Sounds dramatic right?
Yea, I know.
But it’s not life threatening and it doesn’t affect my motor skills or overall appearance.
Depending on how you look at it though you could consider it dramatic.
But to be honest you really wouldn’t even know I have it without me saying so. Endometriosis (Endo for short) is a pretty quiet condition even though it effects a lot of women. Over 176 million women worldwide are living with this in various stages and if you looked at each of them you would never know any of them were living with Endo.
You just can’t tell by looking at someone. You can’t tell by looking at…me.
The reason why Endo isn’t noticeable on the outside is because all of the damage is internal. Endo effects the reproductive organs…MY reproductive organs. And often the symptoms are just like what comes with regular periods so it’s hard to tell that something is different. A lot of women don’t even know they have it because our understanding of menstruation is that that shit is messy and painful. That is OUR normal.
I was diagnosed (such a heavy word) in 2014-2015 after many doctors visits, many manual exams and too many ultrasounds to count. The initial visit was initiated by me because prior to my diagnosis I’d started to feel different. I wasn’t just feeling regular menstrual discomfort, it was more than that. I had started to experience a numbing pain on both sides of my abdomen that was weird and unfamiliar. It wasn’t a sharp pain but more like a dull buzz. It’s still hard to explain. And this pain would occur while I was sleeping which made things even more confusing. I’ve tried to explain this pain to people and they just nod politely and say “right right” and I can see in their face they don’t know what I mean.
For months I experienced many nights where I woke up rolling around from this pain or I couldn’t fall asleep in the first place. But as it started to get worse a lot of the time I walked around throughout my day feeling this way and no one knew. I just…adapted to it. And then I noticed my uterus and quite literally, my Fallopian tubes would hurt. It’s like they were burning and being agitated somehow and I couldn’t get rid of the feeling unless I popped some extra strength Tylenol.
After my doctor observed the results of a few of my ultrasounds she told me what the issue was. I was also told I had 4 cysts on my ovaries that continued to grow each time I was examined. Her advice? Undergo surgery to get rid of the cysts and clean up the damage Endo was doing to the outside of my tubes and uterus.
So, on February 17, 2016 I had laparoscopy done. It’s not an invasive surgery where I was sliced open. It was just 3 small incisions made on my tummy for a scalpel, laser tool thingie, and a camera to fit into. I won’t go into the exact details of what the procedure is like but what was found by my doctor was that my case was severe. She was also able to tell me 3 things post-surgery:
- I have stage 4 Endo and this is for life.
- One of my Fallopian tubes is badly twisted up and therefore non-functional.
- My other tube is badly twisted but there is a small path for an embryo to travel through however it’s a slim to none chance.
You would think hearing the news would have devastated me but it didn’t. Obviously I wasn’t happy about it but I had prepared myself for the worst. I knew for a long time something might be wrong with me because I’ve never been pregnant and I should have been. So what I did feel was, relief. I finally knew what the issue was and could plan accordingly. Besides the meds I’ve been prescribed (and haven’t taken) I’ve had to make some dietary adjustments as per my amazing naturopathic doctor. She was able to talk to me honestly about it and let me know that Gluten, dairy and meat all aggravate my condition. There’s also inflammatory foods like tomatoes, corn and white potatoes that I need to avoid. I’ve been trying to cut those items out but I come from a West Indian family and all of our meals consist of those items.
M A C A R O N I P I E!!!
Plus, I’ve always RESENTED the idea that I have to completely change what I eat for better living and now throwing in the fact that Endo was further cramping my style has made the mental adjustment to this even harder. I’m getting better at making better decisions but I could be doing a lot better at this. I feel shame for not trying harder…but a part of me just feels like WHY ME. Why do I have to make such severe adjustments?? I don’t want to do any of the this!
Overall though, my experience throughout this journey has been OK in comparison to some other women. I’m able to deal with pain quite well so I’ve taken each step fairly swiftly. There were two very trying moments that occurred though. Both moments made me despise womanhood and resent how easy men seem to have it.
The first moment was during one of the more in-depth manual examinations. The doctor had to open my cervix with a metal instrument and squirt liquid into my uterus, then put his hand AND a camera in to feel around for stuff. The whole thing was very annoying and slightly intrusive and shortly after it induced cramps. I was told this would happen but in that moment I cursed being a woman. I was asking God WHY THE FUCK IS THIS HAPPENING?? Smh. Women have to endure people’s hands in their vag way too often and TOO early in life. It’s bullshit.
The second moment was after the laparoscopy when I started waking up from the anesthesia. Part of the procedure required them to fill my abdomen with air so they could see my reproductive organs clearly in order to cut and burn stuff off. What happens though is the air pushed on my diaphragm which sent TONS of pain to my shoulder. It was not only painful but it was leaving me out of breath. Or maybe I was panicking… nonetheless that pain I WASN’T warned about so it confused the shit out of me. I couldn’t understand why my SHOULDER was hurting after all this. That shit had me crying lol wow.
So now I guess I’ll let you know why I’m sharing this. I have a very specific reason actually. I’m sharing this in hopes that people stop asking women when they’re having kids. Or asking why they don’t have any. Like, just stop. I know it seems like the right thing to ask because the assumption is everyone wants kids, but it’s a very personal question and it’s one that assumes they haven’t even TRIED. Contrary to popular belief getting pregnant isn’t that easy and women often miscarry when they do get pregnant. And despite what you’ve heard, women don’t just see dick and get impregnated. I know its fun to meme and joke about but it’s not the reality. And frankly, I’m tired of lying and just casually brushing it off by saying, “in due time”. I’ve been tempted a time or two to just say, “my uterus is broken so I’m going to clone myself” and watch confusion cloud that person’s face. I’m not at that point just yet but one day…one day I just might be lol.
Seriously though, think of something else to talk about. I’m on the verge of using creative ways to embarrass people for asking.
Anywho, I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. I’m really good at keeping things to myself and these types of conversations always seem too deep for Twitter and IG. But I mean if I can’t release some things I’m thinking about then what’s the point of ‘getoutthebox’, ya know? Also, this is real life. Not everything is funny or lighthearted or whatever. Everyone is going through shit and if we can’t lend an ear by first bending an ear then that’s just truly sad and unfortunate. All is not lost with my condition though, I have a way out that I may share later down the road but just know it’s not all doom and gloom over here 🙂
Thanks for reading this far into my post, I know I’ve said a lot and attention spans are rapidly evaporating these days. Feel free to leave a comment, or don’t 🙂 I’m happy you stopped by either way because you could be anywhere in the world! But you’re on your phone reading this lol
I’ll be back. Take care!