I will jump right in. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 1996, my daughter was a year and a half and I was 21 years old. I was in emergency surgery after I was diagnosed.
For the next several years to follow, after learning and experiencing that I also developed cysts and tumors, I endured a lot of surgery. And when I say a lot, I mean it. I don't say it lightly.
To date I have had 41 abdominal surgeries to remove Endometriosis, and to cut out the tumors/cysts. They were not typical common cysts that can come and go throughout the month, these were hemorrhaging and had to be taken out. The Endometriosis wasn't typical or common either, it was severe and progressive--and it reeked havoc on my reproductive system and other organs. We tried everything to get rid of it or slow it down; from birth control pills to a drug therapy called Lupron to progesterone cream. It wasn't going
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-5
Enduring all those surgeries, working full time and being a single mother were some of the hardest days of my life. And not to mention, painful. If you know anything about Endo, it's extremely painful, to the point of debilitating. I was always having to take Short Term Disability at work, and constantly calling in sick etc. . I ended up being laid off due to my health after five years with a company that I loved.
I found myself at the age of 33 having a full Hysterectomy, going through surgical menopause, which was a total nightmare. And I am not sharing any of this for sympathies or attention, I'm only sharing because I think it's important to connect, and share our humble fellow stories, and I hope to help and mentor other women.
Since my Hysterectomy, I had to quiet my job (about 4 years ago), because I had had 6 surgeries that year (2007)--and since then I've been in this state of pulling myself (my body) out of all that trauma. It's a daily battle dealing with my muscles that have de-condtioned, nerve damage, instability, chronic pain, adhesions (that stick to other organs), scarring and these injuries I get. Such as impingement in my hips and shoulder, falls--random day to day stuff-- because I don't have a lot of strength after recovering from all the surgeries. They robbed me of quite a bit. But they haven't robbed me of my spirit.
I won't stop fighting to feel better (I am done with surgery, the tumors are gone but I still have some Endo which is almost unheard of after a Hysterectomy), so I did some research and discovered a type of treatment and I've been doing that every week, twice a week, for the past two years; a visceral manipulation therapy, ( a deep brutal massage type therapy to free up adhesions so I can heal) and Physical Therapy to gain strength and improve range of motion.
(I got on some rocks on the North Shore this summer--that is a huge accomplishment for me)
I don't let my circumstances or health define me--it's what's happened to me, but it's not who I AM. I have learned the HARD way that I have to learn to accept where I am instead of where I want to be, or where I thought I'd be at 37 years old. I thought I'd have a few kids, and a full time job, gardening and volunteering during the week. Turns out I was unable to have any more children, and I can't work and I can rarely make commitments to others. I use a heating pad, ice packs, pain meds, nerve blocker medication, HRT and I have to slap Bio-Freeze on every time I leave the house--it's a pain the butt and it stinks!
This isn't he way I'd write my story, and there are a lot of people that don't understand my situation, and that is another thing I've had to learn. There are going to be critical people that just don't understand you and your life. And they will judge you and be cruel. But that's OK. I know and understand, and the people that love me do too.
I might not be fulfilling the goals and purposes I thought I would be, but I've been able to use my life as an example of enduring, and never giving up. I've been able to use my gifts in unexpected ways and use my time in unexpected ways that have blessed others. And if I can do that--then I've done what I've needed. I can accept that.
I think the purpose in sharing stories is to make a difference. I want to be able to help other women who might be diagnosed with Endo, and to give them as much information on it as I possibly can. Info I never had. I want to be able to tell them about these unique treatments I receive, treatments I could have been receiving after my FIRST OR SECOND surgery. Treatments that would have helped me SO much if I had known. But when you pile 40 surgeries ontop of another within 13 years, you get a total mess, and I'm trying to clean that mess up and just trying to maintain appreciating the beautiful things in life as I do.
(Me this summer--I love a pretty dress)
And it's not easy, they take a lot out of me. I get Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I'm down for the count. I've learned a thing or two about endurance, and we as a people have a need for it. It makes us strong. It gives us character. It shapes us.
My story is still being written, and I'll look forward to sharing the next several chapters with you once I get there.