My Experience With Endometriosis: The Reality, Pain & Victory Of Dealing With This ConditionPrima D'souza , 07 Jan 2019
With the New Year comes new goals, expectations, hopes and dreams to be fulfilled. Most of us want to get fit, get a better job, go on that vacation! Mostly, all of it is on social media for the world to see. Like most of my friends on Instagram last year, I too was hopeful of having a great 2018. I uploaded the picture above in December 2017, saying that 2017 was the best year of my life and that I couldn’t wait for 2018 to surprise me! Little did I realise that I should pay heed to the saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for’ because as it turned out 2018 was full of surprises, and how!
I think I can speak for all women when I say that we have at least one of these problems in our day-to-day life—trying to get fit but not being able to let go of that oh-so-delicious chocolate brownie, being unable to stick to a skincare regimen, trying to get 8 hours of sleep but getting sucked into a Netflix show, the list goes on…But there’s this one problem that hits us every month like a truck, when we want to do nothing else but eat junk food, get hold of a hot water bag, cosy up in some corner of the house and bitch, moan and/or cry —YES, I’m talking about periods.
I’m a small framed person and I’m most often found giggling, jumping around and expressing every damn thing with my hands. But when my period came every month, my health and I would just go downhill. Two days of work-from-home, lots of coconut water, junk food or fruits and rest would ensue in the attempt to feel better, but to no avail. This was my routine for the last 12 years. During this time I met a lot of doctors, and they all usually said, “Arrey! Yeh toh normal hai, sab ko hota hai. Sehen karo!” (This is absolutely normal; happens to all women. Bear the pain!)
“I’m not the only one, there are so many women who go through the same thing, Prima”, I said to myself every single time. But then on January 29, 2018, I had a sonography and my life suddenly changed.
My sonography revealed that I had cysts in both my ovaries and that I would have to undergo surgery. I consulted 7 more doctors in the hope that I wouldn’t need surgery and I could be treated with medication, but the result was clear: I was and had been suffering from Endometriosis.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, starts growing on the outside instead and affecting neighbouring organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the pelvic region. This is a lifelong condition, which cannot be cured, but can be delayed with medication.
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of Endometriosis. Other symptoms include:
- Cramps one or two weeks around period
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during your period
- Painful period
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- Lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle
- Pain following sexual intercourse
- Discomfort with bowel movements
Doctors told me that Endometriosis goes undetected for long periods of time, unless a check-up or sonography is done, or when a woman is unable to conceive. Mine went undetected for 3 years. I was also told that my condition was detected at a much later stage and the delay could have been avoided, but nevertheless, life is going to be better from here on. I underwent surgery on March 8, 2018, and I’m going to be really honest, post the surgery I felt anything but better. I was in so much pain if not for my medication, needed help for almost every basic activity and most importantly, I started putting on weight.
My doctor put me on hormonal medication and told me to work out every day for 30 minutes because I would become double my weight in no time. For someone who has never seen the inside of a gym and is a massive food lover, this was the hardest thing to do. I put on 8 kgs since my surgery and have issues with my formerly fantastic metabolism. Now everything is simply settling in my lower body.
With the medication, also came depression.
Like I previously mentioned, I was this happy soul who posted everything about my life on social media. But after a while, everything suddenly started getting to me—friends getting engaged and married, vacations, fancy food, parties, the way my girlfriends could wear whatever they want and carry themselves so well, and here I was, getting sadder about everything in my life. It also brought mood swings, which meant one minute I was screaming, wanting to punch someone, and the very next minute I was extremely happy and laughing as if nothing happened. After much contemplation, I deleted my Instagram and Facebook accounts at the end of September. I did return to Instagram in November, only after I felt better mentally.
Exactly one here later, here I am; slightly healthier overall, but to be honest, I have no complaints, because I may have brought this upon myself. Like the doctor told me, I would not have been in this position, had I gotten a health check-up early on and took care of my health. But I strongly believe you have to be your own hero. All this while, I got depressed only because of the medication, but in the overall 1-year process, I did not crumble. My family did not take it well because they cared for me too much and saw that I’m this small little thing who handled so much pain, but I took it all head on and towards the end, I was really excited about my surgery, thinking my future is going to be so much better with this out of my way. And it worked!
I got away with this easily and I am completely fine now. However, there are so many women out there, who suffer from pains and troubles on a daily basis and keep ignoring them. Do yourself a favour, if you feel that you’re going through too much pain in whatever regard, DO NOT IGNORE IT. And to all the men who are reading this, if you have a woman/women in your life who are going through something remotely like this, please take them for a checkup or ask them to go and be there for them emotionally. That’s all!
To everyone out there, these are the 3 main takeaways from this as I see it:
- Put your health first, over anything else. If you have your health, you have everything in life
- You are your own hero. Don’t wait for someone to make you feel good about yourself. You know yourself the best and you must love yourself unconditionally.
- Find a workplace and bosses who support you and help you grow, in each aspect and in every step of the way (I definitely found mine. ♥️)