There isn’t a day that goes by that I forget I have endometriosis. My lifestyle and every choice I’ve made in the last few years have been determined by my health. Some changes I consciously made myself, while endometriosis made others. However, what stands out the most is what this chronic illness has taken from me.
In my late 20s, endometriosis took my ability to walk medium to long distances, to stand at the concerts I loved going to, and to walk without a limp. Over the years, it has taken a series of other things from my lifestyle, including:
My ability to travel carefree
I can’t do camping. My irritable bowel syndrome and horrific periods mean that it’s never a holiday if I need to be somewhere that requires I share a bathroom. I also avoid long-haul flights, and making any advanced holiday planning is always tainted by the possibility of suddenly becoming too ill to travel.
I worked full-time for a number of years, through severe chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. I encountered employers who refused to recognize my condition and forced me to quit my job when I suggested working from home or going part-time. Eventually, I made the decision to become self-employed, knowing I would lose essential benefits like health insurance. This decision also seriously reduced the amount of money I earned.
My social life
I’m afraid to say that I’m the kind of person who cancels plans pretty unexpectedly. I may have agreed to a night out and be about to get dressed, but if a flare-up occurs, I’m done. Forced to lie down and full of shame, I will have to cancel. Some people are incredibly supportive and understanding of this, while others are, sadly, not so much. It’s fair to say that I’ve lost friendships because of endometriosis.
However, while endometriosis has taken so much from me, it also gave me something I didn’t ask for: an increased fighting spirit and a desire to spread awareness about this illness.
Most importantly, it has given me the purpose to help anyone who could be suffering from it. Just like a fellow endometriosis patient and close friend of mine told me about this disease, “I hope I can help others.” I now share my experience so it can shed some light when everything else is a confusing myriad of medical appointments and dismissive diagnoses.
Naturally, I don’t celebrate having an illness like endometriosis.
Truth be told, I used to mourn the losses quite a lot.
Now, I simply get on with my life, and my limitations are just the way my world functions. Not many people will accept my limiting circumstances, but I know that other endometriosis sufferers understand exactly what I’m talking about.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.