...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, September 01, 2006

The science experiment is over

[Warning: TMI]

When I was about thirteen or fourteen, I started getting horrible menstrual cramps and sickness. They would show up for about two or three hours, and just on the first day of my period, but for that short window of time, I was miserable. I would sweat and shake and couldn't hold anything down, including water. The only thing I could do was lie, curled into a fetal position, around a hot-water bottle and wait for it to pass. I missed several classes and tests because of it, but I always sort of figured it was just something I had to live with.

Then, when I was seventeen, my doctor put me on the Pill. The heavens opened and a choir of angels burst into the Hallelujah Chorus. Seriously, it was wonderful. I didn't suffer any of the side-effects (maybe I gained about ten pounds, but who cares). I had zero cramps and I got my period on the exact same day every month. It was like a revelation. So I still got a little gloomy every month. No one's perfect. But my doctor told me that there was a good chance I would outgrow my cramps, so I should consider going off the Pill for a few months when I got older, and see how things were doing. Since I was traveling earlier this summer and didn't have a set routine and schedule, I decided to see if my system had matured enough to take care of itself without the drugs.

It has not. Each month was a roller-coaster of mood swings and weird physical fluctuations. Since I hadn't had a natural period for four years, nearly half of my menstruating life, my body and I weren't accustomed to its natural processes, and it freaked. out. Each month was something different and bizarre. One month, a few days before my period, my feet were swollen and hurt so badly I could barely walk. It was like hobbling around on bloody stumps. Of course, this had to happen in Florence. Then, the next month, I would get so white that I looked like a nineteenth century consumptive. Then, I would get hot flashes. I just spent the night at Becca's, and this morning, in the space of two hours, I went from feeling normal to throwing up to shaking and sweating to normal. I feel fine now, but a couple hours ago I was literally thinking, "Maybe I should just hold my breath, pass out, and end it all now, because absolutely nothing could feel worse than this."

In an ideal world, I would not have to rely on a drug cocktail to regulate my hormones, but unfortunately, I do not live in that world. Maybe I'll give a Pill-free existance another try in another five years (Becca: "Unless you're married and pregnant by then!" Me: "Aaah!"), but until then, I will be a-poppin'.