This week I turn 25. Each year, as my birthday approaches, I reflect on the past year. I think about what happened, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve learned. Especially now in the middle of the Corona Crisis, I have had even more time than usual to think and reflect. In general, I don’t mind getting older. I still feel young (which makes sense, because 25 is young), and I’m looking forward to some exciting things. I feel in control of my life and I’m doing things at my own pace. Sometimes, though, I get really anxious about turning older, because turning 25 is one step closer to 30. And I’ve been made to believe that 30 is time to purchase a house, have a relationship and start thinking about having kids if I want them. But there is not just one way to live your life and I don’t want to be pressured by the expectations of others.
How is your love life?
Do you finally have a relationship? These are questions that I am always being asked. Sometimes I joke and say I do. I enjoy the shocked faces people make, because no one expects that from Louka the eternal single, yet I find it annoying when I tell them it was a joke, and they predictably say they were ‘so surprised’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. In the end I’m the one making the stupid jokes and the solution is to stop making them or come up with something new. But I just can’t help it. The truth is I’m not looking for a relationship, I’m focussing on myself and everything that is going on right now. I’m in the middle of a huge journey but of course I would be open to it. If it happens, it happens, you know? I believe life goes the way it’s supposed to go and mine is going a bit different than the majority, and a bit slower in some ways. But is that bad? I don’t think so. I’m happy with this direction, and I’m proud of it.
So, I am almost 25. When I look back on the past year I have a lot of different memories, both good and bad. Too many memories from my 24th year for one blog post. So I choose to write about the most current things and my biggest lesson from the past year.
One thing… one big thing
When I think about the past year there is one big thing that I keep returning to. It makes it hard for me to focus on anything else. In July last year I heard I have a little tumor, called a prolactinoma, on my pituitary which disturbs my hormonal balance. It causes an increase of prolactin, which incidentally is the hormone that increases during or after pregnancy and stimulates the production of breastmilk. For those of you that are wondering if I have breastmilk: yes. (And for those that want to know but are afraid to ask: yes, I have tasted it.) On the one hand it is something beautiful because your body is able to produce milk. But on the other hand, it’s really weird and scary because this is not supposed to be happening to me now. When you’re prolactin is too high, other hormone levels are often lower, and thus the big question of the year arose is this the cause of my menstrual problems. Have we finally found the root of the problem???
Most people with a prolactinoma don’t have periods…
The doctor told me not to get my hopes up too much. Most people who have a prolactinoma, don’t have periods. But that didn’t mean much to me, because my situation is never the way of the majority. So my first option was to use medicine to shrink the prolactinoma. Even though I’m not a big fan of medication, (because after all sorts of medication I’ve had in the past, I literally feel like a walking pharmacy) I chose to try it, hoping my problems would finally be solved. They informed me about the possible side effects, but also that everybody is different and for most people, the side effects were not too bad. But once again: of course for Louka Bot it doesn’t go the way it goes for most people. This medicine made me sick, really sick. Throughout the entire treatment I experienced non-stop horrible headaches. I often felt nauseous and sometimes I had to throw up. It all led to the point where at work I couldn’t function like I used to. People around me told me to slow down, but I kept on pushing myself to do everything I usually did. At one point it started to break me down. I stopped doing anything at the weekend because I had no energy left and felt so bad. I didn’t see people anymore, because I didn’t want to hang out. Besides all the physical complaints, I also started to get really nervous at the most random moments. I couldn’t control it and I’d start shaking, turning red, and would be unable to breathe properly anymore. It got to be I didn’t recognize myself anymore. When I look back, I think it’s so bizarre what an impact this tiny little pill had on my body, my ‘being’, and my life.
Greatest lessons I have learned
I don’t want to hold on to the negative too much, and I try to focus on what I’ve learned from this experience. The medicine worked and made the tumor shrink, but unfortunately it didn’t solve my menstrual problems. At the end of November I decided to stop the medication and now I go for regular controls to check the prolactinoma isn’t growing again. I have experienced feeling horrible for a prolonged period of time, being unable to do the things I wanted to. This has taught me to appreciate ‘feeling good’ and given me the energy and motivation to do things that I want. This period has definitely made me stronger and that’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned this past year !
It’s not a fairy tale
Oofff! That almost sounds like a fairytale. Such a horrible story coming to a happy end. I truly, truly, truly wish that I could have ended this story here on a positive note. But unfortunately it’s not the end, not yet. Last week I went to my doctor and there was bad news: it turns out the tumor is growing again, and I now have to process the options ahead. Fun, fun…
As I turn 25, I’m proud
As I turn 25, I’m not really what we would call “healthy”, I am not in a relationship and I don’t have plans to buy a house anytime soon. I don’t know where I’ll be or what my life will look like in 5 years. But the good news is I have a lot of good friends and family around me. I have a good job and a good income for someone of my age, and I am able to support myself as I have done since I was young. Of course I wish my health situation was better. But I’m doing something really positive now and it’s going to be an awesome project (@PeriodPiece). I’m proud of myself, I’m happy with what my life looks like, and I’m about to turn 25.
Because I would love to celebrate with you…. here’s a gift
Use the CODE 2525 at checkout for 25% discount on any Mondays Box – (valid this birthday week only for all new Mondays customers). If you have read my previous blog, this might come at the right time for you 😉
Feel free to share this code with your friends so they can also enjoy their periods with Mondays!
by Louka, June 2020
Want to read more from Louka?
Read more about the Mondays change-maker Louka Bot and her (n)ever ending periods, start here with her first guest post of Mondays with Louka).