I am talking openly about periods. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can hit the back button.
Earlier this year, I started experiencing severe pain in my leg. I am a runner so, thinking it was an injury. I took it easy. I took ibuprofen, but it still hurt. A few days later, the pain mysteriously went away.
The next week when I started my period, the pain came back worse. I thought something strange was going on, and when my period ended, the pain did too. I started wondering if it was endometriosis. When I looked into it, it was rare for the tissue to migrate out of the abdomen, so I thought that maybe it was just a weird coincidence.
When I finally was able to see a doctor, because of health insurance I could only pick from a few doctors. I chose a practice I had used many years ago and was not thrilled, but my other options were not any better.
My Doctor is Russian and lectured me on how Americans all take the pill and should get IUD’s instead. She tried pushing me into getting one; I knew this would not have a good outcome. She diagnosed me with endometriosis, told me I had a rare form and said taking the pill may help. I should not take hormonal birth control I ended up in the Emergency Room after having chest pains from it. The Doctor was aware of this; I guess she thought it would be ok to try it again. I was desperate to get rid of the pain, so I said okay but ended up leaving without any.
I complained to the health insurance company. Sadly, there are no other providers in my area that have not killed a patient or had their license suspended for DUI’s. For lack of better words, the situation sucks. I had to educate myself and learned it is normal for some women to have endometriosis flare-ups between their period and ovulation. Experiencing it during PMS is common. Therefore, there are women like me out there, who for 5 to 15 days out of the month are in crippling pain.
There is no treatment. You can have a hysterectomy, but that is extreme and permanent. When you are in your 30s, you do not want to go through that at all, especially for something that may not help.
If you are a runner, and you are suffering from this, you may know what I am talking about; you have to go running, and you feel like you are going to die. Most of us cannot just check out for most of the month. You just have to cope.
Sometimes the pain is not just the endometriosis flaring up. You have to start recognizing what typical endometriosis pain is for you. If you are out running, and the pain does not feel like your usual endometriosis pain, you have to stop and assess the situation. If you assume it is just the endometriosis, you could end up injuring yourself.
Supposedly, ibuprofen should help a bit, taking it before you go running could be harmful.
Besides that, ibuprofen does nothing to help my pain at all.
If you are thinking of taking over the counter pain relievers, read up on what is best for you, and then talk with your health care provider.
Heat helps cramps. Surprisingly, this one is somewhat helpful but not much. It works better than ibuprofen for sure.
Bluntly if the pill is not working and you have tried Depo-Provera, and it is not helping either, you are just going to have to cope with it. I hate saying that, but more women need to come forward and say the same thing. I think this is something many women suffer through silently.
There is no effective treatment. Having your uterus removed is extreme, and many of us just cannot make that choice for whatever reason. Until more women stand up and speak out about their suffering, I do not think this issue will be known enough socially to bring change.
We all have something we have to bear. Some of us have outside factors that cause us pain. For some of us, it is physical. For others, it is mental. Sometimes, you cannot do anything to improve the situation, other than deciding not to let it get the best of you. That means whatever is troubling you; do not let it keep you from living your life.
Today even though my endometriosis is making me feel like I was run over by a car, I kept running for twelve miles. If I stayed home and sat on the couch just thinking about the pain, I let the pain win. Also, by giving into the pain, I will just cause myself more pain during my half marathon from under training.
If you cannot get out of bed, remember this; you have endometriosis, but endometriosis does not have you. Some of us are fortunate enough to get up and walk, and I am thankful for that every day. Just because I can still run does not mean other people can. We all feel and handle pain differently.
We need to spread awareness. I do not think endometriosis is considered a serious disorder by most people. Some people believe that it is just period cramps, and it is so much more than that. I feel like, at times, natural labor was less painful. So until I can figure out a treatment that helps me, I must keep getting up and doing what I have to. If I do not, no one else will do it for me. I will not let considered endometriosis take away the things I love, like running. Therefore, I keep getting up and carrying on despite the pain.