Mittelschmerz

3 03 2012

At first, this is one of those posts where you think, “Rilly?”  As in, “as if this could get any more fun.  Rilly?”  But, keep reading.  There’s an unexpected happy ending.

I have a big show coming up.  So, I’ve been, shall we say, tense.  And busy.  One day, I’m making a 3 foot by 4 foot papier macche mask (yes)., and I realize that I’m in pain.  Like, I really hurt.  One of the volunteers asks me if I’m okay, and I respond with a “Yes, I just take a medicine that makes me sore.”  Blaming the methotrexate.  Well, am I wrong?

A few nights later, I wake up in the middle of the night with a pain that can best be described as “Shit, why am I being stabbed in my stomache?”  My room is pitch black, my husband is snoring peacefully next to me.  But I can’t sleep.  “Well, this is just silly.  I can’t possibly have one more thing, so this is indigestion, and I’m just going to sit up a little while until it passes and then get back to bed.”

It did.  I did.  Good then.

Next day.  Lunch with my business partner, and I can’t walk.  I’m hobbling in pain.  We arrive at the Mexican restaurant that I chose (because I am that picky about my Mexican food.)  The smells are great, the music is great, the scene is cool-hip.  But, the only thing I see are the very stiff hard wooden chairs.  Crap.  Now I know that when I am distracted from truly delicious enchiladas verdes, I’m in real pain here.

So, I tell my business partner that i gotta get to an E.R.  I don’t have insurance, so this is my only option.  My mother takes me.  I know a great ER, and get in a private room within 30 minutes.  I explain that I’m on methotrexate, and was instructed by my doctor to not take aspirin, and that if i had any stomach pain to go to an emergency room.  I’m trying not to think “Liver Failure, Kidney failure.  This is it.” but also to convey the urgency of the situation.

They give me painkillers, which are great because as I said, I can’t even think of taking an aspirin or an ibuprofen.  The nurse practicioner orders some tests (for which I’m really grateful).   Eventually, I hear the results.  I have a burst ovarian cyst.

This is the “Rilly?” part.  I mean, at this point, I’m thinking of having a talk with God and asking, “Dude, are you kidding me?”

Of course I look up burst ovarian cyst on the Internet.  I won’t be doing that again.  That information is terrifying.  My whole family spends the evening in knots, worrying for me.  I of course am out like a light because, at this point, I’ve had several good and very effective pills.

The next day, we follow up with a woman who is now my gynecologist.  She walks in, and says with a thick German accent, “I love your hair.  Just like that.”  As if she’s known me for years.  Then and there, I knew we would get along.

“Listen.  This burst ovarian cyst, is not what you think it is.  It’s a burst follicle.  Very normal.  You’re just perimenopausal.”

What?

“You’re 43?  Have your periods been getting lighter or further apart?  Well, there you have it.  You’re perimenopausal.”

But, my hormone levels are normal.

“As if those tests tell you anything.  Did a doctor tell you that? Never trust doctors.” (okay, I made that part up for dramatic effect).

“You know you’re peri, when you know.  Do you feel awful?”

Why yes!

“lack of energy?”

Yes!

“Inability to concentrate?”

What? Yes!

“You’re perimenopausal.  Perimenopause in some women can signal the beginning of something we Germans call Mittelschmerz.  It literally means ‘middle pain’.  Because your ovulations are irregular now, it’s more likely for you to be in pain.  I’m one year ahead of you.  And the only reason, I’m not doubled over in pain is because I’m on the birth control pill.  So, let’s get you on the pill, eh?”

Well now.

As it turns out, perimenopause causes a bunch of other things….a psoriasis flare up among them.  Most women experience their most severe psoriasis flare up at the beginning of perimenopause.

And this brings me great comfort.  I’m not crazy.  I’m not harboring disease, or some strange autoimmune response to something I can’t define.  I’m just hormonal.

So now I understand everything.  And really, it’s good.  I’m ready to move on.

So thank you, the very few of you who listened to me when I was at my most frightened.  You really have given me a great gift of your time, and I appreciate that.

And join me on my other blog, the one for the next phase of my life:  Dramamama.  Running a theatre, raising a daughter, and living life in the in-between.

Take care


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