March is Endometriosis Awareness month
Today is Endometriosis March day, this is usually where people gather together and raise awareness and donations for Endometriosis UK , unfortunately this can't happen this year.
I feel it would be wrong to get to April without a dedicated plug. I can’t speak for other women, there are varying degrees of endometriosis from the very mild where it causes no problems, to the severe where it can render a women with disabling symptoms. I am fortunate in that I can (with a bit of surgical intervention) get by. I can work a relatively normal day and have relatively normal relationships, I know how to control my symptoms and I know I can be honest with my friends/family/husband if I’m having a bad day. I have a really good support network. I’m also ‘lucky’ that I have experienced symptoms since I was 13, so I don’t know any different which means I haven't had to adapt to this condition. 1 in 10 women that are reading this are likely to have endometriosis, that is a massive proportion of the population, some of which don’t talk about it because they are too embarrassed and some of which think their symptoms are normal.
Symptoms (Taken from NHS): *pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period *period pain that stops you doing your normal activities *pain during or after sex *pain when peeing or pooing during your period *feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period *difficulty getting pregnant
“Is it just your usual?”
I've been for a few operations to help ease my symptoms by removing as much of the endometriosis as possible so that it doesn't interfere with my day-to-day life, even if this is just for a few months or a few years. I have my pre-op in April and then I have my operation in May. I was very fortunate and the consultant got me in quickly as I know a lot of women with Endometriosis are having to wait up to 18 months for surgery. Going for an operation on your abdomen is not like going to the pub or to the hairdressers. Even those closest to me will say 'is it just your usual?' like I'm going in for short, back and sides. Comments like this make me think 'I must look like I'm holding myself together', because the reality is, that it is quite daunting, I am nervous, I worry about the time to heal, what they will find, how far it's spread on my bowel, whether it will help my symptoms, whether it has interfered with my fertility... 'Usual' isn't going for general anaesthetic for someone to open you up for laser, diathermy and destruction of endometriosis, adhesiolysis, tubal and ovarian surgery. ‘Usual’ is sitting in the same chair in your lounge or going to bed at a certain time, ‘usual’ is not going to hospital to try and reduce the effects of a chronic condition.
You don’t need to sympathise or empathise, you just have to talk to your daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers, cousins, friends and raise awareness, so that the women in your life feel confident enough to seek help if they are experiencing symptoms.