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3 Reasons an Endometriosis Diagnosis Isn't All Bad

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While sitting down preparing to write this post after an honestly very hard day, I realized I could go one of at least two ways with this post. I could a) ramble on about how living with endometriosis is a very real form of hell that I have to constantly learn to manage on a daily basis, or b) really dig deep and think about what I have gotten out of being diagnosed with endometriosis.

I choose option B.

For someone living with any form of a chronic illness, they know it is really easy to get caught up focusing on the negatives of having that illness because, well, it is often all we deal with every day. The negatives are constant, and the positives tend to be fleeting.

However, I can attest that it isn’t all bad… and here are my top three reasons why:

1. Being diagnosed with endometriosis has brought me some much-needed validation.

Growing up with an undiagnosed chronic illness is a very weird thing, in that you get used to people not believing you. That sounds bizarre, right? You get used to people essentially calling you a liar – to the point where you may actually start to think that you really are imagining your symptoms or are being overdramatic.

I spent many days home from school due to pain or nausea and countless hours in urgent care or my PCP’s office. I was told that I was “just depressed.” I was told I just needed more exercise. I was told there was nothing wrong with me. When my symptoms began to progress and quickly got worse, I decided I was no longer going to accept those excuses. I demanded help and I demanded to be taken seriously.

Eventually I made it to a doctor that listened. Eventually I made to someone who didn’t look at me like I was “crazy.” I got my endometriosis diagnosis. It was like a breath of fresh air. I was never so happy, so scared and so confused all at the same time. I finally had the name of what was wrong with me. I finally had an answer and it felt good. I no longer felt the need to prove how sick I was to other people, because I had the proof I needed and that was all that mattered.

2. I have learned who I can truly count on.

After my symptoms became worse and after I received my diagnosis – I noticed that the circle of people I thought I could count on was growing smaller. I don’t blame those people that left. I don’t blame them for not understanding a disease I barely understood myself. In some cases, those people probably thought I was the one pushing them away. It became increasingly difficult for me to make plans with others because I didn’t know how I would be feeling – and when I did actually make plans, 80 percent of the time I would have to cancel last minute. I completely get how frustrating it can be on the other side of it. But while all of those people decided that it was too much to learn how to make our relationships work with my illness, I realized who I still had in my corner (and I have some amazing people).

I have my best friend who checks on me almost daily to make sure I am OK and if I need anything. If we have plans to do something together – she will usually ask me three times if it is too much for me that day to make sure I am not overdoing myself. No matter how many times I have to flake on our plans or how many months go by without seeing her, I can always count on her to be there when I need her.

I have my mother who I have been very close with my entire life, but somehow being diagnosed with this disease has brought us closer. I can tell her anything without judgment; she does what she can to make my life that much easier, and she is constantly looking for new ways to help me cope and manage my disease.

And lastly my husband, who I am not sure how I could even manage to survive without some days. He has been there for my diagnosis, my surgeries, the treatments, countless sleepless nights, the many mental breakdowns, middle of the night trips to the ER, he works two jobs so I don’t have to, and does the laundry and pretty much all of the household chores in the little spare time he has because I rarely have “good days” to get them done myself. He is my rock.

So, while yes, I am saddened by the relationships I have lost through the years – I couldn’t be more grateful for who I do have.

3. I know my body better than most and have learned to take time for self-care.

Chronic illness forces you to learn unconventional ways of taking care of your body. Between the herbs, diets, exercises and medicines – you learn what your body likes and doesn’t like. By doing these things, you begin to understand how your body works, what makes it flare, what doesn’t make it flare, how to tell when a flare is coming before you get any real symptoms, and when you need to just give it a rest.

Before I got really sick, I was a pretty active person. I was constantly on-the-go and rarely took a minute to process what was happening with my body. Over the years I have learned to listen to what it needs or what areas need attention. I can probably tell you exactly which organ is causing me problems at any moment in time, from my uterus, to my ovaries, my cervix, or my uterine ligaments… I have learned to differentiate the pain. Not only is this helpful for me to pinpoint what I need to do to take care of myself – but it helps the doctors trying to treat and help me. It almost feels like a superpower at times. Especially when I can go into the doctor’s office and say “hey, this is exactly what is wrong with me” and then the tests, scans or what have you prove that I am right after the doctor had doubted me. It is a small win, but it feels great!

In a world of constant negativity, it is good idea to stop and take a look at the positive things you have going for you every once in a while. Today, I chose to look at the positives.

This story originally appeared on the Cosmic Lotus blog.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Originally published: July 5, 2019
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