Me and my Endo
When I was twelve, I got my period. Lord Jesus that was when everything went wrong. Pain for days, I was always absent from school, I had to take two days off from school every month. I worried in anticipation of my period, it was not easy. I remember being at school twice when my period started on the first day, on both days I ended up in the hospital, I spent two days with an intravenoud drip and needle in my arm until I was discharged. There were no phones in Kilmarnock, so my mother did not not what had happened to me, I was hospitalized in my school uniform on those two occasions, just lying there on the bed with the white hospital sheet that just did not seem to warm me up. All I could think about was that my mother would nt know where to find me. And she did not know until my friends returned home and told her late in the evening that I had been hospitalized, by then it would have been impossible for her to make it all the way from Kilmarnock to the Black River Hospital. So I stayed on that bed afraid to move, in the same everything, feeling dirty and in pain, and uncomfortable and hungry till the nurses offered me a surgical gown and everything else to change into. Even though I was hungry I was afraid to eat because I was so afraid of the uncontrollable convulsions which followed and ensured that every morsel of food that went into my stomach came back up.
I remember once I miscalculated for some reason, or my cycle must have changed and on my way to school I realized my period had come. I did not know what to do, there was no school nurse, the guidance counsellor was not that kind of a person, I almost died. The pain came quickly but I did not want to end up back in the hospital, I walked to the bus stop Downtown, Black River and sat on the side of my hip, in a corner of the van and prayed to God that I would not be too embarrassed when the van stopped. I was in horrible pain, when I finally got to New Market, where my mother was, I was in so much pain, I could not talk. It was Wednesday, a busy market day, I could not walk to find my mother somebody offered to take me home on his bike. I did not care, I said yes, I got home and finally got to change my clothes. Stayed by myself that day in pain, but happy to not be in school or on the road. On the third occasion that my friends from high school took me to the hospital, the doctor who treated me told me that he was going to put me on a birth control tablet called Gynovlar and some very strong pain killers so I would not have to be hospitalized each month. I was so ignorant of what I was putting in my body, I abused those pills. There were months when I took two packs straight in an attempt to stop my period. The pain killers did not help, I still took them though, sometimes taking as much as sixteen (16) in one day.
I have so many horrible stories of me and my period, yet when I was sixteen and for that month that it did not come and the month after I prayed for it, despite the pain and the anxiety and the discomforts I would have welcomed it. It didn’t come, not until sometime after my son. I always heard that when you have a child the pains would stop. Not for me.
At one point a doctor told me I had dysmenorrhea, to hell with the name, I asked him if there was a cure, he said no. The pains got worst and by the name I started my Undergraduate degree at UWI I was once again making monthly trips to the hospital. I started having horrible pains in my lower abdomen, even when I was not having a period, In my third year it became unbearable and finally someone sent me to a gynecologist, Prof. Fredericks at the UHWI, who told me, he was almost sure I had endometriosis. I was just happy to have someone tell me something was wrong with me. I felt relieved and vindicated. By the end of that visit he had informed that the only conclusive way to diagnose Endometriosis is through surgery. Within a couple months I had done the surgery, an Operative Laparoscopy, one day in the hospital and out by evening. I was also put on Lupron.
Unfortunately, I was way too optimistic, I expected that I would have been healed, that the pains would stop, that my visits to the hospital every month would have stopped. They did for a while, but then no one told me that Lupron came with so much side effects and I experienced everyone. I cried all the time, I had no energy. I fell asleep in class and I could not remember anything I was supposed to remember. So I stopped taking the Lupron and fell out with Prof. Fredericks who told me if I was not taking the medication I should not come back to see him. So I stopped going and for about a year and a half I suffered by myself.
I remember feeling totally lost during my first year of Graduate School, and one day while walking on the corridor one of my lecturers asked me what was wrong with me. She said rather matter of factly, ‘you need help, you look like a zombie, go to the Counselling Unit and talk to a Counselor. I have been noticing you, you have become a shadow of yourself.’ I cried uncontrollably, but I went to the Health Centre and got to see a Counsellor and a Doctor in the same day. I was referred to another Gynecologist and given anti-depressants. I could not ignore endometriosis.
I have gone through a second surgery, massive doses of Depo Provera, weight gain that I am still unable to accept and wrap my brain around, constant pain. I recognize that endometriosis made me give up on so much, I am just recognizing how much it changed me.