The roots of my disease are deeply embedded. I was just thirteen on a hot summer day, much like tomorrow will be. I was young and confused, with horrible cramps and heavy bleeding. So it began, a little girl is told that periods hurt and cramps are normal. I learned pain was normal. Eventually stomach aches became the next thing to be normal and then mood swings, and then bloating, and then back pain. After all, my mother had the same pain and her mother before her and likely her mother before her. We have taught each other that pain and all the other symptoms are normal. It is a life linked by silent suffering.
My first surgery gave me a name for this pain:endometriosis. After so many years of searching for answers that diagnosis gave me power. This thing that encrusted every aspect of my life did exist. I had lived so many years knowing that something wasn’t right but believing to an extent that pain was normal. Something else emerged from that first surgery. When the pain lifted I emerged. The person I always thought I was came out to play. I live true to who I am, to my emotions, to my beliefs and I feel the moment I am in. It’s one of my strongest attributes, but it also is the reason why this disease is so devastating to me.
I have amazing moments to be in. That first surgery gave me diagnosis, it empowered me, it gave me a voice. It gave me a life I never could have imagined filled with sparkles and sequins, new business ventures and pure enjoyment of old ones. It brought stilettos, Bitters, pilates, and a smile that shines from within. Yet, like before more and more moments are agonizing to be in.
I have had a life filled with heartache, difficulties, exhaustion, isolation and hurt. It seems I inch forward, peek at what life could be only to become lost and covered in the fog endometriosis brings. If I soared after that first surgery, I felt the depths of despair to their fullest in the past year. I feel as if I face life surrounded by a film that prevents me from what everyone else has. I feel set off from a life of love, stability and safety. My life brings uncertainty financially, emotionally and physically. Little girls don’t dream of growing up to be broken. They don’t dream of a 15 year diagnostic delay or of bleeding belly buttons. They dream of fairytales and weddings, of owning nice homes and I certainly dreamed of a family. A disease and its preoccupation with my life slowly quashed normalcy.
As daunting as another excision surgery, complete with five specialists, will be, an opportunity has arisen.
Tomorrow I break the chain. I will cut both the physical and the metaphysical bonds that bind me to this disease. Surgery will do its best to free my body from its torrid past. I will break the chains and forge a head to a future where my heart can be free.
Though the mark the disease left is indelible. It has taken a part of me and those memories may never fade, especially since there is no cure and no garuntees of a decent prognosis. I will sever the connection endometriosis has on my body. I will let go of the hold it has on my soul. I will start anew, from a fresh place- a place without ambiguity, fear, and pain. I will break the chain that connects me to this disease emotionally and physically. I am worthy of health, happiness, and all of our dreams.
Tomorrow I will break the chain.
****The concept of breaking the chain is from Bethenny Frankel’s book, A Place of Yes.