Stop Trying To Constantly Relate To My Endometriosis Pain, It's Infuriating

Stop Trying To Constantly Relate To My Endometriosis Pain, It's Infuriating

You can't spell "endometriosis" without "ME," am I right?

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Here's a health lesson to all of my readers:

Endometriosis is a medical condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.

You're probably wondering where it grows then, huh? Well, up until you're sixteen, you won't find out. No matter how many doctor's appointments and hospital visits you go through, every health care provider will tell you that you're too young to have a laparoscopy (a medical procedure that takes pictures of your insides and performs small procedures). In this case, they do a laparoscopy to find where the scar tissue is, how bad it is, and if they can remove it to lessen symptoms. Sounds nice, but even if they can remove the scar tissue, it grows back.

So let me tell you my story.

When I was twelve years old, I was told that I most likely have endometriosis, but they couldn't technically diagnose me because I wasn't old enough to have a laparoscopy. That meant that for the next four years, I was given no medicine, no sympathy, and absolutely no answers. I had sixteen day periods which usually resulted in three or four empty "super plus" tampon boxes. I had cramps that hurt so bad, I ended up in the hospital, and I lost so much blood that sometimes I ended up fainting on the bathroom floor. (The day of the SAT, for example).

Everyone thought they could relate, which was (and still is) so infuriating. Tell me more about how your three to five day period cramps feel like mine. Tell me more about how sometimes you feel like you can't leave your house because you might "bleed through a little."

When I turned sixteen, I was more excited to get a laparoscopy than my license. I missed my uncle's funeral because I was laying in a hospital bed. When I awoke, they told me that I was at a level four (out of five, and that they weren't able to remove any of my scar tissue, because they found that I had pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) which is a fancy way of saying that I have varicose veins in my uterus, and it was too risky to take off scar tissue because if they hit a vein, I could bleed out.

Good news though - I could take ANOTHER hormone pill every single day to lessen the extremity of the veins which would make it possible to take some scar tissue off.

The additional hormones made me feel suicidal, and I realized I would rather suffer the pain I had dealt with every single day rather than feel crazy and sad. No thanks.

The pain after the laparoscopy infuriated me. I felt like I was having a heart attack because of the air that was still coming out of me. I was pretty much a deflating balloon. I hurt so bad, and I was so upset because it was all for nothing. There was nothing to make it better. What a familiar feeling.

Endometriosis isn't your monthly period cramps. Endometriosis is missing school and work, and being too embarrassed to tell your friends and managers that you aren't coming because of your uterus. It's your high school assistant principal giving you a standing medical note in your file because he understands because his wife has it. It's having to be sixteen and having that conversation in the first place with your male high school assistant principal.

Endometriosis is staying in when all of your friends go out. It's doctor's appointments, PAP smears, birth controls, laparoscopies, and hormone pills all throughout your life. It's the constant exhaustion and fatigue. It's scarring from failed laparoscopies. Endometriosis is the realization that it's not just endometriosis; it's that in addition to PCS, PCOS, etc. It's the realization you probably won't have children whether you want them or not.

It's having to have that awkward conversation with every guy you date. It's painful sex and the fetal position out in public when the pain starts to come through. It's heavy periods, fainting, throwing up, bruises, and mood swings. It's everything no one knows about. Endometriosis is real. Endometriosis is your neighbors, your best friend, your daughter, your sister, etc.

Endometriosis is me.

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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My Scare With Blood Clots Had A Happy Ending, But It Was Still A Dangerously Close Call

A close call with severe blood clots in my leg.

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So, I will set the scene. I had one week in between when my spring classes ended and when my summer classes began. I was all set up to spend that week with my boyfriend at Disney World. Day one of the trip, we were headed to Magic Kingdom with fast passes for all three mountains in the park.

On the way over to the park, my leg started to feel very tight, like all of my muscles were clenched and I couldn't release them. The feeling just got worse as I was walking and my leg just felt heavier and heavier. At one point, I went to the bathroom and noticed that my leg was swollen a lot and had turned a purplish color. I told my boyfriend that we had to leave immediately.

I tried to just rest it and elevate my leg for the rest of the night. But in the morning, it was almost impossible for me to walk on it and the pain was only getting worse. I have had hip problems in the past and most of the pain was in my hip area so my boyfriend and I went to an orthopedic and my dad met us there. After X-rays, the doctor said that for the most part, my hip looked fine and he was concerned about a blood clot. I went to the hospital to get an ultrasound and unfortunately, they saw a clot and sent me to the emergency room.

At first, the emergency room doctors seemed optimistic that all they would have to do was put me on a quick blood thinner and then follow up with my regular doctor. However, with further inspection of the ultrasound and the clot, they admitted me to the hospital under the pretense that it was basically just an overnight observation. There was a lot going on and a lot of needles for testing and medicine (I am terrified of needles so this was great for me).

At first, I was started on a medicine that was given as an injection twice a day in my stomach. But after two days with little improvement, my treatment plan switched.

They started me on a much stronger medicine that was a constant drip in an IV. This meant I needed another IV and that they had to take my blood every 6 hours to see how the medicine was working. In addition to my fear of needles, I have very hard to find veins so the lab people had to come up to get my blood because it was too hard for my nurses to get. The nest plan of action was surgery.

I am generally not scared of going under anesthesia or having surgery but this one scare me a bit. There was a possibility that I would wake up from surgery and have a catheter in the back of my knee and have to be transported to another hospital for further operations. By the grace of God, I woke up from surgery without a catheter and good news from my doctor. My surgery had gone well, he was able to remove the clots that took up almost all of my leg. The bad thing was that he found something messed up in my anatomy that basically caused my artery to compress my vein and that is what could have caused my clots.

By the looks of the clots, they could have been building for up to a year. He had to install a stent in order to keep the vein open for the rest of my life.

Currently, I am at home. I was in the hospital for 6 days and went through a lot of testing and pain. I still have pain and I still might for a while. I still have some clots in the bottom half of my leg because the veins are too small to operate on there. I am on blood thinners and other medications. We still don't have the answer on what exactly caused the clots or what the rest of my life looks like in regards to the treatment of this problem.

This was a very scary experience and still is confusing and takes a toll on my brain. I worry about things such as being on blood thinners for my whole life or not being able to take estrogen due to the risk for blood clots. However, I got extremely lucky that I had no clots in my lungs and that the doctors were able to help me as much as they could.

Never ignore the signs of your body! If something feels off, get it checked out. I had a lot of aches and pains in the past few months that could have been pointing to this problem but I didn't find it until the main signs showed up. Pay attention to yourself! I was incredibly blessed to have my amazing family by my side even with the two-hour drive daily and my boyfriend holding my hand the whole way even though we missed a whole week of Disney. I was also super grateful for all the happy wishes and prayers that people sent my way.

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