I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I’ve reached a sort of acceptance of you, my Endometriosis. Yes, you; the very disease that has affected my career, my social life, my relationships, my self esteem.
I certainly don’t welcome you, but I’ve come to see you as just part of my journey in this life.
You've Affected Me For A Long Time
Yes, my endometriosis, you have been with me for a long time.
I was 12 years old when you started to affect me. When I got my first period I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal to lose so much blood. I would fill a pad (and I mean FILL) every 2 hours. I spent many days each month home from school, staring at the wall or ceiling and crying from pain. I remember vomiting from nausea and feeling so much pain through my abdomen and back. I was bedridden for days with you, my tears and my prayers as company.
You made me hate my body, Endometriosis. It didn’t feel fair, all this pain. I didn’t know why other people never complained about pain during their period. Why could they still play sport? Why didn’t they need days off? I wondered whether I was just weaker than them. You made me see my body as a vehicle of failure.
I didn’t want to admit defeat to you, Endometriosis. I am such a capable and intelligent person, and I pushed through the pain and sickness to get through each day. I got my degrees, and post graduate degrees, managed departments and excelled. I got the man of my dreams, and fell in love in spite of you.
Somehow You Won, Endometriosis
Yet, somehow you still won, Endometriosis.
As I got older it didn’t get better, only worse. I couldn’t have a normal social life, I couldn’t make plans if the dates coincided with my pain-filled menstrual cycle days. Eventually, you affected my dreams of the career I always wanted, Endometriosis. I got so sick that I needed to stop working, because doctors didn’t even know that I carried you with me, Endometriosis. In fact, they didn’t believe my pain. It took 20 years of sickness and pain before my official diagnosis, and it turned into one surgery after another. You affected my relationships and my fertility, Endometriosis.
You were selfish, Endometriosis. Everything became about YOU.
Eventually, you beat my body until I had to give in to you. I don’t know how else to put it, other than you broke my spirit, Endometriosis. The pain you caused me was so intense that there came a time that I wished I could go to sleep and not wake up.
So, now here I sit again. In a bed with you after yet another surgery. This time you took my ovary away. My doctor said I’d likely be back, as after having a child I’d likely need a hysterectomy. He jokingly thanked me for paying for the extension on his house.
Why I Accept You, Endometriosis
So, after all this, why have I accepted you Endometriosis?
It’s because I can’t change you, dear Endometriosis. You have shown me that you are here, and here to stay. I can’t swim against the tide any more. I will never be happy if I push my body too hard, pretending that you don’t exist. I’ve tried, and it’s not only exhausting, it’s made me more sick in the process. It made me feel like YOU controlled me.
Accepting you, and letting things take their course means I feel like I can breathe despite the pain. I don’t have to like you, but I now see that you are part of me.
Letting go and accepting that you are there, means that I feel more at peace with my life.
Eleni Fegan is the founder and Managing Editor of DearBub Blog and Magazine which began from a personal journey of research and healing. Her motivation for DearBub is beautifully summarised in her Editor’s Letter: “I realised that there is beauty to giving voice to our experiences, and raising an awareness that we are not alone in them. I realised the immense power that ‘sharing’ had in transforming our sense of self and being through creating connection”.