““You’re finally a women now,” as I recall my mother saying with the proudest look on her face as she held my hand as we walked to the restaurant to have dinner dinner with the other ladies in our lives to celebrate the day I got my period. As my stomach spun around in circles wanting to let out the spaghetti I’d just ate and my legs shook with pain underneath the table, I smiled wondering if this was really what being a women felt like.
The years went on and the pain only got worse as each month went by, a new symptom every time, a handful of them all or only some, a sort of lucky dip of nausea so severe I couldn’t eat, migraines to the point of vision loss, unable to sleep or being only able to sleep, pain medications, fainting spells just from severity of pain, fetal position on the floor screaming in agony because the heat pack on my stomach was merely just something else to squeeze in hopes of relief. Bleeding or not bleeding, the pain was there. Numerous sick days off from school and work, not being able to go to be with friends because I was sitting in the bottom of the shower watching the blood pour down the drain, replaying the comments in my head from other people about how I am overreacting, I am overemotional, I am overdramatic, that its normal, that it’s the hormones, that its just part of being a women. I endured.
Hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, just to walk out with a new bottle of pills or just a comforting sigh of “this is normal,” “Again Kiara?” Not only just symptoms but sex, masturbation, papsmear tests were painful. This can’t be normal and if it is, why? I felt like I’d been cheated in life, by being a women this is what you must endure, I became spiteful, angry and confused. At some point I contemplated children, maybe a hysterectomy would be an option since no one and nothing is helping rid me of this pain.
As I grew older and became used to this normality, of this gamble of waking up unaware of whether id be able to leave the house that day, whether id be able to leave the bed at least, losing or quitting jobs/courses/school because I was having too many sick days, too many days off. I refused to accept that this was normal and begun the cycle of doctors, specialists, hospital visits and appointments again to try to find someone who may listen to me, who may understand, who may not look me up and down, rolling their eyes.
I remember the day I found out about Endometriosis, I read blogs and articles about the disease and in that moment, I knew that’s what I had, I knew my body and I knew that this was no longer “normal”. To get someone to listen to my self diagnosis was the next part and I had already gone my whole life being dismissed, and now I’ve just self diagnosed myself. Do you really think anyone will listen and take me seriously now? Misdiagnosed and misjudged, I cant remember how many times I got told I had an urine infection, or kidney stones, or bowel issues even when the tests came back negative, or when I had absolutely no symtoms of the suggested diagnosises.
A local female gynaecologist was the first to ever let me speak and actually listen. A routine papsmear and my story was all it took and I was booked in for surgery within a months time. I felt an enormous weight lifted off of my shoulders, even if it wasn’t what I thought it was, maybe they will find something else when exploring inside my tummy, they may well find a cure to my pain.
Dizzy and disorientated after the surgery and yet I was smiling because the endometrioses was found and removed. Smiling not because I had the disease but that I finally knew what my body was telling me all along, I listened and I didn’t give up despite years of being told I was wrong. Most days are still a struggle as I never know what’s going to get thrown at me when I wake in the morning and of course, some days/weeks are worse than others. Having the right answers now helps me to And although knowing full well that endometriosis is incurable and the disease will continue to grow back even when removed, that surgery is now a normaility every few years to me, to this day I am still proud and happy knowing I stood up for myself and my body when I knew in my gut (literally though) that something was wrong.”
— Kiara S, Melton