While many of my friends get to sleep in on a Saturday morning, or get to enjoy the Lunar eclipse this morning, I get to be awakened from slumber with such pain that leaves me stupefied with my mouth agape as I stagger about in the dark to get my heating pad and medicine.
Before I can take my medicine, I have to eat something, and all the while, the pain grows ever more intense, and all I can think while being up before the sun on a weekend is, “at least I was able to finish the work week before the endometriosis flare went full bore”.
But I really want to see the Lunar eclipse, and I can’t even get several blocks down to the parking garage to get an elevated view of town because of the pain I’m in, though I’m reeeeeally tempted. Me, trying to walk a mere 4.5 blocks, putting one foot in front of the other, with radiating nerve pain. Or…me, getting into my go-kart of a car, and pressing the accelerator with the radiating pelvic nerve pain at 7.5 on the pain scale…when I’m nauseous from the pain by any slight movement. =(
Yes, I’m wallowing in the pain and depression of being a dependent invalid at the moment.
One of my friends told me she is jealous that my debilitating pain is at least localised and cyclical, which means I have windows of time which I can predict there will be little to no pain. I have critical windows of time to live my life and not worry about every minute consequence an action or a food or a drink will have on my pain level, while she cannot predict the pain – it strikes anywhere in her body at anytime, and so often that she is on medical disability and can no longer work.
While I am sad that many people, including women with the same condition I have (endometriosis) are disabled by the pain full time, it does not lessen the reality of my own anguish, which I have been suffering for 26 years. Before surgery, I did apply for disability and was denied, because although I could barely work, I could still work 14 (non-consecutive) days in a month. As long as you can work 14 days out of a month, you’re not sick or disabled enough to qualify for disability insurance.
I have had two surgeries 3 years apart, to minimal effect on the pain. I am still bedridden from the pain. I am still missing work from the pain. I am still taking narcotics for the pain. Doctors still do not know how to control or manage the pain. There is still no cure or proper treatment for endometriosis. Doctors are still arguing over theories of what even causes endometriosis, while millions of women world wide suffer a pain so severe that most men would die of in minutes if they had the same condition, because the pain is akin to going into labor every 2 – 4 weeks for 26 to 35 years in a row. Hell, there are women with endometriosis who have said that actual labor and childbirth was LESS painful than the endometriosis pain, I kid you not.
Cyclical pain or full time pain, it does not matter. The pain is real, and it is debilitating, and it is crushing. It slams one into a depressed mental state faster than you can say “ouch”, and the depression sinks one to the depths of the murk so fast, that if you don’t pay attention, you might miss critical cues telling you that the person is finally just DONE enduring all this pain.
Endometriosis may not kill us directly, but the illness is always in danger of killing us indirectly. There is no benefit to feeling jealous over someone who “only” has cyclical pain. Jealousy diminishes the harsh reality of the sufferer, making one feel a sense of survivor guilt, making the emotional pain even harder to bear.
So I wallow in my very real pain as it strikes me early this morning, while I miss a beautiful Lunar eclipse and wait for 2 Tylenol 3 to even try to make a dent in the pain, while I sit on the couch with a heating pad on my broken body and breathe those shallow breaths that one breathes when in so much pain, while trying to remind myself to do relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to get through this flare.
I want the pain to stop. I want it all to stop.