Bye Bye Bad Periods…Hello DivaCup!


{Disclosure: I was given a DivaCup Model 2 to review in order to write this post. I was not paid for my review, or endorsement, of this product, nor was I asked to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.}

I have always had a hard time with my periods, even before I was diagnosed with a clotting disorder, antiphospholipid syndrome, in 2012. My menstrual cycle has always been heavy, painful, sudden to start, irregular and generally wreaks havoc on my emotions. If I could bury myself in a dirt hole for the duration of my cycle, I would, gladly to spare myself and others the misery of my company. Since my diagnosis, my periods have only gotten worse and while I do have months that are uneventful, my body seems to make up for it the next time with a period like no other.

Throughout the pre-blood clot years of my menstrual cycle, I almost exclusively wore pads (Always, extra long, overnight, jumbo pack) and I continued wearing pads after my blood clot.

My Problem

In the initial months (read first year) of my recovery from DVT and PE, I found that my menstrual cycle was nearly unmanageable in terms of flow. I rarely left the house during my period and if I did, I went armed with a stack of pads (which I changed hourly). I planned out where I was going to go and when I was going to use the restroom. I couldn’t be gone for very long, and I certainly couldn’t do anything spontaneous like drive to another store or friend’s house because I was uncertain of how long it might take. I wore dark pants, multiple pairs of panties and cursed my light car interior. I didn’t sit on anyone’s furniture, as a matter of fact, sometimes I didn’t sit at all for fear of leak.

Flash forward to now, three years after my clotting incident, and my periods are still really heavy, can happen out of nowhere, with no pre-symptoms, and last for an extended period of time. Sometimes, I get a day or two of relief and then it starts all over again. Just when I think it is under control – I tried to wear a tampon at a festival this summer – I am back to running for the car so I can rush home and take care of the leak (by staying in my bed for the next four days). The emotional turmoil and anxiety I feel during my cycle every month is in part due to the fear I have of leaking at work, a friend or relative’s house or anywhere that is not my own room – and even that can result in a fit of tears and anger. It’s miserable, I’m miserable and desperate for relief. 

My Solution 

First and foremost, I was in constant communication with not only my hematologist, but my OBGYN too about my flow and frequency of periods. My OBGYN told me that remaining on warfarin and progestin-only birth control and aspirin will continue to contribute to a heavy flow. He ensured nothing else was going on (i.e. cervical cancer, a miscarriage, etc.) and informed me that my options for controlling the flow included a contraceptive implant, which is not an option I am comfortable with personally. So, after ruling out any medical concerns, I began my search for something to offer the relief I so desperately sought.

What I found is the DivaCup. And the DivaCup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally (yes, in your vagina), collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. It lasts for 10-12 hours before it needs emptied, is comfortable, holds my entire flow in a day (no, I’m not kidding either), and is cheaper and healthier than traditional menstrual products like pads and tampons. Wait, wait, it’s gross, right? Hear me out before you make a determination about how sanitary it is and enter to win your own DivaCup to try for yourself.


The Basics

The DivaCup costs around $40 and you can find it online or now at CVS. It is not disposable and you should only need to replace it about once a year, or when it is best as determined by you. It offers 10-12 hour leak-free protection and is made of health-grade silicone. It really holds my entire flow, and I actually found thorough the measurements on the side of the cup that I was not bleeding as much as I thought I was. It comes in two sizes, 1 if you are under 30 and have not had a vaginal delivery or C-Section and 2 if you are over 30 and/or have delivered a child(ren) vaginally or via C-Section. You wear it when you use the restroom, but not during sexual intercourse and it is not a contraceptive device. You wash it using a mild, unscented soap, or the DivaWash, which I prefer to use. Read more details about the DivaCup basics.


The Pros

I have not leaked at all while wearing the DivaCup, not once, not for the entire 11 or so hours I wore it during heavy flow. The first time I tried the DivaCup I wore it on the heaviest day of my menstrual flow and I was really worried about it, but I did not have any leaks. That to me is worth the entire product. Toward the end of the day, I will say I felt the DivaCup slide down slightly, but it did not leak or spill and I adjusted it upon emptying it. Most people empty it 2-3 times a day, but you may need to empty your DivaCup more often depending on your flow. The great thing about is it is much easier to monitor your menstruation cycle. I don’t have to worry about carrying a bag of pads with me anymore, the DivaCup comes with a discreet cloth bag that I store it in after cleaning and generally I carry it in my cosmetic bags in case of emergency or a sudden start. It’s always available and I’m no longer running to the store at midnight or on my lunch break, praying I make it there and back in time. I save money using the DivaCup (an average of $100-$150 a year) and I am healthier. The last thing I need is a possible health complication, for example, from the ingredients found in tampons.


The DivaCup has given me back a piece of my self-esteem and self-confidence when it comes to my menstrual cycle. I no longer worry about leaks, stains, unsanitary messes and where will be the next time I need to change my feminine product because the DivaCup holds my entire flow in a day. My periods have become more manageable because they are not managing me for once! I feel like a new woman using the DivaCup.    

The Cons

Wearing a cup is different from wearing a pad or a tampon and it took me a few tries to be able to insert it correctly (although, with practice, it is not too much different from a tampon and I struggled with that at first too). I suggest either wearing a pad with it at first to ensure you have it inserted correctly or wear it in a place (like home) where you know you can handle it right away if you feel a leak. For me, it is very easy to tell if I have the DivaCup placed incorrectly because, much like a tampon, I can feel it. Most of the incorrect positioning comes from pushing it up into the vaginal canal, instead of back, towards the tailbone. You can find great instructions on how to insert it here and the Diva Team is more than happy to help with questions, should you have any. At $50-$55 for the cup and the wash (or about $40 for the cup), it can be expensive to get started, but remember, you are saving money in the long run. Most ladies I have spoken to are most worried about emptying the cup, but when you remove it by pulling is straight down, the contents do not spill out and are easily disposed of in the toilet (then wash the DivaCup in the sink with the DivaWash or mild, unscented soap). The inconvenient part is it is not practical to empty it in a public restroom so I make sure I do that somewhere where I feel comfortable, like my house. To me, it is more sanitary than removing a pad (where the contents are already outside of your body) or a tampon (where there is no container at all). I actually feel cleaner using the DivaCup.

Just For You

Connect with The DivaCup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and through their website for great ideas, tips, information, and chances to win a DivaCup.

You can order your own DivaCup through my Amazon Influencer Shop.

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,


7 Steps to Feel Better about Yourself

It seems like I have struggled with self-esteem in one way or another throughout my entire life. I can remember it started fairly early, as a young lady in middle and high school, comparing myself to other girls. I was too fat (and still am), my hair was too thin (and still is) and I didn’t fit in with the cool kids (and still wouldn’t). In college, I isolated myself in my studies and a few select relationships (the cool kids still weren’t that into me) and as a young adult, I found myself drawing a comparison in what I now know to be an all-too competitive job market. I continued to doubt my appearance (I needed to lose weight and wear my hair down) and found comfort in friends that weren’t the norm (I realized there was no such thing as a cool kid, anyway). I realized health was more important than appearance and running, for the first time since well, ever, gave my self-confidence a much needed boost. I treasured my family (of the two- and four-legged variety) and realized it didn’t matter so much what others thought about me as long as I was loved by them. I was getting somewhere – I started a career where I worked hard to be among the best in the field and, I even liked myself again.

I liked myself for about two and a half days when a blood clot in my lung (PE) not only almost killed me, but drastically changed how I thought about myself once again. I went from healthy, active and content with my life to gravely unhealthy, unable to walk unassisted and living in a state of constant turmoil. Relationships suffered, I lost my job and any faith I had in myself to be a valuable human being. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t function. Not working, I felt like I was not contributing to society and surely found what I could do was eat – the pounds piled back on and the warfarin pretty much killed any liking I had for my already way-too thin hair. I know I should count my lucky stars (okay, star) that my hair is still there, but the changes I saw in its color and texture – along with a severely discolored leg that will never see the light of day again – made it nearly impossible to find even one thing physically appealing about myself. I was a blob, barely existent and unable to see my way out of the darkness. My emotions were bruised – anxiety, fear and depression set in – and the energy needed to be happy were not worth the energy I did not have. I was sick, I was tired and I hated myself.

I found that the blow to my self-esteem was different than being fat in high school or at the bottom of the class curve – this blow was far below anything I had ever experienced in my whole life and one I hope to not experience again. It was devastating, it was overwhelming and it was deep. It is pain unlike any other –even the physical pain that comes with a PE. There is nothing anyone can say or do to help or make you feel better. When you are met with one obstacle after another, it’s easier to give up than to fight and there were times when give up was exactly what I did. It hurt too much, I was too tired and to me, it didn’t matter anyway. I think you reach a point when you just can’t take anymore – then more comes your way. Grief sets in and consumes you. You can’t see a way out, and for some time, there is no way out. I spent a great deal of time (the better part of a year) wholeheartedly believing my life would never, ever get any better than the moment I was in right then and there – consumed by pain, grief, sadness and anger.

It was not easy to get out of the darkness I was enveloped in and believe me, I still spend frequent periods there, but I can see a light. I know there is hope because I am a survivor. I am here for a reason – whether it is to raise awareness about blood clots, to help others, to spend time with the ones I love or something more adventurous like travel the world and bring awareness to those less fortunate than myself – I am here for a reason.

So, how is it that things started to turn around for me? Gaining back your self-esteem is not something I believe someone else can tell you how to do. It’s personal and it’s different for everyone. Although we share common threads of recovery, fear and sadness – our stories are inherently different because we as human beings are different.

What I do know is that reading stories about others, who had made it through similar challenges stemming from life-threatening or chronic illness, helped me to realize that there is hope for me to do the same. It started with a good day here and there – a sunny day that I was able to enjoy, a kind word from a friend, a good hair day or a job interview. Slowly, very slowly, I began to recognize pieces of the old me and of my old self-worth. When I found them, I nurtured them and sought out others to do the same. Maybe it came in the form of writing an article about blood clot awareness, providing support for someone still in the hospital or taking a walk in the park (that didn’t end in tears). As I started to allow myself to feel appreciated and valued, others did the same and from there, I have begun to build back my self-esteem.

It has been a scrupulously slow and painful process. And, almost as important as getting out of that horrible place lacking self-worth, self-care and self-love, is what you do with it once you start to break free. I have found that nurturing my self-esteem has been very important. Even if it is one small step at a time that I focus on, it helps me feel better about myself.

There are some simple steps you can take to feel better about yourself. They don’t have to be monumental (yes, they may look that way now) and they don’t have to happen right now. If you are ready, give them a try. If you are not, start thinking about them and when the day comes that begin to recognize how important you are, you have a plan for nurturing that significance.

7 Steps to Feel Better about Yourself

First, let me give you a peek into my steps:

I wanted purple hair. And I got purple hair. I have never done anything drastic with my hair. Purple hair was a huge change for me. As not quite the societal norm, it was a huge risk for me (I play by the rules). I saved up a little bit of money (once I had some coming in again). I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion first (okay, I texted my sister from the salon, but lucky for me she didn’t respond in time and I went through with it) and I went to the salon by myself. An afternoon just for me. I had a blast with the ladies there and left with a gigantic smile on my face. It was different, it was daring, it was the perfect boost I needed to like myself just a little bit more.

  • Step 1: Make a change. It doesn’t have to be big for the rest of us, but it has to be big for you. It has to matter to you. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be. [Ideas: Get your hair or nails done; buy a new outfit; make a new friend; start a new exercise program; redecorate that space you’ve been meaning to; consider a career change; learn a new skill; start a new hobby]
  • Step 2: Take a risk. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. As my best friend likes to say “Go big, or go home.” Do something exciting for you. [Ideas: Cut or color your hair drastically; travel to a new place; eat a new food; pursue your passion; do something you wouldn’t normally do]
  • Step 3: Do something entirely for yourself. No ifs, and or buts about it. Do what you would like to do. Only for you. Don’t worry about what others will think (just this once). Enjoy yourself.
  • Step 4: Create a cash fund to do it with. Chances are, your steps might cost a little money (although you can make it as inexpensive or expensive as you would like). You don’t have to spend a lot of money, though. I know how hard it is to come by extra cash when you are paying medical bills and worrying about income. Save a few dollars at a time, skip lunch out or take $5 out of your paycheck each week to save up for something special. Or, plan your steps at no cost.
  • Step 5: Take small steps. If you don’t have the money for steps right now, plan something that doesn’t cost anything (think rearranging the furniture in your bedroom, writing that poem you always dreamed you would or learning to use Facebook) until you can save up for something that does.
  • Step 6: Tell the world. You did it! Sharing (maybe even in the form of a picture, hard, I know, believe me) really makes you feel accomplished and excited about the steps you have taken. Your world can be big (the internet) or your most intimate family, but tell someone.
  • Step 7: Repeat. One through seven. You’ve got them now!

You can do this. I know you can. Has the purple faded from my hair? A little. But, the boost my self-confidence got from the experience was worth it’s weight in gold. I’m already saving to go back!

Share your story. Are you struggling with your self-esteem more since your DVT or PE? Does it seem hopeless? Have you taken any of these steps to help yourself feel better? Tell me about it in the comments or commit to take a step today!

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,