Friday, October 16, 2009

blood, sweat, tears, and cramps

During this personal 40 day blog challenge, I've been waking up knowing exactly what to write about, hitting my computer while it's still dark out and typing away before anyone else staggers out into the living room. But today, 2 ideas are floating in my head that I think will eventually come together in the end in an almost Curb Your Enthusiasm sort of way (hopefully with far less whining).

So, here it goes.

This morning I got my period. 8 days after I thought I would. So, it's been 8 extra days of edginess, heightened anxiety, nervousness, feeling bloated, losing my temper. Noticing my hair looking wavier than usual . . . I could go on and on. For years, after becoming a mom, my period had settled into a super regular, not particularly intrusive pattern. It showed up, it went, no drama. But 2 or 3 years ago, it sped up. Instead of averaging once a month, it arrived every 23 or so days. Now let me just say, that's TOO MUCH. It's not like I have a choice (well, I do, but I'll get to that later), so I deal. But then a year or so ago, it arrived with a first day of the most MIND BLOWING CRAMPS EVER. Excepting childbirth. Although, I have to say, these are remarkably similar. Same thing's happening. My uterus is contracting to push stuff out. Blood, baby, it doesn't care. It has a job to do. I spend several hours every first day wrapped around a hot water bottle, popping way too many advil, fighting waves of nausea. The upswing is that my now almost monthly menstrual migraine (I just learned that's what I've been having), starts to lose it's vise-like grip of my left temple. Oh, and aside from the intense pain, I'm enervated, enthusiastic, in fact, pretty damn happy. The fuzziness is gone and I'm ready to kick ass and accomplish things.

While at the doctor this week, I mentioned the crazy cramping and without missing a beat, she suggested going on a low dosage birth control pill for a few months, to give my body a break and then hope, after I stopped, the cramps wouldn't come back. It was a full circle moment. FLOW was inspired, 15 years ago, by a doctor blithely handing me a pack of birth control pills without figuring out what was wrong with me. Not that I think anything's wrong with me—this is how my hormones are affecting my body as things change. It sucks at times, but I can handle it. I don't want/need drugs to flatten out my moods. There's something to be said for feeling things full tilt and learning from the experience. Oh god, I'm starting to sound a bit deranged. Back to the story at hand . . .

What I need to figure out is, why is this happening? Is it perimenopause? I'm 45 and things are changing. I think I had my first hot flash. It was actually like a mini panic attack that left me flushed and sweaty. I'm on the fence about whether it was "official." Is it stress? And that leads me up to my second story thread. FLOW is out in 3 and a half weeks and everything is completely out of my control. Finished books arrived this week—people all over have been sent copies, hopefully to review. Who knows what's going on, how they're responding, what they think, if they'll even open the packages. Is someone following up? Does anyone care? I DON'T KNOW.

I just realized, literally while writing this, that these sped up periods which knock me flat, preceded by the blinding pain in my head corresponds with how long I've been working on FLOW. It's been the most outrageously intense, personally stretching, overwhelmingly hard (at times too painful to bear) project I've ever worked on, with a rock hard veneer of stress candy coating the entire experience. And scrounging for PR is just about the hardest part for me. My innate insecurity and self-doubt come flooding back as my efforts are met with a wall of silence. My ego takes every non answer as a personal rejection. I don't know enough to even know what to expect so I'm scrambling in the dark. I know that tweeting, blogging, updating my websites, making these mini films isn't even making a dent, but I have all this energy and drive and need to do something.

Last night I spoke with a PR person I met on twitter, who spent 2 gracious hours with me. She asked what my PR/marketing strategies, timelines, goals are. I DON'T KNOW. Do we have a plan? Again, I don't know. Do we have reviews yet? What kind of responses are we getting? Sigh. Don't know that either.

But now I know why my period was 8 days late.

I'm off to fill up my hot water bottle.

And day 18 begins.


Jeremy said...

All I want to say is that "a rock hard veneer of stress candy" is a wonderful metaphor. I commend you.

Rebecca Elia said...

OMG Elissa, I could write a whole book in response. As a matter of fact, I am--writing a whole book.
Here's the thing. It's been a long gestation and birth, and it's not over yet--but it will be--soon, quite soon.

Hang in there. Your menstrual migraines will disappear and, most likely, so will the cramps.
Stop, literally, "sweating" the small stuff. Yes, it IS small stuff. You'll see. Your book will be a success.

We've got your back. We're cheering you on.


PS 41 parent said...

Are you kidding. Why do you think people want to know about your period. You are obsessed by it. Get over yourself!