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Dealing with Endo During the Holidays (and Other Special Occasions)

It seems that, sometimes, my period has a knack for showing up when it is least expected or wanted. Of course, no day is perfect for having a period, especially for someone with endo, where severe pain and heavy bleeding are almost inevitable. But obviously there are some days where it would be better than others. Namely, it would be best if I got it on days that didn’t mark special occasions or holidays, or times when I wasn’t traveling or having to be somewhere for work or a prior commitment.

The best days to have my period are those where I don’t have to be anywhere special and can relax at home. It’s better to have them on days when I don’t have to work at all (though there is the downside that my day off is wasted on being in pain and mostly confined to my couch), though if it’s a day I have to work, but can do so from home (which is my general default), that’s better than to be out on assignment.

My period has interrupted many important days

I’ve had my periods on anniversaries, every major holiday from Halloween (actually just this year, completely obliterating my plans for that day and evening) to Thanksgiving to Christmas to Valentine’s Day. I’ve also had my period several times on my birthday (which is the day after Christmas, so I’ve had that double whammy of missed opportunities and compromised plans spread across both days) over the past decade. Sometimes I have been prepared for it and expect it, which can help me plan ahead a bit–from taking painkillers a few days before to head off the worst of the cramps, to avoiding certain foods that can make my pain worse, like those high in salt or alcoholic drinks. However, since my period has at times been unpredictable, I have had it show up without me being prepared. Luckily, I usually tend to carry NSAIDs with me everywhere, as well as a trusty heating pad.

To a degree, I’ve learned that adaptation is better than denial. So, while I will try to make modifications that will allow me to enjoy some special days as I originally intended despite my period, I also understand and accept that sometimes my plans will have to change so I don’t feel worse.

Learning to adapt

This past Halloween when I’ve had my period, I understood I could no longer have the long evening of being out at an event as I had planned. But I still went out for brief a walk during the early evening to watch the trick-or-treaters and then watched a spooky movie at home later on to still feel like I was partaking in the holiday. When I’ve gotten my period on my birthday or other holidays, I have usually limited some activities, but not abstained from them altogether. For instance, on my birthday, I have had lighter meals at dinner without alcohol, and indulged in a hot bath to make myself feel better. If I had to stay home or on the couch, I make sure to make it enjoyable, by watching a movie I’ve been meaning to or reading a good book.

One integral part of all of this is that I choose friends and a partner who understand and empathize with my situation, who won’t resent me or argue with me when I knock up against my physical limits. They are willing to be adaptable with me. When my partner and I couldn’t have our original Halloween plans, he was fine with the backup plan. In fact, we make sure to now have a pre-Halloween celebration the Saturday or Sunday before the day itself these past couple of years, with pumpkin carving, Halloween-themed music, and perhaps a horror film. This means I didn’t feel like I missed out on as much on the actual day when I was sick with my period.

Do you have tips for better coping or dealing with endo/your period when it interferes with or compromises holiday plans or special events? Share in the comments section below.

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