Last week I was in some serious pain. What should’ve been my regularly scheduled program was not to be. Instead, the program was pulled out of its socket and thrown out of a high rise window. I spent a good 3 days in a lot of pain (which is not like me). I was not well.
Back in the day, before I had a baby, I would tell people that the pains and cramps I got from endometriosis felt like labor pains. Folks would laugh and tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about. Now I do and I can confirm that’s the case.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 26 and though it is something I live with, it is also something I rarely talk about. Chatting with my sister, I asked her the question: why is it that my brain can’t ever just process the fact that I have endometriosis and that it’s a real thing that I have to deal with?
Her reply? “The same reason I have issues taking PCOS seriously. It’s not always tangible and it affects so many aspects of your existence, that the very act of “dealing” with it extremely overwhelming”.
I think that little one is right.
What is Endometriosis?
This is the easy part. Endometriosis is what happens when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Basically, it’s not playing it’s position. Play your position, endometrial tissue! You know you are only ‘posed to be in the uterus, why are you going around here exploring my abdomen like you ain’t got anywhere to live?!
But, I digress. That’s what it is. And because it’s supposed to be in the uterus, every month, it goes through the same cycle that the uterus goes through. Meaning that it “sheds” it bleeds, etc. With no other place to go, you can guess that this just accumulates and causes all kinds of havoc to the system. Mainly pain. Lots and lots of pain. Which I ignore. Which I write off.
I also experience lots of exhaustion. And I get bloated because somehow my intestines also get involved. I’ve gotten used to the Frog Princess coming up to me, kissing my belly and telling me sweetly that I look like I am going to have a baby.
All these things happen. On this side of the screen. And I hold the pain in.
Last week, I was in and out of bed for 3 days and tied to a heating pad. I thought I was good to go but pain woke me up early Friday and it was soooo bad. I couldn’t walk to the kitchen to grab ibuprofen. I was plotting texting my brother and waking him up so he could help.
But see, this is where it begins. I don’t ever want to inconvenience anyone. During a wave of the lesser pain, I got what I needed from the kitchen, strapped my heating pad on and prayed that I’d be able to get out of bed in 20 minutes so I could get the girl ready for school.
I pushed myself and made it. But the exhaustion that comes from pushing through a day with pain is something that folks don’t tell you about. And something I love to forget.
Even today, as I sit at my desk, I am not feeling pain free. Which upsets me. I went through surgery last year and another round of hormone treatment to help but it seems I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be on the recovery cycle.
This is my reality. And it’s about time that I spoke more about it and that I started making life changes to deal with this reality: I have endometriosis but endometriosis doesn’t have me.
On my slate: holistic health plans, self care, admission of illness when I am not well and request for help when I need it.
Bloomin’ Uterus (how cool is this name?!)