Pain wasn't always a regular part of my life - only half my life. I remember the days in high school where I used to wonder why girls made such a big deal out of their periods. "Just shove a tampon in and you won't even know Aunt Flo is here", I used to think. A period never stopped me from doing anything. WOW! Who was that? I don't know that girl! Years passed and an occasional cramp would turn up. And then it got worse and worse, until I was popping all sorts of painkillers like they were candy, but to no effect. The pain and the volume was typically enormous. The blood would flow as if a dam had suddenly burst open. One time, the blood gushed out with such tremendous speed and volume that it overflowed past my super-duper heavy nightflow sanitary pad (which I need to wear in the daytime) and trickled down my legs, to the horror of bystanders, and me, at the mall (yes, that really happened to me). These days I can't do anything for at least 3 to 4 days of my life each cycle. I would be keeled over in pain, crying my eyes out and praying that I would just pass out from the pain. As if that wasn't fun enough, a very eager gastritis would join the party, usually on Day 2. A Double Whammy! Yippeee! With excruciating pain in both the upper and lower abdomen, and blood threatening to overflow and stain everything I lie or sit on, which I don't have the energy to clean, it was just impossible to function beyond my bedroom and toilet. Thankfully, my dear wonderful husband, who is my rock and my life support system, would feed me in between sobs, and be at my every beck and call, bringing me everything from hot water bottles to Kleenex to my cat - anything to soothe me. He was always thinking one step ahead of me, even before I knew what I needed. He's my hero! I can never make it through without him and I love him dearly for it. This is a typical scenario for me month after month. And for many years I never knew what was wrong with me.