When I was 20, I mostly thought about fashion, my friends, and what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
When I was 20, the last things I ever thought about were my period, my fertility and having babies.
Sure, I had always had extremely painful periods, that sometimes made me vomit or pass out and often left me bed-ridden, but I thought that was normal. I also knew I wanted children, but I always thought that I had plenty of time for motherhood.
At the time I hadn’t been diagnosed with stage four endometriosis, so I had no clue that my fertility clock was ticking every period or that my period was causing irreversible damage to my reproductive organs.
Now that I’m 28 – and after a long struggle with my reproductive health have fallen pregnant (scary but so so exciting at the same time) – the first thing on my mind is ‘I wish I was educated about endometriosis when I was 20’.
Endometriosis (or endo) is an incurable disease where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus. The severity of endo is measured on scale of one to four. Commonly, women have endo scarring in places close to their uterus like their fallopian tubes or bowel. When you have stage four endo it means not only is your scarring deep and severe, but also in places well away from your uterus; in my case I have scarring all the way up into my respiratory tract.
Endo is debilitating, excruciatingly painful, but most of all an extremely misunderstood disease.
Most people, both men and women, don’t understand how it affects your day-to-day life, especially when you call in sick to work because you have “period pain”. I can’t count the amount of times throughout my life that people thought I was being a drama queen because I couldn’t do something due to that time of the month.