A Little Background On How My Story Began;
Just graduated from high school, and beginning my start in life. I was so excited to go to college, but not exactly sure what I wanted to do. I really liked accounting, but my dream and what I loved most was to sing. Well… I got into accounting and realized that it most certainly was not for me. That is when, I reached for the stars and decided to audition for the music program at the local community college near me. I picked my songs to sing, practiced until I couldn’t breathe, and my vocal chords were no more…. Got my audition date and sang my heart out in front of four judges… I was so scared and so nervous, but I knew this is something I loved to do and wanted to make something of it. Well, long story short, I GOT IN! I started taking the classes, and putting in all the hard work. I was taking 21 credits, and trying to work a full time job, it was hard but I managed. That was until, I started getting sick, I was having sharp pains in my stomach and back and they just wouldn’t go away.
Now, let me back up a little bit, I have always had bad menstrual cycles, they were never on time and have always been irregular. They were always so sporadic and had a mind of their own. I would always be stuck in bed and have quite a bit of pain with them as well. But, I thought it was normal, and this was just something every girl went through. That is until I was singing in front of my vocal professor, and the pain was too much to bear. I had to stop the class, and told her I needed to go home. The pain just kept getting worse, the bleeding was horrific and thats when my mom said “I needed to go to the hospital.” I do not remember what happened exactly, but I do remember begging the doctor to just do something I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I was admitted and that is when all the work up began.
First, they began by bringing in the psychiatrist, telling me that it was all in my head, and I was too overwhelmed with things. Well.. I knew that wasn’t it, and so did my mom so we pushed to get answers. By now, the pain in my legs had started to get worse as well, and guess what?? I all of a sudden couldn’t walk. I had absolutely no strength in my legs at all. Every time they would try to stand me up, I would fall right to the ground. I barely had any feeling in my legs and ended up having to stay in the hospital bed.
This completely boggled the doctors, they had no clue what was going on. They did a spinal tap, and that came back fine, they took all kinds of blood tests and said those all came back good. That is until, an OBGYN came in and saved my life! I will never forget his name, and how he actually listened to what I had going on. He said that I would need to have a laparoscopy, and I would be put under anesthia, well this wasn’t my first rodeo on the path of surgeries so I knew the risks, and I knew what would happen.
What Is Endometriosis??
I went in for the procedure and sure enough that doctor found what he suspspected and diagnosed me with endometriosis. Well, what is it you ask??
Endometriosis is a condition that happens when abnormal tissue starts to grow outside of the uterus. Now for women we already have normal tissue that grows inside of the uterus. Although having it grow outside is what makes Endometriosis a very hard condition to live with.
Symptoms can include;
- Pelvic Pain
- Urination and bowel pain
- Bleeding Heavily during menstrual cycle
- Irregular Periods
- back pain
- Pain during sex
Now these are not all the symptoms and it can include a lot more. Endometriosis can be a hard one to diagnose and for some people very hard to treat. Places where Endometriosis may grow include; Fallopian tubes, your ovaries, the tissue lining your pelvis. Although sometimes and it is said to be very rare, there are cases where it will grow elsewhere in the body.
How Does One Get Endometriosis?…
Now; how in the world does this all happen you ask?? According to a study done at Mayo Clinic; it is said that “the displaced endometrial tissue will continue to act as it normally would” A woman will have her menstrual cycle and the tissue will break down, thicken and bleed with each one. Although, because this displaced tissue has absolutely no way to exit your body, it then becomes trapped. Are you following along with me?? I know it can be hard to grasp and understand, when I first seen a picture of mine, it just looked like a big spider web. My mom also had endometriosis (pretty severe) actually and also said it looked like a huge spider web. Any ways, getting a little of topic on explaining this too you.. sorry.
So now above I was telling you that you can get cysts, and that endometriosis can involve your ovaries as well. Now, when it does involve your ovaries what happens is cysts will start to form called endometriomas. That tissue surrounding it then can become very irritated (it is like it gets angry), and adhesions can start to form causing that pelvic pain.
A doctor will take steps carefully in trying to come up with the best plan for you, sometimes a laparoscopy and endometrial ablation are the best options for people.
How Do I Know All Of This??
Now, I know you are probably reading this and wondering, “wow, how in the world does she know all of this?” Well.. I have been going through it before I was diagnosed in 2010. Although, after getting the diagnosis, and going through all the health scares I have gone through. I have learned that becoming an advocate and speaking up for yourself is the only way you can get something done. So I researched, and researched and, well.. you get the point. Then I have been too so many doctors and all of them would tell me different things. I had to build up my team before I could even trust another OBGYN to even look at me.
With all that being said, KNOW your FACTS, KNOW THE RISKS, KNOW all you need to know! There are many risks involved with endometriosis some of these include;
- Never being able to give birth
- starting your menstrual cycle at a younger age than most women.
- Going through menopause at an older age (now this one I looked up, but I am not sure I believe it). I myself have been taking medications and it gives me hot flashes!! Yes I know what hot flashes feel like and I am 27)
- Having higher levels of estrogen. (Your hormones can get all out of whack)
- A lower body mass index
- Having one of more relatives with it (my mom has it, and I do. I am not sure about anyone else in our family).
Now the biggest risk, and this one isn’t listed with the other ones because I truly want you take this one seriously;
The Biggest Complication and Risk;
Ovarian Cancer! Ovarian cancer can occur more than you would think for women with endometriosis, and sometimes you do not have very many options. My mother was one of these that had this happen; She was quite young and was told that she had ovarian cancer, and her endometriosis was bad. She had to unfortunately have a full hysterectomy at the age of 33.
Support and how to cope?
Dealing with this condition again is not easy at all. So, I want to give you some options, one of the biggest ones is finding a support group. Support groups can be incredible for these things, they are people that understand and know what you are going through. Also, lean on your family, the friends you are close with and trust, look to them for support as well. Finally, talk to a therapist, get your feelings out there and just tell them how you exactly feel.
(I really hope this helped some of you, if it did please share it, I want to bring as much awareness as I can to fight for a cure for another invisible and painful condition).
You are not alone!
Gotta keep breathing
When the negative is all you hear
Gotta keep believing
Your truth it keeps on burning bright
Brave enough to fight the fight
And shout the battle cry
When I fall down I get stronger
Faith is my shield, His love is the armor
I’m a warrior (I’m a warrior)
I’m a warrior (I’m a warrior)”