Endo is a fucking nightmare. I could be smiling with you one minute and the next you are rushing me to the ER. I have learnt to make jokes about it because if I am too serious, what good does that bring me?
The other day a colleague told me that my body is Chinese because I am constantly sick. Can you believe that? I took offence at first but then realised that a lot of the time I am in constant pain, moody, withdrawn, migraines, painful sex, painful ovulation, excruciating periods, sleepless nights, hemorrhoids … did I mention that endo is a fucking nightmare? The list could go on but for now I am minding the word count so I will stop there.
I usually find myself unable to make sense of a lot of things when I’m in pain. I just sit there waiting for the episode to be over after taking a bunch of pills or jabs. So yeah, here I am with my Chinese body (I kid), trying to make some little sense and put words into what it’s like to live with endo.
So let’s start here, what’s endo? Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of a woman’s uterus — what we call the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. You see, with endometriosis, the displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would, it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit a woman’s body, it becomes trapped. The surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.
As you can imagine this entire process makes it extremely painful to live a normal day to day life.
My first period was a mess. The blood came from my front and back and it was worse because my late dad was the one at home. He called my mum to meet us at the hospital because he was certain it was amoeba. Yap, my dad assumed those little monsters were in my system, but behold it was my first period. That day was the beginning of what my life has come to be.
But hey, I soldier on thanks to groups like EFK (Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya) where women in Kenya get a lot of support to talk about and understand their condition more. Sadly some women have not been strong enough to keep pushing and decided to end it all. While some like myself still wonder what tomorrow will be like. So I constantly drown myself in the words “Que Sera Sera”.
You see, when someone looks at me they assume I am okay. I have often been asked if I’m really sick … I wonder if I should I walk with a banner. Or maybe scan all my doctor’s reports after the procedures and post them online? Sigh. The judgment is my main problem with this condition. There is no exact known cause, no known cure and it is invisible, so when I say I am pain how will you know? You obviously cannot see wounds or swellings.
Being married with endo isn’t a walk in the park either. My partner could look at me and want to devour me on the kitchen counter, but he probably can’t because my lady part walls aren’t ready to make the necessary adjustments to allow us to be intimate. So what do we do? We compromise. Maybe he wants it in a certain position but we agree on a different one. As a result we’re still able to have a healthy sex life and not let endo kill our appetite (let me not get into TMI with this subject). But I will say this, it’s a blessing to have a partner who stands by you and tries to be as understanding as possible.
I personally came to accept that this is me. This is who I am. This is what I have to deal with every day. And until I can fully eradicate it from my system I will keep pushing. Hard! I changed my diet, started listening to my body, working out, saying a big fat no when my body says no. I have come to see that not everyone will stand by me so I fully appreciate the few friends and family that have had my back thus far. But most importantly, I did not lose faith in God and myself. My self-esteem gets low so many times because of feeling like I just ain’t worth it. I constantly have to remind myself that “I am enough” and God’s got me.
So let’s keep talking about endo, raising awareness, hoping for a cure, getting better, well-trained doctors to treat it and most importantly, understanding from those around us by offering a hand when we get depressed.
Endo is not the end. In fact it keeps you on your toes for a better tomorrow. Que Sera, Sera.