Endometriosis Pain: How it Became My Safety Blanket
A few months ago, I was contemplating how I would continue life in a new identity as a pain-free person. I thought my surgery in January would be a miracle and cure every ailment I have and I would wake up a new woman!
In a way, I did wake up a new woman. A clean bladder. A clean, perfectly reshaped uterus. Two mesh-covered holes. Four messily but lovingly glued closed incisions. There was so much hope surrounding my surgery. My husband thought I would soon be healed from my surgery and the pain would be gone, because we were confident the doctors has corrected everything.
Everyone at work had wished me luck before I went out for FMLA and when I returned two weeks later, I was expected to be better. Unfortunately, I was not – I’m still not.
The pain has transitioned from being primarily in my pelvic area and radiating through my legs to now being primarily on either side of my abdominal area and lower back. I do have sporadic moments of severe, make-your-eyes-go-black cramping pain in my pelvic area, as well. Using my doctorate degree from WebMD, I can hypothesize that the hernias were appropriately corrected. Plus my awesome doctor showed me the photos of the holes in the ligament before the hernias were fixed, and those were some big holes with a lot of fat tissue and nerves going through the openings – close the opening, no more femoral pain.
I went through a period of depression following my surgery not knowing how I would feel being pain-free. It sounds totally stupid now but I was so unsure what it would be like to not have pain, at least endometriosis pain. My whole persona has been built around having a chronic illness. It’s the reason I cannot do fun, social things, it’s the reason I give for not being able to do boring, social events. My pain is why I lost the ability to run and workout when I have extra energy, and it’s the excuse I use when I want to be lazy and veg on the couch. Seriously, though, my chronic illness has taken away a lot of things from my life. It has affects my relationship with my husband, my friends, family, and my work productivity; however, I would be lying to you and to myself if I did not say that there are not moments when I use it to my advantage.
My endometriosis pain, without me knowing, had become my security blanket in the outside world. It was my shield from the world. When I was tired or had too much activity for the day, I could say my pain level was off the chart and go home – it just so happens that most days, I was not lying. My endometriosis pain allowed me to avoid placing myself into vulnerable situations that would place me too far outside my comfort zone. All I had to do was state that I had a chronic pain condition and the inviter, if polite, would stop asking anymore questions. If not up on common courtesy or super ballsy, I would just mention it dealt with female issues, and that always seemed to shut down the conversation quickly.
Looking back I do regret allowing myself to be held back by my endometriosis pain when it really was not as bad as I allowed myself to make myself believe. I over exaggerated at times for attention, sympathy, additional sleep. At the end of the day what it all boils down to is that I was, and most likely still am, severely depressed and never truly dealt with being diagnosed with my illnesses. From being told at 21 that I had MS (I now know this was a misdiagnosis by a dispassionate physician), endometriosis, chronic pain, chronic migraines, to hand and leg tremors and chemical menopause, I thought I was falling apart. Oh, and the recently found pituitary adenoma, which a couple years ago was only described to me as a mass on my pituitary that may or may not be growing.
There are so many others out there dealing with so many worse things that I feel horrendous saying “woah is me,” so please understand that is not my intent. The intent is simply this is my life – this is what I am dealing with and how I am dealing with it. Obviously, I have not always dealt with my situation in the most elegant manner, but I am working on dealing with it better going forward.
If you have been following me journey, you know that I’ve been working on taking back control. I am starting to accept that I may always have some form, some level, of pain for the rest of my life, so I am finding new ways to deal with that pain. I have explored my pharmacological options – right now I do not have any – I am exploring the natural, herbal options available to me (kratom) and hope to one day be one of the recipients of a medical license once it is “officially” official in my state. Nonetheless, there are still moments when I struggle with this reality. The reality that I need to have these substances to make me feel an iodum of normalcy.
The fact that I am not recovering from a surgery, but this is as good as I am going to get. The real possibility that I may start to get worse over time. I may actually have a more severe illness that has not fully surfaced yet that is simply masquerading itself as endometriosis pain – only time will tell.
For now, all I can hope is that I live each day to the fullest possible. Enjoy each moment even if it is napping in bed – it will be the best damn nap even taken. All the while, I’ll be wrapped up in tight in my soft, cuddly blanket – it may be a safety blanket to some – but now you know about my true safety blanket. Maybe I just need the extra protection.