A shaking hand draws blood drops on a calendar

My Periods Are Returning for the First Time in Two Years and I’m Scared

Over the past couple of years, there was one thing I was happy to live without: my awful, extremely heavy periods. After my last excision surgery, my specialist suggested waiting six months to determine whether the procedure had helped. While it eased many of my life-altering symptoms, I only got to know what it is to live through a normal period for a few months. After that, my short-lived relief came to an end. My periods went back to how they were pre-surgery: heavy and horrific.

Every period had me passing out or contorting in pain. If I took any painkillers, they were not strong enough to counteract the discomfort. Having to stay horizontal, I missed out on an entire week of my life every month.

My periods made it impossible for me to hold down a regular job

I simply could not function like everyone else. So I went back to my specialist and explained what was happening. He agreed that having such disruptive periods was no way to live. Suppressing my periods was all that could be done at the time, so he prescribed medroxyprogesterone acetate, a hormonal medication of the progestin type.

It took some months of adjusting, my skin broke out, and I bled intermittently. But after the initial stages, my reluctance to go on hormones proved me wrong: I got my life back. Having no periods allowed me to travel solo, live in New York for almost six months, and run the London Marathon. I also got my professional career back on track.

Sadly, it’s now time to wave the hormones goodbye. It’s been a couple of years since I went down this route, and my body seems no longer happy. Medroxyprogesterone works by decreasing estrogen levels. Unfortunately, this can lead to bone mineral density loss, which is a worry for me. Additionally, over the last few months, I’ve developed breast pain and some lumps, which I had checked out. While these lumps proved to be benign, they keep re-appearing and are really uncomfortable.

I’ve never loved being on hormonal medication

Whenever I’ve been on one form of contraception or hormonal treatment, I’ve experienced unpleasant side effects. This is why knew I would only take the medroxyprogesterone for a limited time. However, having lived through horrific periods for years, and knowing I risk going back to that life, leaves me quite concerned.

I am single and live by myself. This is the first time I will face my periods alone. I won’t have anyone to walk my dogs or cook for me if the pain gets so bad I pass out. I won’t be able to yell for help if a flare-up makes me drop to my knees. Also, being self-employed means I receive no paid sick leave, and my painful periods can render me unable to work for more than a week.

For now, I am making sure I am prepared

My TENS unit is completely charged and I have healthy meals in my freezer. Heavy-duty ibuprofen has made a welcomed return to my medicine cabinet. I chose to live near a couple of friends who can come help me out if everything becomes too much. This means I feel quite ready, and hopefully, no matter how bad things get, I will have some level of control.

I also know that no matter how painful and debilitating my periods may become, they are also temporary. The worst days will pass. Once it is all over, I will get to be my favorite version of myself: the pain-free one.

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