I don’t know about you, but I don’t get periods. I have an enemy that slowly stalks me down every month and then ambushes me for a week long siege.
Until recently, it’s gone something like this:
Day 7 to 10, twinge of pain in one side or the other. Twinge may work its way up to being an ice pick in my side and occasionally will incapacitate me so that I’m curled up in a ball over the pillows on the sofa and pumped full of Advil and Tylenol until it’s over.
I call this little slice of heaven ovulation.
If it happens on the left, it’s usually a day or two early and means it will happen again on the right in a couple days. YAY IT’S TWINS!!!
Then about a week and a half later, my tits will start to get tender. That’s the polite term, of course. What they really do is ache so badly it hurts when they bounce while I walk. Touching them? No, not a good idea.
It gets worse as that week wears on, the monthly enemy stalking ever closer.
Some months, I can feel early cramping. There’s no blood flow, but my uterus has decided to clench and not let go. Could be just a day or so ahead of time. Or could be four days of misery.
Day 21 after the last day of my previous ambush, the monthly enemy has found me! Fresh ambush and siege that starts off relatively light that first day. Day 2 of the bleed, the monthly enemy has found the dam and destroyed it. The Niagara Falls of blood has arrived along with enough pain to put an elephant on it’s knees.
I once took 5000mgs of Tylenol in one day and it didn’t TOUCH my pain. Just made me sick.
“Lose weight” someone typed at me when I typed this. Idiot. I weighed 110 pounds at the time. How much MORE weight did they want me to lose??? Weight is not a factor in how much pain I have. It’s been like this since I was 12, thank you very much.
“Go take a walk,” someone else always suggests. Yeah…no. If I can barely stand up to go to the bathroom ten feet away, what MAKES YOU THINK I’m going to make it down (and back up) three flights of stairs? So that exercise thing never does fly with me. Maybe it works for other people. Not me!
I have to use those Super Plus tampons during these middle days. And I’ll blow through one in about two hours. “EIGHT HOURS OF PROTECTION” the commercial says, and I laugh my ass off. I have to make sure to wake up in the middle of the night to change the thing at least twice. They don’t MAKE a super plus that is PLUS ENOUGH for me.
“Use pads” someone says. Yeah, I have ’em. Put one in the panties when I’m going out in case I don’t get to a bathroom in time to change the plug. Wear one at night in case I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. Gotta beat the morning gush to the bathroom otherwise.
I’ve read things that say the entire monthly output averages about two ounces of blood. Two ounces? For the WHOLE THING? Seriously? Does anyone actually have that little?
I could weigh one of those super plus from Day 3 and I betcha it’ll be two ounces all by itself. Times one every two hours that I’m awake. No wonder I crave rare steak. lol
Somewhere around day 5 of the bleed, the entire uterine liner will shed and the Niagara Falls spigot closes about 75% of the way. YAY! I can use “Regular” tampons now like a “regular” chick and not have to worry about exploding all over my pants.
Day 7 of the bleed and we’re done. Next day starts as Day 1 of the 1 to 21 day hunting expedition and the whole thing begins all over again.
This was such a regular and dependable system for 20 years that I planned our wedding six months in advance.
But the last couple years…things have been changing. Some I don’t mind. Others I’m not liking at all.
Ovulation isn’t waiting until day 7 to 10. Sometimes I can feel it the third or fourth day after I stop bleeding. This will throw the entire thing off, because it means I may start around Day 17 instead of Day 21. This puts a monkey wrench into a bunch of things. Will I start to get tender around Day 14 this month? Or might I just pink a bit on Day 17 but not start full until Day 19? If so, does day 17 count as Day 1 of the bleed? Or does it count when it starts the fuller flow on the 19th day? So now that whole last week from Day 17 to Day 21 is a watch’n’wait game of cat and mouse with my monthly enemy.
The flow itself is also changed. It may take two days before the dam breaks. And the liner might shed two days after that. And then I’m down to nearly nil by day 5 instead of day 6 or 7. And I mean nearly nil. Those last couple days, I might be so light that I don’t even need a tampon. Talk about a revelation!
So the supplies I’d have been burning through every two months…have been sitting there for three or four. At this rate, the pads I have on hand might just last me the rest of my menstrual safari.
At Rite Aid last month, I stood on the “NO MEN!” aisle and looked at this little pink box. Soft Cups they’re called. I had previously researched the Diva Cup at one point, looking for a cost-effective alternative to tampons and pads. So I knew what I was dealing with. All those doubts cropped up again.
I have short fingers and rather a long channel. Will I be able to get it in properly? Will I be able to get it out??? Will it make a spilled mess when I take it out? Is it worth the price? For the Diva cup, you not only need the cup, but they want you to buy their soap as well. What a mess that would be if I was in a public restroom. I could just see people freaking out that I was washing this thing in the sink. (I think about these things.) Not to mention the horror stories of women who have forgotten they were wearing the thing and remembered days later, and walked out of the doctor’s office with a fist full of prescriptions for the infections.
So then I’d need two Diva cups. Put the one taken out into a baggy and into the purse to wash at home, put fresh one in. That’s $80 instead of $40. With two $7 boxes of tampons now lasting me up to four months each, the price of the Diva cup is no longer economically viable, even if all my other concerns were negated.
But here on the top shelf of the “NO MEN!” aisle was a little box with 12 disposable cups. Soft Cups by Instead.
I was wishing there was a smaller box with only four or six in it, so I could give a trial run. I’d not have hesitated if I was only spending about three bucks. But what if I bought the nine dollar box and it turned out to be a disaster just as I had been concerned all along? What if I didn’t spend the money and they could be the greatest thing since sliced bread?
I bought the tampons. Better the devil you know.
Then here I was about to start my period literally any minute and having to go to a party. I didn’t want to start at the party and maybe have a little yuck to deal with. But it’s not healthy or safe to wear a tampon when you’re not bleeding. The cups would be perfect for this kind of situation – one that is happening nearly every month at this point, since the start of my bleed is perfectly aligned with the second party of each month.
Another little joke by Mother Nature, thank you very little.
So I showed the box to EW. I laid out all the pros and cons, my concerns about all of it right down to the cost. Maybe a ten dollar mistake isn’t that big a deal to most. But I rarely ever buy myself anything.
In true EW form, he got out a coin. Heads buy it, tails don’t. He flipped. The coin said buy it. So I did.
I didn’t start that night. In fact, early this morning, feeling that dull ache low in my belly, I remembered that we just had the time change and lost an hour. It’s Spring. My bleed is always a couple days late that first cycle of Spring. I showed pink this morning. Not a lot. Just a tinge. Not enough that I want to put in a tampon. So I got out the box. Looked at the side. It was in French. I turned the box around to the other end. Did the best I could and it seems I may have done it correctly on the first try. Or correct enough. lol When I wipe, I don’t see blood, so nothing is getting past it at the moment. Worry #1 put to rest.
When I sit on the toilet, I can feel the edge of it with my finger, so getting it out may not be the problem I had been concerned about. Worry #2 allayed.
Softcup Experiment #1, Day 1
So far so good.
And I’ve found through that website that the company does make a sample pack. You just have to find a store that has it or be willing to pay the shipping to give it a go. At the cost of two plus shipping, you may as well just buy them at your local drug store. The site does have a store locator. They also have a 24 pack. Last, they have a two-pack of reusable cups – use one for the entire period. Two for six or seven bucks is about three to three and a half bucks per period.
THAT is comparable to the cost of tampons used each month.
THAT is do-able!