Like many, I have fears in life. Fear of wolf spiders, fear of suspension bridges, fear of dying. But those fears are few and far between. I can have the trusty husband take care of the spiders (god help me if there’s one in the shower with me) or I can elect not to walk across a suspension bridge or I know I won’t die for quite some time (I hope). However, I have a few that haunts me every month. A fear that makes my heart race and that keeps me up at night. It’s pain.

This is where my 3 male readers can stop. This doesn’t pertain to you and by the end you’ll just wish you could erase the next few seconds from you memory.

So pain ladies. Some of you may know this pain. Some of you have no clue. We are talking cramps. Mine aren’t any ordinary cramps. It starts as a low dull ache. Just enough to make me think that nothing is going to happen this month. Then somewhere around 3 a.m. it strikes with a vengeance. A pain that is searing from my front to my back. All the way to my toes. My legs hurt so bad I can’t walk. A pain so bad it finds me curled up on the couch in the fetal position.

Over the years I have developed quite a pain tolerance because of this. I took a hockey puck off the foot (broke a toe) and kept playing. Two days after major surgery I took myself off any narcotic pain killers because they were making me so sick. I stuck to the lighter stuff. But this pain is something else. More than the bridges, more than the spiders, more than dying it is my worst fear. It paralyzes me.? About a week before my period starts I begin wondering… when is it going to start.? 3 days in advance this time or will it tease me like last month and wait until day 1.? I keep piles of pills on my night stand just in case I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t walk to the kitchen.? I start to panic when there is only 1/2 a bottle of ibuprofen in the cupboard.? I worry when the last of the “heavy drugs” are gone.? Where am I going to get more?? Because while my OB/Gyn believes there is pain, he’s a guy and doesn’t understand completely.? And asking him for a script for such drugs would get me an eye roll and a “take tylenol and IB alternating.”? (ok, he’s not that uncaring)

This pain is something my acupuncturist and I have been working on since June.? It was one of my major complaints from the get go.? For some reason she hasn’t been able to get the formula right to stop the pain.

That is…

until now.? I am day 2 into this month’s cycle and other than a very brief episode (cured by 2 tylenol and a glass of wine) I’ve been pain free.? That could all change later this afternoon or tonight, but for the moment I’ll take it.? I’m still scared. I don’t know what it is like to have a period without the pain.? She assures me that the pain is not normal and I shouldn’t be feeling that way.? I want to believe her.? I really do.? And this month I’m starting to think it is possible.? But for now… I’ll live with the fear in the back of my mind.

And for you guys that made it through all of that… I”ll buy you a beer.

16 Comment

  1. I never understood the cramp pain other women complained of until my first miscarriage. I have to believe that incredible pain was akin to the intense cramp pain that a small number of women suffer from – and you have my utmost respect for going through it monthly. I count myself lucky that I only have some minorly annoying cramps a few times a year.

    And I HATE wolf spiders.

  2. I only get that pain once in a very great while (and I blogged about it because it was so out of the ordinary!) – generally a couple of advil can make my cramps bearable. To have that pain every month? ugh. I really hope your acupunturist has found the cure… you shouldn’t have to be in that much pain on a regular basis!

  3. Wendy says: Reply

    Oh how I know that pain so well. For years I would spend 2-3 days unable to function, vomiting and wishing I would die. Birth control pills helped marginally, pain medicine didn’t help, anti-inflammatories, heating pads, nothing helped enough. It’s gotten better as I got older. I am hoping this is your cure. No one should ever have to suffer like that. It is definitely not normal and not right.

  4. BIL says: Reply


  5. Oh yes. The pain. Neither Tylenol nor script painkillers work for me. So I live on 800 mg of ibuprofin every 4-6hrs for a couple of days. It is horrible. So. Who is your acupuncturist? I think I might need to fly up there for her to fix me up! Like you, I would probably live on fear that being pain-free was too good to be true.

    As a sidenote, I also am terrified of spiders and suspension bridges.

  6. Not normal. I agree.

    Stick with the accupuncture and let go of the fear…it’s entirely possible that you’ve found the thing that will help you. (This coming from an OB/GYN.) But if it doesn’t…go see your OB/GYN and be sure to tell it like it is so he can help you!!!

  7. Hm. I’ve lost a good amount of weight lately and I’ve been having shorter cycles. Along with a lot of pain. I never thought of discussing this with my acupuncurist.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Hope that this will continue for you!

  8. Have you tried a heating pad? I used to get a lot of pain, but it stopped for some reason. Anyway, during the years I had a lot of pain I used a lot of Motrin, but if lying in bed a heating pad was awesome.

  9. mom says: Reply

    Ibuprofen was the only thing that worked for me and I was like you, bent over in pain while sweat would bead up on my lips. Narcotics didn’t even touch the pain. My guess is it’s related to endometriosis, a condition we both have. Taking Advil religiously one to two days before your cycle helps immensely! I do feel your pain…it’s awful.

  10. Noreen says: Reply

    Oh, how I have been there. My mom would find me curled up in a ball on the floor in my bathroom or bedroom in HS and college. I got some relief with high script doses of Naproxen. Good stuff, but you need to be able to keep some food down with it. I have cut all caffeine out of my diet and reduced my sugar intake to help,too. I’ve had few periods since having the baby, but now that you mention it, I do get really nervous/scared thinking about it starting and how bad it might be. I hope and pray you have found your remedy. It is so sad that you have been coping with this for so long. You shouldn’t have to adjust to this “normal.” Keep us posted.

  11. Noreen says: Reply

    Also, broken toe from a hockey puck?! And kept on playing. You are my pain tolerance hero.

  12. Jenny says: Reply

    Naproxen is great (it’s similar to IB), and starting some stuff before your normal cycle (or when you start feeling those twinges) is a great plan if you aren’t doing that already. Get that stuff on board before the pain elevates, rather than waiting until you are hurting bad to take it. Strong arm your doc into having something heavier at home, preventing late night phone calls and ER visits. Keep with the accupuncture, and let me know if you need some GYN referrals. I know loads of good ones.

  13. That’s awesome that you’re seeing relief. I used to have horrible, debilitating, curled-up-on-the-bed-crying kind of cramps. But in my late 20s I kind of aged out of them. Of course, God decided that wasn’t fair and replaced those horrible cramps with new symptoms, but whatever. Life is a trade-off, right?

  14. I do know what your talking about and your post is enough to make me think about facing my fear of needles. Fear of needles vs. monthly cramps…I am seriously considering facing needles!

  15. DebiP says: Reply

    hey, if you get one less day of relief no matter how you get …take it and don’t look back

  16. Raissa says: Reply

    Did Jenny give you the don’t-take-Tylenol-with-wine talk? ‘Cause I got that once.

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