jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
Last night was the first full night with the moon cup. It did not turn out as well as I'd hoped. (Again, here's the place you should stop reading if you don't like talk about periods...)

When I use a tampon on a heavy night, what happens is that it gets full and then the blood sort of trickles out along the threads. The clots still get caught in the tampon. But when I use the cup and it gets full, it trickles out through the little holes, and it doesn't get concentrated along any threads so it runs a bit more. That's what happened last night. I did use a pad, too, but unfortunately not the big night-time pads. So when the cup got full, I some of the blood ended up on my panties rather than in the pad. Fortunately I woke up around 4.30 am and discovered this before it had spread to the bed. So this was the second night of getting up and washing panties (and also the floor towel), and then fixing the cup, and getting clean panties, and putting in a larger pad just in case...

So, after last night, I have to say that I would prefer using a tampon at night. The max size tampons do last almost a full night, and the cup just doesn't, not during the first three or four days of my period. Tonight I'll have to set an alarm to get up about five hours after I empty the cup before bed.

Another downside is that with the tampon I usually feel when it starts to get full. With the cup, I just don't feel it. Of course the upside is that I don't feel it much at all, which is way nicer than the pain I get from the tampons, and it'll be very handy when I go to the gym or if I want to go swimming when on my period. I think it'll be good when I go riding too, though I won't get to try that until next month. But since I don't feel any difference from a full cup or a half-empty one, I tend to go check on it quite often. And taking it out is painful still, though I've gotten better at finding the nub. It's just the final pull when the vacuum lets go that is quite unpleasant. The pain does go away after a few minutes, but it's significant during that time.

Oh, another thing. A friend of mine said that she'd heard that it's bad to use the cup if you have endometriosis, like I have. I checked on that, and as far as I've been able to find, it's based on old science that has since been disproved but that unfortunately some doctors still believe in. There used to be a theory that endometriosis was caused by menstrual blood flowing "backwards" instead of running out through the vagina, and the particles of endometrium that came along with the blood would get stuck and become endometriosis nodes. However, this has been disproved, for two reasons - firstly, that a lot of women have retrograde menstruation without having endometriosis, and second, that people who have never had periods can still get endometriosis (e.g. infants and some men who've gotten it after hormone treatments for other diseases). So that's not an issue.

So my experience of the moon cup so far: It's comfortable, but not quite reliable, especially not when you've got a heavy flow. It's a bit tricky to handle at the start but you learn quickly. It's more of a hassle to change it than to change tampons, so with a heavy flow it might not be useful when you're working or just out and about and maybe can't get into a good place to change and wash it. I'm not going to stop using it, but it can't be my only option.

Moon cup

Aug. 4th, 2016 11:39 am
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
If you're a person who gets grossed out by talk about menstruation, now would be a good time to skip this post.

I am on vacation in Italy. It is very hot. Fortunately the place where we're staying has a pool. Unfortunately I got my period yesterday.

Normally I'd use an uncomfortable tampon and I'd keep worrying about leakage - I've usually worn a tampon together with a pad, except specifically when bathing, and the thread of the tampon almost always looks like it's been leaking through. Also, tampons are painful on the heavy days. So this time I thought I'd finally get around to trying a moon cup. I bought one about a month ago and used it once, and brought it on the trip with me.

Usually the bleeding doesn't get very heavy until after the first 24 hours, so I thought I'd wait until today to put the cup in. But I woke up around 5 am and realized the pad was getting soaked, so I got up, put the cup in, cleaned myself, cleaned the panties that were now an interesting pattern of red on white, got new panties, took a pain killer, checked that the bed was clean and there weren't any stains large enough to see in the faint dawn light, and got back to bed. (It's not unusal for the bed to be clean even though the panties aren't; while I'm lying down, the blood remains inside me and it's not until I get up that the panties get stained and the occasional spatter on the floor happens.)

I woke up again around eight, pleased to not have to worry about reaching the bathroom without spillage. When I got there, I thought it might be best to clean the cup out at once. So I started reaching for the little nub at the bottom.

First I couldn't find it; it'd sort of hidden against the back, just inside the opening. And when I did find it, I couldn't get a grip on it. I kept trying more and more desperately, worrying whether it'd get stuck there and I'd have to ask for help. It felt like the problem was that I couldn't get my fingers in at the right angle, due to my arm not being long or bendable enough. I finally gave up and decided to have breakfast and, more important, coffee, before trying again.

When I got back up to the room about an hour later, there was no problem at all getting a grip on the little nub. It took a few tries to pull it out, but only a few, and I managed not to spill anything outside of the bidet I was using. (Bidets are a great idea for mooncup users, if you didn't know!) I'm thinking that probably it's easier once I've been up for a while, so next morning I won't even try getting it out until after breakfast.

And once the latest pain killer kicks in, I might even go swimming.
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
A while ago I mentioned that I have some thoughts on chronic pain, and at least a few people were interested in them, so here's a start. This is also connected to my current obsession(and I chose that word with care) with the TV series "House, M.D." and why I'm so obsessed with it.

I've got endometriosis, which is a chronic condition. For the past seven years or so, I've been taking hormonal medication which stops the menstruation cycle completely, in effect putting my body into menopause. This stops the endometriosis from spreading, and at least relieves me from suffering through the monthly torture known as "having a period". (See this post for a description of what it means to me...) I still have some pain, though - this is apparently because scar tissue has grown around my left ovary and there are some nerves adhering to it. Any sort of stress of that area - such as walking, standing, riding, having sex - causes pain. How severe the pain is depends on a lot of factors. Am I rested or tired? Have I been exercising regularly? Am I stressed and unhappy or am I relaxed and content?

When I changed jobs almost two years ago, the pain was greatly reduced - probably because I went from a high-stress environment to a low-stress one. It wasn't just a question of less frustration at work; the physical environment was also much less stressful. During the past year and a half, I've had the occasional week without having to use pain killers, as opposed to taking them every single day as I'd been doing for five years.

The pain is back now, though. It's not as bad as it has been, but for the past months it's been increasing to the point where I rarely get through the work day without Tramadol, and I haven't been able to sleep without it. There's been at least one night of pain so bad that I've not been able to sleep despite taking the max dosage. It would appear the honeymoon is over. I'm not really surprised, though; I never expected it to be permanent, though of course I couldn't help hoping it would be.

During these past few months I've been thinking a lot about how the pain affects me and how I react to the pain, the effects and the pain medication. One thing I've noticed is how easy it is to use the pain meds for comfort. You get used to it so easily - it makes you feel better when you're in physical pain, so after a while your first reaction to any kind of discomfort is to reach for the pills. Also the actual pain is exacerbated by stress and tension, so if you're stressed out you'll notice the pain more and voilá! there's a reason to take a pill!

Note that I get this effect even though I'm not physically addicted to the Tramadol. I can go a day without them; even when I'm in constant daily pain I do stay off them for a week or so once a year just to verify that I'm not addicted - which is a real risk with Tramadol, even though they (like all opiates) have a significantly lower risk of addiction when taken only for pain.

One way of coping with the whole situation is through escapism. If I read a book or see a film or show that's sufficiently captivating, if I can immerse myself in the character I'm reading about or watching, I can disregard my own discomfort. I can spend my mental energy on figuring out what it is that makes Faith do what she does (love for Buffy - duh!) or how exactly Spike is fucked up. I can spend my time thinking of their lives instead of my own. I've always had a vivid imagination; it's easy for me to spend some time under the skin of a fictional character. Of course it's easier if the character has some traits I can identify with, but I want them to also let me vicariously experience things I don't get to do in this life.

Given this, it's not really surprising that I fell so hard for the House show. Here's a protagonist who's crippled, in chronic pain, very intelligent, snarky and sarcastic, doesn't have many friends, is hated or feared by most of his coworkers... does that ring a bell? I'm fairly sure my previous boss would pick me out of that line up, even if I've mellowed out in the new job and people there seem to like me.

House, though, is fucked up in more ways than I am. Also he's addicted to his pain meds - I'm not, and I still have a tendency to reach for them whenever somethings bothering me. I can so completely relate to his taking a pill when he has an irritating patient, or when Cuddy's bothering him, or when he can't figure out something. They're his crutch, mental as well as physical. His misfortune is that the one medication he's found that actually helps (and he's tried several, that's canon) is one that's addictive to him. I'm damned lucky I found one that wasn't - and I also went through several varieties until we found one that worked without knocking out my mental functions. When I write House fanfic, I know that there are things I understand about his character that a lot of other fanfic writers don't (though it does appear to be quite a few chronic pain sufferers in that fandom). I can use that character to explore my own reactions, and I can draw on my own experience to relate to the character. This has given me some new insights into what I'm going through - for an introspective like me, that's always going to be attractive.

I'll write more another day - right now Calle and I are going out for dinner.


Dec. 2nd, 2005 09:38 am
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
I've got a cold. I'm not at work. I'm at home, in my bed, reading [ profile] thebratqueen's slash, and occasionally laughing out loud at the so wheedonesque quips and jokes.

A friend suggested whisky with hot water and sugar to help combatting the cold. I was about to demur as per usual that I can't take alcohol. Then I started counting.

I haven't had a painkiller since Tuesday, when I was out riding.

Three days now and I haven't had a pain killer. More, I haven't even thought about it.

Gosh wow.
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
I've not written much lately; it's been hellishly busy at work and I might post about that later. For now, suffice it to say that we've had some stuff to do that's required working nights lately. During the past few weeks I've put in a lot of over time and I've worked two nights between 01 and 07.

During that same time I've tried not to use the 24 hour depot pain killers, replacing them with the 4-6 hour effective ones I've previously used when the pain has flared up despite the 24 hour ones. It might seem stupid to try this change at such a stressful time, but my thought was that in this way I can adjust the medication to the need for each day (as some days I've basically only slept and others I've been awake for too much), without risking going above recommended total dosage for 24 hours.

And here's the thing - when I look at how many pills I've taken, the total dosage is lower than my previously "normal" dosage.

In other words, even at a very stressful time, I need less painkillers now than I did half a year ago at a "normal" stress level.

I've just spoken with my doctor and we agreed that from now on I can stop taking the depot pills completely. I'll use the smaller pills morning and evening and if I need them during the day. I'll also get paracetamol on prescription so I can try using them instead of the stronger stuff. Also I'll reduce the dosage of the antidepressives.

It seems I'm becoming less ill. I like it!


Jun. 25th, 2005 10:16 pm
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
Funny how the cats know that I'm unwell. They're more quiet, more cuddly, and generally appear to be trying to be as kind to poor mummy as their little cat brains can handle. This is nice.

We just watched Kill Bill. There are a lot of really beautiful screen-caps in that film... I realized that the only scene that actually bothered me is the one at the hospital - not the first one, the one where the orderly brings someone else into the room. I think it bothers me both because the violence in it is less unrealistic than anything else in the show, and because the situation is far from unbelievable.

Still, it's a good film when you're in a bad mood. Watching completely unrealistic wholesale slaughter always makes me feel better.

Further thoughts on pain - it's a bit scary how easy it is for me to dissociate from my body. Sure, the pain is there, and it affects me, but I keep the core of myself apart from the pain-ridden body. I can smile and joke while having tears of pain in my eyes, not because I'm making an effort to appear happy but because the pain part doesn't affect the real me.

The bad part is that it's hard to limit this only to pain; it's easy to disregards all the sensations and signals from my body. I tend to place a part of myself outside of what's happening, whether good or bad. And I keep wanting to examine my reactions and consciously decide how to handle them, instead of just letting myself feel whatever I'm feeling. While that comes in handy in situations like these, it makes it very difficult when I'm meditating or participating in a ritual. I've worked a lot on learning to let go, to "go with the flow", to experience first and analyze later. But it's still very easy to just withdraw a bit and step away from life as it is right here and now...
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
There's a Swedish proverb, "dum får lida", which basically means that "if you're stupid, you get to suffer".

One way of being stupid is to miscalculate how long it'll take to get hold of a doctor to get a prescription renewed. It ended up taking a few weeks longer than the old batch of medication lasted. This, combined with my stupidly choosing to try lowering the dosage earlier has fucked up my hormones enough that I've just gotten my period. It's been almost three years since the last one.

If you don't want to read about blood and cramps and other horrors, don't click here... )

This morning (well, noon, but it was while I was drinking my morning coffee) I saw something utterly adorable. We've got a small bird feeder outside the kitchen window - it's just a thingy that holds a couple of tallow balls. The cats enjoy watching the birds and I feel like a good person for feeding them, so everyone is happy.

Only this morning there was lots more and louder cheeping noises than usual. I looked out and saw a bird sitting pecking at the tallow. Down on the windowsill was a smaller, much fluffier, bird. And next to it another small one. They were keeping their little beaks open and yelling at the top of their little bird voices. The mommy or daddy bird kept flying up to the tallow, pecking off a bit, flying down to feed one of the baby birds, and then repeating the whole thing for the next baby. And I went OMG THAT'S SO CUTE and shouted for Calle to come look and irritated the cats by making loud noises while they were prowling and hiding waiting for the glass to disappear magically so they could pounce on the birds. It never does, though.
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
they ask how can you
how can you stand it
if it's so bad
how do you cope

I say well it's easy
once you accept it
it's just a limitation
and then I smile

I say well it's simply
a part of my life
pain isn't all of life
and then I smile

but then there are days like these
the days when I don't smile


jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)

November 2016



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