Just how bad can it get? is a question I once asked about the endometriosis condition. In my mind, it was all about having painful and heavy periods, which I could totally relate with. Been there, done that kind of mentality! If only that was the case.
Unfortunately, Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Scientists call it the silent disorder, and even calls for more research into it, as well as treatment plans for its sufferers.
Back to the question of how bad can it get. I tell you, it can get very bad. Endometriosis is about living a life of pain, constant pain, regardless of the time of the month, and it could come from any part of the body. It’s a about being on constant medication for pain. It’s about sometimes needing a blood transfusion after a period, due to the copious amount of blood lost. It is about pain, even during sex, that most pleasurable of all activities. It is about losing control of one’s life to the pain of one’s body. It can cost the life of a baby, it can cost a marriage, it can cost a woman’s life.
Over three years ago, I had met a lady at the hospital, while I was attending my ante natal classes. She seemed knowledgeable about what the attending nurses and doctors were saying. It turned out she was a nurse, and had not wanted to do her ante natal clinic at her hospital.
However, she experienced a devastating loss, when she started bleeding at work, and before long, it was so much, she needed to be admitted in the hospital, where she worked as a nurse, from where she was later transferred to her consultant gynaecologist at the ante natal clinic. She needed blood transfusion at the end of the day and it was while her husband, whom she had introduced me to on one occasions, was trying to get the blood work sorted that I saw him, and asked him what he was doing in the hospital.
When he told me my ante natal buddy was in the hospital, I was surprised. How was that possible? What was wrong with her? All sorts of questions ran through my mind. I had some answers, when I saw her later than afternoon, while the blood was being transfused. She weakly explained how she had gone to the toilet to check her panties after feeling some wetness between her thighs. It felt like her period but she knew,she was pregnant, so there was no way that the witch was going to show up.
How wrong she was. Her panties were drenched in blood, and it did not look like it was going to stop soon, she rushed off to tell her employer what she had just noticed. That probably saved her life because, by then, it was obvious to everyone, she was bleeding and profusely too. She was admitted and treated by the people she knew, who also gave her the news that she might have lost her baby
By the time she got to our clinic, and an ultrasound scan was done, it showed that the baby was fine and had a viable heart beat. Perhaps not, as exactly three weeks later , at ten weeks of pregnancy, the baby died in her womb. It just stopped growing and then, she had to go through an evacuation. She was lost! Her first pregnancy, her would-be first child, had just died on her.
Since that time, till date, she is yet to pregnant again, instead her condition had worsened, and when I saw her this past week, while at the hospital, with my son, she had yet another gynae appointment, for what she had now been officially termed, endometriosis, an advanced endometriosis. She has undergone laparoscopy, which made her life easy for a while, but now, the pain is back and still no baby to comfort her.
On the other hand, Mary has a ‘miracle’ baby, but may never get another. For as long as Mary could remember, her period has always been painful but because of the fact that most knew she had a very low threshold for pain, her parents dismissed her concerns and never took her to a doctor to see if any thing was actually the problem. It was not until, she was 24 years old, newly employed and was undergoing a medical screening for her new job, did she mention to the doctor that she usually had very painful periods, and that even sex for her was always a painful experience, which was why she had never had a steady boyfriend.
The doctor decided to carry out some tests and it turned out hers was a classic diagnosis of endometriosis, and it was a stage 4 endo. She had lived in monthly pain for as long as she could remember, her period was irregular, it was heavy and had even affected her relationship life, because of her fear of having sexual encounters. It often baffles her when people talk about sex and talk about pleasure, all in the same breath. This was something she had never experienced.
This was around the same time she met her husband and, because of her diagnosis, she had all but chased him away from her…but he refused to go. Finally, he was able to convince her to give him a chance with her, and not quite long afterwards, they got married and that was where their TTC story started.
Mary and her husband were not getting pregnant, not even with all the procedures she had gone through. Instead, they had a case one blighted ovum after another, meaning there was a room but no egg inside the ovum. When that ended, and they were still recovering from the last evacuation session, they found out that she was pregnant. For weeks, they did not believe it. They kept buying home pregnancy tests kits, just to be sure. Blood work had confirmed it, but every now and then, they would do a home test just to be sure.
Well, that baby refused to suffer the fate of those before her and she came to life hale and hearty, nothing broken, nothing missing. The downside? The endometriosis seems to have spread to every where, she is constantly using panty liners, and have an emergency stash of sanitary towels. Not to mention, pain relief medications and fainting spells that are becoming a frequent visitor to her.
Those are just two stories of women, who live with this silent killer of fertility. The painful part is the pain can be dismissed by doctors as been normal but the truth is, there is nothing normal in living with pain. The stories of so many other women, that I could not share here, could literally break you and leave you a weeping mess.
But I’m reminded of the simple fact that, God gives his hardest battle to his strongest soldiers. So, Endo Mom, you are fit for all battles that Endometriosis may throw at you.
You are strong enough to take it all on.
Baby dust to you!
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