I know I’m not the only one but let me share my experience of living with a silent illness with you all!
There are a few key moments that stand out in my life and all has to do with reproduction essentially. Mostly hospital visits and being made to feel like I was being dramatic.
It was very disheartening to be told every single visit that I was just experiencing mild pain from an infection or menstruation or ovulation… the list goes on. Then I would be sent home with antibiotics and pain relief, to be truthful a lot of the time I was just so fed up with repeating myself that I just dealt with the pain most of the time.
This chronic pain I would feel was debilitating and would effect my work life and home life. Even though I had medical certificates covering my absence it was awful feeling like a failure or that I had let my workplace down. This has happened on so many occasions and I always felt so weak as a person – awful. I knew that what I was experiencing was real and that one day I would have an answer for all the pain, I just didn’t know when that would be.
The day I was diagnosed with endometriosis was devastating, I remember having a horrible time previous to this because I had a Mirena IUD and unfortunately had to have that removed not long after as it caused an infection which made my right ovary basically double in size – inflammation of any kind is horrible. Anyways, I went into hospital because I was experiencing chronic pain to the point where it was unbearable. I went into the emergency room and was admitted to manage the pain but unfortunately the pain relief I was given I became tolerant to, so it wasn’t really helping at all. So many nurses and doctors doing countless examinations (so undignifying) for them to tell me that I would more than likely be sent home with strong pain relief, again this was extremely disheartening!
On one of the evening rounds from the doctors I was seen by a junior registrar and she was amazing. She basically said to me that my history warrants a little more investigation and asked if I would be open to exploratory surgery – of course I said yes because if this would help potentially find an answer then I was all for it! She booked it for the following day and I was really anxious to get it over with. I called my mum to update her on what was happening and so the following morning mum came to the hospital to be with me for the surgery.
Anxiety kicks in – shit, what if they find something really wrong or something fucks up and I have to have organs removed? I was very anxious and scared, I’m so glad mum was with me otherwise I would’ve been a complete and utter wreck. I remember being woken up to get changed and prepared to be taken into to surgery, I was really nervous because I had never been under anesthetic before but the anesthesiologist was really nice and quite humerous so that really helped me be calm.
The last thing I remember before I woke up after surgery was being told that I will start to laugh uncontrollably – and I did. I was really upset and scared before I started laughing, so weird. Once I woke up I was just eager to get back to my ward to see mum and get results from the surgery, apparently I was awake for a good hour begging for water and to go back to the ward (I don’t remember this lol). Once I finally was taken back to my ward, I saw mum then had a cry because I felt so weird and then I had a nap.
I then woke to mum crying as the junior registrar was talking to her, that was the moment we were told that I had category 4 endometriosis and retrograde menstruation… ugh the feeling of my heart sinking was so surreal. Once they explained the condition to me I was so distraught and felt like I was running out of time to start my family that I had always dreamed of having.
After leaving the hospital I was very down and I guess you can say that my mental state took a hit. I was torn because I finally had the answer I was so desperate for yet the result was extremely upsetting and scary.
I know there are many women out there who can relate and definitely some who have it much worse than I – my heart goes out to all of you!