I think the first time I experienced “the pain” was around 15. I remember the pain coming in waves, inconsistently and never expected. After describing these very scary occurrences to my gynecologist, she ordered an ultrasound where they found multiple grape sized cysts and endometriosis on and around my ovaries. I was told they would dissolve and got used to feeling them when I moved, almost as if the feeling was normal, or if they weren’t there.
The pain became chronic and much more intense over the years. The first severe symptoms I experienced were insanely intense menstrual pain, pain that was so intense I would become incapable of leaving my bed or even unlocking myself from fetal position. It was like someone had put their fist inside my abdomen and was repeatedly punching me.
I had my abdomen monitored frequently and I was on a first name basis and friends with my ultrasound technician at Alameda Hospital. “We can’t keep meeting like this” was our ongoing joke. The pain became increasingly intense and consistent over the next three years and my “bad days” occurred more and more often. I was continually told that I probably wouldn’t be able to have children.
Honestly, my first thought was that I had an epitomic pregnancy as I heard they were painful and I had never experienced the pain I was feeling. The pain was so intense I wasn’t able to speak. I couldn’t walk by myself and I shook uncontrollably.
At twenty-three the stress level in my life skyrocketed. At this time I had my first of many visits to the Emergency Room because of endometriosis flare ups and ruptured cysts. I didn’t know what was going on at first. Honestly, my first thought was that I had an epitomic pregnancy as I heard they were painful and I had never experienced the pain I was feeling. The pain was so intense I wasn’t able to speak. I couldn’t walk by myself and I shook uncontrollably.
These visits to the emergency room became all too familiar, all too quick. I started having flare ups more and more, resulting in emergency room visits followed by recovery days where I patiently waited for the pain to pass. Eventually the emergency room visits resulted in me being admitted to the hospital with no answers as to when I’d be released or what was wrong with me.
My marriage suffered horribly and would eventually end, which in itself caused more stress than I could ever describe. I would try to resume my regular life every time I would get out of the hospital. I was in constant pain and the simplest things seemed to drain me of my energy. I missed at least a day of work a week. Even with the horrible pain, the only part I couldn’t get over was that I wouldn’t be able to have children. This hurt tremendously, more than the physical pain.
By June I had a surgery date in September set to have the endometriosis. It was growing fast and my doctor was concerned about waiting so long. I was admitted to the hospital twice in July and the second visit resulted in an emergency operation. The endometriosis was laser burned away. Two weeks later, the pain was back.
I decided to drop western medecine for a change. I stuck to a strict vegan diet for a few months. I started weekly acupuncture. I noticed a change immediately and was for the first time in years able to get regular work outs in.
After trying every other route, I decided to try something different to combat this disease. I decided to drop western medicine for a change. I stuck to a strict vegan diet for a few months. I started weekly acupuncture. I noticed a change immediately and was for the first time in years able to get regular work outs in. I became a regular at spin class. I was walking miles at a time. My boyfriend and I decided that now would be the best time to try to have a baby, as my body had never been in better shape.
After months of taking immaculate care of my body, I became pregnant, despite how many times I was told the chances were slim to none. Today is my due date. My first child is expected to arrive any moment. Words can’t describe how thankful my partner and I are to be parents.
I am a little worried about the disease coming back after our son is born, but I know how to fight it. There is hope for those with endometriosis, you just have to be willing to explore treatment options. It’s not easy or fun for me to live a vegan lifestyle all the time. But it is the first step to keeping my body healthy. And now, it’s all about staying healthy so I can keep up with my son… the son who I was told I’d never conceive.