I’m getting a little TMI today…

This is why we don't share our stories - fear of this face.

This is why we don’t share our stories – fear of this face.

 

I was sitting in the conference room at my office, having a meeting with several people in the room.  I felt, shall we say, damp – in my seat.  I thought, well, that’s odd, but I was wearing both a pad and a tampon and, as far as I know, I’m not yet incontinent (I’m sure that will happen eventually, though, but that’s a story for another day).  Everyone got up to leave the meeting, I stayed back a few minutes because I was straightening and gathering my papers.  My need to compulsively tidy everything up turned out to be a blessing.  I get back to my office, I reach back to figure out if the back of my dress is damp.  It is.  I look at my hand and it’s covered in blood.  I bust out my iPhone and aim the camera at the back of my dress, sure enough, there is a large damp spot trailing down my dress (another blessing showed up in the form of wearing a black knit dress that day).  I spent the next half hour trying to figure out how to get out of my office and down to my car without everyone seeing this massive damp spot on my dress.

 

I have had irregular bleeding ever since giving birth to my son.  He’s 12 years old.  It sucks.  Several years ago, I was telling an older, male doctor that I had been out shopping when I had a major  bleeding incident.  I had to take off my sweater and tie it around my waist, leave my shopping behind and head home.  He smiled and said, “Doesn’t it make you feel young to have these kind of accidents again?”  Yes, doctor, all grown women dream of going back to early puberty and bleeding in public.  That’s why all the tampon commercials show women dancing around in white pants, because we can’t wait to show our period stains.  I changed doctors.

 

I won’t bore you with how many doctors I’ve been to, or all the details of the different crap I’ve tried to get my cycle on some kind of normal schedule, and to end the “young again” massive bleeding events.  I’m sure some of you, like me, have tried birth control pills, IUD’s, Chinese medicine, functional medicine, hormone treatments, going gluten-free, acupuncture, acupressure, meditation and flat out prayer.  But over a decade later, I’m still bleeding.

 

I know I’m not alone.  One time, the nurse left me in front of her computer while she went to talk to the doctor and on her screen was the date, time and reason for visit for the last twelve appointments – ten of them were for irregular bleeding, I counted (and, no, you should not leave me in front of your open computer screen if you don’t want me to read it, clearly I can’t be trusted).

 

I’m not sharing this story with you for shock value or because I am looking for sympathy.  I’m sharing it because some of you are going through, or went through, the same thing or something else that is horrifying and embarrassing and no one can figure out how to make it stop.  More than one doctor told me that I just needed to reduce the stress in my life – maybe switch from being a lawyer to being a yoga instructor, one joked.  I can’t imagine anything more stressful than cutting my income in half and starting a new career, but thanks for the advice.  I’m pretty sure, “you should cut down on stress” is the doctor way of saying “I don’t know what the hell to do with you, you’re broken and I don’t know how to fix it.”.

 

So I’ll be having a hysteroscopy ablation.  It’s the surgical procedure I have been putting off for the last decade, but it’s time for some dancing in white pants.  My point in sharing this with you is that I want you to know that you are not alone.  Whether you have irregular bleeding, incontinence, pain during sex or some other kind of embarrassing medical issue – you aren’t the only one, I promise.   As the book says, “everyone poops” – and that only intensifies as we get older and we have to add other bodily function issues to the list.  We all have our shit to deal with and we are all in this life together.

 

I finally found a doctor that listened carefully, didn’t tell me I should find my problem “fun”, and made me feel safe enough to go forward with the procedure.  I had to call her office to ask for a pre-operative medical clearance letter before I could be cleared for surgery.  I found myself asking the medical assistant, Olivia, if other women do okay with this procedure.  I could hear the fear bubbling up in my voice and as soon as the words popped out,  I felt silly asking a medical assistant something she couldn’t really know the answer to.  She had been checking dates, looking up codes, etc. but she stopped, her voice softened and she said, “Keri, you are going to be okay.”  And I felt better.  Bless you, sweet Olivia.

 

After my office bleeding disaster, I called my mom and my dear friend – both of whom have dealt with the same type of issue.  Being able to share and laugh about such an embarrassing, and quite frankly, gross, event, helped to make it a lot less awful.

 

We each have the opportunity to be a blessing for each other – in our sharing and in our receiving.  Even the smallest of gestures help us as we journey.   One of my favorite quotes reminds me that our greatest purpose here on this busy Earth is just to be here for each other:

“We’re all just walking each other home.”  Ram Dass

For myself, I wish to be brave enough to share the yucky stuff, present enough to hear when I am needed and open enough to receive the kindness offered to me along the way.  I wish much kindness for you along the way, as well.  Keep sharing the nasty, my friends, it’s powerful mojo!

 

Comments

  1. You will be fine! I had the same procedure many years ago and all went well. I can remember the anxiety I had before better than I do the actual procedure. And yes, those good old, sweater around the waist days…something all of us women long for.

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