Periods have been a taboo subject for far too long and we have experienced some crazy symptoms in silence, (not to mention not having them taken seriously by some medical professionals when we seek help). This is particularly true for those who have Endometriosis. Melissa has found that by talking to others about her experience with Endometriosis, she has been able to create a space where we don’t suffer in silence.
This is Melissa's journey
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and always around this time either myself or people I know still don’t know what periods do to our bodies and that it leads us to other problems in life such as Endometriosis or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or both. It still baffles us that there is no conversation about it let alone the education around it is very little.
For those that don’t know what Endometriosis is, it’s where the lining of the uterus goes backwards from the tissue protecting the blood leading to very painful periods and surgery to remove the blood and/or the uterus.
In my own journey, I had little education about Endometriosis in 8th grade and I always thought to myself that if I had ever come across this it would be later in my 30s and/or after children. Something I learnt along the way was this disease doesn’t wait and I was diagnosed at 23 years old after almost 12 years of painful painful periods. I’m talking about the pain of when you can’t move out of bed, hurts to do anything and like a 24/7 labour pain.
The point of this post is that us women never wanted to hear this big E word definitely not now, or ever and now it’s a part of the ever growing #EndoWarrior (started by Endometriosis Australia) stories where once you live through this gruelling illness, you will find that almost every girl or someone knows someone that has lived through it too. 1 in 9 women suffer every day from this illness and it is a shame.
- Painful periods but also abdominal pain in general outside of the period cycle
- Inbalance standing or walking (make sure you are supervised or monitored when feeling like this)
- Extreme fatigue
In my experience, I had every single symptom on this list and had the bloating during my period, but also when I was given medicine to help ease the pain but wasn’t doing anything effectively and in those 8 weeks let alone all of my life, the pain got progressively worse.
When I had finally reached my diagnosis, I was told that I was going to have surgery. This was an answer to why I lived in so much pain all my life. The surgery is invasive depending on the stage of endometriosis you have. I was very fortunate to have my surgery one week before the hospitals started to close in terms of the lockdown. It’s a laparoscopy so I have 4 key inserts now that I call my warrior wounds that fade away eventually. The doctors basically take the blood and burn it and seal the uterus so it’s protected from the lining going backwards again. I’m very lucky that I’m protected for the next 5 years at least and that my Mirena was inserted to help with stopping my periods completely.
Looking back 1 year later, I am happy, finally healthy and can live a pain - free life and now that I am Gluten Free and Dairy Free there is less aggravation for any pain I have, which is something I had to also wait 23 years to be diagnosed with in the same week. It’s like the person I was always meant to be living her life to the fullest but couldn’t because of the hindrance, so now it’s time for us EndoWarriors to shine and do what we set out to achieve!
So get talking with your girls, check in on them and make sure if they are suffering symptoms of Endometriosis to get checked out immediately before the lining gets too dangerous to bear. And this isn’t a post just for the women but for the fellas too being partners, spouses this is not an easy time in any girls life especially when they have to go through so many tests to get to the diagnosis so the least you can do is be there in support of them while they are vulnerable and exhausted.
Just remember girls, that we are STRONG, we can DO THIS and we can finally have an answer to Endometriosis and be able to manage it on top of having careers and families. You got this!
For more information, there are lots of resources such as the Endometriosis Australia website, and the “Living with Endo” podcast.