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Arrested Development

As one of the younger kids in my 8th grade, I realized very early on that I was also one of the least developed - flat chested, no juicy stories about boys I liked and definitely no period. I attended an all girls high school (Mt. Alvernia High) where the required uniform was a white dress with a blue tie. It was not uncommon for girls to have a spot of blood on their lily white dresses,

indicating their period had arrived. I don't recall having any such incident. In fact, my first period started on a weekend and my mom quickly explained what was happening and provided me with sanitary napkins. My periods were non-incidental, in that I had very limited cramps which was more of an indicator that my period was about to begin. I saw a few of my friends struggle with cramping and vomiting that sometimes left them taking sick days from school. I just didn't quite understand why there was a disparity between my experience and theirs. However, I tried my best to be there for my affected friends. I often wished this monthly inconvenience would end. Little did I know that my wish would prematurely come true when I was administered chemotherapy 30 years later which pushed me into early menopause and permanently halted my period. I have to admit that this collateral damage was a welcome side effect of adjuvant treatment for breast cancer.

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