For some time now my menstrual cycle has run from 21-24 days. While that sounds fairly miserable, the actual period would only last 3 days, so it wasn't a bad trade off. Much better than a 28 days cycle with 5-7 days of bleeding in my humble opinion.
Now I have always had cramps to go along with the onset of my period. As a teenager, before the Pill, I usually spent 12-24 hours writhing in pain and throwing up. No kidding, actual vomiting. Nothing helped the pain. I finally started taking birth control pills at 18 and things were much better. I came off of them to get pregnant, but pregnancy seemed to help with many of the problems and I stayed off of them for a while after my son was born and then only took them intermittantly (they were expensive and we were without medical insurance for a while). I went off of them permanently when DSD moved in. He had a vasectomy many years before he met me, so birth control is not an issue and why screw up my system with hormones if I didn't to?
The cramps were more annoying than anything else. Painful, yes, but usually only lasted 12-24 hours and were easily managed with Motrin or Advil. The backache, which started 4 or 5 years ago was more painful. Maybe because it was new and unexpected, but it would usually knock me down for a day then move on until the next month.
So, imagine my surprise, and annoyance, the day before my birthday when DSD and I were out of town, to realize we had taken along an extra guest for the weekend. Aunt Flo apparently likes to play the slots and decided to tag along to Biloxi. Not a welcome guest, ever, but certainly not when she was not expected for another week. Add to that the fact that the cramps and backache are running closer to 3 days of actual pain that Advil will not kill and my periods are up to 4 days.. not fun at all.
It was time for my yearly visit to the family doctor, so I scheduled it for 10 days after our return, and then rescheduled it because (Hello!) I was on my period. Again. My mom went through very early menopause, so that it was I thought it probably was. I was poked and prodded through the usual PapSmear, two separate (and not even close to equal) mammograms, what seemed like a gallon of blood and the results? Nothing. No menopause, no anemia (which is what my doctor thought), nothing. Then he mentions that maybe, I have fibroid tumors. Well, duh. Now I love my doctor, but do you think he actually reads my chart? The information is in there. I gave a complete history when I started seeing him about 6 years ago that included the important things like, you know, Fibroid Tumors. Embedded. In. My. Uterus.
So, now I get to go see a Nurse Practitioner at an actual GYN clinic for MORE poking and prodding and, possibly, an ultrasound. Is there anything more relaxing than having someone press on your belly to take pictures when your bladder is full to the point of explosion? Then, probably, I will get an appointment with the actual GYN, then, we can figure out what we are going to do.
The choices range from medication (apparently RU486 works well in situations like this) to full blown hysterectomy. I would like to stay away from surgery if at all possible. I am over 40 and should be experiencing menopause in the next 10 years or so. We will see what MY options are. All I know is that doing nothing is NOT an option.