Thursday, May 7, 2009

While I was gone:
Updates on the fem-hi scene

Did you know that's what people who stock grocery stores call the feminine hygiene section? Fem-hi. A friend of my brother once shared that gem, and I've never walked past this section without thinking of it since. Although for the past five years, I have just walked by. . . . Nothing for me to buy there. And instead of rejoicing over money saved and physical discomfort spared, I've looked wistfully. Those were products I should have been buying had not a five-year course of tamoxifen following breast cancer not slammed me into a chemically induced premature menopause. My oncologist said that given my age (46), there was a good chance that after concluding my five-year tamoxifen course, that was where I would stay. So I cleaned out the bathroom cabinet and gave away almost all the fem-hi products (I kept a few in the name of being a good hostess). Even if my period did return, I couldn't bear to look at them for five years. I wheeled my cart around that section of the grocery store the way I do for potato chips. It's best just not to think about some things. I finished my tamoxifen course a few months ago and have been living with the fact that I'm still in menopause. But, hey—I'm living, right? 

The other night I went to bed achy, wondering whether I was showing early signs of pork flu or just the spring bug that has been going around. I dreamt I was pregnant and going into labor. I woke up in the middle of the night sad that it was a dream and I wasn't having another baby. I woke up in the morning and . . . guess what? My body seems to have turned back the chemical clock and returned me to where I should be. It's not like nothing ever happened. You can't look at my breasts without noticing the seven inch scar and thinking "one of these things is not like the other." But it's a piece of putting me back together. 

So I went to the drug store between my office and gym yesterday to reinvest in some fem-hi. Do you know they moved that section from where it was five years ago?? It took me ten minutes of checking every aisle before I found it. And when I did . . . WTF? Pearls???


I like pearls as much as the next person, but . . . down there?? On further investigation I learned that these are the plastic-applicator models. Plastic??? Haven't we learned that plastic is bad for the environment??? What's wrong with the cardboard applicators I used five years ago? I thought we had become smarter in the past five years in terms of environmental care, not more ignorant. It took me several minutes of searching the shelf to find the cardboard ones, of which they still had a few boxes. But if the stocking of this store is any indication of consumer trends, they'd better start digging the land fill pits deeper and wider. 

But overall, I'm happy about all this. Now when friends complain about getting their period instead of thinking they have no idea how fortunate they really are, I can maybe say "Yeah, me too—isn't that great??" Not that I'm enjoying the overlap of hot flashes and cramps, but I'm not complaining either. 

11 comments:

Impoverished Preppy said...

If you want to go the environmentally friendly route, I just so an ad for washable pads in a magazine.

Ick.

Midge said...

I was going to make a comment about how amazing the human body can be but then I saw what Impoverished Preppy said and . . . washable pads . . . shudder.

MixinMike said...

you were dreaming of having a baby...amazing how the subconscious mind was working as you were going through this...

lisagh said...

At 42, I haven't had need for Fem-Hi since I was 30. I can't imagine how much things have changed since then!

The Food Librarian said...

I was at Target the other day and something was called "Always Infinity." What stupid man at an ad agency came up with that crap? Infinity...yes, my periods seem to last that long.

More, More, More said...

So I wonder are you supposed to recycle the "pearls?" Can't imagine putting those things in my recycle bin!!

ms. mindless said...

if you are really willing to go all out for the environment, try the o.b. no applicator tampon. this may be tmi...it took a while to get used to them, but it is much less waste!

cancersucks said...

Thanks for sharing...my radiation fried my ovaries so I am dealing with hot (fever I call them, not flashes) day and night. I can relate to this post alot. Well written.

adozeneggs said...

Hmm, Congratulations?!
I always use the cardboard. Why does anyone want plastic down there? Furthermore, don't you want to just flush the applicator. Just what any woman wants, a garbage can filled with lovely plastic applicators.
And when I see "pearls" in the Fem-Hi section....I don't want to say, but it makes me think of something else.

Red Flashlight said...

Congratulations!

I prefer O.B. because they do not require an applicator. When I was in high school they were considered "sinful" because (egad) one must actually touch oneself in order to insert them. (But wait... one must touch oneself in order to use an applicator as well, am I right? So what's the big deal??)

With no offense intended to those who use that type of tampon, I confess that I associate applicators with religious nut-jobs who are ruining the environment.

But that's just me . . .

Broady said...

I'm with you-- plastic applicators are a waste. I've been watching this documentary on how the Earth will return to its natural state after humans die, and it's amazing that plastic tampon applicators could outlast the Washington Monument.

I'm not a green-gal poster child (I use disposable diapers, a horrible landfill contributor), but am learning more all the time and always making adjustments to my lifestyle. Great post!