So "what is endometriosis?" (pronounced (en-do-mee-tree-oh-sis).
I have met many people who have heard of the word "endometriosis" but aren't actually sure what pain it causes to the sufferer and those in their life.
From medical records, my own memories and today's knowledge, I am now confident I have suffered from this since around the age of 10 years old.
Pain and Suffering
Endometriosis is when endometrial tissue attaches to areas of the body outside of the uterus causing severe pelvic pain during menstruation.
I cannot actually begin to describe the pain but I will try. My cycle would run for around 30 days; 15 of those days I would bleed and be in pain. Due to the severity of the pain I was unable to wear tampons so was forced to rely on sanitary pads (usually around 4 of the "heavy" ones on top of one another!). I would pass huge clots regularly that would result in regular fainting and being sick.
The pain felt like barbed wire twisted inside of me and pulled back and forth. It would attack me at any time of the day or night. It would wake me up and I would find it difficult to move in bed.
By my late 20's I had to resort to buying maternity clothes for the 15 days of the month when pain would kick in. The swelling of my tummy was so severe they were the only clothes that I could wear. I would often be asked "when's it due?"; a heartbreaking question when my biological clock was ticking so loudly I felt deafened.
One of the devastating effects of endometriosis is infertility and after becoming a GP stalker, many visits to the library (no Google in the 1990's!) I was finally diagnosed on 18 August 2003. I recall the date so vividly because ironically it was the date my niece was born! Unfortunately as the condition had gone untreated for so long, there was little medical intervention that could help. Lesions were so severe they could not be removed without the risk of permanent bowel damage.
Addiction and Lifestyle
I became addicted to prescription drugs. I would have to chart when the pain might arrive and start the cycle of drugs from paracetamol, to ibuprofen, to the killer - morphine! I've lost count how many times I was admitted to hospital and pumped full of drugs just to stop the agony.
This literally ruined my life. My diary plans would have to change, I was depressed, anxious, moody, never slept, suffered excruciating pain in the tummy area, IBS became an unwanted friend, my hips were painful, my headaches would become unbearable. The list is endless.
Not to mention my relationships. I would have to cancel engagements at the last minute or leave a party early. I would reach the maximum sick days at work within months of the next year and have to be on sick with no pay. I'd hear girl friends talk about "period pain" and how they were in pain but they were at work, they went out on a weekend, they didn't wear huge clothes or have a frown on their face...were they really in pain?
Then, one day in 2008 the pain in my back was so severe I thought I had a serious injury. I was in agony. A visit to my GP (a new "lady" GP) resulted in a conversation not only about my back pain but about my request for a hysterectomy. I was fed up. I needed to do something to stop this. I was never going to be a mother now, as my marriage had failed and at the age of 37 I needed this never ending pain to go away.
She suggested YOGA! 14 years on and after some medical intervention (endometrial ablation in 2015) I am completely pain free. The yoga eliminated most of my medication (on occasion there was still the need to take paracetamol), I never had a hospital visit again via flashing blue lights (!), my whole body shape changed (maternity clothes ditched) and my own sense of well being became so beautiful.
Yoga basically saved my life! I am grateful to it every day and if you, like me, suffer any of the kind of pain I have mentioned, please take yourself to the mat. Take it gently. Learn to love your body. Learn to breathe in glorious white light, Breathe out what no longer serves you.
This wasn't a quick fix. I'm not going to sugar coat it. I would say it took around 2 years of regular (at least 3 times per week) yoga for this to work for me. However, within a few classes I could see the difference and I have never stuck to any kind of sport or gym in the past.
There was something about yoga that just made sense. It wasn't about doing the best pose, or being better than anyone in class. It was simply about me. It was about learning to get to know what my body needed from postures, breath and just letting go.
Yoga brought me to my holistic path. It helped me form new friendships with like minded soul seekers. I gave up smoking. Quit alcohol completely. I slept better. I didn't worry about the future. I let the past go.
I simply think about the NOW. Try it, you'll love it!
If you are a sufferer and need more support please visit Endometriosis UK I love it that we now have organisations and support for sufferers as I felt so alone. Don't suffer in silence and go and talk to your GP there is so much that can be done now.
Please remember - do not stop any medication prescribed by your GP without seeking their support.
If you haven't yet joined our Caterpillar Library do so HERE. A collection of free advice via video, downloads, audio and more on all things holistic. Thank you for reading, Namaste, Suzanne