“Vanessa, remember you have endometriosis,” the doctor said. Those words swirled around in my head, but my mind refused to process the meaning behind them. My doctor eyes compassionately swept over my face, settling on my eyes. He patiently waited until his word sunk in; unfortunately they just wouldn’t.
Firstly, I didn’t know what endometriosis was, and if he had explained it to me during the process of my treatment, it went unnoticed. Secondly, I was battling catamenial pneumothorax at the time, this is when a woman has her menstruation and within 24-48 hours her lung collapses. By this time, I underwent major lung surgery and had a total of ten chest tubes. Endometriosis was the last thing I was thinking about.
I recall that one fateful night being awakened by severe pain in my abdomen and lower back. Try as I might, I could not go back to sleep, as I couldn’t escape the severity of that sharp pain. This would go on for months. The pain was blinding and crippling, often leaving me bedridden for days. It seemed that my life was a constant battle to live (not exist) and be happy. My battle was against my own body and mind. I was determined to win.
“I do?” I asked my doctor, I barely recognized my voice. My doctor nodded his head, “Yes, you do. You have had to be one of my most difficult cases treated. I removed an incredible amount of endometriosis from inside of you. Remember, you also have it on your lung. These tissues may have escaped to other areas of your body. Doing more surgery runs the risk of causing more damage than good.” Those were not the words I wanted to hear. I wanted to be fixed to be made whole. I left his office burdened with despair. I was silent and reflective during my ride home. The world seemed a different place to me. In the matter of minutes I had changed inside forever. There was a gamut of emotions swamping me. Anger was in the lead, I am not perfect by any means, but, I’ve always been mindful of my deed’s and action’s. I respected myself and others. I believed in God and attend church faithfully. Yet, I was living a life of constant pain.
I made a decision that day. I decided I would not let this situation defeat me. I went home and began to research what endometriosis was. I was a Trojan. I studied and applied what I learned to my daily living. Sometimes it can take up to 10 to 12 years for a patient to be diagnosed with endometriosis. Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America. I also learned how to eat all over again. I had to cut out red meats, I’ve gotten rid of dairy products, and I removed wheat products out of my diet as well. I start eating healthy. I removed myself as best as I could from stressful situations, as this could exacerbate pain levels. I began to do meditations. I began to come to grips with the fact that, I could live in spite of my situation, I just had to readjust. I also, made it an priority to not remain silent anymore. Talking about something as private as your cycle can be quite awkward, but this slight discomfort is worth all worth, as long as I can inform and enlighten people about endometriosis. I don’t want anyone to suffer for years, because of lack of information. So, I continue to lift my voice, sharing my testimony, enlightening people about endometriosis, and I continue to keep the faith,
Endometriosis doesn’t have me.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
Vanessa’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Endometriosis)