I started my period when I was 11 years old. I was on an airplane with my youth group to Hawaii! I was on my way to these beautiful islands with lots of water and just started my period!!! My very first period! YES, it was as horrible as it sounds. Ok it wasn’t really, I just couldn’t swim and I had to rely on another woman to help me navigate this super unknown territory but I survived! Luckily my youth pastor was amazing!!!! Little did I know this was the downfall to my whole uterus’ existence!
I don’t remember too much being horrible with my periods through junior high except for cramps. I always remember periods causing pain every single month but that was about it. I relied on Midol to get me through and as far as I remember it helped.
Around 13 years old things really started to change though. I remember crawling across the floor to get to the medicine cabinet because the cramps and pain were so intense. I couldn’t even stand up to walk. There were days I would just curl up in pain and not do anything because it was so intense. At 14 years old, I was started on birth control pills (BCP) to help control the pain and the bleeding. I went through so many different types and brands to try and get something to help. We just ended up with what worked the best because we couldn’t even find a BCP that lessened my periods to an acceptable level.
I am not sure when it started but during high school I was bleeding through a super tampon and a super pad in an hour. You know how tolerant teachers are when you have to leave class every hour for 7 to 10 days?! Well let me tell you, they aren’t!!!! And I wasn’t about to tell them what was going on, no way. It was so bad I had a change of clothes in the nurse’s office because I would often bleed through my clothes. Do you know how embarrassing it is to bleed through your clothes in high school?!!! I am sure peeing your pants is more acceptable than bleeding through your clothes and leaving blood on the wooden chair you were sitting in!!!
No one got it. My mother used to say that my periods couldn’t be that bad because it wasn’t with her. I was never allowed to stay from school due to period pain. I must have been changing my pads and tampons way to early if I needed to change it that much. It must be my anxiety causing the pain. And even if it was all real then the birth control should have fixed it. I heard it all, so often, growing up! I really believed bleeding like this was normal! Doctors, even into my adulthood, would say these things too! Society doesn’t understand horrible periods!
There were many times I wondered why my body was broken and no one seemed concerned. But I didn’t know any different though. I had no clue that this was endometriosis! Fast forward 22 years after my first period and I would be diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis and the worst case that two different doctors had ever seen.
I can’t help but sit here today and wonder how my life would have been different had someone listened to me at 16 or 19 or 25. Would I have miscarried? Would I…? But I guess in the end, I wouldn’t trade any of it because I am here advocating for others, I am a mama of three amazing babies and I have the most understanding husband anyone could ask for.
Yes, high school sucks. Be sensitive to yourself and advocate for yourself, if you are going through all of this. If you work in the schools be sensitive to those girls that need to leave the class often or are missing school. Awareness is the only thing that will change any of this!