There was actually a time when I was sad I didn’t have my period (cue raucous laughter). As a late bloomer, all the other girls at school were getting tampons and navigating their way through puberty. I was sixteen when I finally came of age. It hurt like a bitch. I bled so much, had horrific cramps and took loads of time off school, uni and work.
Initially I was told, that’s what being a woman is about. The pain was somehow normalised. I was reassured that it would get better as I got older. It didn’t. In fact, the pain got much worse.
Must Have Been That Kebab
I remember hanging out at a friends place, doubled over in pain, crying and clutching at my belly, no clue what was wrong with me. My mate freaked out and took me to hospital. A doctor did some blood tests, pumped me full of painkillers and put it down to an STI. I saw my GP afterwards who did further tests, and was told my bloods came up negative. He concluded it was just period pain.
When I was in the UK, I stumbled in Hyde Park in agony and could no longer walk. Once again, my friends panicked and took me to ER. No shit, the doctor’s diagnosis was might have been a bad kebab. Granted, I was drunk, so they didn’t take me very seriously. When my friends questioned the ridiculous diagnosis, asking why I was in so much pain, the doctor put it down to me having a low pain threshold. It wasn’t the first time medical professionals had suggested such a thing.
What is Endometriosis?
When I got back to Sydney, I was in and out of doctor’s rooms; specialist’s appointments and they all pretty much said the same thing. I have heavy, irregular periods, my chances of conceiving are slim to none and there is nothing they can do. My favourite was the doctor that suggested the pain was in my head and referred me to a psychologist.
It took eight years to find a doctor that listened to me and take me seriously. He told me about something called endometriosis. He explained that it was a condition where cells grow in places where they shouldn’t. And yeah, causes mad pain.
He explained there was a simple procedure to diagnose the condition, at the same time removes it. So I was booked in for my first medical procedure. About two days later when the tenderness healed, I felt human for the first time in years.
I Got My Life Back
I was told on my check up appointment that it should be at least five years IF the endo was to return. Just over a year later, I was on the operating table again. I had a total of four procedures in Sydney. One of which got infected, so I had to have a laparotomy. That’s when they cut your whole stomach open and clean shit up.
When I moved to Brisbane, I saw a brilliant fertility specialist. He performed, what we thought, would be my final laparoscopy to remove endo and adhesions, so I can make way for babies. I did a round of IVF and boom! Pregnant. About a year later, natural pregnancy. Amazing. Two healthy babies from my shit reproductive system.
Farewell Evil Organs
I always knew, and had very much looked forward to, having a hysterectomy once I had my babies. Last August I had major surgery removing all my retched reproductive organs that had caused my nothing but anguish and pain since I was a teenager.
No more periods, no more pain, I could be a normal functioning human. At least, that’s what I thought.
I knew, going into the surgery, it was no guarantee to never having endo again. What I didn’t expect, was that I would be back on the operating table again in less than a year. I’m currently in the hospital right now. I have multiple cysts on may ovaries and suspected endo.
While I do feel somewhat defeated, sad, and pissed off at my stupid body, I will always be grateful for the fact that I have two awesome kids. Many women in my situation aren’t that fortunate.
Pain is not Normal
My message to every single woman out there, if you are experiencing pain, heavy bleeding, clotting or anything you feel isn’t normal, find a doctor that will listen to you. Excruciating pain is not normal. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a low pain threshold or it’s all in your head. Listen to your body and know that there is a way to fix it. Here are some questions and info to help you before you see a doctor.
Women are incredible creatures that can endure an extraordinary amount of pain. We are tougher than we know. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Wish me luck. See you on the other side.