One minute you assume that the stabbing, shooting and pulling pains in your pelvis for the past 8 years have been ‘normal’. The next, you learn that you’re standing alongside 700,000 Australian Women, who also live with Endometriosis each day. After two particularly excruciating episodes of pain in early 2018, which left me gasping on the floor, I knew that something was actually very, very wrong. Like so many Women before me, I then went through the process of specialists, ultrasounds and surgery to finally receive my diagnosis and understand that the past 8 years were in fact not ‘normal’ at all.
I'm the type of person who tackles things head on. So when I found out that I had invasive Endometrial tissue growing throughout my pelvis, ovaries and bladder, I was all too ready and relieved to dive into surgery and have that monster removed. In my mind, at the time, that would be the end. Problem solved. Time to move on with my life. And I did! For about 6 months I was able to experience what it’s like to pass a bowel movement without my uterus feeling like it was tearing open. I didn’t experience breathtaking cramps when my heart rate would rise too quickly during exercise. I didn’t notice the daily random stabbing pains, which are now again, a constant reminder that this battle is not yet over. Slowly, slowly, my symptoms began to return, and my mind started to wander.
After my surgery, my doctor had explained to me how the Endometriosis had attached my bowel to my bladder. And that due to this, she was unable to remove the entirety of the tissue without risking damage to my bowel. I was told that in future I may need to remove part of my bowel. At that time after my surgery, I was drowsy, groggy and to be honest, in a lot of pain. I didn't fully grasp what she was saying and besides, that kind of thing would never happen to me right? Up until now I’d been invincible and my body had always been so strong and resilient for me. Though Endometriosis (to my knowledge) is not life threatening, I still felt that I had been given the first taste of my own mortality. That this body I inhabit, may not be as bullet proof as I’d always assumed.
The thing about Endometriosis is that it’s so silent. I had no idea what it actually was until it directly affected me, and even now I find myself scrolling through articles and blogs regularly to understand more about it. After my initial surgery, I made a YouTube video sharing my story. My hope was that it may help or encourage others to look for symptoms and figure it out a lot earlier than me. To date, that video has had 77,000 views and holds 223 stories from other sufferers in the comments. So this is clearly a topic that people are seeking answers for. It is a beautiful thing to know that you are part of a community, however at the same time, I feel a daily heaviness. That heaviness comes from knowing that as of today, there is no cure, the cause is unknown and apart from going on ‘the pill’, there wasn’t much more that doctors could do for me. It upsets me that there is a very real possibility of me being unable to fall pregnant naturally. It upsets me that like many other women I might have a long line of surgeries ahead of me. It upsets me that my body can’t manage to fix its self. And it upsets me that I have become so hypersensitive to every little pelvic sensation throughout my day, which brings my mind back to what’s going on.
I know that there are people out there who are going through a lot worse than me. Since sharing my story I’ve received emails from young Women in their mid 20’s who’ve undergone full hysterectomies. From Women who can’t count on their fingers anymore how many surgeries they’ve had. From Women who’s professional lives have been so greatly impacted by excruciating pain and the inability to go to work. And from Women who’s personal lives are suffering as the act of being intimate brings them too much pain.
The thing that really messes with my head, is that I feel my options and time frame for potentially having a baby have all been hijacked. Becoming a mother had never been a high priority to me. I just wasn’t that little girl who played with dolls or knew that one day she wanted to be a Mum. But when that idea is restricted or potentially taken away, it's a