Endometriosis is a painful disease of the woman’s body that occurs when the lining of the endometrium blooms in areas other than the uterus. This tissue often adheres to the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity. In advanced stages, it can spread to the intestine, bladder and, in exceptional cases, to the lungs, heart and even the brain. Endometriosis affects one in ten women of childbearing age, but treatment options have progressed little. Due to the lack of medical information and advice, women struggling to cope with their physical and emotional trauma have little hope of finding a permanent solution.
When I was a child, puberty hit me like a tidal wave at the age of ten. There was no warning sign and he had not yet received the speech of encouragement from puberty nor had he begun sex education in class. I remember hearing a friend say that a woman had had her period once in her life, and even the idea of having her period for a whole week had almost burned the spirit of my adolescence.
When I screamed frantically in my mother’s bathroom and presented my situation, she faced something she thought she would have years to prepare. That was when the roller coaster was launched.
The pain began almost immediately. I am not talking about your typical uterine cramps, I am talking about intense stabbing pain that has passed through the pelvic cavity and lower back, legs and soles of the feet. I missed many classes and spent a week of each month in a fetal position, hanging from a hot bag for life.
I struggled to understand why, since the age of ten, it had become my destiny, I lay in bed listening to the game without worrying about my classmates outside. At that moment, I felt that I should be the only one; Now, according to statistics, there were probably many other girls at home with their mothers, facing a similar battle.
Of course, my parents were worried. We constantly enter and leave the doctor’s offices to perform physical exams and ultrasound examinations. Each time, we were assigned a new specialist, who quickly moved on to the next. At thirteen, I had at least ten ultrasounds under my belt and I was entrusted to a handful of gynecologists without any explanation of the cause of my pain. So for the next nine years, I bit my tongue and fought against what doctors had to call a simple ovarian cyst and heavy rules.
Due to the pain, I lost a lot of work due to my absence. I felt more exhausted with each company that let me go. I even began to wonder if all this was “in my head”; After all, they had never told me something was wrong with me.
The anxiety and depression that led to the pain train proved equally debilitating. For years, I fought a mysterious and painful monster. Without answers or hope in sight, he returned me to a weak and disgusting confinement.
At the age of 22, while visiting my family in British Columbia, I was taken to the emergency room at midnight. It was as if a bomb had exploded in me. I arrived pale and trembling with pain and, for the first time, the medical staff took me seriously. I had to undergo emergency surgery early in the morning to be able to open up and see what the ultrasound did not find.
When I woke up from surgery, I finally had answers. When I got stunned, the surgeon was next to my bed to explain that they had discovered severe endometriosis. He called my case “Stage IV” and said it had spread like a forest fire in my body. He went on to explain that even if they didn’t feel comfortable removing my ovaries, it would greatly affect my fertility and my chances of having a child. He left me several photos of my pelvic cavity before and after the operation and did everything possible to answer my questions.
I lay in this hospital bed and tried to understand the information I had received a few hours before. Due to the lack of space in the hospital, I was arrested in the maternity ward, which seemed like a cruel joke under the circumstances. Throughout the night, I listened to women working in adjoining rooms while I also suffered pain similar to a contraction caused by a very different diagnosis.
Every day, while recovering physically, I discovered myself emotionally. During all these years of pain, I had never felt so alone. Receiving the answers I was looking for all these years does not bring the closure I expected and makes the future seem more intimidating. I wondered why me? If there is a God, how could I do this? I was born with a strong maternal meaning, that cannot be my destiny.
I fought for the rest of my twenties, but these years have given me time to reflect, cry and find mechanisms to face a more productive and peaceful life. I have undergone several surgeries to clean the splashes of endometriosis and improve the function of the bladder and intestine after some painful episodes.
When I got up, I decided it was time to take things in my hand. Frustrated by the lack of medical advice, I promised myself that I would have the tools to do everything in my power to stop the destruction of the disease. I searched without stopping. I completely changed my diet to make sure I didn’t eat food that literally fed the disease. I had the power to master the aspects of endometriosis under my control.
I learned to be patient with my body and to promote healing through healthy eating, gentle exercises and positive speech. I keep taking it every day and understand that living with chronic pain often requires you to make adjustments. I have hope for the first time in a long time, but I know that my fight is far from over.
This disease has no limits and, in terms of successful treatment or long-term treatment, the world of medicine is late. My story is not uncommon. Too many women experience similar experiences and feel ignored and isolated. Women committed suicide after fighting the physical and emotional aspects of endometriosis, which for some means daily chronic pain that prevents them from getting up, going to work or having a child.
Fortunately, many people with endometriosis have begun to meet through online forums to try to connect with other people who can build relationships, sympathize and offer advice and sympathy. Many of these women have come together to raise awareness and organize charity events to raise funds for the much needed research. They have launched petitions addressed to the government and the medical community in hopes of shedding light on the often minimized effects of endometriosis on the quality of life of millions of women worldwide.
If you or someone around you has menstrual problems or if you feel pain other than cramping, tell your doctor immediately. If you are repressed without enough answers, keep pressing. The earlier you have endometriosis, the more likely it is to reduce the speed of the disease before it threatens fertility and / or organ function. Contact those around you and join a support group.
There really is no better support than those who also live with endometriosis and I cannot encourage it enough. It helped me get more power, support and valuable information that cannot be found through a Google search. If we continue to regroup, move forward and share our experiences, our voices will eventually be heard. We are fighting not only for our own health, but also for generations of women for whom there is still no protection available.