While I was on vacation in England, the weather app on my tablet popped up a banner with an icon of the weather for the day and temperatures. The app would usually use a few words to describe the weather for the day, such as “sunny with clouds” or “showers with a chance of sun.” However, there was a glitch during my foreign stay. Instead of the text descriptions, my screen showed one word every day — “Broken.”
What a weird word to put up, or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was that it was an accurate forecast — for me.
Upon my return from England, I had a hard time bouncing back into my daily routine. I lacked energy and was dispassionate for the first time about writing. It was easy for me to contribute the lethargy to jet lag or the onslaught of allergies. I was feeling a bit crampy and irritable, which was easily explained away by my recent diagnosis of iron deficiency and the arrival of my period.
It wasn’t until I scared myself that I realized it was a bigger issue.
In January, my monthly periods started to last half a month. I would have my period for two weeks, get a two-week break and start again. This was the major contributor to my lack of iron . . . and my inability to increase the mineral. During this time, I would have “drop you to your knees, gut twisting painful” cramps that escalated in intensity with each month.
My body and I have been through this before, and I was astute enough to recognize the symptoms. Two years ago, I had heavy, prolonged periods that resulted in several tests that revealed a polyp in my uterus. I knew what needed to be done.
After a chat with a physician at the clinic and a woman’s health exam by the nurse (also called Pap and Mammo), I was referred to the local hospital for a pelvic ultrasound – which was scheduled for June 1 (see update below).
In the meantime, I have been struggling with the cramps and low energy. I have been putting up a front that everything is fine, while my uterus turns itself inside out. I figured I could push through the low energy and be the same productive person. I ignored my worry about possible depression or menopause and focused my efforts on forcing myself to go out and mix and mingle with people to prove myself otherwise.
This past weekend, as my body coped with allergies, low energy, cramps and the start of yet another two-week menstrual cycle, my fragile front came crashing down.
My husband made an effort to communicate with me, and I snapped. I snapped in a way I haven’t ever snapped before. I yelled at him, slammed doors and stormed out of the house. It happened so quick and with so little control. I didn’t recognize myself — and my husband certainly didn’t either.
It scared both of us.
It was at that moment that I realized that perhaps my app was right — I am broken. I need time to mend. I need to quit pretending that I am fine. I need to use my energy to take care of me, and not spend it creating a front for others.
More importantly, I need to communicate my struggles with those around me.
“I don’t feel good.” It wasn’t groundbreaking but it opened the communication between my husband and I. I couldn’t put into words all the frustration, fear and pain I felt but it gave a starting place for understanding. A way for us to communicate rather than just a front that needed to be maintained.
I wonder how many of my friends are funneling their energy in presenting a front to me? How many are dealing with daily pain, low energy or on the verge of snapping because they too are pulled tight like a rubber band?
Maybe we all need to find a better way to cope where we aren’t hiding but sharing.
What are you going though?
Update: I went in for my ultrasound and I have a meeting with the doctor for discussion on possible cause and options next Tuesday.