Endo and my wellbeing puzzle

I got my period when I was 11. I had that terrible 90s school sex talk where a glass of girls learnt about periods. Mum had prepared me by putting some pads in my school bag. But nothing had ever prepared me for the word Endometriosis. At 13 (2 years later) I got Salmonella, not sure if it was from some undercooked chicken or a dodgy pie from the bakery. I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not, but this was a turning point of when my pelvic pain, fatigue and stomach issues set in. After a year of this and missed days off school and my after-school job mum took me to the doctors. I am not sure back then if people thought I was a bit of a wimp or if they quite understood how much pain I was in? Our lovely Doctor popped me on the pill at 14 and I finally had some relief, or so I thought. At 18 I had my gallbladder out and a few years later was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis (my body was basically attacking my liver). I was 6 months off work and it took a number of years to recover, a large driver was an overhaul of my diet along with steroid medication. How is this relevant you ask? Well the lessons I have learnt from this have helped 10-fold when it comes to my personal self-care and helping with relief/prevention of my pelvic pain. At 26 I got married to my high school sweetheart (corny, but kind of cool right?) and we then decided to have a baby shortly after. I felt well and ready to ‘cope’ with the demands of motherhood and was pretty excited. A few months off the pill and I thought that we would be pregnant pretty quickly, as that’s the message that I got from high school, don’t miss a pill or you will get pregnant. 1 year later and a lot of negative pregnancy tests, my pelvic pain and heavy periods were frequent. I was fatigued, stressed and very emotional. The pain would run up the back of my legs into my lower back. Some days I could not get out of bed. I knew it was time to see the doctor about our fertility issues. I think I knew it was time a bit sooner than that, but I was scared. He referred us straight to fertility associates. After determining that my husband could father all the children in our small home town, I knew the issue sat with me. After being poked and prodded it was the specialist who said I believe you have endometriosis (endo what now?) Months later I was able to get onto the surgery list. I was really nervous about the operation what if something goes wrong, what if they can’t fix me and what If I can’t have a baby. I think the emotional drain these thoughts can have is totally underestimated. I felt quite confused and a bit alone and also felt terrible that my husband had to go through another operation with me. Turns out, I was one of the lucky ones. 2 months after healing from the operation I got pregnant straight away, and was blessed with great health and an easy birth. I have a beautiful 4-year-old girl, who is amazing, strong and fills my heart to the brim (and sometimes drives me up the wall!). We are one and done (only child breeders) and we are both happy with this decision. So, after having my girl and being one and done, I needed to look into contraception again. I have really struggled with what the hormones do to my body. I got the injection and I had a flare up of my stomach issues, pelvic pain, and would bleed constantly and it took a long time to get the hormones from the injection out of my system. I made the decision not to go down that road again. Here I am now age 33 (20 years later) and I have finally started piecing my wellness puzzle together. I am Dairy free, Gluten free and alcohol free (most of the time) as these foods give me major inflammatory issues. Most of the time I have no FOMO as we have so many options these days and I love whole foods. I have joined an amazing life coaching group which has been a huge driver for positive change in my life and very importantly my mindset. I exercise every day, and each day looks very different dependant on my energy levels, at a minimum it is some yoga poses and stretches. And guess what? now I rest when I need to! I heat the wheat bag up, lie on the couch or my bed. If we need to order Thai or Turkish takeaways on my worst days we do. I feel no guilt about prioritising my body and selfcare (this is huge for me). I feel gratitude for my experiences as they have made me appreciate how amazing it is just to feel well. Now I can pass my learnings onto my daughter and anyone who needs to talk. My hope is that the research around endo continues and we get a true understanding of why this happens to so many women and we can help them to heal. That we can all tell our stories and raise awareness for the up and coming generations. We can let them know it is ok to talk about our periods and what is and is not normal. To the people with endo reading this: It is important to know you are not alone on your journey, even though everyone’s story is different. Do what ever YOU need to do to get yourself thorough the toughest days. Nourish your body, mind and soul in the way that suits you best. Take care xx Kim

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