Hi! My name is Jennifer, I’m 30 years old & live in Mobile, AL.
Since March is endometriosis awareness month, I’d like to share my story with you about my battle with this disease. I hope that in sharing my story it will give others with the disease hope, & help raise awareness to those who may not know about or understand endo.
I have lived with endometriosis since I started having a period, although I didn’t get an “official” diagnosis until I was 21. I live in constant pain. Some days are better than others, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hurt in some way. My periods are completely unpredictable, and absolutely ridiculous. Some months I may have a typical one week period & some I’ll bleed for 2-3 weeks out of the month. I think my worst one was a couple of years ago I bled for 4 months, yes months, straight. I feel like I’m always at my gyn’s office for one reason or another. I’ve tried just about every treatment option available at least twice, and they ultimately never work in my case. I have had 8 surgeries to try and help ease the pain, and they do, but for only a short period of time. When the pain returns, it’s often worse than it was before surgery. It is very defeating, and I won’t lie, I do have my “why me” moments.
As bad as the pain gets and as crazy as my periods are, I would have to say that’s not the worst part of having endo. It’s the emotional side to the disease that’s the hardest. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster and fighting a losing battle forever now. Endo affects every aspect of my life; professionally, personally, and intimately. In the work environment people don’t understand that I don’t feel well because to them, I don’t “look” sick. (I’ve heard that a lot) this is an “invisible” illness that many don’t understand.
As far as my personal life goes, I often don’t want to go out and do anything because the pain is so bad at times. Some people understand, but most don’t. I just try and educate them about endo in hopes that they’ll better understand what I’m going through. That brings me to intimacy. Sex is often so painful that it literally brings me to tears. You can only imagine the strain that can have on a relationship. Luckily, I have an amazing man in my life who truly understands what I go through and is very sympathetic to my situation. He is my rock, and the only person I let see me cry when the pain gets too bad or I feel defeated and want to give up.
Finally, there’s infertility. This one is tough. Although I have been one of the lucky ones who has been able to have children, it hasn’t been an easy task. I had my boys (ages 11 & 9) very early in life in fear that it would be my only opportunity. In 2005 I got pregnant, on my own, but that pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks. I was devistated, and for a long time simply gave up. I convinced myself that my body just didn’t work right as a coping mechanism. Well, to my surprise, I was wrong. On March 16, 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, who I conceived with NO medical intervention. I consider my children miracles and my greatest accomplishment in life. I shouldn’t have been able to have any, so I know I have been blessed.
In closing, I would like people to know that this disease is very real. There are 176 million women world wide who suffer from endo, but there is currently no cure. I know that I am not alone in my fight because I have my amazing “endo sisters” to lean on. I am currently at the point on my course of treatment that having a hysterectomy is my only option left. It’s very frustrating because I know a hysterectomy isn’t a “cure” for this disease, but I will go on. I will continue to fight, advocate, and raise awareness in hopes that one day there will be a cure and our daughters and the generations after wont have to suffer as I and so many other women have. I refuse to let this disease win! I have endometriosis, but it doesn’t have me!! Thank you 🙂
By Jennifer Obert
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