The Risk of Ignoring the Pain: Endometriosis
I have been dealing with endometriosis since I was 14 years old. Now considering that was almost 17 years ago, things were worse back then on trying to get diagnosed. No doctor wanted to diagnose a teenager with a condition like endometriosis, even though I already had a family history of endometriosis.
My pain became normal
I suffered regularly with pain that nobody, but my mother, understood or believed. Everybody would always tell me I was just having a normal period and I was "being dramatic". To them, I was an attention seeker. It emotionally hurt so much that everyone just thought that I was being a dramatic teenager. Between the pain and the extreme bleeding that I had to deal with regularly, I was miserable and felt very isolated. Since I was so used to having so much pain due to the endometriosis, I did my best not to complain about the pain I was enduring. It was a combination of so many people not believing me and the fact that my mother could not fix my pain.
Finding an ovarian cyst
There was a two-week period where the pain was significantly stronger. Due to what I had experienced with the medical professionals, I seriously doubted that going to the emergency room would be beneficial; It was just endometriosis pain, after all. While trying to take an advanced placement exam at school, my body started shaking to the point I could not hold my pencil. I was sent to the nurse’s office and they had my sister come pull me out of school.
We met my mother at the local emergency room. After the did their tests, it showed that I had a large cyst inside of my right ovary. The cyst ended up being the size of a grapefruit. Due to the massive size, it cut off a ureter tube and cause an infection. This large cyst had been in my body long enough that the infection from the ureter tube had gotten into my blood. The only way they would allow me out of the hospital was with a stent in my arm. We had to do IV antibiotics multiple times a day through this stent.
This was the first time that having a chronic pain condition led me to ignore pain that was supposed to be a warning sign from my body. Our bodies normally cause a level of pain to as a warning sign that something is not right within our body. Unfortunately, when it comes to living with chronic pain, sometimes we get so used to hurting that we do not understand that this is our bodies way of asking us to rest. I know, personally, I have pushed through pain instead of resting because I hurt so regularly and needed to get things done. As you can see, ignoring my extreme pain could have been fatal if I did not make it to the hospital to be treated. Even though we live in a state of chronic pain, we need to be sure we pay attention to our bodies.
Have you had a similar experience?
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?