In 2016 I had to leave a job I loved because I was too sick to work. I’ve since had two surgeries, cultivated an essential but bank-draining team of medical specialists, and developed a truly spectacular tolerance to painkillers.
For me, Endometriosis has been a nuclear bomb dropped on my life.
Scientifically speaking: Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when cells similar to the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) decide they’re strong independent cells that’re gonna strike out on their own and make it big, Mama! Endometriosis growths are commonly found in the abdominal cavity of sufferers – getting up close and personal with your abdominal walls or your local organs. Some cells dream a little bigger though, migrating into organs like your bladder or bowel.
In severe cases, the inflammation from endo growths can cause your organs to stick to your abdominal walls (or each other). Think Shelob’s cave from Lord of the Rings but the web is scar tissue.
Oh but wait, there’s more.
When I was little I would frequently return home from visiting my father with raging ear infections.
I was a water baby, practically living in his pool on school holidays which served the dual purpose of a) giving me the infections in the first place and b) distracting me sufficiently from the pain that my head was about falling off by the time I raised enough of an issue to make it to the doctor.
My mother learned early that when I offhandedly mentioned something hurt, only to be distracted by a game of tag five minutes later, that that didn’t mean the pain wasn’t serious. I just had a knack for ignoring my body’s klaxons, right up until either the distractions ran out, or an emergency room visit was in order.
It’s something I never grew out of. Which is probably for the best because two decades later I was diagnosed with endometriosis.