My life with ‘Dysmenorrhoea’

Hi guys,

I really wanted to do a post about my experiences with ‘women problems’.. I mean of course if you’re a male then feel free to read, but I’m not going to censor anything! all the (gory) details will be added. Also if you think you could be offended by anything to do with this topic I wouldn’t read this post.. There will probably be some embarrassing things in here, but I wish that I had read something when I first started experiencing this, with all the details in it – complete honesty. So here we go –  Leaving my pride right here on the page and I’ll pick it back up once I get to the end!

dysmenorrhoea: Painful periods are very common; in fact, as many as nine out of ten women have them. The pain sometimes starts a few days before your period and can last for several days. When your period ends, the pain usually does too. Period pain is usually in the lower part of your abdomen (tummy) and is a cramping kind of pain.

I started my period when I was around 12 years old. I even remember the morning I started! I woke up and went to the toilet, and there it was. It was weird, I remember all my friends and I being SO excited about starting our periods, and how much I wanted it… Safe to say it was a HUGE anti-climax – plus there are no lessons which tell you about the side effects that could come with your period. We’re just left to figure it out on our own! So here we were thinking it was a simple I QUOTE “table spoon of blood” and then it’s done! Excuse my language but what a load of crap! hindsight is a great thing,

My first few periods were fine, they weren’t painful from what I remember but after maybe 3-4 of them they started to get heavy. I was always so conscious of leaking through and people seeing it, when I was on my period I would wear 2 pairs of knickers – both with huge sanitary pads in them, 2 pairs of leggings and then the trousers I wore – jeans most likely. And on top of that I still used to roll up toilet roll and stick it in my knickers as well. I look back on that now and it’s just crazy. I felt like I was wearing a nappy! One evening my (Step) Dad and I were in the living room, and the way I sit (even now and it has happened a few times since then!!) I sit on one of my feet.. So there I was just sitting casually, I get up and go to my room to hear… ‘Caitlan…. is this from you?’ and there were 4 footprints clear as day – on CREAM carpet, from where I was sitting on the couch to my bedroom across the hall.. I was so humiliated. At that time I’d only known my Stepdad for a few years, we hadn’t quite got that father daughter bond down yet.. but in his true style and nature, he told me a story about how he was in McDonalds once and this stunning girl walked in wearing white jeans.. all the boys were hollering at her.. until she got to the desk and the whole backside of her jeans was bright red from her period leaking. He instantly made me feel better – he has a knack for that even now.

So my periods were heavy -I remember being in an art class in year 9, and my period had leaked onto the wooden stool I was sat on.. and what colour was this wooden chair you ask? … White. it was white. The only white chair in the room and I sat on it.  I was SO embarrassed. My friends used to be able to wear just little pads and there I was with pads that could’ve doubled as a a king-size mattress for a mouse. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing!  My periods started getting painful when I was about 15/16. But not just ‘dysmenorrhoea’ (There’s a reason I put “” around the word), debilitating pains – to the point of almost passing out. This first happened in a biology lesson funnily enough. I was sat listening to the teacher when I started to get really hot and bothered, so I took off my cardigan.. I then started to feel REALLY nauseous.. and before I knew it I was standing up in the middle of the class and walking towards the door – with my vision going black. A support teacher in the class followed me out and I was stood against a wall, she started to disappear from sight and from sound – I remember saying miss I can’t see or hear you, and I fell to the ground. Within 20 seconds it had passed and I could hear and see again. That was experience number 1. Obviously I don’t remember all the cases – I’m 21 now and there’s been so many days I’ve been bed bound in excruciating pain. Obviously my Mum took me to a doctor to tell them what was going on.. They said that going on the pill would help the pain and make the flow lighter for me… did it? no of course it didn’t. The first pill I was on was called Microgynon – and don’t get me wrong, I know people who are on this and it works for them.. it just didn’t for me. I was on this for about 6 months, still having painful heavy periods, but it also sent me into depression – it changed my personality, I was ratty and snappy.. my Maths teacher actually pointed it out to me, and I stopped the pill instantly. I think it’s easy for people to say well you were using it for all that time, and it’s been going on for all this time.. why hasn’t anything been done.. But this pain is maximum 3 days of every month. once those 3 days are over I’m just happy and relieved.. life just goes on! There’s other things you worry about. It’s hard to fight something when it’s not happening then and there. I did get other appointments but I was simply thrown more contraceptive pills which never worked. (I’m now on my 4th kind)

I’d decided that it was time I really get down to what was causing these pains. I went to my GP at university and explained how I’d been getting bad pains along with very heavy bleeding. I’m the typical person who googles everything about my symptoms – no matter what they are.. And I’ve always had this suspicion that I could have endometriosis. I shared these suspicions and she said that my symptoms do point in that direction, but in order to medically diagnose me she would need to investigate. Firstly she wanted me to try a contraceptive pill called Yasmine, and she said that she wanted me to take 9 months worth without taking breaks between the months – as to mock pregnancy. She said that maybe tricking my body into thinking it’s pregnant (Not getting rid of the lining for 9 months) it could change my periods completely – less painful and lighter. This didn’t work either. So the next step was to see if I had any infections which could be causing my problems. It was basically a smear test.. She inserted this metal thing into my lady area, and swabbed it with a cotton bud type thing. For me it did hurt, and she did say it would.. during it it just felt uncomfortable – it was the first time I’d had anything done like that, which is horrible for anyone. But for me it set off cramps for the rest of the day (Not sure if it happens to everyone so don’t take my word for it) but as I said, she did say that this could happen to me. My results came back negative, so on my next appointment she said that I need to call the hospital and book myself in for a laparoscopy (Key hole surgery) which is one of the only ways to diagnose endometriosis.. Did I do this??? nope I did not. Yes I know – stupid stupid stupid. BUT there just never seemed to be a good time for me to be in hospital for surgery..  I had uni and exams and assignments. It just didn’t happen. She did however prescribe me Mefenamic Acid – Ponstan, which is supposed to help with period pains.. They do I guess, but not completely. Only recently did they lose their effect.

Another story was one weekend I was home from uni for 2 weddings (which were both on the same day). I woke up at 5am on that Saturday with period pains.. I was thinking right I just need to take a painkiller and get myself back to sleep before it gets too bad. I took a paracetamol and tried to get back to sleep but it was too late at that point. I couldn’t find a hot water bottle anywhere, so I stumbled to the bathroom and soaked a towel in hot water (It was the only thing I could think of! I was desperate! I couldn’t run the bath because whenever a shower or bath is run the pump makes a really loud noise – I didn’t want to wake everyone!), I laid in bed until the towel was so cold I couldn’t use it anymore.. By this point I was rocking back and forth in pain, I remember thinking to myself I can’t do this and I could feel myself drifting away again.. I stumbled through to my parents room where they were sleeping, and pretty much fell straight to the floor and told my mum I was passing out.. She called 111 for me, and managed to get a paramedic on the phone – who was really helpful. I was totally panicking and hyperventilating and she really calmed me down. My Mum went straight out once the shops had opened and bought me a hot water bottle and some stronger painkillers.. By 10am I was at the hairdresser getting my hair blow-dried! I made it to both weddings thank goodness – really didn’t think I’d make it but I pulled myself together… with the help of my period pain tablets (which only really take the edge off)

The amount of blood I seemed to shed controlled my life for 3-4 days out of every month. Some may not quite understand this, but on a normal day I would go through a super tampon in less than an hour.. a few months back I had JUST put in a tampon, and I was in the living room chatting to my mother in law, about 45 minutes past and I realised I could see blood on my foot.. I ran to the toilet and it was EVERYWHERE.. On a normal period I go through about 5 pairs of underwear! even when I wear a super tampon and a pad. I practically use up more than a whole box of super tampons every period – I think the boxes have 20 in them. I’ve been through 12 in one day before. During my period I get blood coming out of places I really shouldn’t – which is why I think it could be endometriosis… If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when the lining of your uterus grows in other areas… It’s really scary! girls will know (and probably deny if you asked) that when you’re on your period your number 2’s are completely different.. mine are different because mine are just filled with blood.

It all came to a head last week. I woke up on Monday morning, with a slight tingle of period pains – which obviously progressively got worse and worse, until again I was rocking back and forth in pain. I found my trusty fluffy hot water bottle that H had bought for me, stumbled to the kitchen to boil the kettle.. I didn’t even make it until it had finished boiling. I instantly felt nauseous, I was sweating buckets but felt really cold, I was shaking – I fell to the ground and couldn’t move for a few minutes. I lay until I felt I could move without being sick, got myself just outside mine and H’s bedroom and lay on the ground again and called 111. She told me to consider going into A&E. We were there for about 6 hours when the doctor came to speak to us and said… “This is just pain associated with periods. it’s called dysmenorrhoea and it’s normal“. I was FUMING. I don’t agree with raising your voice at people, especially when it’s not their fault (Like people who shout at waitresses because they didn’t like their fish cakes… so rude and out of order) I was in no way rude – but I had just had enough of people dismissing me and the pain I felt. I just said to him I’m sorry but there is no way that the pain I feel is normal, he kept repeating that it’s pain women get. The conversation ended with me saying, I’m really sorry but there is no way I’m accepting that, and he went to speak to the gynaecology department to see what they could do.

With pain that is from within – not per se, a broken bone, or a burn, or a cut.. it’s hard for people to see. But what’s harder is when people undermine the pain you have experienced/are experiencing. There had been times I was laying with my head on the toilet seat because the pain I felt made me sick to my stomach. Times I had to miss school, parties, days out.. So when there’s a man stood in front of me telling me the pain I have isn’t stemmed from any conditions – it’s normal. It made me feel like no one was going to do anything to help me, they were just going to leave me for years and years to just get worse. But anyway, the gynaecologist came after 2 hours, and said that because I wasn’t in an emergency state, they couldn’t do anything for me then and there – but what he could do was write a letter for my GP to say I need to be referred on an emergency basis for a gynaecology appointment. The guy was SO helpful and SO understanding. I couldn’t thank him enough.

So as it stands right now, I’m waiting for a call to tell me the date of my gynaecology appointment. What I want to happen is for them to say that they are putting me forward for a laparoscopy, and for this to be sorted once and for all. Finding out I actually have endometriosis will be tough – emotional. But I will just be so relieved that I finally have answers – I can finally say I am NOT crazy and I am NOT overreacting. This is also a huge fear of mine. What if I don’t have it? but then what do I do? It’s hard because I know the pain I feel, and my friends and family have seen me in such states. I don’t know if I’m more scared of being told I do have it or if I don’t have it. I just want to know what is wrong with me, so I can find ways to not be in pain every month.

I’ve read blogs of people who have gone through years and years of excruciating pain, with doctors telling them it’s normal and nothing to worry about.. they get to their 30s when it’s time to start creating a family of their own and they realise there’s an issue with their fertility, to then find out it’s been endometriosis the whole time. My worst nightmare is being told I can’t have children, or being told the longer I wait the less likely I am to get pregnant. It’s all scary stuff for me – and anyone who experiences it! Obviously right now I don’t really have any answers, but I just want to tell the girls that are experiencing this – you are NOT crazy. Don’t let people tell you it’s normal if you know inside that it isn’t.. Listen to YOUR body! Keep pushing it and fighting your case and don’t let them push you to one side! (By the way, I am in NO way blaming this on the health service here – I don’t blame anyone for this, it’s not like I think they have some vendetta against women and their pains.. I just think it’s hard when you’re the one in the pain and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with it)

Anyway, time to pick my pride back up! now everyone knows about my toilet habits and period accidents!

As I always say, please feel free to message me! I’ve had lots of messages and I love hearing from you!

love, Caitlan x

 

Update

Hi guys!

So I haven’t been able to post a lot recently. If you read my last post you’d know that I haven’t been very well. Whilst I was on holiday in Cyprus I was admitted into hospital as I was having excruciating pains in my lower back area (The right flank for all you medics out there). They did an ultrasound on me and decided I needed to be admitted – I had a kidney infection in my right kidney and they found cystine kidney stones in my left kidney. The hospital was amazing – within one hour I’d had an ultrasound, been put into a private room (with ensuite and a bed for H to sleep in… AND a balcony), had an IV put in, and had an X-ray.. So they were sUPER quick. If I’d have gone to a&e in the UK I’d have been waiting 5 hours just to be seen by a doctor (As I found out the other day!).

I still had the best holiday – but it’s not easy to enjoy yourself when you’re in pain all the time! plus is wasn’t just my holiday, it was H’s as well, so I had to grin and bear it as much as I could – he gets majorly stressed when I’m not well and I didn’t want him to worry! To make matters worse I was in A&E on Monday with excruciating period pains (I almost passed out), so I’ve been bed-bound since I got back from Cyprus – I cleaned our bathroom the other day and ended up in agony afterwards. It’s literally being stuck in bed – which I am NOT good at!

I’ve suffered a lot over the past few years with kidney problems, and I’ve suffered for nearly 10 years with a more personal and womanly issue – REALLY painful periods, to the point of passing out and being sick. I think this is something people need to hear about so they know they aren’t on their own if they’re experiencing anything like this. I’ve been very docile with my healthcare and only now have I decided I’m not going to sit back untreated anymore. I’m going to write 2 separate blogs, one for my kidneys and one for the period pains. I really hope someone can relate to them – I’ve heard a lot of stories, and through my research I found them helpful, so hopefully I can do the same for someone else.

Keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow,

love Caitlan x

Cleanse – Day 4 & 5

Hey guys!

So keeping up everyday with my progress is a lot harder than I thought!! plus on day 4 I ate the chicken salad so I had no new recipes to show. I’ll probably do an update every few days.

So far I’m feeling good, but I struggle in the evenings. All my family have dinners at around 6 O’clock, but I have to eat mine early evening, so I usually have mine at around 4.30-5pm, so when they’re eating theirs I feel a little bit left out!

But I’m enjoying my meal times and wanting to try more recipes. Tonight I made a prawn Vietnamese curry which was insaaaaane. (It doesn’t look that appetising but TRUST me it was amazing)

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Ingredients:

  • Frylight sunflower oil spray
  • 1 onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 lemongrass sticks -trimmed and chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 1-2tbsp curry powder
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1tsp chicken stock
  • 200g Raw Prawns
  • 150g Pak Choi

Cook the onion, lemongrass, chilli and curry powder in the oil for about 5 minutes until softened and fragrant.

add the milk, sugar, fish sauce, stock and prawns, then bring to simmer. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the prawns are just turning pink, then add the pan choi for 1-2 mins

Calories: 192

Cleanse – Day 2 & 3

Hey guys!

didn’t post my day 2 on my actual day 2 but had a rollercoaster day of it yesterday and the last thing I could do was sit and write a post! got my university results which turned out SSOOOOO much better than I thought, so thrilled! But back to the cleanse

I had a busy day yesterday, I had a hair appointment, driving lesson and I was getting my results so I found it SO much easier than the first day. I organised my time better – when to take the supplements and when to have the fiber and when to have my free foods. I haven’t felt hungry AT ALL. The only time I really. wanted a meal was when my mother-in-law made Thai curry last night and I could smell it and I felt left out so I had a bowl of broccoli instead – not quite the same but ah well!

I honestly thought I’d find these first 2 day SO hard, but I think I’ve done absolutely fine! I feel good too so that’s an added bonus. Today is my day 3, and I’m excited that I get to eat a meal and try out new recipes. I’ve done SO much research into meals that are less than 600 calories, the first one I’m having tonight is a chicken salad with Mango Salsa – I’m so excited it’s only 8.30am and I’ve already put my chicken in its marinade – such a saddo! I’ll take a photo of the results and post the recipe onto this page when it comes to early evening.

It’s now 6 O’clock on Wednesday evening – I had my dinner and it was AMAZING.19478181_10155444196087250_309442913_n.jpg

So so tasty. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (Coriander)
  • 4 Chicken Breasts (I obviously just did one but this recipe is for 4 people)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 4 crushed garlic clove (I used 2)
  • 1 red pepper
  • lettuce (whichever you prefer – and its a free food so enjoy unlimited amounts!!)
  • 1 mango (I only used 1/4 of the mango)
  • red chilli flakes

So Firstly this morning I put my chicken breast into a zip lock freezer bag, along with the juice of a lime, a crushed clove of garlic and some coriander (My favourite herb by miles) and kept that in the fridge for the whole day.

Once it came time to cook I put the chicken breast on my George foreman grill – obviously you can cook it however you want it! Whilst that was cooking I washed and chopped up my lettuce, pepper, mango and coriander and put them on a plate. For the dressing I used the olive oil, chilli flakes, juice of a lime and garlic. Simply put the chicken on top of everything and then add the dressing! simples! It’s so fresh and yummy – I’d had this at a restaurant and have been obsessed ever since. It’s a fool proof dish really! On the original recipe it does have onion in with the mango but I chose not to today. The dish is 472 calories! so way under my 600 calorie max.

Will be trying a different recipe tomorrow, haven’t quite figured out which one yet but I think it COULD be a Vietnamese prawn curry (yaaaaaaaassss)

Lots of love, Caitlan x

My first 9 day Cleanse

Hey guys!

I’m very excited that tomorrow I will be starting my first ever cleanse – slightly nervous, but super excited to see what my results will be!

My mission for this cleanse is to clear out all the toxins, and condition my mind to be ready for a change in my diet. I’m not really looking to lose weight, a few inches off my waist wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but I’m reasonably happy with the weight I’m at – considering I’m quite tall for a girl (5’7 / 175cm) – just definitely need to start toning up and unleashing the sexy lady I know is inside of me somewhere! The booklet does show some example work out routines, and I’ll definitely try a few of the exercises but I’m currently developing my own with my PT (AKA my partner H), and I’m really happy with it – but there’s always room for improvement so I’m sure I’ll pick up a few exercises over the 9 day course.

The little booklet that came with my cleanse had a section where you write down your measurements before the cleanse and after it. My before measurements are:

  • Waist: 27 inches
  • Thighs: 22 Inches
  • Hips: 38 Inches
  • Chest: 33 Inches
  • Bicep: 10 Inches
  • Calves: 14 Inches
  • Weight: 10.5 Stone / 66.6kg / 147lbs

I won’t be reweighing or measuring myself until the 9 days are done, so I’ll share my post cleanse results to see if it made any difference!

I think the thing I’m most nervous about is when the evenings start to come – during the day I feel really good, and the weather is amazing at the moment in London and something comes over me like ‘yeah, I’m so healthy and I love broccoli and salad’, but as soon as it starts getting dark I’m sat on Instagram and Facebook watching videos of people making towers of nachos, lemon cheesecake and those weird cake things that people stick their spoons into and it’s all gooey on the top – I mean come on.. I have the worst nacho obsession and sweet tooth. I’ve tried substituting things, like making a fruit salad with yoghurt and granola but in reality it’s never going to compare to eating cheesecake till I feel like I’m never going to be able to eat anything ever again. Another thing I’m going to struggle with is not being able to drink fizzy drinks – I haven’t quite come to terms with this yet so I’ll let you know how I get on.

Another thing I need to work on is my moderations. I am TERRIBLE at this. Eating in moderation are three words I hate being used together in a sentence. If I go to the cinema, it won’t be a little cheat night – I’ll have a large ice blast, large sweet popcorn, 2 scoops of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough with hot fudge on the top AND probably a pick’n’mix too (yeah I know we all do it – it’s not just me).. I need to learn that having a ‘cheat day’ doesn’t mean completely eating my body weight in crap until H has to roll me out of the cinema or restaurant or wherever we are. I mean don’t get me wrong, I won’t be completely cutting out my favourite things like sweets and ice cream – but for me personally, if I went crazy on my ‘cheat day’, it would turn into a frenzy and I won’t stop. I know myself and I know my body, I envy the people who can have a full blown cheat day with pizzas and ice cream and sweets and cakes – but I cannot do this. Right now I think I’ll allow myself one treat a week – BUT do some healthy alternative IF I can – I love frozen yoghurt and I probably enjoy it the same as ice cream, so I’d have that instead if I had a craving. I will be learning along the way, changing and improving my diet and still finding out what works for me in terms of finding the right balance. Life is for you to enjoy! make sure you aren’t being unfair on yourself. If you completely cut out all the foods you like that aren’t so healthy, you’ll start to hate your diet – have that odd magnum or glass of prosecco, just don’t over due it!. I used to find it so annoying when people said moderation – but that is really what it’s about!

The first 2 days don’t actually allow you to have a full meal – theres a list of free foods that I can have unlimited amounts of, but no meals. These two days will be my toughest I think. Firstly because no sweet potato for me (I live off sweet potato), and secondly because my energy levels will drop so much, I think it’ll feel weird not being able to do a good workout (It advises you to do 30 mins of light exercise, like go for a walk), not sure how much I’ll like that to be honest  – like on Friday I didn’t do a workout in the morning like most mornings, I was waiting until I could use my Father-in-Laws gym with H so he could train me in there in the evening, but my energy levels were so different not having worked out! (Probably doesn’t help that I was up most of Thursday night organising my blog!) but I know I’m going to feel SO great after those two first days are done.

Anyway, I look forward to posting my progress and tell everyone how I’m getting on!! Make sure you contact me if you have any questions about anything I’m doing!

lots of love

Caitlan x

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First Blog Post

Hey!

Welcome to my blog! I wanted to give a little introduction to it and just say hi to everyone!

This is ‘The Everyday Adventure”, and this is how I see my life. I would never try and say that everyday is perfect, because it’s not! I have my down days just like everyone else, but this is part of the adventure. We can’t appreciate the good without a little bit of bad – just like we can’t have a rainbow without a little bit of rain (as cheesy as that is!). I’m only 21, and I am certainly a way off getting my sh!t together, so everyday is about the journey towards my goals and creating a positive and beautiful life – but enjoying that journey too – and that’s what this blog will do. I feel like eventually it will start to materialise into a kind of mind map of all the things that go on in my head – all my interests, struggles, the food I eat to be healthy and the food I eat for my cheat days, the make-up I like to wear, my motivations to get out of bed on the days I’m not feeling my brightest, my holidays, the health challenges I like to set myself, my goals and my dreams. And I’m not doing this because I think everyone wants to know all these things about me, I’m doing it because I know that when I was in my early teenage years, I would’ve benefitted from someone who had felt what I had felt and thought what I had thought, and knowing how they got themselves to a better place. I am the person who I needed when I was that age.

I don’t have a lot of money to go and hire an expensive personal trainer, or buy organic food from Waitrose. I’m a (reasonably) normal 21 year old, taking everyday as it comes, trying to achieve a positive body, mind and soul – and I hope you’ll join me in this everyday adventure

lots of love

Caitlan 19059427_10155419332937250_7103712703750267953_n