I was diagnosed with endometriosis this past August (2020). A disease I have had for just over two decades.
The irony is that I had read and heard about this disease a decade ago. It just never occurred to me that I might have it. After all, it was “normal” to have painful periods and that was my “cup of suffering” to bear for life. Only, the pain got worse and the pain meds proved more useless! It did not help that I had fibroids too.
As I got older, the pain worsened. I would get PMS a week before my period and have the symptoms even after. Generally, half the month was spent feeling sick. Especially the last couple of years.
In 2020, the dysmenorrhea (painful periods) got so bad that moving was excruciating. A hot water bottle and pain medication could hardly help. I would throw up on an empty stomach, hardly eat for fear of aggravating the pain and a lack of appetite.
On 10th August 2020, the pain got so bad that I had to go to a hospital. Was given an injection for pain, did an ultrasound which showed an enlarged uterus due to bigger fibroids and inflamed ovaries. The doctor gave me the “get pregnant” talk to help deal with the fibroids, and advised I start on contraception. I was desperate for pain relief so I agreed to try Pilplan for a month. The irony of course is that I hadn’t been trying to prevent a pregnancy since I am totally sexually abstinent. I wasn’t keen on introducing any hormones in my body but here we were!
While I understand to some degree the biology of fertility, I find it very interesting the ease with which one is advised to get pregnant. As though one can go to a store, pick up a man, marry them and start a family…just like that!
My problem wasn’t infertility (though it might lead there), nor an urgent desire to be married, nor to have children- it was chronic pelvic pain!! Besides, having children doesn’t guarantee an end to endo pain.
This experience will test your beliefs about God and sex. For me, it’s been a period of learning to trust God and not to lean on my own understanding (read- take matters into my own hands for fear of a biological ticking clock).
I hardly got through a week on that pill…it not only left me very nauseous but weak too. I decided to get off it and seek a second and third opinion…
One doctor advised the coil, while another advised a hysterectomy (removal of my womb). To be honest, I was open to whatever would make the pain stop. What I wasn’t getting was a definitive diagnosis.
In the end, I was pointed to a gyn who on doing an abdominal exam and asking a few questions, told me he suspected it was endometriosis but affirmed that the only sure way of knowing was by surgery. I had the laparoscopic diagnosis a week later. Confirming that I indeed have endometriosis.
The relief of finally knowing and the pain of understanding that it was a chronic illness made for a bittersweet feeling.
I have since been on another hormone, pending surgery and joined a support group. God has been good, the in-betweens interesting, and journey goes on!!
Sheila Nabuuma Wavamunno (Age, 36 )