When I found out I had Endometriosis, I think I went into a state of shock. I’d known for a while that I probably had it; I had all the symptoms and had done for a long time. Getting doctors to believe this was another story! I never realised the severity of it, though. I didn’t realise I would struggle to have children, that my womb was irrevocably damaged, I didn’t realise that treatment wasn’t a one-time thing but actually, in fact something I’ll have to repeat time and time again for the rest of my life. I didn’t realise a hysterectomy doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Endometriosis. I didn’t realise I would be looking at my whole life from a different perspective.
I didn’t think of the future too much. I didn’t worry about who I’ll be when I’m 40 because it’s so far away. Or it seems it. I didn’t worry about how much of an effect my illness would have on other people’s lives. Then I got the diagnosis and it’s all I’ve thought about:
- When it comes back again, will I be bed-ridden with pain?
- Will this ever get too much to deal with for my boyfriend, family, friends?
- Will I ever be able to have a career that I’ll be successful in? Will I be able to get to a point where I can manage the pain or will I have to leave the job of my dreams because it’s too much?
Endometriosis always comes back. It might not cause any pain but it’ll be back. It’s also likely that I’ll have cysts as well. It’s easy to say ‘well, live in the moment!’ and that’s what I was thinking when I was first diagnosed and for the most part– I am! Living in the moment doesn’t mean I forget about it, though. I still need to think about my future, I still need to come to terms with it all. I’m even dreaming about it. Knowing that it is coming back is pretty hard, not knowing when it’s coming back or more to the point- where it’s going to come back to is harder. I feel like I’m in a state of limbo and my future seems completely uncertain, even more so than it usually would for a twenty-something.
I’ve met women who are my mother’s age who are on their eighteenth (!) surgery, I’ve met girls who are 14 and don’t even go to school because the pain’s too bad. I’ve met women who have had the tissue grow in places Endometriosis is rarely found. When I went for surgery, I heard women crying through the night, I heard a woman on the phone to her partner saying this has made her suicidal because there’s no end to it, she’s had a hysterectomy and is still struggling to get through the day. Endometriosis is not something that should be taken lightly and hearing these women and their struggles really drove home how serious this condition is and how serious it can get.
I feel like this has tested my character, my relationship, my patience and my strength. I feel like I’ve been on an emotional journey and while I am surrounded by supportive family, friends and of course, Gavin, I feel like I’ve done this mostly alone. It’s not something that can really be helped by love, it’s something I’ve worked through and tried to understand alone. It’s made me re-evaluate everything about my life and myself.
Despite all of this, I still feel quite positive. I know I can get through anything, I’ve been through more in the past 10 years than most people do in a lifetime, I faced a lot of heartache and troubles and I’m still here, I’m still me. I haven’t locked myself away from the world and I haven’t turned into The Incredible Hulk (don’t ask G to back me up…). I’ve been more open and honest about my feelings than I ever was before. I’ve always lived by ‘Don’t Dream It, Be It‘ but especially since this diagnosis and the subsequent treatment, I’ve felt that living my dreams isn’t an option, it’s a must. Even if it is one step at a time, one surgery at a time, I will achieve everything I want to because I’m determined.
I’ve spent my life being a fighter. I’ve fought bullies, prejudices, sexism and even family members. I’ve fought my way through anxiety, depression and *shudder* high school. I’m not scared of Endometriosis. I’m concerned about my future, yes, but never scared. I’ve always been a fighter, it’s in my blood and my spirit and if Endometriosis has taught me anything it’s that I’ll never stop being a fighter because giving in, to me, isn’t an option. I’m a pretty sore loser and with Endometriosis I’ll be sore either way (hahaha sorry, my jokes are rubbish) so why not be a sore winner?
This was in response to a Scintilla prompt: Describe a time when the content of your character was tested
It’s also a post in support of Endometriosis Awareness Month