Life with Endometriosis Is Full of Unforgettable Moments
Life with endometriosis is full of milestones. Like the first time we read a list of symptoms and recognize the ones we’ve endured for years. Or the day we are diagnosed and find out this illness is chronic. Our first surgery is also an unforgettable day.
In my case, endometriosis has brought a series of moments I’d rather not have gone through. Some were embarrassing, others particularly painful, but they are now, part of my life, and my identity.
The time I got wheeled into surgery, high as a kite
It was my first laparoscopic surgery, and my anxiety levels were rocketing. Seeing as I was in a fidgety mood, the nurses asked me if I wanted something to calm my nerves. I can’t remember what they gave me, but I recall taking two small pills, and shortly after, feeling like a floating butterfly. As they wheeled me to my surgery, I smiled and waved at everyone, giggling to myself, and amusing everyone.
The time I powered through a flare-up during a social outing
I was meeting some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. This meant that although I woke up in extreme pain and wobbly legs, I didn’t cancel my plans. In hindsight, I probably should have. It was the second day of my period, aka the worst time of the month. I took several painkillers that left me quite groggy. I also had a strong case of brain-fog which made me unable to open my eyes completely or follow a conversation.
To this day, one of my friends still doesn’t believe me when I say I wasn’t drunk. What I was, was a jazzy combo of exhaustion, plus pain, heavy drugs, with zero alcohol involved. I have to laugh about it because, it was one of those cases in which what was going on inside - bleeding buckets, plus intense cramps - was invisible to others. That’s what endometriosis is all about.
Whenever I'm on a doctor's examining table
I will never get used to stripping down in front of a new doctor or going through my list of embarrassing symptoms. Whether it’s discussing how many times I go to the toilet, or being examined by very cold hands, it makes me react to anyone complaining about their prostate examination with a solemn, heavy look.
Looking back, what these situations show is how resilient I am. I don’t see endometriosis as a gift. To me, it truly feels like a curse, but one which I overcome daily. I know I am strong, I know I am a survivor, braver than most people I know. And like me, there are millions more, daily living despite the chronic pain, heavy bleeding, and other heart-wrenching, stomach-turning symptoms.
I don’t think this makes me a warrior, though
My mother died of cancer, so I have a very conflicted relationship with terms like 'battle' or 'fighters'. I don't agree with the idea of losing to an illness. But I look at fellow endometriosis patients and it feels me with pride to see us all standing, despite the physical and emotional turmoil going on inside. We are masters at disguising it all, through smoke and mirrors, perfected management... and in my case, a twisted sense of humor.
We truly are quite something.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?