I hate endometriosis.
I’m writing this post at the end of an exceptionally bad cycle. Except this cycle, and the one before it—and the one before that—were all exceptionally bad. Worse, in fact, than the usual degree of bad. Something is wrong in my body, specifically my uterus and hormones, I know it in my heart and I know it in the symptoms that manifest. Yet every doctor I visit does nothing but send me on my way with words of regret that there’s nothing they can do.
What constitutes a cycle being “bad” are my ovarian pain levels, the number of days of irregular bleeding, and the amount of cramping. This cycle I began bleeding 4DPO, or CD17. Last cycle I began bleeding 2DPO, or CD15. I bleed daily throughout the remainder of my cycle. Then I get my period, which is a different kind of bleeding. Finally, the bleeding ends. But the ovarian pain? It doesn’t end. Ever… never. EVER. After a new cycle, the cramps resume at ovulation and I continue cramping the rest of my cycle until approximately CD2. Irregular bleeding has been going on for two years now. Ovarian pain has been nonstop for more than six.
All of these factors cause Jake and my love life to take a serious nosedive. We’re fortunate if we can have sex ten days out of any given cycle. Once the bleeding and pain begin, we have to kiss sex goodbye. I hate that not only can I not provide him children, I also have to deprive him in this way. It’s not fair that this affects him too. My feelings of failure mount.
The level to which endometriosis is beginning to affect new aspects of my life is causing me emotional pain. I feel defeated and hopeless more often than not. I find myself retreating inwardly in ways I can’t describe. Normally I can tough it out. But I’m getting beat here: beat by this disease, beat by this pain, and beat by the knowledge that I have no control over any of it. The white flag of surrender is so close; it’d be so easy to wave it and cry uncle.
I feel desperate for relief. I’m endlessly seeking a reprieve, but it’s elusive. Pain meds work only for the short term. A hysterectomy is not an actual solution. Docs tout hysterectomy as a “fix” only because the the almighty dollar reigns. Birth control pills for someone who’s TTC is the most laughable solution I’ve heard. (As an aside, why on earth would I feed my body estrogen [BCP] to help tame a disease that feeds off of estrogen?) There is no answer to endo, and it angers and frustrates me to the point where I could scream. I feel like I’m shaking my fist against the wind, one tiny sliver of resistance among a storm of catastrophic proportions.
The struggle is wearying. Slowly, systematically I’m wearing down. Yes, things could be worse, much worse; I’m aware of that. But just because the struggle I’m facing isn’t as grievous as it could be doesn’t mean it’s still not a real struggle. I cry because I just want the pain to end, the bleeding to end, and—sometimes—even the TTC to end.
The Lord knows that I’ve prayed for healing. I’ve gone to healing rooms for prayer and to the alter at church services to receive prayer from others. I’ve believed, stood firm when it seemed bleak. Yet I also know that I live in a human body that’s subject to aches and pains and problems. Faith isn’t a magic cure-all to make our ills disappear. Faith doesn’t make the daily reality of pain and the symptoms any less real. I wish I knew where the balances lies in my beliefs vs. the medial decisions I have to make.
Even though I know it’s not a cure, I find myself tentatively navigating the waters of having a hysterectomy. The prospect of no more ovary to hurt and no more uterus to cramp and bleed is like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gray sky. Long-term hormone replacement therapy, increased cancer and dementia risks, and loss of libido aren’t thrilling prospects. But I wonder if they’d be outweighed by the years of pain and bleeding relief I’d find in between. I can’t believe I’ve reached this point, because I’ve always been so anti-hysterectomy. But anymore I find myself slowly drawn to the idea.
Of course hysterectomy = no baby. I guess I have to keep holding out for that. For awhile at least.
Sorry for the negative post today, but I just have to be real.