I will try to keep this concise, but I want to put all the details that matter down here. My story, like many other stories of endometriosis was defined by doctors not believing my pain was critical. I believed them and was facing self doubt.
I started my period when I was 10 and they were normal until I was 13. My period in high school was defined by a month here, and a month there. I would miss school when I started my period because of the vomiting, cramps, back aches, dizzy spells, mood swings and fevers. Unlike many women I did not bleed heavily or for too long. That was the only normal part of my menstrual cycle.
Throughout high school and college different Ob’s would put me on birth control pills, telling me I had a “hormone problems” without looking into it further. I stopped taking birth control at age 20. I decided that they didn’t help, they actually seemed to make my period problem’s worse. At about 21 my period’s completely stopped (I was not sexually active). I should have paid attention to my body and gone to a doctor but I was so relieved to not have the vomiting, cramping and what had become debilitating pain. I happily ignored the fact that my period had vanished, until it came back… and it came back with a vengeance.
I went to an OB/GYN and had two abnormal pap smears. FINALLY, I thought, I’m getting somewhere here. I had a colposcopy which came back normal. My doctor’s at the time would not pursue anything further and insisted I just needed birth control pills. I refused, and what ensued was the worsening of my period’s. Painful periods which had happened maybe 4-5 times a year had become the norm. Every month I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed for days at a time. I would black out from the pain, vomiting and shaking for hours and hours.
After sex with my husband one night I heard a ’pop’ noise and immediately the pain erupted, I started throwing up and shaking. My husband took me to the ER. They did a trans-vaginal ultrasound and ran blood work, nothing showed up. The doctors told me that everything was normal. I dropped it and continued to suffer for another two years – please do not do this! Continue to advocate for yourself.
Fast forward to now, I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and now it wasn’t just my period that hurt, I hurt ALL the time. I was so fatigued I could barely get out of bed. We found a doctor who would perform a laparoscopy (however, my doctor actually told me he didn’t expect to find anything because everything else had been normal and I didn’t have “heavy” periods (even though I passed huge clots the size of my palm each period).
Whelp, guess what?! I had the surgery Monday and they found lots of endometriosis on my uterus and uterine ligaments (which, SURPRISE, causes vomiting, gas, bloating and IBS problems, the problems I complained of for 15 years).
So, I sit here now writing this story as inspiration. I kicked endo’s butt. I was right all along. If I had not advocated for myself and pushed, and pushed, and pushed for this surgery, I would still be suffering. Please be pushy! Find someone that will understand you!!
I have my follow up appointment in 10 days and you better believe I’m going to gloat and tell my doctor, “I told you so.”
And then I’m going to continue to treat this chronic issue with the right diet, alternative medicine, yoga and meditation. Oh, and maybe a baby.
Please know that you’re not crazy, the pain you feel is not normal, and that you know your body. Don’t let anyone else convince you that you’re fine because they didn’t find anything. Laparscopy is the ONLY way to know for sure if endo is involved on the outside of your lady bits.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.