thank you for finding your way into my body. If it wasn’t for you i’d be somewhere in the world regretting my decisions but you’ve kept me grounded and disciplined. Will not forget how annoying you are sometimes but i love you regardless. (kinda)

I pray you don’t kill me or cause me even greater problems. I’ll eat right, keep my body active and most importantly i’ll listen to my body when i feel you complaining.

Love,

Your Victim.


So for those of you who don’t know yet, i have a chronic illness (i prefer that to saying i am sick) I have a couple of write ups on it here and here. Be sure to check them out and get more insight on it.

Lovely week to you my esteemed readers.