Why I Am Running A Marathon With Endometriosis
Whenever I tell anyone I’m a runner, I get a myriad of responses. Sometimes, it's puzzled reactions, others worried or shocked looks. On other occasions, I become the receiver of blanket statements like “Running is the worst thing you can do with endometriosis”. I’ve even been told that running will burst my cysts - not that I have any at his moment.
However, I still run, quite frequently. In fact, in just a few weeks, I will attempt to run the London Marathon. I choose to say “attempt”, as this will be the first time I run such distance. The longest I ever ran was in 2009, when I covered 10 miles.
At this point, I should add that I have a body afflicted with stage IV endometriosis.
I applied for a place out of sheer silliness. I do it every year, knowing fully well that over half a million people apply to run it, so the possibilities of me getting a spot were pretty slim. But then it happened. Statistics kicked me in the butt, and I got a place.
Sharing the news, friends and relatives have been mostly supportive, some were quite horrified. So, why am I willingly attempting to complete a 26.2-mile run?
Because it feels good
Hear me out, I used to hate running. Some days, I still barely tolerate it (hello, chronic fatigue!), but most of the time, I love it. I am a slow runner, but the moment the endorphins kick in, it feels like flying. My anxiety floats away, my worries disappear, and any pelvic pain suddenly evaporates.
Because 10 years ago, I could barely walk
I had a limp, could barely stand, and had to give up the job of my dreams. Doctors were testing me for all sorts of spinal issues and failing to find a diagnosis. Endometriosis adhesions were affecting my body, but nobody was looking in the right place. In the middle of all this, and with health professionals failing to help me, I promised myself that one day, not only would I be able to walk pain-free, but that I would run a marathon.
Because at this point, I can’t carry out a pregnancy to term
In the past couple of months I’ve been surrounded by friends having babies, one even had triplets. But I am currently single, suffer from fertility issues, and even had a miscarriage a while back. I know there are other ways to be a parent and I'm completely fine with that. However — and I can’t blame the hormones every time — it can get to me, and I do ugly-cry occasionally. So, no, I probably can’t produce a perfect baby, but I can run for miles, so there’s that.
Because surgery is a constant presence
There is a possibility I’ll have laparoscopic surgery in the near future. The last two surgeries left me in a really sorry state, involving long recovery times. I figured it would be good to be as physically fit as possible. Being marathon-ready will mean my mind and my body will be able to cope with any invasive procedures much better.
While I’m pretty determined to run this marathon, if on April 28 I wake up and my body is reluctant to run even a mile, I will not be at the start line. I can't change that I am chronically ill, and while running a marathon is something thousands do every year, it is still a mammoth task. My body will decide whether I can do it or not.
My marathon dream is not a final destination. What matters are my daily achievements, whether they involve running very slowly, or getting through the next flare-up mostly horizontal. My life is still mine to live, and no amount of endometriosis is going to take away that feeling.
Have you heard about the new tampon technology currently being tested to detect endometriosis?