Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2015

The picture on the right, on it's own, probably doesn't look so bad. But when you compare it to the way my body normally looks, it's a different story. Endometriosis (and probable adenomyosis) is an invisible illness in so many ways, for me. It went undetected for almost 6 years, which is actually a much shorter time than average, statistically speaking. I had doctor after doctor tell me that it was normal, I just have bad cramps, when I voiced my concerns. So I believed them.

Until one day, I didn't. I started doing research, found out more about my family history, and knew that something wasn't right. I'm not one for people self-diagnosing, but I was right. And I knew it. Thankfully, I connected with a wonderful woman on Facebook who directed me to a legitimate specialist in Massachusetts. I had my consultation with him, and he was also in agreement about my findings and suspicions. We scheduled my laparoscopy (and excision, if endometriosis was found), and things got real. When I came out of surgery, I found out that I was diagnosed with Stage II endometriosis. I also learned that the stages aren't really any reflection of pain level at all. You can have a stage II in excruciating pain like me, and a stage III with a lesser level of pain. Everyone's body handles damage differently. No one who is suffering is weak.
Yes, I had my excision surgery in February of 2013, and yes, it's the only surgery I've had so far for treatment. Yes, I feel significantly better than I did before my surgery. In fact, I got almost 2 completely pain free years out of it, which is incredible for someone who thought they were going to be stuck with it forever. But last night was a very clear depiction of what happens when my 'angry dinosaur' gets upset. My invisible illness is not less real just because you can't see the twisting pains and probable scar tissue inside me, or the fatigue, or the depression, or the horrendous side effects from the birth control I was prescribed to treat the probable adenomyosis (migraines and bipolar level mood swings, sounds like fun, right?).
I believe in advocacy, awareness, and education above all. My illness may be invisible, but I am not. I am ‪#‎endostrong‬.