Disclaimer: This was written on 9th May so grandma’s birthday (at the end of this post) is actually on the 8th. Also, if you’re squirmy about female things, you may not want to read any further. 🙂
As I sat in Dr. A’s clinic this afternoon, I started tearing. I generally don’t like crying in front of people I’m not close to, unless it’s about a happy event. It was another one of those cases where only through talking was I able to realise that I was feeling a little heartbroken, disappointed, resigned.
Last month, I went for my usual not-so-usual gynae check up. I cannot stress how important it is for women to go for annual pap smears!!! Last year, I underwent my second colposcopy and was found to have CIIN 1, which led to another one last month to make sure it had not progressed. Results came back clear but with some abnormalities so in another 8 months’ time, I have another one. To be honest, I hate having to get the scopy done because it’s uncomfortable and troublesome. I hate that money flies out of my pocket with each visit and burns a bigger hole with each op, however minor. But I know how important health is and as much as it’s tiring and tedious, I have to be responsible of my health.
Anyway, together with that, Dr. J also prescribed me a 6-day course of Provera (10mg) to try to kickstart my long MIA period. According to my blood hormones test, all is more or less in order and my eggs and uterus look normal. It’s been about 10 years since I last had a natural bleed and since I stopped taking Yasmin the beginning of this year, my period’s still not returned.
When I first suffered from amenorrhea owing to being severely underweight, I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I don’t think it occurred to me that my period had gone missing and it felt like a big convenience not having to plan events around my cycle. Sure, bone density-scmensity. I didn’t feel like my bones had any problems, I couldn’t see my loss in bone density, so obviously it couldn’t be happening right? Unlike an open wound, what goes on within can be ignored until they really become a problem. So I guess osteopenia never spurred me on to fight for my period.
When Dr. J suggested that I take a round of Provera, a part of me was excited to get started in hopes that it would get my cycle up and running again. Over the course of the 6 days however, apart from a couple of moodswing episodes, I didn’t experience much side effect and I felt like perhaps it wasn’t even going to give me a withdrawal bleeding. The bleeding is supposed to come between 2-7 days after finishing the pills so I tried to sit tight, complete them, then wait and see.
The first evening after finishing my last tablet, I found that my discharge was a light reddish tinge. I felt so happy and shared the news with Flo, at the same time trying to reel back my elation because the real stuff hadn’t come.
Day 2 came and went. Then day 3… Then day 4… The closer it got to day 7, the more disheartened I felt and as much as I wanted to give up, there was still a tiny bit of hope that sparked up every time I went to pee. I prayed that my underwear would be stained, that I’d find blood on my tissue, anything! But nothing came.
I know that not everyone who takes Provera gets a withdrawal bleed. And as much as I tried to manage my expectations, a big part of me still felt let down by my own body. By myself. Did I take it right? Did I take it wrong? Is it because my body is still not producing enough oestrogen? It it because I’m still a little underweight? Am I not normal? Is my period ever going to return naturally? Maybe I should just give up. Maybe it will never come back. Is it because I’m a bad person? It is because I’ve had it so good in life that this is the very thing that will balance it out? Will I ever have children?
It was only while sharing about this sense of loss with Dr. A that I realised just how much deeper my sadness went. I wasn’t able to dismiss the absence of my period as ‘nothing’ because it felt like something to me. It made me feel abnormal. And the not-knowing of why I didn’t bleed makes me feel all the more upset, lost.
Dr. A said that I need to have more compassion for myself. That sometimes, issues pertaining to infertility may not necessarily be caused by me, or my history. I understand that. I understand that I could have led a perfectly healthy life and still find it difficult conceiving. But the problem is, I didn’t. I didn’t lead a perfectly healthy life the last third of my life. So no matter what, I WILL blame myself for any future difficulties. And the future is much, much closer than ever.
She said to give myself space for hope, disappointment, setbacks; to acknowledge that not everything is within my control; to forgive myself. I know that a woman’s menstrual cycle is a very delicate one and very easily upset. I hate that I took it for granted when I had a cycle and didn’t miss it when I lost it. Now, I yearn for it back. A tweak in my abdomen and I wonder if it could be a slight cramp signalling the arrival of my period, a touch of tenderness in my boobs, a new pimple on my face… And then I have to tell myself to get real cos it’s not going to come so easily.
I can’t change my past. I can’t erase my history. I can only latch on to God and pray that somehow, some day, with hard work, with more weight gain, with less fear, it will return. Gosh! That’s so much easier to say than to believe.
All this being said, I call this a small heartbreak because I know that so many more women have bigger struggles than this little thing I went through. I cannot begin to imagine how much hope, fears, tears, and anxiety there is for couples trying desperately to conceive, for those who have conceived only to lose the baby. What I feel with regards to this stupid tablet is probably a fragment of a fragment of their rollercoaster of emotions. It must be a million times more intense. And yet, so many of them remain strong, and optimistic.
Now, I don’t want to end on a downer so this is something that made me smile this morning…
Yesterday was grandma’s 82 years young birthday and since she’s all the way in London, I managed to send her a box of flowers to surprise her. I called her first thing in the morning (for her) to wish her a happy birthday but since she didn’t make a mention about receiving the flowers, I figured they hadn’t been delivered yet. So I kept mum about it the entire time.
This morning, I awoke to a text from her – yeah my grandma knows how to WhatsApp! and she sent me these pictures:
Her text read “Tks for the lovely flowers. I was so touch till tears. Love y both always“. :’)
I love my grandma ❤