All hyperbole aside, that’s basically what it feels like. I’ve chronicled my experiences with this disease since the beginning, though I’ll admit I’m sometimes hesitant to write all that much about it. It’s just a very personal disease. No one really wants to hear about your uterus or your “lady problems.”
But of course right now I’m fed up with it, lonely, and needing to commiserate.
My cycle hasn’t even started, but I’m already experiencing a rather unpleasant episode of endometriosis-induced pain. And it’s not just pain — the cramps that hit you like a badger with a chainsaw — it’s hot flashes, and make-you-curl-into-a-fetal-position nausea. I’ve lost 3 shifts because of this — $150 I can’t make up because temps don’t get sick days. (If I don’t go in today, I’ll lose my current temp assignment completely.) And the stress of that on top of all the cycle-related pain? 100% not helping.
For the most part, my endo has been pretty well managed through my medication. Though, yes, the side effects were not fun (hello bloating so much I looked pregnant AND gaining 20lbs). But my day-to-day life was manageable. Even a few months ago when I stopped taking my endometriosis medicine, I was mostly ok.* But as I slowly moved pasted the point of that last pill… and as the residual effects of that medication finally left my system all together… well, this could be a very good reason for why everything has spiked back up to the pre-hospitalization days.
While it’s easy to focus on the physical symptoms of endometriosis — mainly because they are impossible to ignore — the emotional and mental effects of this disease are just as harmful. One of the reasons I’m hyperbole-ing all over the place is because endometriosis has the remote control to my emotions and can’t settle on a channel. Am I mad? Stressed? Lonely? Terrified? Depressed? Frustrated? All of the above and more. It’s dizzying and I don’t feel like myself at all.
And this isn’t the only level that endometriosis has sunk it’s claws into. This disease sunk into my subconscious and changed the way I think and feel about dating, relationships, marriage, and starting a family. There were subtle shifts from really wanting these things to not knowing if I could handle them to just turning off that part of my mind as best I could. It’s hard for others to understand where we are coming from because “you don’t look sick” or “everybody hates cramps.”
All this said, my life post-surgery vs my life pre-surgery is definitely an improvement. And my condition was well managed on medication. So I’m saying all of this stuff to every woman out there: you are not alone. There are treatments that will work. Severe period pain is not normal. This is not an easy disease — it’s not even an easy diagnosis, as it takes a surgery. It’s not even an easy one to talk about. But it can be managed.
To all my ladies who are having bad days due to something their body is doing? I hear you, and I understand you.
*I know what you’re thinking, why the hell did I stop? Well, frankly, $120 for a three month supply — while it doesn’t seem like much when you break it down — was too much for me to budget. And has continued to, unfortunately, be too much for me to budget.