Warning: If you don't like hearing about periods or anything that deals with the female anatomy, please do not read any further - you probably shouldn't read my blog either as I may dip into this topic again.
At the age of 14, I began to feel really...odd. I would get up in the morning, feel fine, but when I got to school, I would violently get sick to my stomach. I would puke for 15-20 minutes straight and then I would be fine for the rest of the day. I immediately thought - oh my god, I hope I'm not the next virgin Mary... - and I started taking Zofran for the nausea. It helped and it eventually stopped. I felt normal for the following six months and then it got worse.
The symptoms started up again during my freshman year of high school. I was having really painful periods to the point I could barely walk. I was bleeding heavily and because I wore pads at the time, I constantly felt like I was toting around a wet diaper. For someone as OCD about cleanliness as I am, I couldn't handle that feeling for more than 2 minutes. Anyway, as the months went by, my periods became more and more frequent, heavier, and more painful. I went through numerous tests to try and figure out why I was bleeding so much and now becoming anemic. I had ultrasounds, pap smears, blood tests and even went to numerous other specialists aside from my OB/GYN. Each test came back negative for any abnormalities so I was to continue suffering until something drastic happened. Eventually, I was bleeding heavily every single week - five days of bleeding, excruciating pain, nausea, and fatigue and only getting two days off until I would go through the next round for five more days. Sometimes, if it wanted to be ambitious, I wouldn't even get those two days and just go back to back for two straight weeks. At this point, I was begging for surgery - just to see what was going on inside my body. After about 9 months of this agony, they agreed to my request and I had my first surgery - of many to come - at the age of 15. They found one cherry-sized cyst on my left ovary, endometriosis on my uterus, and they also took out my appendix because it was a "funny color." Well, alright then.
They diagnosed me with endometriosis at 15 years old. Eventually, I was also diagnosed with chronic ovarian cysts because the ovarian cysts never went away. They kept forming and recurring no matter what type of medicine I was taking. After 5 abdominal surgeries, many different tests done by various specialists, I am no closer to getting consistent relief. However, now that I have had this for going on 13 years, I wouldn't have it any other way. Crazy, eh? Never thought I would say that! It is a life changing experience and I am so thankful for the way that I have been able to handle it, overcome it, and learn to coexist with my body the way it is. Many people struggle with this so I can only hope that my story can inspire others to live positively and do what they can to live a normal life - as hard as it may be sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I have my meltdowns and crying spells and outbursts of "I can't do this anymore" but this illness has taught me more about life than anything else and that is something you can't just learn.
Please take a moment, if you are interested, to read about my illness as well as others listed below. There are so many people out there (even my own friends and family) that are silently suffering because they don't look sick. Well, let me tell you, appearances can be deceiving. This experience has made me an advocate for people who suffer from invisible illnesses and to spread the awareness that this stuff does exist, even if you can't see it. Alright, enough depressing crap. Go out there, live your life to fullest, and never take a single moment with anyone for granted. Cheers, folks!
If you think you or someone you love have any of these illnesses, please don't wait. See your doctor with your concerns.
Links below - these are only a few: