Once someone has exhausted the over-the-counter options, it can be a difficult decision to go to the doctor to ask for something different. It shouldn't be. Pain deserves to be managed as well as any other symptom of a condition, but there seems to be far more judgement intrinsically linked.
Endometriosis has been at my side for 20 years, chronic fatigue for a decade, and fibromyalgia has joined the party more recently. Rather than be held hostage by symptoms which can sometimes be crippling, I am aware that my business successes have my circumstances to thank, in part, for my ability to succeed.
Some days I can forget about it. I don't have to double up on ibuprofen and paracetamol, stick menthol heat patches over my neck or wear a hot water bottle draped on my shoulders. Unfortunately, those days are few and far between.
It is known that acceptance of long-term chronic illness is seen as a substantial problem in patients with chronic illnesses. Absence of acceptance can lead to clinical improvements being delayed considerably. It can also lead to poorer adherence to the current and ongoing medical treatment. They may be branded and judged by others as being in denial.
The frequency of brain fog and general lethargy has made the task of writing this feature an arduous one, so on this occasion you will have to absorb my story from my video tale. Rather than a finely-tuned scripted speech, I decided to just press record and see what came out on the subject.
A person suffering a degenerative disease, no matter how well they cope, cannot in reality be upbeat and happy every single moment of each day. This would be impossible and an unrealistic expectation.
Today the Supreme court ruled against right to die campaigners Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson in their latest attempt to change the current laws on assisted suicide, and I must admit I am relieved. I know that might sound heartless, and there are many voices who cry about their suffering and choice, but a recent stay in hospital made me realise that there is a wider issue behind the assisted suicide debate.
I would like to dedicate this article to a good friend who is battling Parkinson's and will hopefully be undergoing surgery soon. May you have a speedy recovery, resulting in an improved quality of life. This article is for you - one of the many unknown heroes, whose private story goes unsung but who inspires me with your bravery, insightful words of wisdom, a great sense of humour and wit.
In many ways I depend on people who are not sick. I need you to visit me when I'm too sick to go out. Sometimes I need help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, or taken to the doctor. You are my link to normalcy and help me to keep in touch with parts of life I miss.
I'd tell you not to google it and spare you the gruesome photographs but I want you to google it, because endometriosis is a disease that affects one in 10 women. That is almost as many as breast cancer and I am pretty sure that most people reading this will have absolutely no idea what it is.