On March 11, 2017 I had a beach date that I was long waiting to go to. Of course, that day was also the day my period wanted to tag along.
There was no way I was going to make that an excuse to not go, so on the way to the beach, I told him I had to stop at the nearest CVS to get pads, but to my dismay, he said he had a tampon inside the car.
I looked at it in absolute terror wondering how am I going put my first tampon on ever( I’ve never used one in the 24 years of living) . All I could remember was the anxiety hitting me as we drove to the nearest bathroom.
Here I was with a tampon in a public restroom and no clue what to do. I had no box, no instructions. Naturally, I called my best friend, Shaina, for guidance. She helped me, repeatedly and patiently instructing me over the phone what to do. After many failed attempts, I think I finally got it right.
I thought it was secure, it felt really weird. But it was done. I sat in the car with a light sweat, on our way to the beach.
The day goes by I finally had the blood rush down, no spotting occurred, so I did it right- I thought.
The day unwinds and we’re getting ready to go out and celebrate a friend’s birthday that night. I am ready to take the damn thing off, but found no string.
My heart drops to my stomach.
Not only were we in a rush to leave, I had locked myself in some guy’s bathroom I barely knew. Here I was in his bathroom, searching for a tampon, thinking my worst nightmare came alive at the worst time.
I tried going in there and nothing. The deeper I would go searching, the more it would hurt. The pain was unbearable. I did everything a person one can possibly do :
Fill a bathtub with water for easy removal
Push like crazy
Jump up and down
Put one leg up to remove the string
Again, I called Shaina, in despair. She tried so hard to help me, but almost one hour later, nothing.
I eventually had to tell him, I didn’t know how to break it to him. He couldn’t believe it and tried helping in his own way, but everything he suggested I had tried. I gave up and got myself ready to go out and I tried not to think of it. All I remember wishfully thinking is that it has to come out soon.
I try to enjoy the night, I did not want to drink anything but water, and in the back of my head couldn’t stop thinking of what was now a 10-hour tampon, stuck inside of me.
I woke up the next day, everything felt normal. Body functions are a-okay, I have energy, life is great! I was starting to doubt if there even was a tampon inside of me.
But I low-key took precaution. I start thinking, if I drink a lot of water, it’ll come out somehow. So, I started carrying a gallon of alkaline water with me. Now by this rate some of you thinking why didn’t I go to the doctors and get it checked?
My answer to you is, have you ever made a dumb choice in your life and think it would be ok even though you knew what you had to do?
OK. then. Let me continue.
Plus I had no health insurance at the time, and with my wishful thinking, I was certain this tampon would come out on its own.
72 Hours later – Introduction of Scorching Hot Baths
I feel a slight swelling in my lower abdominal area. I feel really gassy and a little more tired than usual. I think to myself I am fine. If the tampon was really in there, I would’ve been dead by now. I refused to look up Toxic Shock Syndrome.
TSS happens when certain types of bacteria produce a dangerous toxin that can send the body into shock and make our vital organs fail, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It can be treated, but it may be fatal in up to 50% of cases, the NIH reports.
I did not need to preoccupy my mind with a horror story. So I turned a blind eye on all that could be wrong and concerned myself with healing. So I made up shit as I went. One of them began with hot baths.
I took really hot baths, to ease the abdominal swelling. My logic for the hot baths was hoping the hot water will disintegrate the tampon like the way paper does. I felt great afterward. I would look at myself and inspect every part of my body. After that, I felt great.
Day 5: Garlic Cloves For Sanity & My Only Source Of Antibiotics
Waking up in the mornings were becoming absolute hell. I felt the body aches you would get the flu, but the pain was worst because it was running along my spine. From the back of my neck down to my kidneys It felt I had slept with weights on top of me ALLLL night.
The pain started to subside once I peed. But now urinating and trying to get a functioning stool was becoming a real pain in the ass. I didn’t poop as well as I used too.
Every time I used the bathroom, I would try pushing this tampon out, until my face turned red.
By day 5 I started home made remedies.This is when raw garlic came into my life, heavily. I started reading about the powerful antibiotic garlic was and how it helps resolve an illness no matter what type of microbes are causing the problem – bacteria, virus, or fungus. Even a recent 2012 study by the Washington State University states that a compound from garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics used in the treatment of intestinal infections caused by the bacterium species Campylobacter bacterium. Many other scientific research projects suggest that raw garlic has incredible healing properties.
My remedies were something like this:
4 cloves of organic garlic mixed with neem powder– I would smash them and let them sit out for 5-10 minutes so the allicin would start getting released. The allicin is basically the enzyme where you get all the amazing effects of garlic.
Followed by a homemade ginger shot
A hot cup of lemon water with apple cider vinegar
Followed by 2 tbsp of Probiotics
2 Echinacea Tablets
1 Pack of vitamin C
And I sprinkled turmeric on just about everything I ate to help with the inflammation.
By the afternoon I forced myself to go to the gym. The workouts would be ok, but I would crash immediately after with body chills
And to end the day I amped up the hot baths by adding random healing ailments. My baths were now turning into hot soups.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Lavender Oil
- Tee Tree Oil
- Sometimes rosemary sprigs- I was getting a little desperate by now.
My body would feel great.
I say to myself, I am fine. If it was serious, I would for sure have been dead by now.
Day 7: False Joy
I went to the gym and did some abs. I tried to do crunches with the inflamed stomach, and at one point I felt something come out. “ This was finally what I was waiting for, “ I thought. The strain of using my abdominal muscles, pushed down what I thought was the whole tampon. I ran to the bathroom and saw pieces. I went home with joy and told my mom I think it came out. I did the hot bath, and water because, you know, just in case.
Day 9: Fear For The Win
The pain was still there. I repeated the rituals but upped the dosage on the garlic. I went from 3 gloves a day to easily 8-9.
Sometimes in tea, sometimes crushed, even juiced. I did not care, it was my only form of antibiotics.
My way of thinking was if, the tampon was still in there, I will refuse to let any infection spread throughout my body.
But I scaled up my dosages because the pain was lingering longer in my spine and accompanied really cold sweats, I would get really tired by 1 pm. The baths were getting hotter and longer, hoping it would disintegrate any pieces that were inside of me.
My eyes were looking really tired and puffy. I had no desire to even fix myself.
This was also the day I met up with an old friend. We caught up on each other’s lives and I had to tell him what was going on with me and I was really scared I felt like I would not be able to ever be myself.
I told him, how the days felt so slow, my vision was really distorted and I had a new job to start in 2 days. A contracting job that required me to in-house at the agency.
We spoke about business, about books and he mentioned something about his favorite chapter in the book he gave me, “Think Grow, Rich”. He asked me to go read chapter 3.
I told him I will, even though I knew I wasn’t going to. I could care less about opening any book. My health was my priority.
Day 10- The Mental Breakdown
I got invited to go to a pool party in Miami. I really wanted to go out and socialize and had all intentions of going.
The day was perfect, I felt really good for about two hours so I decided to treat myself to a wheatgrass shot before I went. A little while after, I was starting to feel tired. It was only 12:00 pm. So I thought about it and starting to think if it was a good idea to stay in the heat and drink alcohol when I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on with my body.
I went straight home, laid on my sofa and cried alone in the living room for 2 hours. I cried for the pain to go away, For the first time I felt fear of death was winning. I think I was sure hitting a breaking point here. The tease of feeling good, then bad, then worse, then good really was taking a toll on my mental health. I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
I boiled the hottest water and put it in my tub. Before jumping in I made a concoction of 12 garlic bulbs, ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, a dab of coconut oil, raw honey, and onion, into a juice. I just needed the pain gone. I just wanted to be so healthy again.
I didn’t care how for once about my looks or any shallow things. I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted to be 100% myself again and it looked like It wasn’t happening. My puffy hands looked like they were transforming into stiff gloves. It would hurt to even make a fist. I looked at my naked body and at my swollen stomach and just prayed to even poop again too. I barely had the energy to put on my clothes. My vision was getting worst too.
I went to my room I crawled into a fetal position and looked into my bookcase. I opened to chapter 3 of “Think, Grow, Rich”, titled: “Faith”
I felt as if I was being spoken to and the first words that popped out on my face were:
“You may CONVINCE the subconscious mind that you believe you will receive that for which you ask, and it will act upon that belief, which your subconscious mind passes back to you in the form of “FAITH,” followed by definite plans for procuring that which you desire. ALL THOUGHTS WHICH HAVE BEEN EMOTIONALIZED, (given feeling) AND MIXED WITH FAITH, begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart. This is an appropriate place at which to suggest again that you may benefit, by passing on to your subconscious mind, any DESIRE which you wish translated into its physical, or monetary equivalent, in a state of expectancy or BELIEF that the transmutation will actually take place. Your BELIEF, or FAITH, is the element which determines the action of your subconscious mind. There is nothing to hinder you from “deceiving” your subconscious mind when giving it instructions through autosuggestion.“
I cried reading that pages. I don’t think I had the energy to read the whole chapter at the moment, but it was the first moment I felt OK. Actually, I was certain that this was a sign. To fight this or it will fight me. I took the challenge.
Day 14: Prisoner In My Own Body.
Very small parts started coming out the following days. Like pieces of dark paper, but no matter how much I looked for it, I seriously could not find this thing.
So I was certain it was all gone.
But there would be times, especially after waking up where my head was feeling incredibly heavy and filled with so much pressure. I started thinking I would get an aneurysm. I stopped going to the gym. I go to work, but could not even focus. I literally stared at a blank screen for hours or wrote on paper affirmations, that I was going to be healthy again. I stopped crying because I refused to let this take over. My mind was the only thing I was able to control.
I now had a real deep and sacred relationship with everything I put in my body. I truly believed everything I put in my body was for me and not against me. I still did the garlic about every 3 hours. My stomach would feel swollen at times, all I know I just wanted to sleep. I was already stressed out at the office, drinking water like crazy. My thinking was all off, and listening to positive reinforcement and stories were keeping me sane.
I was only focusing on what I was going to to do the minute I felt like my old self again. Go out in the sun and exercise, enjoy all my foods without the feeling of discomfort. Be able to have the energy to laugh. The energy to go out o a dinner with my friends, without making an excuse. ( FYI no one besides 2 of my friends knew what was going on) I had no reason to go around telling others because I was very embarrassed). By this point:
I missed sleeping well
I missed waking up with energy
I missed my glow
I missed eating
I missed having a healthy bowel movement
I missed my energy
I missed working well
I missed my friends
I missed socializing
I missed feeling myself
I missed my body so much.
I felt like I was rotting from the inside and I was convinced I was showing it. No matter how much I tried taking care of myself every day, a little piece of me slowly felt like I was dying.
I felt like I was a total prisoner in my own body.
My mom tried to convince me to go to the medical appointments. I refused. I was extremely stupid to not take her advice. I was scared of hearing that I was going to need surgery or something worse.
I convinced her I was totally fine and that it’s probably all gone. Whenever anxiety kicked in, I replaced it with loving thoughts.
Thoughts on how much I currently loved my body. How it was working so hard to keep me alive, and I appreciated it for it not collapsing on me so far. I looked at my body as a separate entity from me. My body was an actual machine that was doing everything it could to keep me functioning throughout it all.
I imagined what was going on inside there in my pelvic region, as I saw my swollen stomach. I imagine this was what expecting mothers would do, observe their body’s change and feel excited with joy and love as their body created another human.
Instead, my body wasn’t creating a life, it was doing everything to stay alive.
Day 16: Paralyzed
I woke up, what felt like in a paralyzed state. I couldn’t move my neck or back. I was in absolutely excruciating pain. I had this stench that became super unbearable. I called my mom crying and yelled at her. It was my only way to let this pain escape. After I threw my phone, I don’t remember how I got up but I dragged myself on the floor to take a bath. I think by this time I had lost it… again.
My hands were puffy. My eyes were swollen and I had a blue tint to my skin. I did not look like myself.
No matter how much I tried to find it I could not find anything up there. At this rate what I was feeling today was the spreading of an infection or a side effect of it being removed. I had my ups and downs with my business, romance, finances, and now my health, the one thing I truly valued, it was slipping away from me. I did not want to lose my sanity and I had come to terms that day that I needed to go get checked out.
I re-read the chapter on faith. I wrote in my journals about the first things I was going to do when I got better.
March 28- Day 17- Judgement Day
I don’t think I had eaten a full meal in days. I was pretty sure I lived off water gallons. I haven’t had a proper stool in forever. All I wanted was to finally have a great rest and meal. I was hoping when I got there, that there would be no signs of a bacterial infection that spread to my tissue, bones, blood, or organs.
I was sweating profusely, I did not want to show fear because I knew my mom would reciprocate it. I needed to remain as positive and calm as possible as I asked my mom to take me to the ER
I cracked some jokes along the way to get my mind off my fate. We laughed at the reason when I wrote reason on my visit.
“Weeks old tampon stuck inside of me.”
I waited and I wrote my day out for tomorrow. Ready and actually excited. I listened to songs that brought my energy up. That comforted me.
When They called me in. They asked me a few questions. I changed into my gown. After 1.5 hours of waiting, it was time.
My doctor explained to me how they were going to try to remove it.
I kind of blacked out during the explanation, but when they were ready to start I asked my mom to leave the room.
I saw them come back with the device they were going to use to try to remove it, the speculum
I was lying on my back with legs pulled up and spread widely.
No numbing cream was given, I was just naturally numb from the pain I was about to face.
I had one constraint before they started and that was to facetime, anyone other than, Shaina.
The moment I facetimed my friend I felt happier, her voice her face put me at ease. I tried not to think of pain. I’ve never been in this kind of pain.
Before they inserted the speculum, they gave me a brutal shot of antibiotics on my lower right side of the abdomen. That itself was painful, but I was sort of ready.
“Spread wide.” said the doctor.
Ever seen someone squeeze water out of a wet rag and twist it as hard as they can to remove every drop of water to make it damp, that’s what I felt like it was happening inside of me, except my cervix the wet rag.
I cried in pain, and the more she wanted me to arch my back the worst it felt. It was even harder because my legs would tense causing it to be impossible.
After what seemed like the longest 3 minutes of my life, NO SUCCESS.
She told me it was really far up my cervix. All I was left with, was this bloody rotting smell that I couldn’t even take. I was just plain old embarrassed. Still laying on my back, legs open, and shaking.
She told me she will be back, and this time she came with another nurse and a LONGER speculum.
The nurse held my hand. I squeezed it back harder.
The doctor kept a great poker face, because I couldn’t tell if she was confident in getting it out, or if she knew I was going to have to get surgery.
I had no idea, I just knew this thing better come to the fuck out.
I face timed Shaina again. All I can think of how I was going to come back stronger after all the crap I had been through in the past 6 months that this was the cherry on top.
The speculum was in, I could feel it pick and clamp on my cervix.
“ Breathe, Stacy. Don’t tense your legs. Otherwise, I won’t be able to reach up,” said the doctor
I took the biggest deep breath, let go and let her reach as far as she could with that tool.
Second attempt no luck.
I remember the last thing I heard was Shaina telling me to focus on a beautiful sunset. I had done just that. I saw the most beautiful sky I could imagine for 2 seconds.
“ OK OUT!” she said under her doctor mask.
I initially laughed, I laughed so hard.
“ Shut up!” I said. I yelled at Shaina that it was” OUT “ in pure excitement.
The minute it happened, I threw my body up and sat upright, I will never forget the feeling. I had this dark drainage just come out for about 1 minute, like straight dark water out of me and wouldn’t stop. The room was smelling like a body was rotting. I could do nothing, but let go and cry. I cried forever. I just let go to the universe.
I never thought I would be able to have that thing removed. I got so used to the pain, it almost became a part of me. I thought that was me.
I immediately felt so alive. Like my soul got sucked back into me.
I was deep in toxic shock, that I had even noticed my vision getting better immediately. I literally felt like someone took the veil from my eyes to see. I saw everything so bright and beautiful. I looked at my stomach deflate. I told myself I knew it.
I looked at my stomach. I rubbed it like I had a baby in there. I cried and said thank you so much. I just couldn’t believe those profound 3 minutes of relief. I felt like a new baby who came into the world.
The doctor looked at me and the disgusting tampon in disbelief.
It looked like a legit small piece of dark dog crap.
That thing had shrunk to a small thick triple-A battery, she put it in some kind of Ziploc bag and threw it away. I couldn’t believe that thing. It was like a bullet inside of me for 17 days.
Both nurses couldn’t understand how I jumped back at myself and laughed. They didn’t understand how I lasted so long with it inside of my body, without needing an amputation, of a major infection in my blood. My stool came back clean, blood did too. I was given antibiotics and told to check up at a gynecologist a few days later.
Here I was 1 week after. The bruise on my stomach is from the injection of antibiotics they gave me.
Ever since then my practice of gratitude was now as essential as breathing. Since I left that hospital room, all I have done was give thanks. I gave thanks for every step I took. I gave thanks to the staff. To my mother, to Shaina, and most importantly to my body and my mind. It was the closest thing to a religious experience I ever felt.
I had made one promise to myself, which I knew I had to fulfill because I got spared.
It was to come back stronger and more focused in every aspect in my life.
I came back stronger on my health, my relationships, my character, my business, my career.
I was much more compassionate, towards everything and anything. I still am. Because I felt like I was literally rotting away and dying in silence, it made me realize how many of us could be doing the same.
For almost three weeks, I would talk to people and try my best to keep a smile and be normal, but little did they know of the absolute pain I felt. The inflammation that ran through my body, and how tired I would even get tired of saying a couple of sentences.
I became best friends with my mind. I had to. I couldn’t fill my mind with any negativity to survive. And I still do. I feed it power and positivity. I believe in the power of emotions and feeling and goals. I don’t think there is anyone who can convince me otherwise.
I learned the power of the human body and how much I respect it. I am very flattered when people compliment me on my body, but little do they know how bad ass it truly is. It’s done absolutely so much for me, that I truly don’t know how another way I can repay it. I never stopped those regimens. I still drink my wheatgrass or ginger and lemon shots 2-3 times a week. I have seriously refrained from drinking alcohol because I want to function as highly as possible. I love to drink so much water. I feed it vegetables and a colorful diet to make sure my bowels are moving. I even appreciate my proper digestive system. You have no idea those little things we take for granted, that we miss until we can no longer do them.
I did a complete 180 on my life, and I am happy to say it’s still been like this. 10 months later, I thank that disgusting tampon and my worst fear ever for making me into a stronger person.
It was almost as if all the dark muck that had come out of me was a symbolism of all the shit I had gone through in my life. Whenever I feel like I can’t do something, I’ll remember those days of hell when I had a tampon stuck inside of me, and how I lost my mind to find my soul.