Fanfare alert: it’s been one whole year since I published the first #Periodically blog on Fictitiously Hilary. This marks my 27th blog about my menstrual, gynaecological and all together grossly overshared health. If truth be told, I can’t believe it’s only been a year, it’s been a bit of a mad one.
So much has happened in the last 12 months, and, as I mentioned last week, writing the #Periodically blogs has given some really awful situations a positive edge. Writing about this never-ending shit-storm has meant I’ve actually got something from the shit-storm. The year would have been a bit of a downer without it.
Health wise, the last twelve months have seen me hate the pill, have eliminating surgery, an infected bellybutton (nice!), cysts, cyst, no cysts, vaginismus (that was a curveball), counselling, stop running, start yoga, give up sex, several very painful pelvic exams, four very painful ultrasounds, anaemia (another curveball), one trip to the emergency gynae unit, going back on the pill, almost liking the pill, hating the pill again and going on pain eliminating antidepressants. It’s remarkable, but not all that surprising, that I have had so much medical intervention in the last 12 months without reaching a stable diagnosis or any reliable resolution. It’s also pretty distressing to think that things at this point are probably a little worse than they were a year ago. On the bright side, I’m incredibly fortunate that all this medical intervention, except prescriptions since leaving Wales, hasn’t directly cost me a penny! #SaveOurNHS
I say directly because my health has cost me financially. The increase in doctors appointments and pain last autumn undoubtedly influenced my decision to go freelance but I don’t regret that decision for a second. I graduated last July, spent four weeks in South America (including a struggle with altitude sickness that makes so much more sense now I know I was anaemic), before having the op and then deciding to go freelance.
Going freelance straight from university was an awful idea, I knew it was at the time, but #Periodically has been a huge part of my freelance “success” (as in I’m still alive). While I haven’t monetized the blog, #Periodically has opened up so many doors, from top-secret projects that are going to change the world, to helping me get accepted onto the masters course I’ll be starting in September. It’s also let me meet some amazing people, from Period Poverty activists like Mandu Reid and Gabby Edlin (who I met in a toilet of all places), to entrepreneurs and game-changers in female health.
From time to time, #Periodically has also veered away from my personal experiences and into other things, like femtech and menstrual cup reviews, as well as reviews of books like Sweetening the Pill and It’s Only Blood. The most popular blogs, ‘Does being anti-pill make me a bad feminist?’ and ‘My experience using Natural Cycles,’ combine review and personal experience — something I hope I can do more of in the future.
In the first #Periodically I wrote, “I don’t want to write about it after the fact, because after the fact might not be for a long time. I want to write about it while it is happening,” and THANK GOD I had that mentality. Who knows when the end of this saga will come, but by sharing my experience, often in TMI detail, collaborating and campaigning I feel like I’ve got so much more from this year than just pain and frustrating doctors appointments. I hope the blogs can help make a few more people sit up and take female health, particularly menstrual health, even the tiniest bit more seriously.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing the #Periodically blogs, especially if you were only here for book-talk. I have no idea where me or #Periodically will be in another 12 months time, but I can say with some confidence that things are probably going to get weird.
My favourite #Periodically is still #Periodically 4, check it out here: “Conversations with Doctors That Shouldn’t Have Happened”.