My first cycle began at the age of 13. For the first few months, I couldn’t really predict when my cycle would arrive. I would wake up and just be in a bed of blood. My pain slowly but surely gained momentum. I would have symptoms on the first day. These included cramps, vomiting, hot flashes, and exhaustion. By the age of 16, the first day of my cycle would prevent any everyday activity and me from attending school. I was miserable and knew something was wrong.
On October 14th, 2008, at the age of 22, I was diagnosed with endometriosis via emergency surgery. Prior to my admittance to the hospital, I had a pain that was lingering for about 6 weeks. No one knew what the problem was. At first, my mom thought it was just gas. After it gained even more momentum (near car accident due to a pain attack), we realised something else might be wrong. I was not on my cycle at the time. I went to my gynecologist’s office and she thought I had torsion. I was told to rush to the hospital and get checked immediately. Once I got the hospital, they realised I was misdiagnosed but could not find the source of the pain. It was then that the decision was made to have emergency exploratory surgery.
Since diagnosis, I have had 3 laparoscopies, 1 hysteroscopy (which they claim is not endometriosis related, I disagree), 2 colonoscopies to see if my endometriosis penetrated my colon and digestive tract and 1 cystoscopy to see if the endometriosis has penetrated by bladder. I had (2) 6 month rounds of Lupron, been on Megace for almost 2 years and I’m currently on Aygestin for the last 1.5 years.
Endometriosis has affected my relationships, platonic and romantic. Many times, I have to be forced to take pain meds, not because of the pain but because the pain is a sign of inflammation and that needs to go down. Some friends just don’t know how to handle the situation. The fact is endometriosis is invisible. Not everyone will believe or be in the mood to handle you during your pain periods. Romantically, it takes a strong partner to deal. Blood after sex, painful sex, hospital visits are only for the strong and pure at heart. I feel women with endometriosis have to really guard their heart, more than most other women. God and my close friends and family have definitely been sustaining me but many times I feel alone. I know my sickness stresses my family on unknown levels. Do I feel grounded? No, but I do feel maintained and sustained. Meeting other women with endometriosis has definitely helped.
Starting and maintaining Voices of Endo has been not only a blessing to me but also a blessing for many women around me. Endometriosis has helped me find inner strength that I never knew I had. While I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, it is my burden to bear. It is my opportunity to impact the lives of other women, to be a support system and to help make the next’s woman’s journey a little easier.
Thank you for sharing your story Sherika. I love your blog and have been following it for a while now. I understand how easy it is to feel alone in this and definitely agree on how guarded you have to be with who you trust as friends and partners. Endometriosis is not only hard for us to live with but also friends, families and partners. Many people just do not understand the impact this disease has on someones life and cannot support someone with it. Many times, as I've discovered, people are just too selfish to want to deal with it.
If you would like to contact Sherika, you can follow her on Twitter @EndoMeBad.
Can anyone relate to Sherika's story? Did you have symptoms of endometriosis as soon as you started your periods in your teens or did it come on when you were an adult? Have you tried Lupron, Megace or Aygestin? Have you found anything that has helped you to cope with the disease ie. a blog or writing a diary etc?
Remember, everyone of us has a different story, and the more shared, the more we can learn. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photo and I'll pop it on to here for others to read.