"I can't take it anymore!"
It was a statement I would make more often than not to my husband. I couldn't take the pain anymore, I couldn't take the fatigue, the aches, the excessive bleeding and the desperate need to be normal. But I wasn't normal, at least my body wasn't.
It took seven years for doctors to finally diagnose my heavy, irregular periods and unfathomable pain as endometriosis. But during those seven years, I had suffered, just like one in ten women with the disease do. Multiple miscarriages, fertility issues and stints in hospital became the norm.
I was debilitated, in excruciating pain and, what truly felt like, alone.
No one understood, no one could understand unless they, themselves, had been through it. They couldn't understand the shooting pains that could climb up my thighs like daggers dancing across my flesh, they couldn't understand the tear inducing slices of pain that would run across my back and pelvis, and they could never understand the need to purchase maternity sanitary towels every month - even though I hadn't had a child.
That was it. I thought my life was over. Until, I was finally blessed with my son. After two years of watching my pregnancy tests come back negative time and time again, this time, it was positive. I finally felt like I had a purpose, that I was complete... until I gave birth.
Not realising I had endometriosis, I assumed my periods were getting worse because I'd just had a child, but I was wrong. My periods were getting far worse than they previously were. In fact, there were many times my husband had to scoop me up from my bathroom floor due to a dizzy spell from the blood loss. I was becoming anaemic, moody and irrational. They were getting worse, and I would later learn that my pregnancy and subsequent birth triggered the endometriosis tenfold.
I suffered. I suffered in silence, keeping my symptoms masked with painkillers and hot water bottles. Then came the time when I finally had to reach out and ask for help. Over the years, doctors had diagnosed me with a number of things; IBS, pelvic inflammatory disease and many other unfounded diagnosis. Until, one day, I collapsed in my GP surgery. I was then quickly referred to a gynaecologist who put me straight to the top of her list for surgery - she understood. With surgery, came relief... for a few months before everything started again.
I quickly came to accept that endometriosis was a part of me, that if I changed my lifestyle and habits, that I could make it easier on my body. I still suffer now, but nothing like I did after my son was born. But then there were other problems to tackle alongside living with the disease.
I was ready to get back to work. My son was older, and I didn't want to be a stay-at-home-mum. I wanted to get out into the world again. But after six job interviews, I quickly realised that a job might not be something I could accomplish. No matter what others told me, I had to tell my prospective employer that I had endometriosis. Sometimes, it would spark curiosity, other times I was marched right out of the meeting room. Either way, I came home deflated and those feelings of being utterly alone came flooding back.
I was folding in on myself, quickly spiralling into a depression that kept me under no matter how hard I tried to fight back. Until, my twenty-second birthday. My husband had bought me a Kindle and I was soon browsing the Amazon store for something to read, something to get lost in. Within months, I had read in excess of one-hundred and fifty books and I felt inspired.
I felt inspired to write.
The moment my pen hit the paper, I was writing at breakneck speed. I was getting lost in the words I wrote and the characters I created. Soon, I was publishing my first novel, then came the second and the third. Now, nearly three years on, I'm a CEO of my own company and a full-time author.
Writing saved me.
Writing saved me from becoming another statistic of women who, without finding an outlet, would succumb to the depression caused by endometriosis.
I had no idea that I could turn a passion for reading into a full-time career as a writer.
But, what I do know, is no matter what challenges endometriosis sufferers are faced with, and we are faced with many, we can overcome them when we find someone who just understands.