Women's health

This was the mural on the ceiling of a clinic I went to a couple weeks ago. Check out the gnarly scene with someone getting their leg amputated! // In other news, please forgive any typos or incoherence - writing has become more physically and mentally difficult for me, so I'm trying to just let myself off the hook rather than letting perfectionism stop me!

Medical ceiling mural

week and a half ago, when I put up my first blog post in ages, talking about getting back out there in the (virtual) world, I had no idea that I was about to have a potentially life altering breakthrough with my medical care situation. I'd essentially stopped talking about the frustrations of trying to get better healthcare publicly because it just felt so utterly futile. The lack of progress had consistently resulted in people - some well meaning, some not - making their own judgments (accusations?) about my illness and how I should be handling it. I get a lot of positive things out of putting my writing in the public eye, and being honest and vulnerable, but I also open myself up to the negative side of telling my story to both friends and strangers.

I've been putting off writing an update for so long that I barely know where to begin. This will necessarily be rife with omissions... And just FYI I finally crunched the data on the healthcare experiences survey I had posted (it's now closed to new entries). Thanks so much to everyone who responded! I had some interesting results and am looking forward to sharing them soon! 

It's been a weird summer - things have been pretty apocalyptic. Plagues (bad chronic illness flares for me, plus Bruno and I both had a bad cold/flu virus a few weeks ago - fevers and snot galore), locusts (we keep getting explosions of maggots in our compost bin because of the heat, and they got into our garage), crazy weather (namely the incessant heatwave, though we've finally got a little break from that, but also the couple days of thick forest fire smoke)... It's been one thing after another.

Anyway, let's get to it.

You've got what it takes and it will take everything you've got

I don't want to write this post, but I'm going to anyway, because yesterday led to me completely losing my shit at a medical appointment. I left uncontrollably sobbing, shaking...and not even from the extremely painful medical test I had, but from how much lack of compassion and actual caring there was around providing me the recommended treatment. 

I've been keeping most of my medical traumas private for a while now (aside from what I put in issue 2 of my zine), after being shamed and judged by several people for talking about my health related experiences. But I'm working on overcoming the feeling that I need to keep quiet about these experiences, because I feel it's an important part of demystifying chronic illness and advocating for better understanding and care, for me and others who are sick or disabled. I don't want to let the judgment and shaming of a few people silence me, so I have to keep telling my story.

There are so many posts I should write, I could write, but sometimes something just gets under my skin and I have to get it out. Regardless of who it may offend, though it's not meant to...

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I keep seeing more and more communities, events, online projects, hashtags, etc. that are targeted towards women and branded with infinite varieties of "moms" or "mommies" or "mamas".

On one hand, I can understand that motherhood is a HUGE and identity changing shift in a woman's life. But I hope that the women who organize and participate in and promote these realize how in-your-face the exclusion of women without children it is.

I had a really interesting evening tonight. I ended up deciding kind of last minute to head over to Lunapads HQ for one of their "Lunacircle" gatherings, it was the first one I made it to so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect... The topic of the night was doulas and women's bodies in times of transition, and the conversation was led by two doulas - Danika and Andrea - from Fig Birth Services. And before anyone gets ahead of themselves, no I am not pregnant, I was just curious to go listen and learn (and it turned out to be pretty split between pregnant women or women who already have children, and those who haven't had kids or don't even plan to, which I thought was really cool!).

Lunacircle at Lunapads

I found this book - "Are You Tired and Wired?" by Nurse Practitioner Marcelle Pick in a bookstore last winter, and little did I know how much it was going to mean to me. I'd been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, so when I saw it I thought it might help me understand further what it is and how it works, and what else I could do to help recover from it. It ended up reading like my life story in parts, and blowing my mind as far as how long this has probably been building up. It validated so much of what I'm going through, and helped me understand how important what I've been doing is.

You may think this is irrelevant to you, but ask yourself if you or someone in your life is constantly exhausted and on edge. Can't get to sleep (or wakes up in the middle of the night or too early) despite being exhausted. Feels like total crap after exercising, even though exercise is "supposed to" make you feel more energized. Is completely reliant on caffeine or sugar to get through the day. Having extreme cravings for sugar, carbs, and/or salt. Runs like an energizer bunny until a certain point, then crashes and turns into a puddle. Feels anxious or depressed and like life is no longer manageable.

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Ok, so I keep hearing people talking about "ease" and moving towards doing what comes with more "ease". The work I was doing before was mostly things that I felt came pretty naturally to me (being organized, mediating between different stakeholders, writing emails, planning), but work didn't feel full of "ease" by any means.

Socializing didn't feel easy. Taking care of myself didn't feel easy. Even when I left my job in the spring, NOTHING felt easy.

Resting didn't feel easy, thinking about what I wanted to do with my life didn't feel easy, I felt fucking stressed and anxious all the time, in between trips and visitors all through the summer. I tried to go take art classes, and that all fell apart quickly. I did creative projects at home. I floundered. And then a couple weeks ago, it suddenly hit me. 

When I started writing this post, I decided to search my inbox for my oldest correspondance with Lunapads, and found an email from Sept. 1, 2006, related to entering a contest to win some kind of Lunapads prizes. In the email, I mentioned that I already had some of their wares... that makes me a customer for over five years! And that's only a third of Lunapads' existence - they'd already been in business for over ten years by that time.

As far as I can remember, I first found out about Lunapads from ads in Bust Magazine, which I used to have a subscription to in university. The women's center at school used to hold "sew your own pads" DIY workshops on occasion, so this wasn't a completely new concept to me, but the specific design of Lunapads (in comparison to the other reusable pads I'd seen) held some real appeal. I was hooked after my first order.

Lunapads, liners, and pouches

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