I Choose To Look For The Positives Of Living With Endometriosis

living with endometriosis pain
Photo by Sora Shimazaki

So, I have Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It’s a fact that I freely admit. In the most simplistic and non-medical definition possible, the lining of my uterus growing outside my uterus defines endometriosis. PCOS is a result of excess hormones that causes cysts to form on my ovaries.

So basically… my body hates me.

It’s terrifying and worrisome. When I first got diagnosed, I thought that they would completely take over my life. I remember sitting on that scratchy white paper on top of the bed in the doctor’s office. All my dreams of little babies and the huge family I wished for every year on my birthday were blown out like the flame of those candles. My brain was racing a mile a minute, and I couldn’t formulate a coherent sentence.

All I could think were negative thoughts. At that moment, there was absolutely nothing positive about my diagnosis of endometriosis.

Some of my thoughts included:

1. Scared

Will I have kids? Will the pain ever stop? And will I have to have a hysterectomy? The questions are overwhelming, and all answers are scary as hell. I was constantly afraid of my future because I didn’t know what endometriosis had in store for me. So many unanswered questions, it’s hard not to be completely terrified and overwhelmed.

2. Ashamed

Here we go, canceling another event because the pain is too much. Giving in and taking pain medicine because feeling your insides being ripped apart is too much. Feeling ashamed to even have to take meds in the first place and not just “sticking it out” like everyone had told me to. Heading to the hospital because it’s just too much and too sore. I wish I could always push through and overcome it, but sometimes endometriosis wins.

3. Embarrassed

Telling a new partner that they can’t touch you on certain days. That your body is so sore that you can’t even be seen. That you’re so bloated, you are giving off pregnant vibes. It’s embarrassing to have such little control over your body. To know that at any minute, you could be on your ass for days. It’s hard to admit, but sometimes it’s just too much.

4. A bad friend/daughter/dog mom

Canceled plans, missed events, and chained on a leash outside on what should be a walk in the park. I thought I was a bad friend, daughter, and dog mom because of my endometriosis, which totally sucks. I wish I could always be present and overcome my negative thoughts. Sometimes I can’t, though, and that makes the people in my life suffer too.

5. In pain

The pain is horrendous. It overtakes you. It’s like feeling your uterus being ripped from your pelvic floor. It’s debilitating and horrible. The pain is something everyone experiences differently, but it’s not one week a month of tears, heat pads, and laying on your side. Where Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s half-baked ice cream don’t even make it better. It’s not fun, it’s not comfortable, and it overwhelms me.

6. Isolated

It feels like no one understands. No one gets that this isn’t just a few cramps. It’s hard and impossible. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and the tunnel feels awfully lonely. I wish I had someone to always hold my hand and tell me it’ll be okay. I’d know they were lying when they say, “Only a few more days then it won’t hurt anymore.” But I would remain hopeful that one day what they say would come true.

After battling through my inner demons and negative emotions surrounding my endometriosis, I learned many happy, and powerful emotions also get overlooked.

1. Strong

Living and thriving with an illness no one can see, and some people don’t even know exists, is hard. It makes you want to hide, but instead, I get up every day. Pain or shine. Fighting this demon. I’m proud of the days I have overcome. I’m proud to share my story, and I’m proud to be a fighter.

2. Accepting

Due to my pain and illness, I’ve learned to understand that everyone is going through something. Physical, mental, emotional, social. Everyone has their own stuff, and endometriosis taught me to meet people where they are, not where I want them to be. People need love and support, acceptance, and reassurance. People need other people.

3. Brave

I go through surgeries, pain, doctors’ appointments, specialist consultations. Everyone that tries to make me better. I’m brave because I never give up, and I won’t ever give up. I’m a fighter, and I wear my bravery like a badge of honor.

4. Honest

Endometriosis causes you to be honest with yourself, with your partner, with your friends and family. It makes you face things you never would have considered. It makes you fall sometimes, and it forces you to be honest when your body needs a break or when you’re ready to soar. Not everyone understands when their body needs a vacation. I do, and it’s because of my endometriosis

5. Powerful

All the negatives, all the pain, and emotional distress, yet here I am. Standing tall and moving forward. I can do this, and I can continue to overcome this.

The negatives generally outweigh the positives. This in itself can be very depressing most days. However, being stronger, braver, and more honest enriches my life. The positives make me a better person, and they make me true to myself.

So yes, my endometriosis is like that cranky old aunt that never leaves you alone. It’s that thunderstorm on the day where you were going to go to the beach. Some days it sucks the life out of me and makes me want to hurl. It makes me want to cry, and some days it makes me want to give up.

However, some days it makes me want to scream it from the rooftops…that I am me, and I’m still here, that I am fighting.

It makes me proud of who I am, and it makes me… well… me.

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