Today is one of my talking about something different blog posts. In all honesty, as I recover more from my eating disorder I don’t feel like talking or writing about it so much. The muse is just not there anymore. So today I am going to talk about endometriosis, which is a condition which I think I have but me being me is too scared to go to the doctor just to not be taken seriously.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is found outside the womb.
These pieces of tissue can be found in many different areas of the body, including:
- the ovaries and fallopian tubes
- outside the womb
- the lining of the inside of the abdomen
- the bowel or bladder
Why do I think I have this condition?
Now before you expect some story about the number of ER (Or A&E in the UK here trips I’ve had or how much school I’ve missed. You’re not going to get that. Because I’ve ever missed school as if I was to tell my mum I had period pain, albeit really quite severe pain she would tell me to get a grip or harden up. And as for no A&E visits (Come on I’m not American guys I have to say it properly) There have been many occasions where I probably should have gone to A&E because of said pain but I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents so I always hid it from them as best as I could. Anyway, without further delay lets get started with the story.
I got my first period the day after my 11th birthday, December 4th 2008. I remember waking up and thinking I was sick because I was in pain, I thought I probably had some sort of stomach bug or something until I got out of bed and realised what it was. But I couldn’t stay off school because this was the day before the Christmas fair and I was playing a lead role in a segment of Nicholas Nickleby. I had to be present because as us actors say. The show must go on. (not that I would call myself an actor but that’s beside the point.) Anyway, I remember feeling really ill all day and in really quite a bit of pain. More than a stomach bug would bring and it was lower down than what a stomach bug would bring. In my experience anyway. I remember fighting through classes and rehearsals. I actually forgot to take my spoon on stage once because I was in so much pain presumably, seeing as I’ve never forgotten props before or after that occasion.
That was my first period and also around the point I started feeling sick all the time. Okay in reality not all the time, but it probably seemed like it from the teachers perspective with the amount I went to the medical room. This is also when I started getting pelvic pain right where you would if you had appendicitis and I was genuinely paranoid I had appendicitis until I’d researched it and realised I couldn’t have because this pain was an on and off pain that would last for maybe a week at a time? Or at least in those days.
My periods were light when they started, as they are now but even then, looking back I still remember pre-period nausea, diarrhoea I would get on the first 2-3 days, and the pain. All things I have continued to experience frequently up to this day.
With secondary school starting I learnt not to moan as much about feeling ill or being in pain, more so I was too anxious to tell teachers I wasn’t feeling well because I didn’t get on with my form at all. My friends did, however, know about this constant feeling sick, as they called it and I am well aware this is something that annoyed them greatly. Anyway, year 7 brought about the first time I really did think I had appendicitis. It was a day we had PE I remember because I asked to sit out as I was in so much pain and I felt so ill, but I wasn’t aloud as the teacher didn’t believe me. Back then I wasn’t a teacher’s pet but year 9 onwards I could basically sit out of PE whenever it suited me. A power I didn’t abuse because I loved PE but used when I absolutely could not handle standing, running, or sporting in any way due to this mysterious, as it was back then pain. I was actually really struggling to stand, let alone run so obviously I was “slacking.” As it probably appeared to everyone else. I remember next period we had textiles and the pain had intensified since PE. I was actually contemplating telling the teacher but this time, it was more the anxiety of possibly having to go to the hospital because of where the pain was that stopped me. Obviously, I eventually got better at some point after this moment, or at least marginally to not be in as much pain as I was on that occasion.
It was year 8 that my periods got heavy, and by heavy. I mean having to change my pad between periods, so every hour. They also became much more painful, I actually started sneaking painkillers from the cupboard in the kitchen, painkillers actually helped back then, or at least somewhat. That year there were two occasions where I thought I had appendicitis. (Common theme for me here) One towards the end of February and another in august. The time in February was the worst. I was in the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life and today I still agree with that statement. I have never been in more pain than I was that night, but guess who still didn’t go to A&E because they didn’t want to be a burden on their parents. Me of course. This was definitely in the middle of my cycle because year 8 was when I started to notice a pattern between when my various pains and nausea would act up. The one in August my friend actually thought I had appendicitis, a friend of ours had just had it. And she tried to drag me to the doctor, however, me being me refused.
By year 9 I would get period pain in my back and abdomen, I was popping the pills every 3 hours rather than every 4 when it was that time of the month and even then I didn’t get much relief. By year 9 I would feel ill for 3 weeks of every month and still had heavy and long, 8-9 day periods. It was in year 9 that my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and I started to talk to her more, and I finally felt like I wasn’t so alone with my pain as she also experienced bad period pain and thinks she has endometriosis. It was year 9 that I went on the ski trip. February half term, I very, unfortunately, got my period a week early and I was actually in so much pelvic pain for a good half of this week that were occasions, when we were not skiing that I physically couldn’t stand. I also had no appetite the whole week and lost so much weight that my ski clothes, especially underlayers were too big come the end of the week.
I guess this leads us to the time when I came across endometriosis and remember thinking I had it however at the same time having the feeling that I was over exaggerating and complaining about nothing. I was actually watching Higher Ground and in that one of the characters has endometriosis. I was curious so I googled it and suddenly everything I had been experiencing made sense. I’m pretty sure I actually self-diagnosed with endometriosis for a while. But now I don’t say I have it I just say it’s a possibility because although I believe in self-diagnosis for SOME mental conditions. It just cannot be done with physical conditions.
Anyway. Year 10 came and by that point, I had, for the most part, given up on painkillers because they did nothing and just decided I would have to deal with the pain in whatever way I could. I did, fortunately, get some relief towards the end of year 10. For all of you who follow my blog you know I’m recovering from Anorexia and the end of year 10 is when I stopped getting periods due to this. Oh how my friends envied me for those 6 months that I had no periods for.
So I got my period back in recovery from anorexia and suddenly they were a lot lighter and since have remained that way. Apart from back when I was drinking a lot of soy milk strangely enough. I was still, however, getting 8-9 day periods. The other difference was for the first few periods they were nowhere near as painful. A More normal sort of painful if you get me.
But the relief could not last forever, and the pain came back with a vengeance. The only difference being not feeling so ill for so long every month. It settled down to 2 weeks a month. Just normal PMS really, or as I thought then. And that’s the way it was really until I relapsed into Anorexia, had periods if you could call them that, they were so light and short with no pain and then I recovered again, on a healthier diet than the one I was on before and I certainly had a lot less pain, I would say a bit more than normal pain on occasions but nothing like I’d experienced prior. Well, that was until the last month of fun I’ve had. And this month I made a link again between pain and my cycle.
Anyway, that’s that story done for now. I guess one day I may get the courage to see a doctor and gain answers. But on the other hand, I may not.