It has been almost a month since my idea to start a little blog came to fruition and I shared my first post. In that time I have really been trying to think about exactly what I wanted to share, as my head is typically a jumbled mess of thoughts. Should this be a blog of my experiences as a mother? A wife? A teacher? Did I want to share my ideas for my sister’s bridal shower? Advice for new moms on my favorite baby products? These are all great ideas and things I hope to write about in the future. However, they were not great starting points.
Luckily, I have been incredibly inspired by a classmate and friend from high school. She bravely began opening up about her struggles with fertility (you can check out her awesome blog here) and it made me reflect on my own journey to motherhood. For many, the process of conceiving is not easy. Although I did not have the same experiences as she did, I have struggled in my own ways. The struggles that I faced are not often discussed, at least not so much in the public forum. So here I begin, sharing information that I have passed along to about a dozen other women who also suffer from endometriosis.
Like so many women, I had a pretty difficult time with my periods. Unlike many women, I was lucky enough to get my period at a slightly later age. My period didn’t begin until a few weeks before my fifteenth birthday. I remember the day so vividly and just how disappointed I was to be seeing red. Not having my period made me the envy of all of my friends! Now, I was just one of them, getting ready to suffer through the pains of “becoming a woman.” This was just the start of the mess that is my reproductive system.
Unpredictable was how I would best describe my cycles. Six weeks, two weeks, eight weeks, five weeks… I had no idea when to expect this beast. And “beast” is an understatement. I remember telling my mom that I was pretty sure my body was falling apart. The pain was awful and the amount of blood was truly terrifying! Some days I had no idea how I was able to function, as it seemed like I should have passed out from the blood loss. However, I just assumed that this was normal and that everyone went through the same things. I was simply waiting for my cycle to get a bit more regular.
Except that never happened. By the time I was seventeen and a senior in high school it had gotten so much worse. My cycles was so erratic and so painful that I knew something had to be wrong. Since I was about the age of getting to see the gynecologist for the first time, I made my appointment in the hopes that she would be able to offer some advice as to how to deal with the horrific pain and absurd bleeding. She said that since I had had my period for a full two years at that point that I should have been regular. Therefore, in order to regulate my cycles and help with my “discomfort” she recommended that I start taking birth control pills. The hormones in the birth control pills should be the solution to my problems.
Sadly, the relief never came. Although the pill did allow for more regular periods, the pain and heavy bleeding were always present. So I thought that was normal. I had the regular periods and lost the fear that I would get my period without expecting it (which had happened more times than I could count). I learned to live with the pain. Year after year, I would visit my gynecologist to be told the same thing: “You are fine, just continue taking the pill. We can try a new pill, if you would like.” This went on for nine years.
Stay tuned for my diagnosis of endometriosis and my continued struggled to find relief.