An App For Every Successful Woman

I read somewhere that one of the habits that successful people have is keeping a journal. So I tried to write in my journal as often as I could but I have a consistency problem so I would slack sometimes. At times a whole month would pass by with zero entries then I would have to go back and fill it in as much as I could. Now I’m not really into having a diary where I write all my feelings and crushes. I need something where I can document the events of the day and certain sentiments in a particular way.

When I was going through last year’s journal I realized that I use it mainly for one thing: tracking my menstrual cycle. For someone who likes knowing stuff, I want to know everything about my body. I want to know why I feel like smiling at everyone one week and ripping the grins off their faces another week. I also like being prepared for stuff. They say forewarned is forearmed, right? I don’t want my uterus ripping itself apart and causing the crazy cramps during a vacation. Which reminds me I’m finding that my cramps are getting more painful as I get older, if anyone else is experiencing this let me know so we can be best friends and form a club. We can make cocktails filled with ibuprofen and any other painkillers we discover. We could have matching hot water bottles and binge on bars of chocolate. We would have so much fun, I promise.

But because I was always forgetting to write in the journal, there were times when I would have panic attacks because I couldn’t remember when my last period was. One thing they don’t tell you when you’re getting married is that you’re going to have pregnancy scares, lots and lots of them. I remember biting my nails raw with a calendar in my hand trying to figure out if I was late or not. Not a cool feeling, not a cool feeling at all.

An App For Every Successful Woman

So some time ago as I was trying to count when my periods were due and not succeeding because I kept running out of fingers, I had an epiphany. I realized that there was probably an app for this because there is an app for everything these days. I went to Google play, searched for period calendar and lots of apps came up. I read reviews, and checked out the stats and I finally picked one that I wanted. After years and years of denial, I have come to the realization that I like pink. It triggers a certain dosage of happiness because it’s so pretty. So I picked an app with some pink in its UI.

This app is so good you guys! I filled in the past period dates I remembered and it calculated when my next will be. It allows you to track the flow, symptoms and even moods of each day. There’s even a little check box to tick if you had intercourse that day. You can keep track of your weight, the medicines you take and the birth control method you’re using. It gives you an alarm like 2 days before your periods so you get prepared and stuff. It even tells you when you’re ovulating so that it makes sense why your significant other is suddenly hotter than usual.

Period Calendar UI

Period Calendar UI. Get it here

I’m happy because I don’t have to think about that anymore. The best part is that I don’t have to wait till I get home to input the data. I’m already on my phone all day so all it takes is just 5 minutes to log in the headache I’m feeling. The other day I was getting all weepy and I figured it was because of Jon Snow then I checked the app and it said I was PMSing. See?! This app figures me out man! If The Hub wants date night tomorrow, I’m checking the app first. I need to know when and when not to watch all those touchy movies which give me a running nose. Next time you want me to meet you up for Ice cream or invite me to your event and I tell you I gotta check my calendar, it’s the app I’m talking about. I have to know if my body will give me enough mental power to deal with what comes my way, I just have to know man! I’m done forcing myself on hard-copy journals, my app is right at my fingertips. Like literally, my phone is always in my hand. And as for being successful, I think I’m a very successful woman. The fact that I haven’t ripped anyone’s head off during my periods is a clear sign that I’m successfully womaning.


The Day I got Screened for Cervical Cancer

I was nervously pacing across the tiny room. I knew I was crazy to be this scared but that didn’t make it any easier. I told myself this was just routine and nothing would go horribly wrong. But I didn’t believe a single word I told myself. I was in the Cervical Cancer screening room waiting to be screened. You would think that I was waiting to hear my HIV status by the way I paced.

Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer in Zambia and Zambia has the second highest rates of Cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa. I knew all this and that’s why I was nervous. I have heard of women who have died from Cervical Cancer. It shows no signs or symptoms until the cancer is in full gear. Many people have crazy misconceptions on how a woman can get it. But the simple explanation is that it is caused by the viral infection of the cervix by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Oh yeah, and this HPV is sexually transmitted.

But here’s the crazy thing about Cervical Cancer; it can be prevented. See, before the viral infection causes the cancer, there are some precancerous cells that can be detected and removed to prevent the cancer. So routine screening is very important. Now I know all this but I still hadn’t gone for a screening yet. The thing is I don’t trust “routine” checkups. Each time I have gone for a checkup, they always find something wrong with me. And because I work in a place where I see pictures of full blown cancer ridden cervices everyday, I had the worst-case scenario in my head.

I was tired of the anticipation so one morning I just walked over to the clinic and told the nurse that I was finally here to do it. She had been prompting me to do it for a while so she was ecstatic. She left me in the room and told me to get ready, I already knew the drill. I took off my underwear and got on the bed. Oh, I forgot to mention, the Cervix is slightly past the vagina and is the door to the uterus. So taking off my underwear is a necessary move. When I get nervous, I get a gassy stomach so I was so worried I would accidentally fart in the nurse’s face.

The nurse then inserted a Speculum that looked quite scary, I must say. The key is to relax, then it will only be slightly uncomfortable. Try thinking of chocolate cake or something.

Then she swabbed my cervix with vinegar and waited for a few minutes. The vinegar makes everything on the cervix visible enough for inspection. Then the nurse got a camera which was connected to a T.V besides the bed and got a picture of my cervix. Because it’s impossible for the human eye to detect anything, they use the camera to zoom in and pick up every single detail. If there are any precancerous cells (cells that will turn into cancer after some time), they show up looking white on the picture. So while the nurse was taking the picture, I was on the look out for anything that looked anything close to white. I think sometimes knowing too much is a bad thing because the worry is unbearable.

She showed me the picture on the TV. It was clear! I had a very clear and pink cervix. No precancerous cells and no cancer. The relief I felt was almost tangible. I almost cried. The picture of my cervix stared back at me like a pretty little baby. I thought it looked beautiful. If I had got the picture I would have shown you guys. I have encountered cases of women younger than me who found out they had the early stages of cancer so I knew just how blessed I was. I got up from that bed feeling so relieved, I didn’t even care if the nurse saw my stretch marks. I was also so happy my sphincter muscles hadn’t let me down.

The whole procedure took about 15 minutes. 15 minutes that made my life a bit lighter. 15 minutes that took away the worry of cervical cancer. Even in the event that I had been found with cancer cells, it wouldn’t have been so bad because I would have caught it early and something would have been done about it. Most women die from Cervical Cancer because they catch it really late.

Any woman who has had sex needs to get screened for cervical cancer. It is done for free in government-run clinics. Go to a clinic near you and get screened. Have you been screened for Cervical Cancer? You might want to do it soon. Early detection leads to early treatment.

My next appointment is in 2018, three years from now. I’ll make sure I keep it.


Gender based violence and Why women return to their abusers

What kind of hitting does it take for skin to break and blood to gush out? Obviously the hitting of a maniac. The police man comes home at midnight (Every husband knows that is way past any married man’s ‘bedtime’) and starts playing loud music when everyone else is asleep. When his wife confronted him, he beat her up and left her looking like this.

Woman beaten by cop husband.

Woman beaten by cop husband.

The woman could have died for Pete’s sake, people have died from far less injuries. And the worst part, She went back to her matrimonial home after being stitched up and forgave her husband. I think this man’s betrayal is on two counts. One as a husband, he is supposed to protect her from the world and all kinds of horrid stuff but here he is being the administrator. Two as a police officer, his job is to protect citizens from evil people that do such horrible things.  What do you do when the man you trusted with your heart, body and life harms you worse than you can imagine. I can’t even imagine how it must feel. Continue reading

Why you should never go grocery shopping on your period

For the past few years and ever since I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose weight. I have been on so many diets and cleanses, I could write a book. I finally figured out recently that what I need is regular exercise and a healthy eating plan. so I’ve been trying to work out consistently and eat healthy and while I can testify that my energy levels have shot to the roof, my weight loss has been really slow. It’s been a rollercoaster ride with numerous ups and downs. The biggest problem has not been how hard it is to lose the pounds but how easy it is to gain them back. And every month just as I’m starting to think I’m making substantial progress, nature throws me a biological curve ball.

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I realized quite early that I was different from most of the people in my life. I had different aspirations and dreams. My personality was different and I enjoyed different things. I preferred reading and writing to boys and nice clothes. When I got my first job, people tried to get me to dress a certain way but I was already set in my way. I had different views from the rest and when I tried to air them out, I got burned. Continue reading

How to be a Woman

So the lessons have began. The legendary traditional teachings that I have dreaded ever since I realised that I would have to get married someday. My wedding matron sat me down to prepare me for what’s coming in the lessons. She told me that from now onwards I should not show excitement on my face and in my body language and not smile uncontrollably. I was supposed to be silent when talked to and not argue with anyone. Continue reading