If you've clicked on to the link for this page, you are probably wondering what Endometriosis is and what it has to do with this site. Well, let me explain...
I am an Endometriosis sufferer and have struggled with the effects of it since long before my diagnosis in 2005. In fact, the effects of what was most likely Endometriosis all along has blighted my life since I was a young girl, just entering my teen years. It has been a major part of my life, affecting many of my lifestyle choices through the years, and as such could not be omitted from my site.
Now, I am not here to preach or push this in your face, but I do want to explain to you a little about what Endometriosis is and why I have chosen to include this section on my website. First of all, I wouldn't have even reached this stage in my life where I chose to come out of work and stay at home for a while if it wasn't for the effects of this condition. The symptoms seem to have worsened through the years and no amount of medication (and I have tried pretty much most things) has helped for long. Imagine being in pain daily, having to change your diet to help with the symptoms, and having regular hormonal moments which make you so emotional you think you might fall apart and consequently feeling exhausted. Getting out of bed in the morning to then get on a bus and commute to work is the last thing you want to do.
I wouldn't be surprised if you are still thinking "but what is Endometriosis?" I wouldn't be surprised, because it is a condition that is rarely discussed, and when it is discussed many people choose not to listen. It is a condition that affects so many women who cannot get help for many years because even the doctors don't know what causes it and often mis-diagnose or simply ignore the facts, telling such women that "every woman gets pain, it is a part of life". Let me tell you that agonising pain that makes you feel like you are being pulled apart from the inside out, makes you sick and feverish, and hurts so badly you can't even catch your breath or cry is far from normal. And this is why I feel it is so important for me not to ignore this part of my life and spread awareness in any way I can.
So what is it? Well, here are a few facts taken from Endometriosis UK, a UK based charity aimed at spreading awareness and offering support for women with Endometriosis and their family and friends:
- Endometriosis is a condition where cells that are usually found in the womb grow in other areas of the body. These cells react to the hormonal cycle, meaning they grow and bleed. However this blood cannot escape the body and so causes internal bleeding and often agonising pain. It can also cause massive scar tissue and even stick the internal organs together.
- Endometriosis can be found in any part of the body, but is most often located in the abdominal area, often affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bowel.
- Endometriosis affects approximately 2 million women in the UK alone - just imagine how many women suffer from it worldwide
- Endometriosis can affect a woman's life in many ways, including but not limited to: chronic pain; infertility; depression; fatigue; relationship problems and working relationships.
Personally I have had difficulties in employment, going through many formal and "informal" procedures to deal with my absences, being treated the exact same way as someone who is simply "skipping work". This is terribly unfair and adds to the already unbelievable stress levels, which in turn can make the symptoms of Endometriosis worse. I have, however, been incredibly lucky in my relationship with Tim as he has supported me through what could easily have split the strongest of relationships up; imagine seeing your partner going through 2 chemically-induced menopausal states and a major operation in one year, seeing her go through intense depression and not being able to do anything to ease her suffering - let's just say, I think Tim has the patience of a saint and the love of an angel. (And this has only been strengthened by how he supported me through the hell of Hyperemesis Gravidarum).
I have also had a lot of support from my family (my mother and grandmother both suffered similar experiences) and due to my openness about the condition I have generally received a lot of sympathy from those around me. I still get the occasional rolling of the eyes and "it's only a period, get over it" comment, but they are fewer and far between the older I get. I have also been incredibly lucky to find some amazing support online too, and would like to direct you to a few of the blogs that I have read over the previous year or two:
- Chronic Healing - this blog is written by an amazing lady called Jeanne. Jeanne lives with multiple chronic conditions and, despite being exhausted the majority of the time, puts endless amounts of thought and care into writing this blog that spreads awareness about the plight of those in similar situations, whilst supporting those in need and sharing her own experiences. If you only visit one blog, then this is the one to visit.
- My Journey with Endometriosis - this blog is written by Allison who, unfortunately, suffers from infertility caused by her Endometriosis and sadly lost the son she was carrying through IVF treatment at the end of last year. Her blog is open and honest and will break your heart at times, but it well worth a visit.
- BioGirl - this blog is written by Sarah, whose Endometriosis has caused her to face infertility too. She writes about family life on her blog, but also about the heartache of her journey to motherhood. You can read her Endometriosis story on another community blog, Bloggers for Hope.
I'm sure there are many more women out there, blogging as therapy as well as to spread awareness, and so if you stumble across this and want a link added then please do let me know.
I want to also includete trailer for a fantastic documentary trailer that another Endometriosis sufferer in the UK is working on. Danielle has been putting so much time and effort into getting funding for the project and a chance to air it on national television. It is still in production and so there is still time to contact Danielle if you feel you might be able to help in some way.
One last thing I would like to mention is this: Endometriosis sufferers are often unfortunate enough to struggle with another chronic condition, as Jeanne's blog will testify. Nobody knows the cause of Endometriosis, but one of the theories is that it is caused by an autoimmune disorder and you'll find several Endometriosis sufferers who would agree with this theory because of the multiple conditions they have to deal with.
Now all that is left to say is thank you for taking the time to read this page, I appreciate it.