Last week, I wrote an article about how my menstrual cramps sent me to the emergency room, and how my emergency room doctor encouraged me to get screened for endometriosis. Though I did the whole *emergency room* thing (like actually going to the emergency room) and booked an appointment for the following week, I couldn't process this was happening to me.
Me - the person with a clean bill of health. I've never had so much as a broken bone or needed bloodwork, much less been to the emergency room. I watched my parents and others around me with their medical issues, but it was never me. Maybe I took some comfort in knowing my only job was to be brave for everyone else. But now - the jig is up.
My parents were amazing enough to drive up to be with me for my appointment (they were trying to come since the day I went to the emergency room). Though a few days since being in the emergency room had passed and my appointment was set, somehow, I still hadn't processed my new reality. It hit me all at once, the day before my parents drove up to see me.
I woke up in pain, again. My dog had torn something up of mine, I had gotten a call my appointment was rescheduled (by one day), and then my parents called right after I got the phone call, and I just couldn't take it. While I was on the phone with them, I burst into tears. Mostly out of fear because I was still in pain, but also out of frustration. I had been dealing with this pain since I was ten years old, and now this pain was continuous for going on two weeks now.
I say it hit me all at once, but it really still hadn't. Until they got here and we talked about everything that happened, I realized I still couldn't process all of this. I even had a therapy session before they drove in, and we cut it short because I didn't want to talk, I knew I couldn't talk without crying.
But, reality came to me, it was here. It was the day of my appointment, and there was nothing I could do to run away from it. I needed answers and solutions. My parents drove me to my appointment, and my mom walked me to the door. She hugged me, and I walked in. I couldn't even hear the usual covid screening questions the receptionist asked me. She kindly repeated herself and directed me towards the elevators.
I walked in and headed up to my floor, and tried to control my breathing (thanks anxiety!). I walked to the receptionist, and they were so kind. They commented on how cute my backpack was, and everyone was making conversation with me. Their office was also decorated for Valentine's Day, and it eased my worries a little. Everything else happened so fast, it was all a blur. One second I was filling out paperwork, then I was being taken for vitals, the next I was in the examination room changing into a thin, white gown. Before I knew it, the doctor swung open the door and came in.
I was extremely nervous and reading off a paper with all of my symptoms. (The nurse commended me on bringing that, I knew I would forget.) The doctor and nurse were very attentive to all of my symptoms, previous failed treatments, and what I had been told by doctors. Right away the doctor decided to examine me because she said this sure sounded like endometriosis.
The next thing I knew, the exam began, and it was so painful. Which I thought was normal, but again, wrong. Apparently, the pain I was feeling was from the endometriosis. She finished her exam and discussed our next plan of action, which includes a laparoscopy. I was hearing the words she was saying, but I couldn't process them. Luckily, the doctor was great and calmed me down, walking me through each step in the process. I thanked her for listening to me and taking me seriously, and she was a little taken aback. She couldn't believe I was told I would 'grow out' of this pain, and I wasn't screened sooner.
I walked out of the office, and couldn't even feel my feet hitting the ground. I took a step outside, took a breath, put my headphones in, and waited for my parents outside the building. I let a few tears fall from my eyes, letting myself process everything I was feeling. Let it be clear, these were tears of relief (okay, maybe some slight fear from surgery too).
Yes, I'm super nervous about the upcoming surgery, but ultimately, I am relieved to finally have answers. Even though this is going to take some time to process and I still have a lot to learn about living with endometriosis, I am so optimistic to be a patient at an amazing clinic. I also know I have an amazing support system and a place to write about my journey (I hope you'll follow along).
If you suspect your periods are irregular or you're experiencing severe pain, here's a helpful website that will ask a few screening questions, and can even get you paired up with a doctor to discuss it further!
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more of my story of living with endometriosis.