Hello Friends and welcome…so here I am again, after a long hiatus but there were many reasons for my disappearance such as school, work, travel, and my health. For starters I finally graduated in December, so that brought me much happiness but last year was one of the most challenging years for me mentally and emotionally. So much that just getting out of bed had become a daily struggle and the things that once made me happy didn’t make me smile anymore and 2020 hasn’t been my favorite either.
A lot of anxiety.
But I am alive and well and I am grateful for that but every so often I get into this funk and I ask myself all these questions like why me? why am I alive? What is my purpose? There is a lot of depression to be dealt with but I am honest with myself I know the source of my depression. With this said it does not mean I can control all these thoughts and feelings, these are as a result of my diagnosis, this is what life has become and this is what it is like for any person who is living with a disease and trying to find whatever string of hope to hold onto.
On August 16th, 2019 I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, I am the 1 in ten that suffers in silence, I have endometriosis. Endometriosis is when tissue that is normally found in the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside of the uterus and in other parts of the body. Most commonly found in the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the bowel, intestines and any surrounding tissue in the pelvis – It is often misdiagnosed as IBS because of similar symptoms.
Periods are not just periods where one bleeds onto a pad or tampon, with endometriosis a woman is also bleeding internally. Where ever the tissue has grown there will be blood, there will pain and eventually there will be adhesions and scar tissue. I was on birth control since my early 20s, unbeknownst to me this tiny pill I was taking every day for more than a decade was suppressing the symptoms of a bigger issue so when I decided in May 2016 to stop birth control I slowly started to notice my body change. Periods had become heavy, clots were large and extremely gross, the pain was radiating throughout my entire body especially in my lower back and to top it off I looked like I was six months pregnant. I thought all of these symptoms were normal but I had no idea what a normal period for me was like since birth control controlled my periods which were pretty light and painless. For years I suffered in silence, my doctor said everything was ok and that everything looked normal even when he noticed a cyst on my left ovary he said it was nothing to worry about that it would go away.
Fast forward three years later May 2019 the pain and swelling had gotten worse that over-the-counter medications were no longer working for me. I would lay in the fetal position with blankets and heating pads but it all only helped so much. A week before my period I would start to feel really bloated that I would go from being 29 inches around my belly button to about 35 inches, the swelling was unbearable and I didn’t even know why it was happening. Not only did I look pregnant I also felt it I was weak, nauseous, had bad diarrhea, vomited, sweated and cried and to top it off nothing would fit. I was was having a flare up called endo belly per Healthline, endo belly is a term that is used to describe the uncomfortable and painful swelling and bloating that is associated with endometriosis, they say it is gas but honestly it doesn’t feel like gas it feels like a lot of irritation, it feels like someone is stabbing your insides with knife while turning the knife. I would be in so much pain that the fetal position did nothing, laying down hurt, sitting up made it uncomfortable but standing up and bending over was the only way I could manage it. I would just cry feeling hopeless.
Well on July 30th, 2019 I was rushed to the ER I had gotten my period and was having severe pain in my back and my abdominal area. I was in so much paid I had thrown up five times in an hour and was blacking out, apparently I was dehydrated too. I was given fluids and some morphine for pain while doctors ran a bunch of tests which came back normal. The doctor then ordered an ultra-sound and a vaginal ultra sound and found a cyst, since it had not ruptured or anything they said I was just having a heavy period and that I also had a UTI so they wrote me script, advised me to see my doctor and sent me on my merry way. Upon leaving I immediately scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist who had been seeing me for more than a decade, I was starting to lose faith in him though because every time I told him my symptoms he would give me a new birth control that I would always end up refusing to take, I just started to feel like a science experiment. I was misdiagnosed for years so when I had gotten an appointment to see him I went in and I told him that I had endometriosis (thanks to the internet), he didn’t even argue and said it was a high possibility, that the only way to be certain and to diagnose was with laparoscopic surgery.
The surgery was scheduled two weeks after my July ER visit (August 16th 2019) it wasn’t that bad and the results didn’t surprise me because I did enough research to prepare myself – but you are never really prepared because I still sobbed like a baby. When I woke up in the recovery room all loopy and stuff my doctor told me that I had stage III endometriosis and remember that cyst he found years earlier? Well it developed into a endometrioma or more commonly known as a chocolate cyst (an ovarian cyst that is filled with old blood) that had grown completely over my ovary, luckily they were able to save my ovary. Recovery was uncomfortable as any surgery would be, I had no complications thankfully and the scarring was minimal.
It has been a year and three weeks after my surgery and so much has happened, I have tried different treatments and I have had many positive and negative doctor visits, I want to share everything but will save for another day. I have tried diets, I have tried teas, and different kinds of therapy not everything works and not every one responds the same way so it gets exhausting. I am just angry that I have this disease because it has affected my personal life and quality of life in many ways, I want to share my experiences, I want to help educate and inspire other women…
You are not alone, we will get through this.
I have learned so much about myself and the disease, and every day I am learning to love my body again. I refuse to let this disease to define me, don’t let it define you.