10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Gynaecologist

My first visit to the gynecologist was not what I expected; I was confused, afraid and uncomfortable. After many hours in the waiting room, I finally walked in and saw him. The doctor was a middle aged man who was not too chatty or ‘warm’ but he got the job done. I was young and naive; I was scared because the pain in my abdomen was getting worse as the days went by. I was all alone and looking for consolation but the doctor’s personality was not very warm. In retrospect, I would have chosen differently.

I didn’t really have a criteria when choosing the doctor. After various campus clinic with recurrent pain, the campus doctor just told me to go see one of the doctors on the insurance list. I used the nursery rhyme ‘inky pinky ponky’ to help me choose one. There was nothing objective about this choice; though the campus doctor backed my decision.

Over the years, as I’ve turned different chapters in my health story I’ve had to choose other gynecologists. A couple of doctors later, I finally have a list of factors that I consider before I settle on a gynecologist.

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1. Your need

It is important to know why you are looking for a gynecologist. Is it for a routine visit-pap smear, mammogram, vaccine? Are you looking for an obstetrician to walk with you through your pregnancy? Are you having complications with your period-pain, irregular menses, other condition such as PID, Endometriosis, PCOS? Are you having a difficult time conceiving?

2. The doctors speciality

Gynecologists are not exactly a one size fits all.

Some conditions are better treated by a specialist. Based on your need, consider what the doctor specializes in, then narrow down the list. If your struggling to conceive, a fertility specialist would be a better fit compared to an Obs/Gyn.

3. Payment services

If you are using an insurance cover, find out if the doctor take your insurance cover and what the limit is. It is also important to inquire what the consultation fee is, just incase you need to pay the consultant out of pocket.

4. Availability

Does the doctor have very long lines? Are they only available on certain days? Are they available on phone in case of an emergency? If your current schedule is not flexible then a busy doctor will be difficult to keep up with.

5. Hospitals They Can Operate At

Incase you need to be admitted and have a surgery, find out if the doctor can perform the surgery at your preferred hospitals.

6. Testimonials

Ask around and objectively analyze other people’s experiences with the doctor. Remember that everyone’s experience is personal and two people may differ in opinion.

Personal Preferences

7. Gender

Do you feel more comfortable with a male or female doctor? Your doctor should make you feel comfortable and not like your privacy is being infringed upon.

8. Age

Do you prefer a young doctor or an older one with more motherly or fatherly tendencies? Consider which age group makes you feel more at ease.

9. Faith/Religion

If you feel a doctor who shares your faith beliefs will be able to walk with you better, look for one.

10. Your Instinct

Visit the doctor and trust your instinct, listen to your inner voice. Make sure you settle for a doctor who inspires confidence, and lets you know that you’ve been heard and are in safe hands.

All the best in your search.

Blessings,

Ess

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The Conversation Needs To Go On

Gone are the days when parents could wait for the eve of their child’s 12th birthday to broach the subject of adolescents and sex. Children are maturing much earlier now, also, they are exposed to a lot of informative content from a tender age. Their attitudes and thought patterns are formed long before they hit teenage.

The truth is that we live in a highly sexualized world.

Just because you are not talking about it doesn’t mean that your child is not listening.

The world is filled with opinions and children are wired to learn, from whoever is teaching.

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You can’t wake up the eve of your child’s 12th birthday and decide to be an authority on a matter they have heard about over the years from everyone except you. Unlearning is harder than being taught.

The seemingly uncomfortable subjects need to be discussed . Children can sense discomfort and shame. We as parents have to be careful not to pass on baggage to our children. If a certain topic makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to look within and see what exactly makes about it makes you feel uncomfortable and deal with it.

A truth zone

In my first post, I wrote about how I was told pads were called ‘mkate’ (bread). Honestly, it was such an unnecessary lie, but it stuck in my memory.

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It made me decide that my home will be a truth zone. There are enough lies being told out there, for me to come and add on to. My children need to know that I can be trusted to tell them the truth.

Can your child trust you to be honest with them?

When I say honest, I don’t mean spill all the beans, but tell them enough to satisfy their curiosity. Tell them the age appropriate truth.

Listen when they speak

It is important to listen to your children when they speak. Ask questions about both the small and grande things about their lives and listen. Turn down the noise, put away the gadgets and listen. Find out what makes them happy, their current interests and opinions. It’s easier to identify behaviour out of the norm when you know what the norm is.

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The conversation needs to go on. It starts now. Honesty starts now. Cultivating a relationship with your child that allows you to teach them the truth and life skills starts now.

We can sit back and blame the rotten society for our children’s beliefs or we can stand up and speak the truth.

You are an authority. Take your position and speak boldly.

Blessings,

Ess

 

When Sex Hurts #TheKenyanEndoStory

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Sex is supposed to be synonymous with pleasure. Sometimes, it is not, and pain takes the place of pleasure. Over time, it is possible for this to strain a marriage. One of the symptoms of Endometriosis is pain during or after sex.

Pain during sex is seldom talked about and many women and marriages are suffering in silence. In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month earlier this year, I asked Maggie Gitu, a Marriage and Family Therapist and Sex therapist to expound on what to do when sex hurts because of endometriosis or adenomyosis.

courtesy ofhttp://signaturextra.com/5-medical-conditions-ways-to-deal-with-painful-sx

Sex is one of the most important and fun ways for married couples to connect. Painful sex, however, is no one’s idea of a good time. Painful sexual intercouse, also known as dyspareunia, is the persistent pain that occurs during or after sexual intercourse. Dyspareunia can occur as a result of a variety of issues such as insufficient lubrication, trauma, surgery or physical conditions such as vaginismus, endometriosis or adenomyosis. Endometriosis is caused when tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, while adenomyosis happens when uterine tissue grown into the uterine wall. Both of these conditions can interfere with sexual intercourse.

While the presence of endometriosis or adenomyosis can interfere with a couple’s sexual pleasure, there is no need for sexual intimacy to cease altogether. So what’s a couple to do?

Communicate:

It may sound cliché but it’s absolutely true. It’s important for a couple to communicate openly and honestly about what is happening in their marital bed. Even going for doctor visits together would be helpful in allowing male partners to hear the information directly from a qualified medical professional, which may increase their understanding and empathy for their female partners.

It is also important to allow room in the marriage for honesty: room to speak honestly about the challenges of having to deal with a condition, irritation at having to avoid certain sexual positions that you would want to try but can’t because of the pain to the partner, the guilt or shame that is common with partners who feel like they are being denied the sexual adventures they imagined they would have. Remember that these feelings are about the situation, not the person. The bottom line is that openness and honesty will be crucial if a couple is to enjoy their sex life.

Lose It:

Lose the guilt, because none of this is your fault, and even when/where you could have done better, now you can because now you know better. Lose the blame; again, this serves no purpose in enhancing the intimacy in your marriage. Accept that this is the situation that you’re in, find a competent doctor to work with you and move forward determined to enjoy your sex life together, inspite of a diagnosis of endometriosis/adenomyosis. Lose the bad attitude; it’s going to destroy your sex life, which will in turn negatively impact other aspects of your marriage. Lose anything and everything that will interfere with your ability to connect as a couple. If you need more support, more information, or additional medical intervention, all you ever have to do is ask, so ask! Your doctor will advise you on all the options that are available. Lose the pressure to be perfect; sex is about connection, intimacy and fun not an Olympic performance with a score board. Relax into it; remember that you are not alone, and there is help and support to be found for those who take the time to seek. 

Attitude:

When it comes to sex, attitude is everything. Even without the added challenges of endometriosis or adenomyosis, the attitude a couple has about the kind of sex they want to have really does make all the difference. Instead of seeing these conditions in a strictly negative light, try to challenge yourselves on all the positive things that can come out of this, for example, the sexual positions that you hadn’t even thought to try might be exactly what you need in order to have sex life that you want.

Experiment and Have Fun:

Sex should be fun, so make it fun and experiment. As a couple, be open to different sexual positions, for example, while the missionary position may be painful for some women, it may be easier for you but you’ll never know unless you try. In addition, begin to figure out what sequences work best and which ones are best left alone e.g. some women find it easier to begin with one sexual position and then move on to other positions while some find that maintaining a single position is easiest on them. The point is, experiment! Make a game of it by coming up with a funny ranking system that you can both look forward to contributing to; be sure to add an exciting reward system 😉

Part of experimentation is understanding that sexual intercourse is not the only way to enjoy sexual intimacy. In other words, what are your sexual limits? What are you willing to try, even once? Developing your own sexual ‘playlist’ as you seek to increase your repertoire can be a fun way to take the pressure off by focusing on what feels good, not what ‘should’ feel good. With the right attitude, the issue may no longer be what the couple can’t do but instead be all the things they haven’t – yet. The sexual repertoire is endless so experiment and find out what works best for you.

A happy healthy sex life is vital for any couple and despite having a diagnosis of endometriosis/adenomyosis, it is achievable with communication, the right attitude and a sense of fun.

If you would like get in touch with Maggie, you can reach her via maggiegitu@hotmail.com, +254 734 757 785 or @MaggietheMezzo .

I initially shared this post on my other blog Bibi2be.com

Pain during sex affects a woman and her relationship. My heart has had a burden for women who are going through a hard time in this area. This August, I will be hosting an event to support women who have struggled with pain during sex and the emotional turmoil that it comes with.

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If you are a woman living with Endometriosis in Kenya who would be interested in talking about pain during sex more candidly with a small group of women facing the same challenge and a counselor, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I’ll send you more details. Due to the nature of the conversation, the sessions will be very small.

Blessings,

Ess

#TheKenyanEndoStory : Nurah Palesa

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The first Kenyan Endo warrior sharing her story with us is Nurah Palesa. Hers is a story of pain, despair, strength, courage and hope.

Before I turned 10, the year that pain became the filter to which I would see life, I was eagerly awaiting my periods. I looked forward to it like a boy would await his ceremonial rites of passage. I wanted to see the drops of blood on my underwear and have a crazy happy dance celebrating my new life as a woman.

 

I am Queen Nurah, and at the age of 25 I have lived with Endometriosis for 15 years now. I run on happiness. There is no one thing that makes me happy, a combination of the things that pull my heart strings is how I live. As for my profession, let’s just say that I am a Storyteller and Poet.

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Where it all begun

 

The pain begun immediately I started my periods. I was sitting in the back of the class, talking as usual and ignoring what the teacher was writing on the board. Then my insides were attacking me. It felt like someone had run a knife across my abdomen over and over again. I shakily put up my hand and asked if I could go to the bathroom.

When I got into the cubicle, something told me to check my underwear and hoorah I had blood. But I couldn’t do the crazy happy dance, not with the pain that I was feeling.

I remember going to one of the “nice” female teachers and telling her I got my period and that I was in intense pain. She was nice, she showed me how to put a pad on and for the pain she said that it was normal and hot water would help. “Normal? Are you crazy, I feel like I’m dying!” I thought to myself as I gave her a look that showed I thought she was crazy.

Maybe two hours later, I don’t exactly remember, my mother was called because now I was wailing and “causing a scene”. Hehehe, causing a scene.

At the end of the day my mom gave me Syndol. Yep Syndol. That confirmed my suspicion that the pain I had was not normal and for the next 7 days I suffered.

 

Managing the pain

For 13 years I was subjected to excruciating pain before my periods, during my periods and 3 days after my periods. In total I was in pain 15 days out of the month.

I ended up having a cocktail of painkillers in my bags. Here is the list with what I started to what I take now:

  • Syndol (4-6 pills in an hour/day)
  • Betapyn (5-6)
  • Postan (10)
  • Brufen (10)
  • Buscopan (10-12)
  • Buscopan plus (it would land in my stomach and I would throw up immediately)
  • iBoprufen (40 mg 6, 80mg 7-8)
  • Vykadin (6)
  • And now I’m on tramadol 100mg and when the pain gets really bad I go for the shot.

And while I was on these pain meds I sometimes found that mixing them would help. And when I say help, I mean level the pain to a degree that I could function and not snap at people.

The pain haze of life is amazing. It changes how you look at everything and how you react. Physical pain makes life 300 times worse. Well for me. Someone else could be different.

I had the worst mood swings, had a short fuse and basically I would just want to cry and be alone most of the time. I am generally a nice, gentle happy Queen, but you don’t want to make me mad when I am in pain.

Oh wait, did I forgot to mention that I would get high off the pain meds… lol aaaand that I was a heavy alcohol drinker. For 7 good years.

The combination of alcohol and a cocktail of pain meds made the pain bearable.

I remember when I joined uni and my girlfriends would watch me pack my clutch bag with tampons and meds (3 strips of 10 so basically 30 pills) and they would ask if I was ok. Little did they know that I would have gone through 2 of the strips by midnight.

I would literally get high just to escape the pain.

When I was 22, fresh out of rehab (because others thought that alcohol was the problem) the pain kicked up a notch.

 

Finally, I got a diagnosis

 

Lower back pain and shoulder pain had kicked in, and I needed to know that there was a name for what I was going through. I went to see a gynaecologist and he diagnosed me with Endometriosis. I thought that finally I can get rid of the pain for good now that it’s an actual disease.

I went online and decided to learn all I could about my condition. That’s the type of person I am, I read and research on topics that are of interest to me. So I did what I do best; gather intel.

I found out that foods (which I had always known, I’m very strict with what I eat.) contributed to the pain levels and there was a diet I could start.

Eh….that diet did not work. In fact I ended up increasing my pain and losing even more weight.As for the endo diet, which is vegetarian I really tried… My body just didn’t accept it.. And recently I discovered that diets don’t work for everyone,  our blood types play a big role in the foods we need and as an O+ I need meat.. (Sticking to white)
So again I run around for another year looking for a solution and I found one. Or so I thought.

I went through a Laparoscopy where The Gynaecologist lasered the extra endometrium tissue that covered my ovaries and fallopian tubes and he put a Mirena Coil so that my fertility wouldn’t be compromised. (I had stage 4 of Endo at this point)

 

Relief at last

 

For the first time in 13 years I had no pain.

I loved my life; a zeal for it (which I still have) was born. You know when someone tells you to live life to the fullest and do what you want to do and wave your hands in the air like you don’t care?? Lol, yeah I did that for 3 good months before the pain came back.

 

Back to reality

 

As I write this I have the worst headache ever and my back and shoulders have decided to kick into level 400. The last two days have been brutal because I am ovulating and I can feel the damn egg travelling.

I could change my diet again or find some radical something that will help “ease or get rid of” the pain, maybe even look at the spiritual aspects of it, but my reality is that I am meant to have this pain. I’m just supposed to rise above it and live life to the fullest and that’s not an easy task.

Yoga helps me. And meditation. And maybe some teas here and there. Lemon, ginger and honey is amazing. I generally try and avoid junk and fast foods and sodas… Been on a general healthy diet from the word go.. My moms always been conscious about food.

 

Endo and Family

 

My family is very open with each other; my mom and sister also have endo and my brother was told early on about our periods.
The extended family is a whole different story. I like avoiding them as they disturb my positive energy fields.

I would love a whole football team of children lol.. 

Endo is genetic, my mom and I traced it back to her grandmother(Her dads mom)  so for me it doesn’t really matter if I have a daughter or son,  I’m going to have to tell them asap about endo.. And what they can do from the word go.

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Parting Shot

 

To my queens and princesses I agree it is soo not fair that we endure this pain.

Search for your solutions and remedies. Don’t let anyone stop you. 

However do not forget to live life to the fullest. Do what makes you happy; love yourself and play in the rain.

Oh and please be kind to your sister queen/princess.

Seriously, we women can be brutal to each other and it’s about time we stopped.

The black rose is my favourite flower.

You can check out Nurah’s blog here.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you Nurah for sharing your story with us. You are a star!! ❤

If you would like to be featured in #TheKenyanEndoStory, please send an email to yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess

 

#TheKenyanEndoStory

When I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, I only knew one other woman with Endo and she was not willing to talk about her journey because of the stigma she had received. I was alone; I felt like an anomaly. My journey with Endo was very lonely and depressing. There are many times that I was almost consumed by these feelings. Suicide crossed my mind a couple of times. By God’s grace, I made it through.

As I researched about Endometriosis a few years back, I realized that there were many stories from the UK and USA but very few, if any, from Kenya. A few years later, I found other women in Kenya who were fighting Endometriosis; I was encouraged and wished I’d heard these stories of pain, strength and courage earlier.

 

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A couple of months ago, I had a dream to share stories of women suffering from Endometriosis in Kenya. I wanted the world at large and the people of Kenya to know that:

*If you know ten women, you know Endometriosis. It affects one in ten women.

*Endometriosis does not fit in a box, it is vast and multi-faceted. It attacks different organs, so every woman’s experience in unique.

*Endometriosis doesn’t have a trademark look. Many women are suffering yet they look normal. Behind their smiles are souls that carry pain unknown.

*Information is power. The more we talk about Endometriosis the more women we empower and together we decrease the stigma.

*We need policies that support women with Endometriosis in Kenya

*Specialized healthcare needs to be more affordable and accessible. Getting a diagnosis in Kenya is like buying a parcel of land.

Several months later,

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a new segment on this blog #TheKenyanEndoStory. yellowendoflower.wordpress.com.

It will feature stories of pain, hope, courage and strength to encourage women in Kenya and around the world. The first story goes live in a few minutes.
If you would like to be featured in ‘Her Endo Story’ #TheKenyanEndoStory, please send an me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess

 

The Lonely Side Of Endometriosis

I’ve been unwell the last couple of days. The levels of pain reminded me of an Endo flare and the memories all came flooding back.

Yestermorning, I read the story of the woman who hemorrhaged for twelve years and had spent all her money on physicians in Luke 8. They couldn’t find a cure.

43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding,[g] and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

This really reminded me of Endometriosis, and my heart just went out to all the women suffering from Endometriosis. The truth is that unless we too, figure out how to touch the hem of His garment all we are doing is simply trying to manage the condition. There is no known medical cure for Endometriosis. 

After being sick for such a long time, you realize who your true friends are. Your life comes to a stand still. The vibrant life you once led now becomes a distant memory. As much as you would like to, you are not physically able to do everything you’d like to do. And it hurts. It hurts to watch a part of your life fade away. It’s sad when getting out of bed was the biggest achievement of the day.

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The shame. The questions. The roller coaster of emotions. The question “You are STILL sick?” becomes a constant. The labels are disheartening. The despair. The dismay. The disappointment. The discouragement. All these other things that come with Endometriosis make it a very lonely journey. Not many people are able to understand the turmoil and pain that you experience. Not many people understand the desperation to get well. Often we see people do seemingly crazy things in the hope of getting better. What I’ve learned is that unless you walked in the person’s shoes, you are better off shelving your judgement. You don’t know their pain. I know that I too have had crazy thoughts; I have been desperate for the pain to end. In those moments I was willing to do almost anything to take the pain away.

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Today I just want to encourage all women who feel like hope is lost, that you are not alone. As you lay in fetal position and cry your heart out, you are not alone. The Lord who knit you in your mother’s womb is right there. Do not stop pressing in, keep believing.

Sending you love and light,

‘Big Sis’

I Was Labelled A Hypochondriac

Hypochondria

“It’s all in your head!” is a phrase I heard one too many times. Looking back, I somewhat see where these people were coming from. I mean the symptoms I was experiencing were just all over the place-painful periods, severe bloating, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, recurrent urinary tract infections, backaches, the list is quite long. I was constantly in pain. My period had turned into a monster. Rearing it’s head at every point of my cycle. It wasn’t really a cycle, the length kept changing every month. While most of my girlfriends bragged about being regular, I was as irregular as it got. Anywhere from 24-37 days. So much for being able to predict when I’d be rolling.

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I saw several doctors but they weren’t quite sure what was wrong with me. In fact I became a regular at the clinics, the doctors could almost predict what I was going to complain about. They’d heard it all. There is something about hospital waiting rooms that makes you feel sicker than you actually are.

The most deflating moment is when the doc would say “I can’t seem to find anything wrong with you.” One even went ahead to add, “I think you are imagining the pain. It’s all in your head.” In addition to the swollen belly and physical pain, I left his office, with medicine he wasn’t  sure I needed and dampened spirits. Most times I would just go home and cry. I was that girl crying in the lift, not because I had received a diagnosis, but because the professional was trying to make me believe that I had brought the pain upon myself. How I hoped I could just wish it away, or sleep and it would all be over.

 

all in your head

My journey taught me to trust my inner voice. To keep searching for an answer; a diagnosis. To never give up on myself, even though others dismissed me. Tough times show us who we really are, we find reserves of strength we knew nothing about.

Have you been labelled a hypochondriac? Have you given up looking for a diagnosis?

In part 2 I will talk about the day I got vindicated; when I finally received a diagnosis. It was the beginning of a difficult chapter, but it was far much better than not knowing what was wrong with me.

‘Big sis’

 

How I Became A Rookie Pharmacist

Up until a couple of years ago, I was a self-proclaimed, self-medicating, rookie pharmacist.

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Let me explain how it came about. A few months into my period, I started experiencing painful cramps. Every time I brought up the issue, I was told that the pain was normal. Though deep within me, I knew that pain that intense was everything but normal. In fact, I had monthly visit to the high school nurse, where I could predict the order of the day. She would quickly draw a picture of my uterus, explain that it was shedding its lining and hand me two Paracetamols as she sent me back to class.

uterus lning

The emergency room was not very helpful initially, a painful period is not on the top of the ’emergency conditions’ list. I  remember ever so vividly rushing to hospital because of painful periods but being kept waiting for over two hours because it ‘wasn’t an emergency enough’. That is until my blood pressure would spike and the doctors would wonder how I was walking with all that pain.

To avoid the inconvenience of the hospital, I would self medicate when the pain would get intense. The method was simple: I would mix up all the remaining stock that I had. One Buscopan Plus, One Ponstan , One…. you get the drift. I was self prescribing a cocktail that left me in a happy place; read: pain free, albeit for a few hours. Then I would need a repeat dosage.

My poor body. What I didn’t know then was that this cocktail could have adverse effects on my health. I was young and foolish, I didn’t bother to read the pamphlets. I thought  I was being a good steward of my time, studying for exams instead of reading pamphlets in font 2 [ I understand that they are trying to fit a lot of information on a small piece of paper, BUT, how does that font size motivate the target audience to read it?]

Also, I foolishly believed that I wouldn’t have any allergic reactions, I always prayed that I fell in the percentage that did not display any reaction to the drug. The desire to be pain free overshadowed every form of good sense in me. I was desperate, I needed relief; ever so urgently.

 

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I am now reformed. I get a proper prescription from a certified professional and religiously read the medicine pamphlets; in fact, I get very irritated when I’m sold a few tablets in an envelope without a pamphlet. I could be slowly poisoning myself for all I know. I read on the internet and make an informed decision when I take medicine and know what to look out for in terms of allergic reactions.

Are you a rookie pharmacist? Do you take time to read medicine pamphlets? Have you experienced any allergic reactions to the cocktail of meds?

‘Big Sis’

 

I Call Her Red

My little toddler found a packet of pads a few days ago. I told her they are called ‘pads’; for some reason she thought they were diapers for her toys.

I had the option of telling her a coloured lie, BUT, I am trying to make our home a truth zone. Also, the fact that I believed pads were mkate/bread, is rather bewildering. When my husband read my first post he called me laughing, wondering how now brown cow I was told they were bread; better yet, how I believed it. Oh the folly of youth. I’m yet to understand it myself.

When I got my period, I wasn’t sure what to refer to it as. Was it a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ or just an ‘it’? I rejected the nickname that was introduced to me, ‘kunyesha’ which means to rain.

exclamation points - periods

Also, I’ve always wondered why some people call it period and other periods. Does the pluralism indicate severity? Just food for thought.

When I asked my peers, I learned there was a better nickname, ‘Rolling’, you know, like the stone that gathers no moss. And so it stuck, until this rolling felt like tumbling down under. The pain was something else.

I then decided that my period was a she with the prefix ‘Red’. At some point it was so painful, all I could think of calling her was ‘Red Devil’ because the pain was outta this world. Now she is just Red. Red signifies her color, the fact that she stands..er..seeps out and finally the fact, that my vagina is a no go zone while she is in town.

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Other nicknames I have come across are:

  • Shark week
  • Aunty Flo is in town
  • Red Robot
  • TOM {Time of the month} is here

What do you call your period? Does it live up to it’s name?

You can find other interesting nicknames here and here.

‘Big Sis’

The Big Sister Also Needs A Big Sister

Hello !

My name is Ess and I like to talk about periods. Yup, you read right. I wasn’t always like this but life happened. I’ll explain what life did or didn’t do to me in the next couple of posts but first, let’s reminisce on my first conversation about periods. I was a shy girl, who thought periods were gross, actually disgusting and dirty, and such an inconvenience. To my defense, my first conversation about periods wasn’t all rosy. Unless we choose to dwell on the fact that roses are red [pun intended].

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I was about eight or nine years old, when a cousin and the house help at the time decided to prepare me ‘womanhood’ as they called it. Well, I was told that soon my body was going to change and I would have to change the way that I carried myself. No more playing with boys. Blood was going to become a monthly sighting and it was disgusting. How encouraging right? Then I was shown a pad, and asked if I knew what it was, all I said is that I had seen an ad on t.v. Well, it was now introduced to me as  ‘mkate’/bread. I have no idea why food was brought into this conversation. I was told they were not exactly for display hence the shopkeeper wraps them in a newspaper. That wrapped up my period class and I was released into womanhood, well, whenever it would strike.

I left knowing life was about to get hard and yucky, my periods were enroute and my days of fun were about to end. The realities of life that I was not looking forward to.

Subsequent conversations about periods in my home science class were filled with giggles and awkwardness. The basics were covered but still, I was left somewhat unprepared for  what was yet to come.

I’ve had my periods for well over ten years, and they have changed over the years; I’ve experienced the good, bad and ugly sides of periods. As I have walked this confusing journey, trying to understand my periods and the things and drama that they’ve come with, there are so many times that I have asked God why I didn’t have a big sister, to shed some light on what to expect and what to do when the unexpected happens. I am a big sister, but I too felt the need to have a big sister.

Many years later, through my journey of pain and confusion, I have found my feet ordered to this very place, to be the light that I did not have. Be the ‘big sister’ for those willing to listen and talk about periods openly.

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The truth is, I don’t have all the answers but I sure am a whole lot wiser than I was then. I have had to learn in my adulthood what a normal period looks like to enable me to identify an abnormal period.

That’s it!!! You can’t identify the abnormal symptoms if you don’t know what a normal period looks like.

I invite you to join me on this journey of demystifying periods, body loving and pursuing fullness of life and health.

I would love to hear from you, what was your first period conversation like? How has it shaped what you think about periods now?

‘Big Sis’