what does endometriosis mean?
By: Emma Fulcher
Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) affects an estimated 176 million women and girls worldwide. It’s a body-wide disease that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the body causing pain, organ dysfunction and/or infertility among a range of other symptoms. While no one definitively knows the cause, theories include genetics, stem cells and blood & lymph system distribution. Inflammation is a key factor and certain environmental toxins have been linked.
There is no cure.
For me, endometriosis means lying awake at 3 am after waking up feeling like my insides are being dragged out, crying before I've even opened my eyes, being thankful when you see it getting light. It means crying in silence because I don't want to wake my partner up for the 7th day in a row. It means my body is not a safe place for me to be. In moments where it is ripping through me - I want to die. With my head on a damp pillow from tears streaming from my eyes, I search for pressure points the acupuncturist I can no longer afford taught me, only to find the pain still seethes. I am a drain to be around, I'm depressing, like a black rain cloud at the party.
Endometriosis means having to fight your own body every damn day and everybody else because to put it simply: "you don't look sick". It means fighting for doctors, surgeons, consultants to listen to you, to believe that you are in pain, and it is not "just bad periods". Then once you’re diagnosed, it's convincing them you are in constant chronic pain and getting them to take it seriously. It means convincing your friends you are not letting them down again, you just can't get out of bed. It means begging the benefits office to let you have some help, fight them to prove you are ill enough to deserve help.
Endo means a part of you dies every time someone questions you about leaving the house. A part of you thinks it's not okay to try to be happy for an hour of your day when your pain happens to have settled down to a point where you can get dressed and leave your room. To get into your car, even if you feel like you're going to be sick when you get there, or have a panic attack on the way because the pain is so intense you can SEE it in your mind. Silly me, to think I could have a fun day out. It means you gradually STOP LIVING, not just because of your disease, but because of others judgements too, as if I need another reason to stay in bed and rot away?
For me endometriosis means giving up everything I once had, my health, my body, my mind, my friends, my career, my home, my independence, my joy, my whole entire life. And rebuilding a new one, in the hopes that one day, I can take it all back and be stronger, more grateful, happier.
There is a global lack of support for women suffering with Endometriosis, along with a lack of understanding, research and knowledge. There needs to be more awareness, and more funding going into endo - after all it is affecting an estimated 176 million women and girls worldwide.
It is time we said "ENOUGH"
So tell me,
What does Endometriosis mean to you?