Saturday, May 29, 2010
My strand, same as the one pictured above, contains one red bead, nineteen brown beads, and twelve white (fancy, glow-in-the-dark) beads. Here's how it works: Each bead represents a day of your cycle. The red bead represents the day you start your period, day 1 of your cycle. The white beads represent the days you are likely to be fertile, days 8-19 of your cycle. The brown beads represent days you are unlikely to be fertile, days 2-7 & 20-32 of your cycle. There is also an arrow bead pointing toward the red bead, so you always remember which direction to move the rubber circle. By moving the rubber circle to a new bead each day, you work your way around the strand & your cycle. Each time you start another period, you move the rubber circle to the red bead on that day & then continue around the strand each day in the same direction.
They are designed to work for women who have cycles between 26 & 32 days long, so be aware they are not effective for everyone.
The 26th bead (from the red bead) is a slightly darker brown. This indicates a 26 day cycle. If your next period begins before you reach the dark brown bead, then your cycle is shorter than 26 days & this method will not work for you. Keep in mind, you will not necessarily use every bead in the strand each month, since you always start over on the red bead the day of your period. Also, if you have utilized every bead in the strand & still haven't started your next period, they will not be effective because your cycle is longer than 32 days.
If your cycles are between 26-32 days, then CycleBeads can be used both to help plan & prevent pregnancy. Therefore, they are useful through different stages of your life. I actually purchased mine to keep track of the days of my cycle, helping me chart my symptoms, emotions, moods, cravings & pain levels as they correspond to each day of my cycle. Using them has made me more aware of my cycle & the changes I experience throughout the month.
You can find out more about CycleBeads at their website. They have introduced different colored strands since I purchased mine. The idea is the exactly the same though, each set contains light colored beads, dark colored beads, one red bead, one arrow & one rubber circle.
I appreciate mine tremendously! I feel more in tune with my body when I use them. If you are interested, I encourage you to do your own research to see if they are right for you.
Posted by Jenn at 2:48 PM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Well here I am again, counting down the days until my surgery.
I've reached the halfway point; two weeks have passed since my surgery was canceled & my new surgery date is in two weeks. Let the countdown begin.
I'm having deja vu...
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I just discovered these online, so I haven't tried them, but I am loving this idea! It's a washable pad & underwear in one.
This is a link to their website. Their description states, "Lunapanties are a wonderful hybrid of underwear and Lunapads that have a fleece gusset panel permanently sewn in, making them an all-in-one replacement for disposable Pads and Pantyliners." They have four underwear styles: bikini, brief, hipster & thong. Sizes range from XS to 3XL.
The design seems genius! They look comfortable, like they wouldn't bunch up on you. You can also secure additional liners in the underwear for increased protection.
Again, it's another choice & I love knowing all my options!
They are a little pricey, but could very well be worth the investment. Plus, they are two products in one. If you sign up for their email newsletter at the checkout, you will receive a $5 off coupon for orders over $35. You qualify for free shipping on orders over $75.
I am going to have to buy a pair, and I'll let you know what I think!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It's a beautiful, sunshiny day out there. I wish I felt better so I could go for an around-the-lake hike. But I don't, so I'm enjoying the sun on my porch instead.
I discovered some new music in my mailbox yesterday, sent to me by my sweet friend. This is one of the songs. It's so perfect for today & it is making me smile! Xave is my fave!! Hope you enjoy it too.
Friday, May 21, 2010
GladRags are comprised of holders & inserts. Depending on the size, the inserts either slide into or fit inside the holder. On heavier days I use two inserts, on medium days I use one insert & on lighter days I don't need the inserts at all. The holder (with or without inserts) simply snaps around your underwear, forming protective wings. It's that easy.
You just throw them in the washing machine & they come out fresh, clean & ready to use again. They recommend soaking them before washing, but sometimes I only have to rinse them off before washing.
They are available in flannel cotton & organic cotton. Some sizes have a layer of terry cloth between the outer cotton, for increased absorbency. I have both kinds & they are both awesome.
My GladRags are incredibly & surprisingly comfortable. Especially compared to commercial pads. Wearing commercial pads used to make me cringe & I avoided using them as much as possible. Now I happily wear my GladRags during every period & use them in conjunction with my Keeper for all of my menstrual needs.
If you are interested in checking them out, you can find their website here. When I made my first purchase, I bought one of the kits & it came with a discreet carrying bag. It is divided into two sections, so you can keep your clean & used rags separate.
There are other brands of reusable pads (some made of other materials) out there. I've heard of Lunapads. Upon googling, I just discovered Moonpads on etsy & ones called Fussy Butt on Mama Cloth Online. I even found instructions for making your own reusable pads. It actually seems pretty simple...I might even be able to do it!
Someday I'm going have to calculate how much money I have saved over the last seven years.
For me, it has been win-win-win-win. They are comfortable, effective, save money & help the environment. I sure am glad I found them!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I'm excited to open a dialogue about alternative menstrual products. I personally use the Keeper, a menstrual cup made of natural rubber. They collect & hold your menstrual flow, as opposed to tampons which absorb it.
I have consistently used my Keeper during every period for (...counting on my fingers) about seven years. From the first time I used it, I couldn't imagine using commercial tampons & pads ever, ever (ever) again. I love it so much, that I imagine every woman would too. (Though I realize this may not be true).
It infuriates me that so many girls and women do not even know menstrual cups exist. I didn't know until a friend shared with me how much she loved hers. I was in my 20s at this point, and was sincerely shocked about this new information. I was so brainwashed that commercial tampons & pads were my only options, it took some time to process. (I'm not kidding!) Finally after much thought & research, I bought mine online (for only $35!)
I had an eye-opening experience with a former gynecologist of mine (aka dr #1) who was unaware of the Keeper. Yes, I said my OB/GYN was clueless about menstrual cups. She looked at me like I was a dirty, disgusting psychopath. (I'm not exaggerating). I encouraged her to get informed so she could provide complete information for her patients. I was appalled by her ignorance & reaction!
I believe it can be an empowering experience for women to realize they have other choices than stupid pads and tampons. It really was for me. My tampon/pad brainwashing was extremely ingrained. It's a big money business, after all. I have a hell of a time convincing women, even some of my closest friends, there are other options. Even though the reasons are countless (and my sincere enthusiasm is so over the top, that it is ridiculous). Here are some of those very reasons:
~No bleached cotton to cram in your (often reluctant) vagina.
~No risk of TSS.
~They can last for a long as 10 years, 10 years!
~You never run out of protection. You just have to remember to tuck it into your bag. And believe me, the fear of having to use tampons or pads will lead to you never forgetting it. I never have.
~You can accurately keep track of how much you are bleeding each month, and can more easily track changes.
~Some women "recycle" their collected blood & use it to feed and provide nutrients to their plants to help them flourish and grow. I haven't yet, but it seems logical.
~It is totally comfortable.
~It is liberating and empowering.
~It's inexpensive, can you imagine the money you'll save!
~Unbeatable for running, hiking & especially camping etc.
~You can leave it in for up to 12 hours (yep, TWELVE HOURS!), which can often mean only having to deal with it in the privacy and (most importantly) cleanliness of your own bathroom... Yay!
The only down side I have ever encountered was not having a spare tampon to share with a woman in need. However, there is almost always another woman around the corner who does have one to spare & share.
Click here if you want to go to The Keeper's website. If you're interested in their informative article that discusses reasons not to use tampons, click here.
There are other brands of menstrual cups. I have heard of the DivaCup & the Mooncup. They are made of different materials, so you may prefer one over the other. These ones are made of medical-grade silicone. Otherwise, it seems they are very similar, though I have not tried them myself. They very well could be just as fabulous.
While writing this post, I googled menstrual cups & discovered a disposable product. (It was news to me). I found one named Softcup. I need to do more research about it, but my initial reaction is yay for yet another choice!
I hope you will leave a comment. I think we could have an interesting discussion!
Thanks Friendos! (My next post on the topic will be about my GladRags). I could continue to ramble on about my devotion to my Keeper, but I think you probably get it...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.
Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women.
The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'
Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.
For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong',
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.
Austin , TX"
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I'm preparing myself for the next few weeks & the continuation of my hermit-ish life.
On Mother's Day, I got out of the house & visited Borders with my family. I love aimless bookstore-strolling adventures. Happily, I stumbled upon a great deal on one of Dr. Wayne Dyer's CD collections, The Secrets of an Inspirational (In-Spirit) Life. I have been listening for a few days & I am enjoying it immensely.
I've also been perusing my own bookshelves, looking for books I have already bought, but haven't yet read, to enjoy. (Sometimes, I buy several books at once & take awhile to get to them all). Of no coincidence, today I discovered my unread copy of Dr. Dyer's book Inspiration on my shelves & realized it is the book on which he based these CDs. It seems to be the exact right moment in my life to hear his inspirational messages. (And how exciting it came to me in two formats!) His book has patiently waited on the shelf & I'm excited to open the cover & finally float inside.
It's so funny, I just listened last night to the incredible story about the butterfly on the cover. And I still didn't realize I had the book upstairs.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Hey friendos! You are never going to believe this but...my surgery was CANCELED. So I'm doing fine, at least physically.
I thought I had prepared & thought of every possible scenario. Well, I was wrong. Everything started off fine. I was admitted, put on my gown, had my IV in place. I was listening to my guided imagery, feeling calm & ready. My nurse informed me that my surgery was going to be delayed one or two hours. I was disappointed, but figured I would just use the time to listen to my guided imagery. When the nurses had me prepped, my husband came back to wait with me.
My nurse moved us to a room with a TV since our wait was extended. Then she came back & said my doctor was on the phone & needed to speak with me. That's when my stomach dropped. I knew he did not have good news. He explained there were issues with the surgery before mine & it was expected to take several hours longer than expected. The hospital only has one robotic laparoscopy machine, and therefore my surgery was likely going to have to be rescheduled. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! My first thought was the torturous bowel prep that I endured the day before. How could that have been for nothing? And how could I force myself to do it again? I looked desperately at my husband & gave him the thumbs down sign. His face, his entire body, sank. I started to cry. How could I just get dressed & go home? I couldn't!
We decided to wait another half hour & reassess at that time. My empty stomach growled. I hadn't taken my pain medication since midnight & was in severe pain. I talked my doctor into giving me something for my pain while I waited. Forty-five minutes later, he called again. Surgery today was an impossibility. He apologized. He said he never had to cancel a surgery before. This did not make me feel better. I looked at my husband & cried some more.
I wanted to yell, but at who? It wasn't anyone's fault & no one was happy about the situation. I thought about the woman who was in surgery & prayed for her. I could only imagine the seriousness of her situation & what she was going through.
I explained to my doctor that I was likely going to lose my job over this. I have already used all of my FMLA time, and my work had given me a thirty day extension as an "accommodation." I was scheduled to return to work on May 23rd. They could have legally fired me when my FMLA ran out. They have no legal obligation to allow me any more time off. I carry my health insurance with them; if I lose my job, I lose my health insurance. He said he would have the head nurse come to speak to me. She provided me with documentation regarding what had occurred. I can only hope it will be enough for me to keep my job & insurance.
So I had my IV removed, got dressed & left the hospital. My husband took me for a quiet, delicious lunch. We talked & tried to stay positive. It must have happened for a reason. Maybe something terrible would've happened to me if I had surgery today. I looked for the blessing in disguise & trusted God was looking out for us.
My new surgery date is June 9th. Four more weeks! There is a small chance he will have a cancellation before then, but it's very unlikely. I have to wrap my head around four more weeks of this life. I have no choice but to stay positive & wait.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Today is an all liquid diet day. You'd laugh if you saw how stocked my fridge is with fluids. It's just one day, after all. I've also got jello, vegetable broth & popsicles. I'm irrationally afraid I will forget & eat something solid or have a drink after midnight. I'm ridiculous.
I will be starting my bowel prep shortly, and therefore I won't be leisurely sitting at the computer today.
I want to thank my friendo Jeanne for sharing her post about bowel preps with me. You can find it here. Thanks to Jeanne, I do not have to drink the Golytely my doctor originally prescribed. I asked him at my pre-op appointment if I could instead take Dulcolax + Miralax mixed in blue Gatorade. He said either way was fine. He wouldn't have provided it as an option if I hadn't had been informed about it. Yet another example of why you have to do your own research & be your own advocate!
Thanks again Jeanne! You (& your blog) are the best!!
Wish me luck friendos. Thanks for your support!
I discussed my nausea concerns with the anesthesiologist before my third laparoscopy. He recommended trying these special wristbands for an alternative nausea treatment. The hospital did not have them, so he improvised & applied folded pieces of gauze onto the acupressure points on each wrist & tightly secured with tape.
I wanted to try the product for my next surgery, so I went to purchase the wristbands today & to my surprise had some difficulty finding them. I finally found a pair of Sea-Band wristbands at the fourth pharmacy I tried.
I have been occasionally experiencing nausea for the past four months. These symptoms increased over the last few weeks & I have been especially nauseous at night before I go to bed. I have a prescription for Phenergan, but because of the side effects I try not to take it often. It's just a tiny pill, but it sure does knock me out.
Tonight when the nausea started, I placed the Sea-Bands as instructed. I am happy to report they seem to be helping! I'm always happy to find safe, drug-free alternatives.
You can visit the Sea-Band website for more information.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Another pre-surgery routine of mine involves the ancient art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Have you heard of it? (I’ll try to provide a brief description, though I fear I won’t do it justice). The intention of Jin Shin is to balance energies for healing & good health. Practitioners gently & intuitively place their hands or fingertips on various spots along energy pathways. They feel for the energy pulses & if they discover a blocked area, they send energy to that location. Blocked energies create disharmony, accruals of funk. Jin Shin helps restore the body's natural balance.
I do believe Jin Shin Jyutsu brought me energy, light & a speedier recovery. (See this post for more details about my second lap recovery). My doctor explained after the surgery nearly all of my endo issues were on my left side: nearly all of my endo growths, large fibroid & cystic ovary. I realized it was no coincidence that my energy blockages occurred on my left side too.
As I was writing, this beautiful song (With My Own Two Hands - Ben Harper & Jack Johnson) was playing in my head. So I wanted to share it too. (And I love the accompanying video).
Hope you enjoy friendos!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
The following are the medical terms for my upcoming surgery:
(removal of fibroids)
Peritoneal stripping & enterolysis
(removal of intestinal adhesions & endo in the abdominal cavity)
Possible unilateral salpingo oophorectomy
(possible removal of my left ovary & fallopian tube)
Does the fancy terminology make it more or less scary?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I had my pre-admission testing at the hospital today. The nurses were kind, they looked me in the eyes when they spoke. One of them quickly mentioned that I would be staying in the hospital for overnight. Wait...what??
My laps have always been outpatient. So it turns out I incorrectly assumed this one would be too. But it's not. And I'm wishing my doctor would have already mentioned it. My pre-op appointment is Friday, I guess he was waiting to discuss it then.
This took my breath away & changed my whole perspective. I would've appreciated more time to accept it.
But it is logically for the best. I'm going to make peace with it...tomorrow...or the next day.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
My surgery countdown is at 10 days.
I am continuing to research different ways to prepare for surgery. Women to women offer valuable information about surgery prep on their website. Click here to read their recommendations. The article states, "...Greater knowledge leads to greater wellness." I couldn't agree more! I found the page & included links to be educational & informative. Maybe you will increase your knowledge & wellness too!