"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

I have Endometriosis, it doesn't have me

by - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Endometriosis (pronounced end-oh-me-tree-oh-sis) effects millions of women world wide, and I'm one of them.

Endometriosis is a painful, progressive disorder of the female reproductive system which causes damage in the pelvic cavity. It can at times cause debilitating pain and is a common reason for infertility. The staggering lack of awareness means many women put up with their symptoms believing them to be "normal" and suffer years before seeking the right treatment. Most women experience years of pain and in some cases are led to believe that their pain is all in their head or they are "just depressed", due to the dismissive ignorance of some doctors in the medical profession.

During the three years before my diagnosis I believed that my pain was just a "normal" part of being a woman. Countless ultrasounds, blood tests and scans continually came back clear. Month after month along with each period, the pain worsened to the extent that I experienced pain everyday which radiated to my lower back also. It wasn't until it got to the point when the pain became almost unbearable and I started getting bladder pain and infections that I realised the doctors were wrong, that my pain wasn't the norm. It took years until I knew that I had to make the choice to undergo a diagnostic laparoscopy (surgery) to identify the cause of the pain. In all those years of uncertainty, never was I once informed that the disease doesn't show up on scans and that the only formal way of diagnosing it is through a diagnostic laparoscopy. All those years I felt like a total nut case, and sadly, this is an all too common experience for most women living with the disease and this is exactly the reason why I wish to write about my experiences with the disease, and my journey to diagnosis- because it shouldn't be this way.

As a result of this disease, I suffer from adhesions (which means that my bladder is attached to my left ovary by a wall of scar tissue formation), bowel and bladder symptoms which cause both pain, frustration and extreme fatigue. Although there are several methods of treatment which may alleviate some of the pain and symptoms associated with the disease, I find myself in a constant battle with pain, horrid hormonal treatments (which render me a basket case), and one surgical procedure after another; with only minimal short term relief.

In the five years that I have been living with the disease, I've had to come to terms with facing a chronic and often painful disease for which there is yet no current cure for. By writing about and sharing my experiences of the ups and downs of living and dealing with Endometriosis, I hope to raise awareness and fight with the knowledge that I may have Endometriosis, but it sure as hell doesn't have me. If I have to live with Endometriosis, I am determined to live an extraordinary life, EMPOWERED!


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