I haven’t had my post-op appointment with my doctor yet. That’s next week. However, I do know some details about what she found while she was peering at my insides.
I know she found endometriosis.
is one of those silent female diseases that mystifies doctors, and is not talked about much in public. Randomly, you will hear endometriosis tossed around when a woman is having difficulty conceiving. “Ooooh, she has endometriosis. She can’t get pregnant!” First of all, many women with endometriosis get pregnant. Secondly, endometriosis can affect fertility, but also a lot more. It has the ability to completely alter your life, your self-esteem, your marriage, etc.
WHY isn’t it talked about earlier? Especially given the fact that more and more women are waiting until their early to mid-30’s to have babies. Also, given the fact that endometriosis can become worse as women age
. Why aren’t doctors talking about this with high school and college aged girls?
For a full definition of endometriosis and its symptoms, please go here
, or do a word search and you will get thousands of articles.
I had never researched endometriosis until I began googling my menstrual symptoms a couple of years ago. I suffered from bad cramps during my adolescent years. I can distinctly recall a few times where my mom picked me up from school. I sat curled in a ball in the backseat of our minivan writhing in pain. My periods were also often heavy, and sometimes came twice in a 28 day cycle. Throughout the years, I relayed these symptoms to numerous doctors. Each time I was told I should go on birth control. It was a hormonal imbalance. I was also told to physically numb myself with Advil up to two days prior to my period.
I was on and off of birth control for years. I kept going off of it because it made me feel emotionally unstable (a.k.a. psycho bitch), bloated, and I was convinced it gave me UTIs. (The jury is still out on that one.)
HOWEVER, had I been told that maybe I could have this disease called endometriosis; and if I had been told that maybe birth control would help it to go into remission, then just maybe I would’ve faithfully taken birth control, whether or not it made me crazy, bald, or a hundred pounds overweight.
None of my doctors ever talked to me about endometriosis.
As I entered my late 20’s, my periods became almost unbearable. Longtime readers of this blog know this, because I’ve talked about it many times. (Sorry, guys, you have to hear it again.) Heavy to the point of needing to lay in bed for fear of passing out. That is not normal.
My general doctor finally took notice of the fact that I had been coming to her for like seven years with period issues. Instead of trying another round of birth control, she decided to order an ultrasound and then scared me into thinking I had cancer.
The best part of that story is that she is an internist, and had no fucking clue what she was talking about. But, she successfully frightened the shit out of me, and everyone that cares about me.
My main point in sharing all of the gory details (yet again) is to bring home the fact that (a) you are your own best health advocate. If you don’t get the answers you need, hound your doctor or find another one, and (b) endometriosis affects a lot of females from the moment you start your period until menopause.
Young women need to know about this disease before they reach their child-bearing years. Maybe it’s just me, and my story is unique? Maybe most young women know about endo? I don’t know.
In retrospect, I wish I had known about endometriosis ten years ago. I wish I had mentioned it to my doctor. I wish I had been set up with a gynecologist/specialist at age twenty. It isn’t just about fertility. It’s about quality of life! I was getting pretty good healthcare, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m kinda pissed off about this.
Any other endometriosis survivors out there? Know of anyone (friends, sisters, nieces, etc.) with awful periods? Maybe you should tell her about endometiosis. We need to lend our voices to this disease, and open the lines of communication about what can be done.