Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'You have to admit, it's gettin' better...'

Consider this your warning... this post might contain TMI ( "TMI? Too Much Information. It's just easier to say 'TMI'. I used to say 'don't go there', but that's lame." ).

Seriously though, folks. This blog is to document my journey through the world of infertility. Mostly, I write about the emotional side, but there is a whole physical aspect too. And there's been progress. Thus, I write.

Proceed at your own risk.

I am talking about cycles. Menstrual cycles, that is. There... I said it. And you can't even see me blush! Ha! Oh, don't worry. I won't tell anyone you've been reading about my cycles...

So, guess what? Mine's been a'changing.

I was always the teenager with the regular cycles. Every fourth Wednesday, I would start my period. It would be accompanied by severe cramps that would last all day. A few times, I couldn't even make it to the nurse's office, they were so bad! That would be my heaviest day and it would be normal flow and color (I warned you!).

Side note: It was these very cramps that convinced 3 doctors I had endometriosis. Turns out... I didn't.

Then, I started birth control. The cramps subsided for the most part and my flow was lighter in color and amount. I took birth control pills mostly, with two rounds of the DepoProvera shot (I rue the day I did that). I used birth control for the first 3 years of my marriage (2000 - 2003).

Five years ago, this month, I stopped taking the pill. From that point on, I would still be "regular", but I would spot my way into my period. I'm talking about 6-7 days of spotting. Then, when it finally came, it was light in flow and the color was wrong. It wasn't the same. Not only that, but I had "breakthrough" bleeding mid-cycle. So, I would be spotting for nearly half of my cycle, but never really having a period.

I tried to be patient, as I was told (countless times by well-intentioned people) that it takes some time for your body to readjust after being on the pill. But YEARS went by, and my cycles stayed the same.

Finally, in April, I began taking herbs. I also started acupuncture. I began to notice a change in my cycles. No more breakthrough bleeding and less spotting before my period. It was greatly encouraging.

And then... BAM! This month was amazing. I spotted for a day or two and it was a perfect light pink color. Two days later, I had cramps all day that were reminiscent of my teenage years. I also flowed heavy that day - a beautiful, bright red - the best period I've had in five years.

Now, if you think it's strange or weird to be excited about your period, try five years of heartache and frustration, of not knowing what's wrong with your body, of seeing several doctors with no answers, of expensive tests with no results, of tears and anger and hopelessness.

Trust me, live through all that, and you can get pretty excited about your period.

In the last several months, I've tried a few different herbal combinations and it has progressively gotten better. Last month, I decided to simplify and use a prenatal vitamin/herbal supplement called FertilAid. Since this has been the best month yet, I'm going to stick with this combo for now and see what happens.

Like anyone who has hoped and been disappointed, I am cautious about reading too much into this one cycle. On the other hand, I am trying to celebrate any successes, no matter how big or small.

As the song goes, "You have to admit, it's gettin' better... it's gettin' better all the time!"

I pray it stays that way.


Shannon said...

I am so happy for you. You don't even know...The biggest smile crept across my face as I was reading this. Definitely celebrate Michelle...This is big progress. Hope you know...you're in my prayers.

Robby and Katie said...

Yea for Michelle's period! You are brave for being able to share so personally. I am very proud of you. The choices you have made seem to be really good for you and your body. I hope and pray that more successes come your way!

Brittany said...

is it weird that I am so interested in your "cycles". I don't think so. It may have been the herbs OR it may be the garlic festival with its interesting festival going peeps (lady eating with her fingers), frogs legs, alligator tail, and of coarse crawfish. So just to keep it going you should try and eat some of those things this month!

RMCarter said...

Thanks y'all for your support. It means the world to me! (Britt, you're hilarious!)

Love each of you.

Poduska Family said...

I remember how severe your periods were in High School. Nevertheless, it is good to see your body returning to the high school period days! Woohoo!

Luna said...

Can can honestly relate to be excited about AF! I have had several friends that really liked FertiliAid and FertiliTea. Not sure what is in the tea.

I hope the herbs and acupuncture continue to work!

Wes and Dani said...

First of all, I LOVE the Michael Scott reference at the beginning of this post...

SECOND, I totally get what you are saying about wishing for a "normal" period...I haven't had one in over a year... *SIGH*

Still reading...trying to catch up to your most recent post. LOVE your blog...it inspires me.