Tuesday, July 12, 2011

[NSFM--(Not Safe For Men)]

**Warning, Warning! Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Menstruation post alert! Cranky moaning about cramps, migraines, and body aches on the horizon! Run for your life!**

Hopefully I've effectively managed to frighten off anyone weak-stomached about women's periods and unsympathetic about cramps, because I've got to rant, and I'm entirely too moody to cope with anyone offended with my blunt discussion about why my period is more annoying than normal.

Let's start with the weekend before last--the fourth of July holiday weekend. As many of you know/have probably assumed by now, I have undiagnosed IBS. I've had it all my life, and it's gotten worse with time--a fairly typical issue. Also fairly typical is the development or increase in food sensitivity. In my case, this time anyway, I've gradually become lactose intolerant, though up until recently, I could usually manage it with small amounts of dairy products at a time or doses of lactase to help me counter the effects. However, Friday night of the previously mentioned weekend, while visiting my parents, I had one scoop--one SMALL scoop I tell you!--of chocolate ice cream in the morning and then one more in the evening. An hour after said chocolatey delights, the stomach cramps began. I anticipated an uncomfortable and restless night of diarrhea (remember--you were warned), which had previously been the norm. Then, while showing Dad a video on my phone, I suddenly became intensely nauseated.

Let me be clear--I have a sensitive stomach, but outside of hospital situations and infections, I rarely throw up--at least since reaching my late teens. So this is no small thing for me. Now, ultimately, I never actually threw up that night, but I came close off and on (more on than off) until well into the wee morning hours when I took a second dose of Benadryl that thankfully overpowered the nausea sensation with enough drowsiness to knock me out. When I woke, the nausea was almost gone. Thank heavens. But out of all that came the realization that I could no longer consume any milk with lactose in it (Lactaid milk is fine, though), or milk products. It looks like I'll be shopping at MaMa Jean's a lot more to get my ice "cream" fix via coconut milk and soy milk ice cream (which, sadly, are far more expensive than traditional ice cream). I can vouch, by the way, for soy yogurt. It's got a good flavor that's almost identical to dairy yogurt. Still... more expensive. And I'm even more broke than normal. Sigh.

Fast forward to the end of the week. My stomach's still a little jumpy, and I notice I'm eating more than normal (and probably have been doing so for a month or two without realizing it, judging by my increasing self-criticism when I look in the mirror and see my clothes getting tighter) without realizing it. I have a sneaking suspicion, based on last spring, that there may be another ulcer making itself known. I'd noticed in the past that prior to feeling the pain, I'd been eating more often due to mistaking ulcer discomfort for hunger and its effectiveness in masking the pain by limiting stomach acid around the sores. Still, when the migraines start on Wednesday, I take Aleve, because I've got things to do and no time to hide from the light or noise. Then, Sunday and Monday (yesterday), on days four and five of migraines, despite taking Aleve on a full stomach, I end up with excruciating pain akin to the pain I feel (and can't get rid of with antacids) when I eat store-bought eggs (seriously). Yup, it's definitely another ulcer. Damn.

So, off to MaMa Jean's for aloe vera juice, ginger tea, and ginseng tea (so I can cut back on the caffeine--I'm not about to drop it altogether in the middle of the semester!) along with checking prices on lactose-free foods. The juice and tea start taking the edge off, but as they do, I notice another pain a little lower down.

Dammit... cramps! Oh, well... they're not as bad as normal this time. Good. And my migraine's still manageable. I can deal.

And now, this morning. I wake up, doubled over. I can't move my head left or right for the migraine pain and resulting stiff neck. Once again, I've got shooting pains up and down my right arm and particularly in my thumb (a new menstrual side effect from within the past two years).  At least the aloe takes care of the ulcer pain. But I'm determined to tough it out. In class, however, the pain gets worse. I half-lie to my students, attributing my paleness and strained voice to a worse-than-normal migraine, which is true but not the whole story. I'm definitely going to need something for my period. So, I go over to Walgreen's after class and pick up two bottles (yay! Sale! Buy one, get one half off!) of Excedrin Menstrual Relief quick release capsules. I dread the stomach pain, but at this point, it's more manageable than being on the verge of fainting and having to make excuses. Fifteen minutes after I take the dose, five minutes after getting home, into my 'jammies and bed, the pain is gone, and no stomach pain! I happily sleep the afternoon away until it wears off around 5:00.

So, that's the kind of week I'm having--not just unusually intense PMDD symptoms, but ulcer pain and migraines. And this second dose, while working, isn't working as well as the first. Dangit. Here's hoping tomorrow brings a natural easing of symptoms to a more tolerable level.

This, also, is why I've held off lending my thoughts to the recent discussion about gender that I've been reading in my RSS Feeds. I've got plenty to add, but I want to make sure snarky hormonal sarcasm doesn't contribute any more to my natural disdain for misogyny and notions of gender standards being "right." Oh, I've got thoughts, and I will share them, but give me a few days to make sure I share them right.

Over and out!

P.S. Has anyone noticed changes to the Blogger page and dashboard, or is this because I joined Google+? It looks nice, but it's going to take awhile to adjust.


Andrea Gillespie said...

It's probably because of Google.

So sorry to hear your agony! I've been living on ice cream in this heat--I can't imagine being without it. Here's to hoping at least one of your ailments clears up soon...

Andrea Gillespie said...

By the way I'm a little confused because I'm pretty sure I'm "following" you already through Google friend connect, but I don't see my pic in your lineup. Not sure what that means.

Andrea Gillespie said...

Aha! I figured it out. All systems go.