In which we express considerable reluctance to be sensible

Dear all, I have now been bleeding for 45 days, nine of those really rather inconveniently heavily.

Yes, yes, I know. I must go to the doctor right away, and drug my uterus into obedience. I belong to an online message-board for infertile women and this is the one and only message I am getting. Go Doc. Get Drugs. Insist. Drugs. Yeah. It sounds sensible, doesn’t it? After all, I am very tired and grouchy all the time, probably anaemic, my husband lives in fear of me tearing him a new one, we are spending a fortune on tampons, I hate everyone. Surely Something Must Be Done.

But. Indeed. But. In my long and tedious history of taking my uncooperative innards to assorted doctors, I have yet to report a truly helpful interview. Some GPs have been very kind, some have been sods, all of them have been not a great deal of help. The GP who told me many teenagers have very irregular periods and bad period pains, and that it’d all get better when I had a baby. The GP who couldn’t find the 17 inch mass (a dermoid cyst) growing out of my left ovary because he couldn’t be bothered to find the nurse so he could do a proper pelvic examination. Even though I had gone to his office precisely to complain of ‘this strange lump in my lower abdomen’. A few months later I was rushed into hospital by a big shiny ambulance going neenaw because said cyst had twisted and was trying to rip my ovary in half. Damn near succeeded. I am down to one ovary. After a lull of being on the Pill, I came off said Pill, failed to ovulate for six months, and was taken to an Italian gynecologist who did a scan, found all the pretty cysts on the one remaining ovary, diagnosed me, and put me straight back on the Pill again. Then I went back to Britain, and had in rapid succession, the GP who refused to believe the Pill was making me depressed, the GP who told me that when I wanted babies I just had to come back and they’d give me fertility treatment, the three or four GPs in a row who nagged me about getting too fat, the GP who told me that I wasn’t having heavy and painful periods while on the Pill because it’s supposed to make things lighter (so I must have been imagining things. I wonder that he didn’t have me sectioned: ‘Hello, I have this patient who keeps seeing all this imaginary blood – oh, how do I know she’s not really bleeding that much? Well, obviously I have a security camera in her knickers’), and finally the GP, who on hearing I wanted to start a family, told me to come off the Pill and try for a year. And lose weight. And when I said I had PCOS and only one ovary and a previous GP had told me I’d need help getting pregnant, repeated ‘go away, try for a year, lose weight.’

So I did. I came off the Pill in October. I put on another half-stone in two months despite upping the exercise quotient. I also grew a mustache, hair on my toes and belly, more spots, and my head hair started falling out. That’s uncontrolled PCOS for you. Not a whisper from the innards until January, and that was more a sad little episode of very minor spotting. A little more spotting in March. Damn it, I thought, I had better start charting, I don’t think I’m ovulating at all. I had to wait until June to start charting, as the uterus had gone completely silent again, and then of course my body got the hang of spotting and decided to do that for days on end. Finally, not quite three weeks ago, after thirty-odd days of incessant spotting and light bleeding, I think I ovulated. Eight days after that (indicating a very short luteal phase, yet another problem), I started bleeding heavily. And still am.

I should of course be hammering the surgery door down right now. It is, I suppose, entirely possible that the GP will berate me for not coming sooner and give me all the drugs and referrals to specialists a girl could want. But I cannot bear, I really cannot bear, to be told there’s nothing they can do, or that I haven’t lived out my year in Purgatory yet, or that I’m too fat and need to lose weight. And I am convinced that this is what I will be told, by the chirpy slender young woman or the terse and extravagantly mustachioed older man that I will have to discuss my uterus with.

You see, I may well snap this time, and instead of lowering my head meekly and shuffling out, I might attempt to dent them with an office chair.


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