People ask me all the time if I have children. “You know, you’re not getting any younger!” I don’t have kids, but what I do have is a racked-up list of painful surgeries, failed medications, and scars that I get to acknowledge daily. I’m not in a position at the moment to try for children, and I’m not sure if I could even successfully get pregnant. The irony is great when you so badly want to have a family of your own, yet you are only able to experience the painful delivery-room-like symptoms. I have Endometriosis. I’d like to say that having a chronic inflammatory disease called Endometriosis has ruined my life with all the suffering, loss, and grief, but that would be incorrect and dramatic. I’d like to think that it’s actually made me a whole lot stronger of a person. Yes, that sounds nice. Now, I’m sure you’re scratching your head, you’re ready to click away, or you have these preconceived notions of what you think Endometriosis is. Unless you’ve been officially medically diagnosed with it yourself, the reality can often elude. It is my goal, therefore, to educate people to have a general understanding of it. After having an invasive laparoscopy, and finally getting my situation diagnosed and assessed after years of doctor’s appointments and no answers, I was privy to taking medication to deal with pain. The problem with this is that there are huge chemical side-effects to all of these treatment options. Depression, weight gain, excessive bleeding, migraines, mood-swings... the list goes on! I’ve had bits of my ovaries removed, cysts cut out, pieces of my cervix removed, and my insides burned. I will most likely not be able to have children. I have seen multiple specialists, doctors, dieticians, been to numerous ER’s in many different cities, been on cleanses, diets, gone to naturopaths, chiropractors, taken supplements, been the test dummy for trial medications, tried hypnotherapy, practiced yoga, became a yoga teacher, practiced meditation, became a meditation teacher, tackled counselling, psychiatrists, psychologists, and pretty much tried to ignore that this is happening. I’ve been misdiagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Chron’s Disease, IBS, and even had my appendix rupture as a result. Yet here I am, not getting better. I have tried everything that my specialist can think of before having my lady bits inside fully removed. At 34, when the “clock is already ticking,” this is beyond depressing. While this is bubbling under the surface of your life daily, it’s difficult to then sit back and watch everyone grow up and create families and be genuinely excited for them, while you’re left feeling like you’ve been dealt the biggest rip off in the world. How does Endometriosis affect women? Some of the daily symptoms are heavy bleeding, stabbing contraction like pains, pain with urination and defecation, pain with sexual intercourse, and [for me] pain every time I look at a child and realise the fertility issues that may potentially lie ahead. I have been learning about this unfortunate condition for over ten years now, and am ever-expanding my knowledge on it: whether it’s seminars, meeting specialists, getting second opinions, and going to [one] support group [because they just don’t exist]. I am always trying to learn what I can do to spread the word. One day, I would like to start a non-profit organisation for the disease.
It is my sincere hope that more light can be shed on Endometriosis, but in the meantime, the best thing to do is to talk about it, your symptoms, how you’re feeling.
For those afflicted with it, talking about Endometriosis is the most frustrating part. We know it could always be worse, but it becomes debilitating at times. And lastly, a loving reminder: before we ask why a woman doesn’t have children, maybe be mindful that it’s not always their choice.
Author credit: Casey Jo Loos