Our reproductive systems impose on us enough on their own…we don’t need anyone else to participate.
It all started with a headache. It was 2006. I was a high school sophomore in Spanish class when they began to creep up on me…slowly, inching its way out from my womb and spreading throughout my body. I started breathing heavily and felt like I needed to throw up. After requesting to go to the restroom, my body became heavier with every step. My arm against the hallway walls was the only thing keeping me from sliding to the ground, as my legs began to weaken. As I got to the bathroom, I paused in the doorway and looked at the handicap stall toward the back of the bathroom. This was the first time I questioned why handicap stalls always seemed to be the furthest from the bathroom entry. Extremely poor design and very counterintuitive.
Anyway, I got to the stall, but never threw up. I did get incredibly hot, so I took off my uniform sweater, which instantly followed with me getting chills all over my body and shivering. Sweater on.
So clearly something is wrong. I begin hobbling to leave the bathroom to walk to the nurses office, but nope, my legs weren’t with that plan and neither was my head. I was so lightheaded and weak that I just laid down in the entrance of the bathroom. I’m not sure how long I was lying there, but eventually my teacher had sent my friend to check on me. She helped me up and walked me to the nurse.
By the time I laid down in the nurse’s office, I could no longer open my eyes, had lost all feeling in my limbs, was cold, my mouth was completely dry, and I could not speak. I was basically a vegetable that could hear. Oh yea, the cramps were still going, relentlessly.
The nurse had called my father and an ambulance (my mother was out of town on business). My father beat the ambulance to the school and as soon as I heard his voice, I began crying. I didn’t know what was happening to me and was terrified. Once the EMTs arrived and put me on the gurney, I was being wheeled through the hallways to the front of the building…then the bell rings. Students file out of the classrooms, filling the halls, and I can hear friends hysterically asking, “What’s wrong with Jasmine? What’s going on??”
I remember being in the ambulance thinking to myself, “Lord, please don’t let me die. I’m only 15 and there’s so much I haven’t done yet. Please get me through this so I can live for you.”
My father beat the ambulance to the hospital because…DADDY. Once in the emergency room, I’m hooked up to an IV, EKG and a combination of many other machines with abbreviations. After about a hour, I began to regain the feeling in my body and my ability to talk.
The doctor told me that I was experiencing a hormonal imbalance that was causing my cramps to induce heart failure.
15. Heart failure. Because…hormone imbalance.
I was a competitive swimmer in top physical shape. Nothing of my own doing could have caused this. It just…happened.
The doctor prescribed birth control to regulate my hormones and the cramping that came with my period every month. It helped TREMENDOUSLY. I stopped cramping altogether.
I was not sexually actively, but birth control did something for me that regular ibuprofen or acetaminophen could not. The months leading up to this incident also held debilitating, body numbing cramps to which my mom gave me up to 800mg that did knocked me out, but was not a sustainable maintenance plan for the foreseeable future.
I’ve since grown out of those cramping issues, but if birth control needs to be named “hormone therapy pills” or something similar for people to get a fuller grasp on its use beyond controlling conception, then I’m all for it.
I didn’t ask to be born a woman and I certainly didn’t ask for the physical trials that come with being a woman. Neither the government nor employers should make being a woman harder by imposing on our reproductive rights. Our bodies impose on us enough on their own.
Originally posted on www.jasminegurley.com.