Something woke me up, it felt like a punch in my lower abdomen, I sit up straight completely awake and stare straight ahead in the dark filled room and try to think about it. There, it happened again but this time it had me rolling around on my bed. It has started, the one time in the month I dread has started and everytime it happens my body is more shocked than I am. I reach for my phone and switch it on, its 4am in the morning there is a heavy drizzle outside and my room feels chillier than usual. I try to get off the bed, it happens again. I muffle a scream of pain, tears rolling down my cheeks, I wrap my arms around my belly and curl up on the bed and cry.
A few months ago, I woke up in my hotel room in Nairobi feeling like my stomach was on fire. I called the front desk and mumbled something in broken kiswahili and a lady came to my room immediately, when she finally figured out what was wrong she called the Doctor. The Doc had been informed that my Kiswahili was not the best so he spoke to me in English and asked me a couple of questions while touching my tummy before telling me what was wrong with me. He told me that I was having Dysmenorrhea or painful pre menstrual cramps in simple English, he prescribed some pain killers then left. Cramps happen to some women before or during their menstruation and can range from scream worthy pain to the “Always pads” commercials. Truth is no woman is going to be all smiles during her periods, there’s always something aching on your body and it is very uncomfortable.
Dysmenorrhea is so intense in some women they need to be hospitalized the entire time till it passes and that is known as Secondary Dysmenorrhea, when in high school there was a girl who would need needles of liquids stuck in her arms because she would get so weak, throw up and have loose stool with a tummy upset. I was the opposite, would breeze through it all like nothing ever happened, it turns out it was that way because I was a Sports girl. I played basketball through out highschool and spent more time on the court and music room than I ever did in class. Years down the road, I am haven’t played ball in ages, I never run plus exercises have somehow been forgotton. So when I was told that days before menstruation I was going to always be pain, it hit me pretty bad but as you guessed exercises didn’t fit nto my schedule.
This morning when I woke up, I thought I was going to die, I tagged at my tummy in pain and cuddled my pillow for warmth till the pain reduced. I walked sowly to the kitchen, switched on the water kettle and made tea. As I sat on the couch, the pain cam again. I fell on the couch and rolled up under my couchthrow then waited for it to stop, I was told to stop swallowing painkillers everytime I feel pain because I might get a addicted to them so I weathered it out. I grabbed at my pillows and prayed for the pain to stop but this time it lasted longer than usual, it made the dull pain in my lower back seem like a mosquito bite. I lay on my stomach, closed my eyes and prayed for sleep. I woke up at the sound of the Kettle switch going off and slowly walked to the kitchen counter, made myself a cup of tea then switched on the TV.
At 7am, I texted the HR at office and told her that I won’t be making it to work today. By this time, I think everyone at office knows because within every month I take two or three days off and curl up at home crying in pain and praying for the end. I should be used to it, but you can never get used to feeling like there are a thousand tiny punches in your tummy. Its an indescribeable pain that I know no one else would understand apart from the women that go through it every month. It is fun being a woman, so much fun!