Womens’ Issues – what are they?
I normally write about the funny side of pregnancy but today I feel as though I need too address the issues that us, as women, can endure and one high on the list is Endometriosis.
What is it? What does it do to you? Why me? How can I stop it? So many questions that go through your head when you are diagnosed with this disease. Yes, it is a disease. not just a niggly pain that sets itself up in your uterus for the rest of it’s life but a full blown, crippling with pain disease. Yeah, f@$k you Endo!
It’s strange because when you are younger, none of these issues come to mind. You just accept the pain thinking that your period is here for the next week (or more) to wreak havoc on our body and then it will go away until the next time. You take pain killers and anti-inflammatories to help, use a hot water bottle or heat back and try and rest up on the couch while watching season 5 of Gossip Girl (yep, never saw it, finally did!). I’d always thought that it was normal as no one had told me different, or that Endo was even a ‘thing’.
I dealt with it on a monthly basis and tried to just go on and do what I always did – mask the pain. I wish I could explain to you how it felt but if you have never been through it, it’s hard to describe it. I never had a ‘regular’ cycle so I didn’t actually know when my period was going to making it’s grand entrance, but when it did, that was the end of me for the next 4-5 days (at least) while the brunt of it hit me. I couldn’t move. The pain would take my breath away and I was bed bound for that entire time. I couldn’t work or leave the house, I know this probably sounds overdramatic but I actually felt like I would pass out from the pain I was feeling. Nothing helped, even though I tried EVERYTHING, but yet, I still accepted that is was the norm and every one went through it. They don’t and this is why it needs to be brought to light (and has been in the past couple of years).
As the years went on, the pain got worse and I had to leave my normal paying job to work from home (as a hairdresser I could work my clients around my ‘issue’). I would not go out on certain occasions and had to just tell the girls that ‘yep, I have my period and I can’t move’. Many would say that I was being over the top about the situation and that I was just making an excuse not to go out. I was 25 at this stage, I WANTED to go out, I WANTED to be a normal jàger bomb drinking young woman who sometimes forgot how she got home, but I couldn’t each month because I was dying – inside. Eventually I skipped my periods altogether by taking the pill non stop, it was great for about 4 months but it was like my body knew what I was doing and was like ” Ummm no sweetheart, don’t think you are getting out of THAT easy”. The pain was there, everyday, sometimes intense, sometimes dull but it was there, taunting me! I cried, not knowing why this was happening to me and no one else I knew had to go through this?
It wasn’t until my mother just happens to mention in passing that there are womens’ issues all on her side – oh thanks Mum, no really, love that you bring this to light say ohhhh 15 years later??? Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cysts etc etc. I make an appointment with the GP to find out more about these not so talked about issues and see if maybe, MAYBE this is what is causing my pain. It took a lot for me to go and see her as I and been told by so many before that it was normal to feel this pain and that it simply ‘can’t be that bad’. One even suggested I go back on anti-depressants (after being on them for 3 years and then weaning myself off – go me!) to help! No thanks mate, next! My new GP specialised in Womens’ issues and Fertility and she was amazing! She blocked out time in her schedule to explain everything to me, I had no idea there was so much more to it than I thought. I had a referral to another amazing specialist that would hopefully be the end of my problems (wishful thinking!)
In July last year (2015) I was booked in for a Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy to see what was happening in this uterus of mine. Endometriosis, Adenomyosis and mild Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Wooo, triple threat – if you are going to do it, better do it well I say! The Endo was removed (for now) but unfortunately, as the disease had grown into the muscle wall of my uterus, it can’t be removed unless I opted for a Hysterectomy. I hadn’t had children yet so that wasn’t something I wanted to explore just yet, or so I thought. I wasn’t given much time as the more it grew in my muscles, the more it closed my uterus meaning more pain and less chance of staying pregnant. I was a mess, I cried every night in the shower so Gregory couldn’t hear me and worry. I felt like a failure as a woman, that was me done. I dealt with the pain for another 3 months with my period visiting every 2 weeks, each time the pain was debilitating. It felt like a chinese burn to your uterus that kept going, if I could have reached in and pulled my uterus out I would have. I was told IVF was our only answer for a baby and we had to start soon as I was running out of time. Not only was I over the whole thing, I wanted to be pain free and have my life back. A Hysterectomy was high on my list and I had set myself a timeframe to do it, I was done.
Well, I am 25 weeks pregnant with our little girl human. She knew. It is like she knew exactly what needed to be done and when, as her mumma is not a patient being at all. I was very cautious up until 18 weeks (and probably still am) as I was so worried that her little emby was not going to stick to my ever changing uterus. Oh she stuck alright, and now she is the most active little bambino who will be in my arms and finally a reality in about 15 weeks (or less at the rate she is growing – 4 weeks ahead!!!)
I havent’t even thought about the possible pain I will endure once my period returns and to be honest, I probably should. Pregnancy is not a cure for this disease, there is no cure. We are very lucky that in Australia, we have an awesome support network who works hard to help women, like myself, to get through this. I am one of many women that suffer from this disease (1 in 10 – isn’t that crazy??) and know I am not alone.
Neither are you.
Contact http://www.endometriosisaustralia.org if you feel that you may be one of us and need help.
They are amazing and are a credit to every woman dealing with this on a day to day basis.