I want to share a little something about me. I have Endometriosis. I know sharing something like this is a stray from the usual posts but I felt a strong urge to share for the simple reason that when I was going through the diagnosis and researching how to manage the illness, I found stories from others incredibly helpful. More helpful than doctors to be quite honest. Knowing I wasn’t alone and learning from others about how they manage the illness was both comforting and useful.
Adventuring with Endometriosis
For me, the last couple of years have been really tough health wise. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell this from my Instagram profile or even from talking to me for that matter because I don’t like to let it control me, whinge or burden others with my pain so for the most part I just smile and keep it to myself. The smile hides that fact that I am chronically ill and have been in what seemed like a marathon battle each and every day for the last couple of years. I underwent test, after test, after scan, after test and had dr’s treating me like I was a crazy woman in my efforts to try and find out what was wrong with me. Finally, my recent surgery gave me an official diagnosis of Endometriosis (side note that the Dr’s also think there is another illness at play with my health issues and I need more testing to find out what else is wrong, but one battle at a time right?!)
For those that don’t know much about the illness, it is a condition where tissue that should be living in your uterus decides to pack up and move house to live elsewhere in the body causing pain and an array of other uncomfortable symptoms as well as leading to fertility issues. There is no cure for the disease, which means that the best you can do is learn to manage your symptoms and smile away the pain.
One of the main issues with Endometriosis is the difficulty to get a diagnosis, with many going undiagnosed for that reason. I know that for me personally, it was a long battle to get a referral and diagnosis and I had to fight for it. It can be difficult for Dr’s because the symptoms can overlap with many other health issues beginning a long process of elimination and on top of this, it can also be hard to get taken seriously by some doctors. I recall at one appointment recapping a year and a half worth of symptoms and tests to a new doctor once I moved to America and having her give me some stool softener and tell me to be on my way with a complete disregard for everything I had just told her. I had similar appointments with different doctors during over the years before ultimately having to demand a diagnostic surgery. I’m certainly not the only one who had to go through this process and I know that some people have to fight for even longer than I did to get some answers so it is important that we get this conversation going to increase the awareness for both doctors and patients.
Do any of you guys have Endometriosis? If you do, then you probably know that some (or most) days, it is hard enough to get through the day let alone get out and about on an adventure. Hell, sometimes it is a big enough struggle to get myself dressed and ready for an adventure and I feel like I need taking a power nap after my getting ready! It’s a drain being ill all the time and the worst part is that on the outside you look pretty normal don’t you? All the while there is a constant war being waged on your insides making the simplest things suddenly very challenging.
Adventuring with Endometriosis is certainly not easy, however it is one of my coping strategies. Venturing out and about in the great outdoors always makes me feel better – especially being in the ocean. Not only is it my happy place but perhaps the buoyancy helps to take away my heavy, bloated feeling for a little while as I float through the salt water! I’m also lucky to have a great group of friends who go out adventuring with me, never getting frustrated with me when I am tired, less talkative or swimming a little slow because I am sick and for this I am very fortunate. Good people are worth more than their weight in gold.
For me, adventuring is better than all the medication sitting on top of my fridge. Nature is my medicine. For the time that I am adventuring, I feel young and happy instead of being a 27 year old who feels like an 85 year old!
The reason I am writing this ramble is because if you are a fellow Endo sufferer, I hope you to find something you love that helps you cope with this horrible illness. Find what helps to give you a break from the day to day struggle and make sure it is a part of your life. The diets and medication help but having that special thing, whatever it is, that gives you an escape from your illness needs to be a part of your life. I know from experience that it can be so hard to function in everyday life with a chronic illness but I hope you keep on keeping on, live life to the fullest and find your escape from it all.
You deserve an escape.
This is my number one tip for dealing with Endometriosis. Check out my Pinterest page for a whole board on Endometriosis resources and if you have an Endo story or tips you would like to share, pop them in the comments below or feel free to contact me – you aren’t alone in this!