My husband and I work hard not to curse around Ian. But sometimes a curse word is warranted, so we say something like “B-word” or “S-word” or “F-word.” We can always tell from the context what was meant. Well I have to say, ENDOMETRIOSIS IS A BIG FAT ”B-WORD”!
I thought that after pregnancy I would get a bit of a reprieve from my endometriosis symptoms. Many women do. In fact, some are “cured” of their symptoms after giving birth. I’ve really tried to keep a positive attitude that I would be one of the lucky ones. Apparently I have yet again disproved the power of positive thinking.
It has been approximately nine months since I gave birth. Once the after-pregnancy bleeding stopped, I had nothing. But, I was breastfeeding, so I assumed AF would come back after I weaned Ian. Three months ago I weaned him, and for three months…no AF. I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that my female cycle was just dead. My body was in menopause, just as it had been before I got pregnant. Then, yesterday, I woke up with a nasty surprise. Apparently AF decided to sneak back into my life like a thief in the night…literally in the night.
I should back up a little. I’ve felt twinges and aches for months that felt like endometriosis pain, but I kept trying to tell myself it is just my uterus still shrinking or my body adjusting after delivering a baby. The last week or so, I had the old intense ache in my low back, non-stop need to urinate regardless of how little urine I had to give up, and the cramping that rivals food poisoning. Trying to be a Positive Polly, I told myself that these things could be a result of my new healthy lifestyle – high protein diet, greatly increased physical activity level, and increased water intake. Somewhere inside I knew it was endo pain…but I didn’t want to believe I could have endo so soon.
Anyways…back to the thief in the night. So, I woke up and cleaned up the colossal mess that anyone with endometriosis is all too familiar with. I felt an insane amount of pain and nausea, but I sucked it up and went to work with as much Ibuprofen in my system as my stomach could handle. I did the obligatory super tampon /overnight pad combo routine all day at work. And when I can home, I was greeted with the unpleasant surprise that somehow I had failed to notice that I had leaked onto my pants anyways (at least they were black pants). Humiliation on top of frustration and pain. Great.
I pulled out the old heating pad from its storage spot and prayed for some relief. I forgot how exhausted endometriosis makes you. Maybe all periods cause fatigue. I’m not sure. I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis at age 14/15, so I don’t know if I ever got to have endo-free periods. But I couldn’t keep my eyes open yesterday. Maybe it was the pain that was draining me. I’m not sure. But whatever the cause, anyone who says that endometriosis isn’t a chronic, debilitating illness hasn’t been through it.
Today, things have only gotten worse. I’m exhausted, cranky, sick of spending as much time in the bathroom as out. I don’t feel like eating. I don’t feel like sitting on the stupid towel I have to put down on the furniture “just in case.” I have a million thoughts swirling through my mind like…”Do I really want to endure this for a few more years while my husband comes around to the decision that I am already comfortable with…that our family is complete with Ian?” or “What if I decide to have a hysterectomy and end up getting cancer (having a hysterectomy at a young age increases your risk for some cancers without hormone replacement therapy…which you can’t take if you want to keep the endo at bay)?” or “How can I have worked so hard to get pregnant and now be so willing to let my ability to do that in the future go away? Am I making too hasty a decision?”
There are no good answers to these questions. In fact, there is really no good in even asking the questions at all. I know they are just a product of pain and frustration and that once this bout has passed my concern about those issues will pass as well. But, as endometriosis always does, it will continue to slowly progress, interfering with my life more and more until, eventually, the questions have to be answered. Until then, I know I need to just bite the bullet, take comfort in the fact that I am not alone and that there some of my friends in “the real world” and in “blog world” get what I am experiencing right now. It is hard to expect any empathy from someone who just hasn’t experienced this (i.e.- my husband). Endometriosis sucks! It’s unfair. And it’s a B-word!