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We were on our family summer vacation in the Upper Peninsula in August of 1983, I was 12. Some of my aunts and uncles rented cottages on a lake up there and we had come up in our little motorhome, my parents, my brother, and my cousin Suzanne from Florida, who spent the summers with us.
A couple of days into the vacation, I got terrible sick, and was quarantined to the motorhome (everyone else slept in the cabin) with a fever that reached and remained at 104-105 degrees for a couple of days (did I mention this was in August?), vomiting, and everything just ached and hurt. Finally my mom convinced my dad that we needed to go home in case I needed to be in the hospital. He was very unhappy about his vacation being cut short (which I understand; being at home just meant he felt obligated to go back to work as my parents own a business).
As we were crossing the Mackinac Bridge, I went to the bathroom and that's when I started bleeding. I told mom and begged her not to tell dad. I'm not sure why, but it was shameful to me for him to know. She went to the cockpit area to get a pad from her purse and returned, informing me she had told dad, because it was important that he know why I was so sick.
That never sat too well with me; I wondered why the puke, fever, and pain weren't enough to legitimize the fact that I was sick. It's not as though I was going to fake being ill during a trip to which I had anticipated so happily. It was like I needed a "better excuse" in my mom's mind or something. Anyway, the period lasted three weeks and had me bedridden and in pain the entire time. Dad was pissed about me not being well enough to work around the house, and I was semi-accused of milking the situation, despite the fact that I had to wear hospital sized pads 24/7 and still bled through those, sometimes in an hour.
From that point forward, my periods would last a minimum of 10 days, but sometimes up to three weeks, and would be heavy, involve lots of large clots, and I'd bleed through clothes. And they were inconsistent in terms of arrival - sometimes there was 2 weeks in between periods, sometimes two months. The cramping and pain would immobilize me.
Finally, in 1987, my mom reluctantly took me to the ob/gyn and he obviously recommended that I go on birth control pills to help regulate my periods. She was not happy about the idea but went along with it. I wasn't having sex - we were JW's and that wasn't allowed until after marriage. Hell, I hadn't even kissed anyone yet. But in her mind, because she had gotten pregnant in high school, that put me at high risk for the same.
The pills did help, although, the periods were still 7-10 days long. At least I knew when they'd come. They were still heavy, lots of pain and clotting. When I was 22, they did a laproscopy to determine whether I had endometriosis (I did not) and performed a D&C because, according to my doctor, I had the "uterus scarring and build-up of a 40 year old woman." :P
I still have pretty awful periods to this day; I'm still on the pill, because when I try to go off, they get all wonky. At least they only last a max of 7 days now, and usually only 5-6.
Periods have always represented suffering for me.
The high fever and later scarring suggest that you had a pretty bad pelvic infection. That is what caused the damage to your uterus. (Actually, there's no reason a 40 year old should have scars in her uterus. What a silly thing to say.) I am sorry that your parents were so insensitive about the situation, and also sorry that you didn't get the medical treatment you needed. :-(
Wow. Well that actually explains quite a bit. I also ended up having an abnormal PAP smear when I was 18, the doctor said it was condiloma but it was not an STD because I was still a virgin. I had to have it frozen off and that damaged my cervix. So my female bits have taken a real beating.
I try very hard not to get hurt/angry about the period problems and other incidents with my parents. They were kids raising a child - they were in high school when I was born. And they joined a cult (the JW's) which further complicated matters. So they were not on top of their game, so to say. I'd like to believe that they'd do things differently if they had been ten years older and wiser.
It does disturb me that the JW belief system would have meant if their kids needed a blood transfusion, they were supposed to let my brother and/or I die. And we were raised to believe that this was the "right" thing to do - to deny ourselves medical treatment to demonstrate faith in god, even if it meant we didn't survive. But that's another subject altogether, and thankfully, we have all left that damn cult, so it's no longer an issue.
I never thought about the pelvic infection, though. It makes complete sense, now.
We have family that have been involved with the JW church, so I know where you are coming from. One of them did leave the church and the abusive marriage she was in, and went through a period of shunning where her own mother was not allowed to talk to her. I'm glad your family was able to get out.