Category : Health

12 posts

Because of people hoarding supplies due to COVID-19, I actually started doing my research about menstrual cups to replace tampons and pads.

Empty shelves

The photo I included into this post was at the very beginning, when hoarding was starting to take place. Feminine products were looking extremely scarce. Ironically, it wasn’t much longer after I took this photo before these same shelves were completely empty. Luckily for myself and those close to me, we all were pretty well-stocked with pads and tampons. I’m grateful that I always liked to keep stocked up and never liked to run low on feminine products. I did feel very bad for anyone out there who was caught off guard and not as fortunate to have a stocked up cabinet.

This entire ordeal just made me rethink my periods. No matter the situation, periods will keep on going on!

It’s a scary time to be out shopping, plus hoarders weren’t making shopping any easier, and even without COVID-19 affecting all of our lives, periods are still such an annoyance for many of us every month. I think of the hundreds to thousands of dollars spent on pads alone (and I started at the young age of of 9), and all of the waste that entails.

The menstrual cup (once you find the right one) is practically a one time fee, with almost no zero waste.

I think as with all women, I never gave the menstrual cup a second thought in the past because of how scary it sounded. I wasn’t familiar with my genital anatomy to maneuver a cup in there and be able to take it out. I remember being so scared of just a tampon!

I have a heavy flow at the very beginning of my period and when I am at work, sometimes I have such a busy schedule that I won’t have time to change until 4-5+ hours later. That’s just a recipe for leakage…so my solution these days is to double up by wearing both a tampon and a pad. By lunch time, both will be soaked. I’m hoping if I can get the menstrual cup down successfully, I will only need to empty the cup out 2-3 times a day. The cup is supposed to be safe to keep inside your body for up to 12 hours!

Peachlife Cup

If I can succeed with the cup, I do plan to wear a period panty as a supplement to the cup, just in case.

Thanks to the stay-at-home orders, I had a ton of time to just test the waters at home with my first cup during my period. Boy was it a struggle! I was hoping I’d be one of the few lucky women who found it a breeze their first time. Definitely not me. I had such a hard time getting it in at first because it is nothing like inserting a tampon. You have to fold it properly and you have to insert it at the proper angle for your anatomy. With a tampon although it is helpful to insert at a proper angle (I learned you wanna aim horizontal instead of vertical), I feel like there is a lot of leeway even if your angle isn’t perfect.

The next struggle was getting the cup to pop open properly after successful insertion…otherwise you would just leak through the folded cup.

The NEXT struggle was the scariest one…removing it. Apparently I have a very high cervix and my cup just disappeared way up in there. I could touch the tip of the stem, but just barely. Forget about being able to pinch the actual cup out properly, which is the correct and safe way for removal, I could barely touch the tip of the stem! I ended up having to pull at the stem a ton until I could finally pinch the cup itself and take it out.

It was a heart pounding and extremely sweaty (you know, the sweat you get when you’re super nervous) experience! Lol! Gosh was it a scary experience at first. I almost had to ask my boyfriend to come over so he could help me take it out…luckily I was able to do it myself in the end.

Obviously I still have some practice to do before I can get it down correctly. I read that it does take a few cycles to get it, just because each cycle you’re really only using the cup a handful of times during your period. I suppose you could do a “dry run” where you practice even when you’re not on your period, but I personally was slightly too traumatized to try again so soon.

I’ve been super invested in making this work for me, so I joined two menstrual cup communities on FaceBook and gained some valuable tips that worked for me personally. One is the type of fold; you have to experiment with a few folds and see what works best. Most popular are the punch-down fold, the 7-fold, and the half diamond fold. Who knew this would involve a bunch of origami folds for your cup haha!

Secondly, bearing down like you’re pooping is essential in using your pelvic muscles to push the cup downwards (as I mentioned I have a very high cervix so the cup is reeeally up there) when you’re removing the cup.

Other tips include performing insertion/removal while sitting on the toilet with one foot up on the seat, wiggling your toes and keeping an open mouth/throat to help relax the muscles during removal, and curling your back like a cat when sitting on the toilet.

I currently own five menstrual cups…lol. I never thought I’d grow a collection, but I really want menstrual cups to work for me and it’s been a bit of a quest to search for the right fit.

This is an FDA list of registered companies for cups. Very handy since you’re investing in something that will be inside your body and hopefully it is a quality product that will last years to come.

I’ll have to make a separate post sometime and write about the different cups I’ve tried and how they fared for me.

I never would have imagined that I would be living during a worldwide pandemic that’s affecting all of us to such an insane extent. It’s new and it’s scary.

Now is the best time to stay in touch with your thoughts & feelings and just gather your bearings. Before all of this began I did try to force myself to continue writing on my blog (private posts) as a way of self-therapy. I’ve only written two posts since then, definitely very few and not as often as I had hoped. Now, with this new and scary outbreak I may or may not continue it just because it does take a huge amount of mental energy for me to break through the mental block and force myself to write about negative feelings and traumatic events. I don’t know that I want to have that right now, when you have way too much time to dwell on the negative and there aren’t as many things to distract yourself or help pick yourself back up. However! I do want to stay in touch with my thoughts and feelings during this very scary and important time. So, I don’t know if I will (at least in the near future) continue “self-therapy” as previously planned for past baggage, but I do know I want to blog with current things in mind at least.

For me, today is day 8 of staying at home. March 16 was my very last day of work. Although all of my bosses (I work at multiple offices) gave me a heads up that they were monitoring the situation and going to keep me updated as soon as possible, all of a sudden, the very next day I no longer had work for an indefinite amount of time. Most of my work is “independent contractor” even though technically I’m more like an employee. However, because taxes are cheaper for the employer, most of optometrists like myself are not W2 employees. Although it’s not a huge problem besides the obvious lack of benefits (health insurance, etc), it really screwed us over during the current pandemic as we cannot file for unemployment. I do not know when I will be able to go back to work. However, I am so grateful I do not have kids or people who depend on me to survive, I do not own a house, etc. Although this will be difficult, I know I have it fairly good and I am so grateful for every bit of it.

Empty parking lot on an early weekday evening

The first time I started feeling the panic/anxiety settling in was when I first set foot inside of a store and saw rows upon rows of empty shelves. Just nothing left. Even things that made no sense were hoarded and out of stock. It’s like people were preparing for an apocalypse. The only food left was frozen gluten-free food (LOL). There were no pads or tampons at all. All of the over-the-counter medicine aisles were wiped out. At the time I wasn’t worried about supplies at home since we didn’t lack anything important. I mainly had wanted to go because I was running low on body wash and my boyfriend wanted to buy supplies for his family so we thought, why not, let’s go to the store.

When it actually came time for me to look for supplies or replenish some food/essentials, it was so difficult to find anything. Fresh produce, meat, ingredients, flour, sugar, etc. All wiped out.

The mob mentality of hoarding crap just got completely out of control, and those of us looking for just a few ingredients or items were completely screwed over. Now that a week has gone by, the shelves in stores are slowly replenishing again. Perhaps all of the hoarders are good now and no longer have to leave their homes, perhaps no one has any more money to purchase new items, perhaps less people are panicking now that they see the U.S. isn’t lacking household items and food…so the stores have time to replenish the decimated shelves.

Tables with caution tape to prevent people from sitting and congregating

What the U.S. (and the rest of the world) is actually lacking, is the safety equipment needed for health care providers to stay safe while caring for those infected with COVID19. I am disappointed to know that so many masks and gloves, etc could be sitting in a citizen’s home while they get to stay safe inside of their own home (going to the grocery store on occasion), instead of being used by health professionals who are literally facing the coronavirus on a daily basis.

Yesterday evening as I went out for take-out food for dinner (take-out is still legal in California, but no more dine-in, and social distancing is encouraged), it felt so surreal driving through the deserted parking lot. It was a late weekday evening, when normally this parking lot would be full of cars.

It also felt surreal seeing all of the caution tape draped over the outdoor tables & chairs in the courtyard.

I (and the rest of the world) am looking forward to when we can slowly gain a bit of normalcy back in our lives.

In the meantime, I will celebrate the day-to-day, simple joys I have in my life in spite of the craziness going on.

My family is doing well (healthy). I’ve had to urge my mom multiple times to stay at home and allow me to do all of the grocery shopping instead. We take walks (separately or together) as daily exercise and a way to break out of feeling cooped in.

I’ve been using my time off to do some serious cleaning in my room! Things I would never have had time or energy for. Your mentality changes when all of a sudden it shifts from “I’d rather do xyz with the free time I have” to “well I have all the time in the world so let me do all of it.” It’s quite a difference. Take a moment to clean things in the home that would be ignored otherwise. Those old dusty blinds I never touch, for example. I’ve begun clearing out and organizing my desktop computer that I ignored for a few years. I organized my closet and sorted out donations. Heck, if cleaning doesn’t make you happy then just binge watch something or indulge in your hobby. There’s always something to do. Our job is to enjoy the time “off” rather than going around being extra selfish and infecting others, especially our vulnerable populations.

I’ve been sick this week and today I’ve been mostly sleeping in my bed. I woke up in the evening and checked my phone, only to notice it was a little hard to read the text on my phone. My vision was a little off, kind of like when you stand up too quickly and feel like everything is swimming around. It was sort of like a zigzag structure coming from the right periphery of my vision down towards the center of my vision. This YouTube video is not exactly what I saw, but the shape and orientation of the zigzag is exactly the same! It was much more subtle than the rainbow/black color in the video. The outline of the zigzag was very shiny and glittery and flashing. Where the zigzag was, it made my vision kind of cloudy and hard to see, as if you just woke up and rubbed your eyes. It must have gone away in 10 minutes and everything was back to normal again. So strange!

At first I thought I was having a retinal detachment because of the flashing I was seeing. I closed one eye and then the other but it didn’t go away so it was in both eyes (not likely to be a retinal detachment). Luckily I’ve had patients before who described to me what their ocular migraines looked like. Had I not been aware, I think I would have seriously freaked out way more than I did.

Apparently migraines can be commonly caused by congested sinuses. I’ve been super congested recently so that makes sense!

I usually don’t make new year’s resolutions for myself anymore because I never follow through with them. I might want to give it a try this year only if I can think of some resolutions that are more realistic and easily attainable. Big, general goals without little markers for improvement are just too overwhelming.

Live a less stressful life. Not only is my life already stressful, I am also so easily stressed out…a recipe for mental and even bodily pain. My body hurts and I can just feel my well-being deteriorating. @_@ I need to do what I can to lessen the stress, and there are a few things that are not exactly easy but really doable.

  • Allot an extra 15-30 minutes so that I don’t have to stress out about being late. This may need to be in conjunction with sleeping earlier or sacrificing for some sleep deprivation a few times.
  • Start things early. I need to start making smaller timelines, and more frequent or earlier deadlines.
  • Take deeper breaths. When anxiety hits, just take deeper breaths.
  • Get a massage quarterly.

Lead a cleaner life. The physical clutter does disrupt my state of mind. It also adds to my stress when I can’t find something or I’m relocating a pile on the bed to the floor just so I can go to sleep.

  • Spend just 30 minutes a day picking a few things up as a mental break from work.
  • Spend just 1 hr a week doing laundry instead of having to do multiple loads after being backed up.
  • Get ready for bed by 10pm. Most of the time there’s no need to eat after 10pm anymore.

Do you have any goals or resolutions for the year?

Soup kitchen update; I decided to volunteer for morning shifts instead and I’m much happier with my duties. ^_^ The others who were there for community service hours (issued from court) weren’t so happy with the endless chopping, but I love food prep so it was cool with me. It’s crazy to think we went from a few tomatoes to filling up a huge tub of diced tomatoes and onions for pico de gallo!

As I mentioned before, I look extremely young. This one girl, who I thought was in her 20s, revealed that she was 15 years old and was at the kitchen for probation and also went to rehab. I was shocked to find she was still a teenager, so I popped the big question of how old I look. Their thinking was, “Well if she is 15…you must be, like, 12.” LOL. When I revealed I was 23, that was when I realized most of the people around me were still teenagers but looked much older than me…

The boyfriend is back in the U.S.! It feels weird that he’s back to living 5 minutes away from me again. It still feels like he’s still overseas on his vacation. The month that he was away felt like I suddenly didn’t have a boyfriend anymore since I stopped seeing him or going out on dates with him completely for a month. I thought I’d go crazy in my loneliness without him, but I guess I’ve been keeping myself productively busy so I am in the same state as I was before he left…don’t worry. You don’t have to picture a shrunken and sickly Kim. I am ok. Haha.

(Random health note just for my own reference: at first my left arm felt like it was mildly sprained or something because it would hurt to extend my arm all the way. Then after about a week it went away and now my ring finger of the same arm is sore/hurts when moved far back. Weird. Hopefully that goes away just like my arm pain did. And the back of my left jaw hurts when I yawn too widely…it’s kinda going away though after maybe a week although I’m not so sure yet. What’s with these random pains??? @_@ lol. I may not look old but I feel old.)

And I leave you with the extremely friendly black cat that I pet each time when I go out for a run in my neighborhood! And yes this is the same one that bit me that one day…but I think that was the one time I might have accidentally brushed against his belly and set him off. I’m much more careful and aware of my exposed flesh when petting him now *sweatdrop*

Black Cat