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To the Daughter My Endometriosis Might Never Let Me Have

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Once again, I’m in pain. I sit here, filled with medication with hopes that one day I will be able to hold you in my arms. Just once I would like to see your smile, smell the scent of baby lotion on your skin, and watch you as you slowly close your eyes and begin to dream. Month after month, I go through weeks of pain and anguish just to cling on to hope that you one day will appear.

Your mother has a reproductive disorder that has plagued her for over a decade that prevents you from being with her in this world. She has gone to rounds of doctors, lost money from her savings, and done multiple surgeries just for the hopes that you will someday be with her. This disease is the major barrier between the two of us being together.

Your mother has a chronic disorder that most doctors admit to having a lack of understanding. A disease that a small number of women secretly walk around with each day and nobody knows the pain they are in.

It’s called endometriosis.

One in 10 women in the U.S. have this chronic disorder, and your mother is one of them. The best way to explain it is a growth of abnormal tissue outside the cocoon that should hold you for nine months. It is like scar tissue, and it can travel anywhere in my body. The worst part is the mass can’t move because it can’t be shed like other tissue once a month in a woman’s uterus. It can be in places like on the outer uterine wall, around the bowel or bladder, and even around a woman’s diaphragm, joints or heart.

The pain is tremendous for me. It makes me run to the bathroom to vomit in pain, fall when walking because my legs radiate with discomfort, and it can make the simple task at work a major challenge. I cry at least once a month in agony in secret due to its complications. Sometimes I weep when I wake up, or at my desk at work, or while driving in the car when I have to pull over because of the pain.

It starts a couple of days before my menstrual cycle officially begins. During the early stages, my ovaries will start to pound. Next comes the lower back pain. It will hurt so much I struggle to stand at times, and this is before even starting my cycle. I lose sleep and pile up pillows to try and find comfort. I take powerful pills just to make it through the work day once my period arrives. Despite taking the medication, the pain increases. I bleed heavy, and I can’t control what happens with my body.

I waste money on items to help the discomfort month after month. I get massages to loosen up muscles, sneak heating patches underneath my clothing, and keeping an extra outfit at work in case there is an accident. I fight all of these things just because I want to see your face.

Many surgeries have happened. The first time that they did a scope in my body, they told me they didn’t see anything and that the pain was my imagination. I switched doctors after having the second surgery.

The next doctor was a specialist, and he listened to me. He nodded his head that something was wrong. He was the first to find the patches of endometriosis in the spots I complained about in another surgery. I was right. There was endometriosis on the very back of my uterus, and it is hard to discover. It was near my spine. This doctor was the one who told me there was no cure and that it would come back. While he showed me the pictures from the surgery and the negative diagnosis that endometriosis would haunt me for many years to come, I thought about you again.

Would I ever get to hold you?

I became so desperate for relief that I agreed to take shots once a month so I wouldn’t bleed for a while and could prolong my time before another endometriosis attack would begin. The medicine in the shots was just as bad as endometriosis, but if that was what it would take to hold you possibly in my arms, I had to do it.

A year later the pain returned, and I saw a third doctor for yet another surgery. This surgery had an assistant known as da Vinci, which is a robot, and it would be doing a lot of the work in trying to make it possible for me to have you. They strapped down both of my arms and tilted me upside down on the operating table. The robot could see better than human eyes and could take away endometriosis easier if it was back again. The robot would do almost all the work.

When I woke up, I found out it was back.

It had spread.

It was worse than last time.

It had spread to other organs in my body.

They took it out for me to feel better, but remember, there is no cure.

It would be back.

Time has passed since robot da Vinci worked on me, and I am back to feeling like I did before. The plan is one more round of shots when things become unbearable. After the shots, if things don’t get better, they are going to take away all the things that could make me be your mommy in my body. When times get tough, I close my eyes and dream of you.

I imagine your first steps, the lack of sleep for both of us when you begin teething, and hearing the word “Mama” come from your lips. I wonder what your favorite book will be, the songs I will hear you howling out from the shower when getting ready for school, and how loudly I would cheer with your first achievement. Will I ever see you looking like a princess for prom? Have verbal battles with you over curfew, your first love and grades? Will I ever get to wave goodbye to you as you enter your dorm room for college, salute you when you leave to protect your country or start your career to save others in a troubled world?

Sadly, none of these events may occur.

Just know that I will never stop thinking of having you in my life. I will continue to work on being the role model I would want my daughter to see: a professional dedicated toward educating other’s children, a woman who works hard for everything that she gets, a warrior who fights every day against a disease that has no cure. Sweetheart, I’m a fighter against anything that could be a force against us, because to give in means to lose sight of your face.

There are times I don’t feel as if I have the strength to fight anymore. As the doctors have said, my time is running out with my health and my age. There are times when I weep that I can’t have what others do. I feel anguish when I go to coworkers’ baby showers, and I feel empty the second Sunday of May of each passing year. I take the time to feel sorry for myself that I might never hold you, but I can’t wallow in pity. Feeling helpless solves nothing. I embrace the lonely moments, shed my tears, and then focus once again on you. The easy way out of this situation is to have the “final” surgery and to think just of my relief.

I won’t do that.

I can’t do that.

I fight for you and you alone.

Each medication they inject in my body, each pill that has poisoned my system, each frightening visit to the doctor to hear nerve-wrenching results, and each surgery for a disorder that will come back time and time again to try to make give in, is for you.

You are worth every part of it.

We should be together.

You are my driving force to fight against this condition. If we meet, I promise to be the best mother ever to walk on God’s earth. Even if I have just to dream of you, know that I will always love you.

Forever thinking of you,

Your mother

Editor’s note: Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 21, 2016
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