The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every single one of us.
We live in a global emergency with a trickle-down effect on everything. Our physical health and safety, our much-cherished freedom of movement, and our future plans are all under threat. The pandemic has even produced puzzling behaviors like the craze over certain supermarket basics — can we have our tampons back, please?
My social media is all about super positive messages and inspiring livestreams. Yet it is also the place to hear about other people’s woes. Aside from justifiable existential worries, countless people are losing their jobs. Others are experiencing high levels of anxiety. Particularly among endometriosis patients, the most common worry is that surgeries or specialist appointments have been pushed back indefinitely or canceled altogether.
Some had been waiting for surgical treatment for what felt like a lifetime. Many have needed pain relief desperately and their appointments were supposed to tackle that. I’ve been there, I know how it feels, and my heart goes out to each of them.
Before the crisis, I had one specialist reschedule my appointment three times. The fourth time, I gave up and asked to be referred somewhere else. When I finally got my surgery with a top specialist, it was delayed twice.
Yet none of these setbacks were unusual.
Endometriosis treatment receives very little research and funding. It is a disease that can destroy lives and wreak havoc on patients’ bodies and minds, yet it seems like a low priority for the healthcare world.
During my many rescheduled appointments and cancellations, I never became immune to the shock and frustration. In my case, overstressing brought on the usual nightmares and physical symptoms that fed my anxiety. I had to force myself to patiently wait. Currently, the planet is asking us to do just that: to sit still.
So, what to do?
Breathe easy and focus on the now.
In times like these, we must focus on taking long breaths and living in the present. That may mean waking up every day and focusing on simply making it until bedtime. The world is functioning in a completely altered way, foreign to every single citizen of this planet. Getting through one day at a time should be our top priority. The same one-by-one mentality applies to our symptoms.
Our endometriosis-ridden bodies sometimes feel like roller coasters. Where will the next sucker punch come from? A ruptured cyst? A sharp tug we’ve never felt before? It is more important than ever to avoid panicking when we feel something odd. Some health professionals are talking to their patients over the phone or via videoconference. Reaching out to our doctors could provide us with some reassuring guidance, however temporary.
Additionally, talking to fellow patients can be helpful. This is the time to connect with any endometriosis forums, both locally and internationally. Everyone will be in a similar position, sharing useful tips or simply venting and making everyone feel supported.
Most importantly, we must remember that we are not alone.
Every person awaiting treatment for anything other than coronavirus has had their schedule affected. It is unavoidable. This is why it is essential to keep in mind that this stress-inducing situation will pass. I know it’s something I say a lot, but it is also true. Any suffering, anything that feels bad, any amount of hurt has an end date. And I am saying this from quarantined Madrid, Spain, with a heavy heart and so many worries.
There will be a tomorrow, things will brighten, and you will feel better. Just hang in there.
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.
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