I haven’t posted in a while. My pain didn’t go away… it’s been pretty consistently managed, but the past few years have been a little different thanks to “the change” i.e. perimenopause. So I thought it was time to write about that. I was warned by my pelvic floor physical therapist that my pain might “get worse with menopause” but I was thinking age 50… because that’s when I estimated I’d hit menopause. Problem was — nobody ever tells you about perimenopause. And pelvic pain is definitely wrapped up in our hormones. And perimenopause is all about hormone fluxuations. So yeah, it’s a thing and it’s a big thing.
How many times have people been well-meaning and said to me “I hope your back feels better” as some standard gesture acknowledging my pain but when they really don’t actually want to hear any more about it.
First of all, my pain’s not in my back. It’s in the parts I use to sit, and where I feel the most feminine. It’s where I gave birth. I understand people don’t want to say the V word. I don’t want to say it myself. And technically my pain is in the nerves within the muscle tissue in a few locations, so it’s not just about any one particular location anyway. I fractured my coccyx which is technically part of the back.
It’s finally here, the day I’ve been waiting for now for over six years. Liberation day. As of tomorrow, my almost 6.5 year-old daughter will be in a most-day camp for the rest of the summer, and then as of August, she will be entering first grade. So essentially starting now, my life begins to resemble some sense of normalcy for the first time since before I became pregnant. It comes with continued sacrifices and pain, but it is so refreshing I can’t even begin to express the emotion I’m feeling.
One would think I’d be used to setbacks by now after so many different injuries, but it never gets any easier. My only comfort at the moment is that my wrists and hands aren’t hurting too much, so at least I can blog and work. But taking care of my family isn’t working out so well.
It’s all about toast. I really love toast. In college, my cinnamon & sugar toast became so famous that I actually was teaching friends of friends how to make it just right. (That was about the extent of my cooking skills anyway.) Toast has also become a theme in my management of pain the past four years because it’s an easy way to explain the good days vs. the bad. On the good days, I can stay standing next to the toaster, doing other things in the kitchen while my bread toasts. On the bad days, the pain is so severe that it hurts too much to even stay standing long enough to toast the bread. That’s about 4-5 minutes.
This pain began with early bed rest in my first – and only – pregnancy. I started bleeding a few days into the pregnancy and was having a lot of abdominal pain. The doctor advised me to take it easy and my husband had to keep reminding me that in 80% of cases, early bleeding was not an indicator of miscarriage. So I rested. Over the next few weeks, the embryo developed just fine and we could see the little pulsating blob on the ultrasound, which we named Dot. Still, the first trimester kicked my a** and I was exhausted all the time, I couldn’t focus well, and I was in a lot of pain as the ligaments stretched (and it’s possible the stretching of my nerves in the pelvic area began here as well.)