Hell on wheels.
I’m the “Tarantula Woman,” according to my husband.
Don’t get in my way.
I have PMS. Premenstrual Syndrome. Did I say, “Happy New Year!”?
I didn’t always have PMS to this degree. I’d get the kind that turned my stomach into an bottomless pit and flicked the sweet tooth craving switch to “Danger!” so that I’d eat an entire bag of Hershey’s Kisses and Bit O-Honey in the span of a
day hour. But I felt good. A bit bloated maybe, but good. Ah, those were the days.
This intense version of PMS kicked in like an evil warrior following multiple cycles of in vitro fertilization that my husband and I jammed into a period (no pun intended) of a couple of years back in our thirties.
Instead of a baby, IVF created this raging, almost tangible thing that expresses itself internally as inescapable anxiety. No amount of running, yoga-ing, breathing, or healthy, whole grain-y food eating is ever enough. This thing wants chocolate and lots of it and has been known to take the household hostage (not in a violent way, mind you).
As I speed closer to the big five-o (I’m 48 right now), my condition, if you will, has worsened. I never know when the mood-swing part will hit—it all depends on whether I’m on a three or four week cycle. The intermission of not having PMS or my period is just that. A short reprieve.
If I could just be alone without responsibility—throw in a personal chef, daily massage, the distant sound of ocean waves—I think my moods during PMS would be more even-keeled. Instead, I deal with it. I put on a good face and try to muscle through it. I explain to my almost 12-year old— women have these hormones, ya know? And sometimes the hormones can make us a bit irritable, right? So it’s a good lesson in being aware of someone’s moods and when not to do stuff that bugs me like singing “I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves.” You know what I’m sayin’ cutie?
I survive. And everyone still loves me, as far as I can tell.
Menopause is next. Yippee! I’m a bit fearful of how my body and mind will be impacted during that phase.
Dear PMS: I am a warrior and I come in peace.
I’m going to embrace this thing, as vexing as it is. PMS is not who I am. It doesn’t control me—I’m in the one in charge.
The plus side of PMS is that it’s a less-than-subtle sign that my body is full of vigor, shrieking at me that it’s functioning properly, although at seemingly extreme levels that push me close to the edge.
And when it’s over, I feel good—no, fantastic, dammit!—and I savor those magnificent days.
Today I have PMS.
I am alive. An alive, roaring, bitch-on-wheels.
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