Chances are you have met someone with endometriosis, have heard of it, of even have it yourself. Endometriosis isn’t a clear and concise disease that hits everyone the same. There are 4 stages of endo, but the stages really have no correlation to a number of symptoms a woman may feel. I have Stage IV endometriosis and have (unfortunately) had a pretty unique experience with it, which is why I’m here today! I don’t want any woman, young or old, to think that excruciating pain and a host of other symptoms are “normal” or that they’re crazy. Both of these comments were said to me in the beginning of my journey
Speaking of the beginning, let’s take a trip down memory lane. I started my period when I was about 10 years old. It was most irregular, like most young girls. Once I started having monthly periods, they were horrendous: cramps, bloating, heavy bleeding, passing large clots. I was told that this all was normal for girls my age.
As I got older and reached my late teens to twenties, the problems only escalated. I still had all the same symptoms, but also had the joy of vomiting, fevers, rectal pain, and extreme fatigue. I had been to multiple doctors and was brushed off. It was normal to feel this way they said. I even had a doctor tell my mother that I was “hysterically dramatic” and needed to “adapt to the ways of being a woman”. In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with appendicitis during a bout of incredible pain. My doctor was “old school” and wanted no scans—just immediate surgery.
I’m forever grateful for that man. While in surgery for an appendectomy, an ovarian cyst was found. This in itself was nothing new as I’d had cysts often. A wonderful OBGYN was in on my surgery and finally could tell me what was causing all of my issues: stage IV endometriosis. She explained to my mother that what I had been feeling every.single.month was comparable to childbirth.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve had multiple surgeries, including an emergency hysterectomy immediately following the birth of my second son. Endometriosis had ruined my uterus and caused it to rupture during my intense contractions. Waking up to hear that I’d had a hysterectomy was music to my ears! I’d always heard this was the answer to ending endometriosis!
Hysterectomy, however, was not the answer. I only continued to decline health-wise. The pain increased. Each month brought rectal bleeding, fevers, diarrhea, and a period. That’s right—a period after a hysterectomy. The 25th of each month or so all hell would break loose and I’d be reminded of the disease that had taken over my life. As time went on it wasn’t just a once a month ordeal. Symptoms were increasing with seemingly no rhyme or reason.