Oh yes. Endometriosis is a very expensive ailment to have. And I don’t mean just financially. I mean, socially, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. Mmmhhhh! You may wonder how. Lets tackle each area to get a better understanding. (warning: this might be a long read)
From the very beginning, endometriosis requires highly technological techniques and experienced doctors to diagnose it. It is diagnosed through laparoscopic surgery which involves the insertion of a camera through your navel as they observe your insides on a big screen. Now by the time the doctors ask you to do this, you have already made endless visits to the hospital, beenthrough other invasive tests, had a couple of medication down your throat and most likely a few admissions due to pain or related issues.
Also note that I mentioned that the doctors need to be experienced in this mode of diagnosis and treatment. Such doctors charge their worth and more even just for the consultation and they are few and wide apart.
After the diagnosis and trial of one and another treatment regime after another, most women resign to the fact that they have to live with this condition and thus look for ways to bring the symptoms and pain to manageable levels. This will require total lifestyle changes. Diet for women with endometriosis is not a nice-to-do fad that you can pick and drop at leisure. They have to learn the foods that trigger their pain and inflammation and cut them out of their lives completely. They do not have the luxury of having to be off-red meat, off-gluten, off-dairy or off-whatever else for a season, it is for life. How expensive are the alternatives? Well, some are manageable while others can be considered not necessary. But to imagine that you have to change what you eat as you allow the rest of the family to enjoy their food means that you have to have an additional budget negligible as it may be.
If you weren’t an exercise person, well you will need to invest in at least a pair of sneakers and a few gym clothes. With endometriosis, it is not advisable to do very rigorous exercises. It is recommended that you exercise for about 20mminustes a day. Highly recommended is stretches, yoga, Pilates, or brisk walks. You can eventually graduate to intensive exercise as the healing progresses.
I had earlier mentioned that endo just gets you to make tough lifestyle choices and changes(discussed in details in another article). It’s not just about diet. It is also about what you come into contact with, what you apply on your skin, the soaps you use for your clothes and many other things. If this does not dent your finances, I don’t know what would.
Endomentriosis will cost you friendships and relationships. From people thinking that you suffer from attention deficiency syndrome, to others believing you are a pretender and others just thinking that you are a total weakling. There is also another category that will think that you either do not like to work or you are a snob – I mean, why is it that we get to attend all your parties but when we call you to ours you are always sick. And how come when a certain report is required in the office is the day you call in sick?
Let me just point out a few problems with these theories and beliefs that people may form about an edno-warrior:
- We do not seek attention (although some people may use this as a platform to lobby for attention – but for how long?). Why? The hard truth is that we realize that after some time people will get tired of giving us the attention. They will get tired of you not showing up for their fun activities, they will get tired of you always being under the weather, they will get weary of being there for you all the time and for you not being able to reciprocate even for half of what they do, they will get tired of visiting you at home or in the hospital, they will get tired of doing your share of the work in the office……and they will move on with their lives. We understand that even our loved ones get weary of the disease and they must go on with their lives. So as you crucify us for seeking attention, just remember, we also would like to go on with our lives, pain free.
- Related to number one is that, we do not fancy those green gowns with an open back and the food in the hospitals. Heck, we do not like being caged behind some old patterned green curtains all day, sharing a bathroom with other sick people and being confined to a bed for 23 hours a day. Mind you the needled in our wrists and arms are not the best of accessories and neither are the nurses who keep waking you up 10 times in the night (to check on you vitals) our favorite cup of tea. Actually, I think the most depressing moments are when the visiting hours are over and everyone struts away with their stilettos all clad up or in serious business suits ready for another meeting to close a deal, ready to meet a friend or two for coffee or ready to get home to family and relaxation. I mean, really, who wants to be the one left in that hospital bed with green clothes and not-so-good food? Not I. But guess what, endo warriors will have this as part of their lives, many seasons in their life.
- A rich businessman with an expansive hotel facility believed that those worth being his customers already knew and visited the country club. He pointed out that he had no need for a marketing team as the people who needed to know about his facility already did. He argued that those who never knew about the facility, did not need to know about it because they would not appreciate the value and neither would they be willing to pay the premium for it. The same applies to endo-warrior. You may wonder where I am going with this. But if someone keeps exclaiming “Kwani you are sick again? Are you alwasys sick? How come you didn’t let me know you are unwell so that I can visist? Or say a prayer?”….then really they are not worth being called your close friends.
No offense but just like the exclusive facility, endo warriors have realized the value of true friendship and invested heavily in people who form a good support network. And those within the support network need not be given a call when a sister is hospitalized because they are the ones who probably rushed her to hospital. They will not need to be sent prayer requests as they do it on a regular basis with her. They even know when her voice or facial expression says that her pain scale is way through the roof. They understand what works and most of the time will give her dosages of what uplifts her spirits and gets her mind off the endo. So if you have to wait to be called and informed, if you feel like this sister is always under the weather, or like she is asking for much too much attention, then consider yourself not a friend( at least not in her innermost circle). And she means no offense; it’s already too fatiguing to keep up with the endo pain, drugs and symptoms for her to manage rallying you for company or friendsip. No pun intended.
- Endometriosis is painful…..really painful. Sometimes it feels like you are pushing out a 10 kg baby that just won’t get out. Other times it feels like the 3rd world way is somewhere between your lower abdomen and your lower back, and the weapons being used are crude and ancient. The drugs weigh heavily on your body – some cause menopausal symptoms of heat flashes, making you irritable and moody. Now, how tiring is it to fight the pain? Add onto this the symptoms of induced menopause or other side effect of drugs? Geee, tell me again endo-warriors, how do you manage to stay above water? How do you manage to balance a day at work, with family, friends? How do you do it?????
And this is not half of the challenges.
Who loves pain? I know I don’t. Endo causes a lot of physical pain, but it also contributes to negative emotional pressure. If it is not being left out of your social circle because of pain, maybe it’s being declared an ice queen or a moody brood. This can cause emotional scarring especially to teenagers and young women.
On a more personal level, endo can create feelings of self-doubt. Many times you might not accomplish what you wish to do in even double the time. This will leave you frustrated and angry. Other times, other people will be assigned what you are great at doing because you may be considered unreliable. Feelings of being left behind by your peers due to down times may also make you feel like you are failing or falling short in your dreams and purpose. Watching the world strut by as you wallow in pain is not a great feeling. We would like to be strutting along, exuding health and vitality and accomplishing one dream after another. The fact that we run behind schedule can be very frustrating and corroding to our emotions.
Am sure many will read this with one eye brow raised. Yap. It can be very challenging to your spiritual wellbeing when suffering from a chronic illness. From feelings of despair to feelings of abandonment by God, to wondering what great sin you committed and questioning God of His fairness, the heart is challenged. Sometimes the downtime is way too long that you might feel like this is the final leg. Other times the pain is too much that prayer does not seem like part of the solution. In fact sometimes people might carelessly throw in such statements as “Endo is not my portion.” Mmmhhhh…….leaving you wondering how come it is your portion. Other times, due to lack of understanding, people will blame you for not believing in healing while what you need them to understand is that faith must be accompanied by works/action – a strict diet, regular medication, disciplined lifestyle changes, etc.
But all in all, we must trust that God has a reason and season for everything under the sun. And we also must appreciate that other people might not have endo but they too have their heavy burdens that they question the almighty about.
Endo is a journey. It is a strenuous and painful journey. But it can be made lighter and more bearable by Prayer and faith, a good support system and a strict lifestyle routine. It can be overcome in the few known success cases, but in most it must be managed, and it can be managed to levels that will allow you live a near-normal if not normal life with fewer to no pain days.
To ending endo…..
As always, I really look forward to hearing from you.