My Endo Patient Partner's Top Five Ways I Support Her
My partner and I are quite the endo team, even if I do say so myself.
When we were first together, I tried my best to support her with endo, but neither of us really knew anything about it. However, over the next few years, she learned more and more about the condition and eventually became a health coach specializing in endometriosis.
Along the way I picked up lots of information about the condition and how to manage it effectively.
Top five ways I support my partner
I’ve written extensively about how I support her with managing her condition and what I think are the most effective support strategies, but here are her top five.
Have a shared understanding
This can mean a number of things, from having a shared understanding of what numbers mean on the ‘pain scale’, to having a shared vocabulary when discussing experiences. It also means me having a good understanding of endometriosis so that we can have deeper conversations about it, rather than her always having to explain things to me.
Know where the supplies are
This means that if she has a pain flare-up, she doesn’t have to shout instructions to me from the bedroom about where the hot water bottle or ginger tea bags are. I can grab the things she needs easily, and she can focus on resting and feeling better.
This is important in all aspects of a relationship, but even more so when dealing with a painful chronic condition. Not being able to talk about struggles, challenges, highs, and lows can lead to misunderstandings and resentment at the best of times. When something like endometriosis is putting a strain on a relationship, it’s important you’re able to talk about it.
The next two are kind of paired. Being flexible means that if something is planned but then endo gets in the way of that, it is being understood. It’s also being able to adapt to the challenges that endo throws our way, like dietary restrictions or post-surgery recovery, with grace and good humor!
This flexibility also requires patience, otherwise, you’ll just stress each other out! Endometriosis can sometimes really get in the way of life, and it can limit how much my partner can do or cause her to cancel plans. Aside from being flexible and adaptable to these changes, you must be patient and understanding. Go slowly when they need to go slow, and take a break when they need to take a break.
This top five list is different from what I would have written and perhaps suggests a difference in our personalities. Whereas I would have listed practical tips like doing the shopping and picking the kids up from school, most of my partner’s list is interpersonal.
It emphasizes how managing endometriosis effectively as a couple is about give and take, and communication. Only one of us may be experiencing endometriosis, but managing it is a journey both of us have to take.
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