What do you mean I’m not supposed to talk about this?

An incomprehensible journey!

Author: Esther Sarlo, Founder | CEO | Myndful Spark of Mynd Myself

Contrary to the rules of blogging, this is going to be a LONG post…but I think it is really important to share…You’ll find out why by the end.

Have you ever had a shocking situation happen to you ‘right out of the blue?’ This summer something weird happened to me that must be discussed!

The Context

Let me give you a bit of context. I’m fifty-eight years old now and eight years ago I went through an easy, straightforward menopause with my only symptom being some very minor warm flashes. My period just seemed to just lose its impetus when I turned fifty and I experienced the heady freedom of not even having to think about a monthly flow again…Until just over a month ago.

What?! I was sitting at my first in-person networking meeting in two years, a small gathering of women in someone’s lovely, bright, spacious home in Richmond, BC nibbling on crisp, organic veggies and humous when I felt—and dismissed—an old familiar bit of cramping in my lower belly. Nothing to be concerned about. Nothing to really be bothered about as it was just a mild pinch. I paid it no mind and carried on with our fascinating conversation.

When I took a quick pee break I was astonished to look down and see a full-on period flow happening! Well THAT explains the mild cramping!!! But wait! I haven’t had a period in EIGHT years! Can this be?

I’ve heard tales of women having occasional spotting but this…? A full-on period! And, of course, I had NO supplies with me. And me…wearing white pants. No worries, I thought, I’ll just wad up a bunch of toilet paper and that should do the trick until I get home. This is probably just a one-off…something unusual…it will stop in an hour or two and it will all be over. I can go to the drugstore and pick up some supplies to tide me over.

The drugstore was a whole adventure in itself. There are shelves full of different options. And I’m in a different mind-set than I was 8 years ago. Organic, cotton, no additives, no toxins, etc. are WAY higher up on my radar than they used to be. Which do I choose? How MUCH do I buy…I have no idea how long this will last? The questions continued and I hemmed and hawed for about 20 minutes reading labels and deliberating. Finally, I’d made my choice and I headed home, thinking I’d bought WAY too much and that this would all be over shortly.

To my deep surprise and daily growing concern…NOPE! I had a full-on, deeply flowing period for about three weeks. That had NEVER happened to me before! Why was it happening now?

shock, surprise, what to do, what
What do I do now?

Who should I talk to? What do I do? After the first seven days…and thinking each day, ‘Surely this will stop now’…I reached out to a gynecology clinic. Did you know you have to have a referral to talk to a gynecologist? I didn’t!!! Next dilemma: I no longer have a GP—She’s ended her practice in the chaos of the last two years. (I’m very sad about this because she was and is a great family doctor.) Who do I call?

A bit of googling later, I found a clinic near where I live. They take call-in patients! Whew. I made a virtual appointment and waited. Bleeding profusely and continuously the whole time.

Finally, the appointment time arrived and the doctor called me (an hour late…even though it was a phone call!!). She asked the usual questions, set up an appointment for me to get bloodwork done and an ultrasound. When I asked for a referral to a gynecologist she said, “No.”

I said, “What do you mean no?”

“Well, you’re a ‘walk-in’ and not my patient so I am not willing to refer you” she said

“Does that mean NO doctor from a walk-in clinic will refer me?”

“No, I’m just not going to. You’ll have to do your research and find someone else who is willing to do so. Reach out to your local MLA and complain,” she said

“But there are over one million people in BC who no longer have a GP! That’s 25% of our province’s population” I said.

“Yes, I know…That’s why you need to reach out to your MLA,” she said

The conversation circled down the drain of credulity for a bit and then I just stopped. No point in going further with this doctor.

I took a moment to be grateful for what she did do for me and then regrouped.

A friend of mine recently shared a quote with me,

“Anger is a killing thing: it kills the one who angers, for each rage leaves her less than she had been before – it takes something from her.” I needed to release my indignation and what I considered to be righteous anger and move on toward a solution. After all, I was still bleeding!

I decided to call back the clinic and ask the receptionist if they had another doctor in their clinic who would refer me to a gynecologist. Turns out that, yes, they had one. However, she was not available for another four days for an appointment. I said, “I’ll take it.” And settled into another waiting period. Pun intended!

And now for the part of the journey that REALLY stirred up my ire! Yup, it gets better. Or worse!

At my next appointment (again an hour late for a phone consult) with the doctor who reviewed my blood test and ultrasound results, she agreed that I needed to see a gynecologist (on an emergency basis) and gave the task to her receptionist to find me an appointment.

How hard can it be to get a Gynecologist appointment?

The next day I received a call from the lovely receptionist and she said there was only one emergency appointment available in about a week, in Delta (about 45 minutes away from me).

“I’ll take it,” I said.

Then she paused and said, “Great. I’ll book it for you. Oh, and the doctor is male. Is that okay with you?”

My initial reaction was, um no!

“Is it possible to look around for another appointment with a woman? There is a clinic close to you that specialized in gynecology and they seemed really great on the phone.” (This was where I had initially called and they said I needed a referral from a GP).

“I’ll try,” she said, “But it’s unlikely as this is an emergency and there is usually a long wait list.” (Just a little aside here…We live in a Province where our emergency medicine has a waiting list! How does that happen in a country that brags about having the best medical system in the world!? Hah)

“Okay,” I said, “Please keep trying and let me know. I’ll keep this appointment but I would REALLY like this to be done by a woman.”

searching, seeking, lost, health, wholeness

In the meantime, it finally occurred to me to call a friend of mine who is an exceptional Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who specializes in fertility and women’s health. I told her exactly what was going on with me and she did two things:

  • Affirmed that the path I was on with the conventional allopathic (Western medicine) approach was necessary.
  • She had some herbs that could help me stop bleeding.

I enthusiastically and quickly went to her clinic, picked up the pills, and began taking them right away. After about the fourth days on the pills, I finally saw my bleeding subside! Whew.

However, I still needed to continue along the allopathic journey to its completion. As the date of the gynecologist appointment approached, I had heard nothing back from the receptionist so I told myself to make the best of this and go in with a good attitude. He will be a doctor after all. How bad can it be?


I was given the doctor’s name, the name of the clinic, and the address, so on the date of the appointment, I set the address in google maps and started on my forty-five minute trek.

It was a beautiful sunny day, so enjoyed the drive, listening to meditative music, prepping myself to be positive and expect an easy outcome.

The ominous arrival: portents of things to come!

I arrived at the address given and I saw nothing in the complex with the Clinic’s name on it. There was a restaurant, a drycleaners, a pharmacy with a sign indicating that I could get vaccinated there, an empty space with a ‘for lease’ sign on it, and a general Medical Clinic on the second floor. Okay, perhaps it’s in the Medical Clinic and there’ll be a sign up there?

Upstairs I was greeted by the sight of a receptionist on the phone behind both a thick sheet of plexiglass and a plastic yellow band barrier on metal stanchions that kept me a full six feet away from the reception desk. The receptionist didn’t make eye contact or acknowledge my presence for over five minutes. Fortunately, the place was relatively empty and there was no line-up!

Finally, the first thing she said to me was, “Put on a mask. I can give you one if you don’t have one.”

“Got one,” I said, and I put on my cloth cotton mask that I carry with me just in case.

As I was putting on my mask I asked, “Is this the right place to check in for Dr. X (who shall remain nameless here)? I have an appointment.”

“Go back there,” she pointed vaguely toward the back of a very large room, with not a hint of courtesy or personality.

I walked toward an empty desk space that seemed to be in that general direction and waited…Still hoping I was in the right place.

bored, impatientAnother few minutes passed and a nurse came rushing toward the desk. I told her my name, said I had an appointment with Dr. X and asked again if I’m in the right place.

“Yes,” she said and gestured, “Go have a seat over there.” But at least she smiled at me.

I was a bit annoyed but, again, I let it go!

I had brought a novel with me, so I settled into the details of another fast-paced FBI story by Catherine Coulter and waited to be called. I don’t actually know how long I sat there, as I got lost in the story. It could have been twenty minutes or forty minutes! It’s a good thing I consider reading a novel to be a good use of my time!

The actual procedure

Finally, I heard my name called and the nurse escorted me into a tiny, cold, sterile room with a small stirrupped bed. There weren’t even any medical posters on the walls to break up the beige! At least there was a window that the sun shone through. I believe it was Samuel Goldwyn who said, “A hospital is no place to be sick.” I would apply that same sentiment to this medical clinic as well.

“Remove all your clothing from the waist down and cover yourself with this blanket,” I was instructed.

No problem. I dutifully followed the directive and waited a few minutes more for the doctor to arrive. When he entered I tried to break the ice by asking him if he ever felt ‘prejudiced against’ as a man in gynecology. Oops…seems I stepped on a bit of a minefield.

“Until about the last ten years ALL the gynecologists were men, all the textbooks have been written by men, and most of the instruments have been named for men in this field. So, no, I don’t.” He said.

I replied with something as innocuous as possible, “Interesting.”

He proceeded to ask me some questions about my situation and then he reviewed the results of the blood work and ultrasound that I’d done (which the referring doctor had also discussed with me). Next step was to do a biopsy of my uterus as the lining was eight mm thick instead of the normal four mm.

“It’s a very easy procedure that will take about a minute. You might feel a slight pinch and then bit of mild cramping, like period cramps,” he said.

“Okay,” I said, believing that it wouldn’t be much different from a pap smear.

Wow…was I wrong! Slight pinch my ass! Less than a minute? In whose universe?!

shock, pain, disbelief, you're kidding rightI won’t go into the gory details but after inserting an icy cold speculum (which my previous GP said there is NO excuse for anymore) the Dr had to do the procedure THREE times to get the result he was looking for. It was uncomfortable, painful, and felt like an eternity passed during the few minutes of the procedure.

My body registered it as trauma. I flashed cold, then hot. I broke out into a full-body sweat. I and felt like I was going to vomit.

I tried to keep still and quash my instinct to kick him in the chest to push him away and end this thing. ‘For heaven’s sake, I’m fifty-eight, try to be dignified about this,” I thought. But, my body was having none of it! I didn’t kick him away and I kept myself from vomiting—at least there was that—and finally it ended.

He apologized and asked if I’d like some Ibuprofen to help with the pain. “No thanks.”

I think he was also flustered at my reactions to the procedure. Other than offering the painkiller, he didn’t have much to say except there might be a bit of bleeding for the next two to three days.

I had to ask if there was a pad I could use…thinking there might be a bit of spotting. (And, again, I was wearing summer white pants! What was I thinking!?) The Dr found a pad and left it on the counter along with the Ibuprofen, “Just in case.”

He said, “Take your time.” And that was it. He left the room.

The aftermath

I spent about another fifteen minutes in there in the fetal position, trying to settle myself. Did Reiki on my lower belly while deep breathing and filling myself with as loving thoughts as possible. Then I shakily took myself to the washroom and voided—surprised to see how much blood resulted. This is what you call ‘spotting?’ And spent another ten minutes or so continuing to calm myself there, hoping fervently that no one else would urgently need to use the facilities.

self-care, meditation, healing, zen, complementary, holistic, integrative health, mynd myselfWhen I’d sufficiently composed myself, I just walked out of the clinic. I felt incredibly vulnerable. There was no further interaction with anyone. No one came to check on me to make sure I was okay.

I made it to my car, sat inside, opened the windows to breathe in the fresh air and sunshine, and continued to soak myself in loving thoughts while doing more Reiki on my belly. It took about another ten to fifteen minutes of breathing to settle myself enough to begin the long drive home.

Having connected the car to my Snatam Kaur calming and meditative playlist, I kept one hand on my belly the whole way home, and focused on being present to myself in the moment. A few minutes into the drive, it occurred to me that if I sang along with the healing music, it would add another level of healing energy to the process. It did.

When I arrived home, I had the privilege of pouring out this nasty experience to my partner, who listened with compassion and a sense of outrage for me. It was so good to be heard and seen. I’m so grateful.

You may be thinking, why has she shared this experience with me? For two reasons:

  • One, because I believe we all have stories that we may feel like it’s not been ‘appropriate’ to talk about…It IS okay to talk about what happens to us! You may not have someone in your direct circle with whom you feel you can share safely. Or you might feel fully supported in your life. Either way, please know that you are invited to reach out in the safe and respectful Mynd Myself Community if you think that telling your story there might help you (or someone else) feel seen, heard, and understood.
  • Because my story is a brilliant example of how I needed both Allopathic (conventional Western medicine) AND Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Healthcare approaches to navigate this journey.


About three weeks after this ‘procedure’ I had a follow-up call scheduled with Dr X to review the results of the biopsy. He called me about five hours after our appointment time—it seemed that the birth of three babies took precedence (and so they should!!)  I’m hopeful that he’s a good man if he also assists in birthing babies—I just hope he serves his patients with a bit ‘more’ than he did me.

In any case, when we finally talked, Dr. X informed me that I had a clean bill of health. All tests were negative for cancer, etc. I had been pretty sure that would be the outcome, but it was nice to have it confirmed. If I had any more bleeding within the next year I was instructed to reach back out to the referring doctor, and we would start the process up again. I have stopped taking Estrodial (which I believe was at least partially responsible for the bleeding episode), am consulting some Complementary Medicine Practitioners, and taking a quality Macca powder every day to help balance out my hormones. Fingers crossed!

…And thanks for sharing this journey with me!

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menstruation, cramps, menopause, aging, complementary, holistic, integrative health, mynd myself

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