This week was one of the toughest I’ve experienced for about 6 months.
To set the scene, I finally started a job that I love in January. I moved to Liverpool to be closer to my job, family members (my partner’s family actually!) and good hospitals to help me to deal with my stage 4 endometriosis.
The Real Agony of Stage 4 Endometriosis
On Monday the pelvic pain started on cue with my monthly cycle. By Tuesday, I was struggling to walk without pain and on ibuprofen (Ibuprofen hardly touches my end pain, which is one of the reasons I hated the Motrin endometriosis campaign). By Wednesday, I had maxed out on cocodomol and sat at my desk like a spaced out zombie with a literal ‘pain in the ass’! Wednesday night saw the usual agony and no sleep (I got about 2 hours).
Then Thursday happened, I had to admit defeat. I’d tried all of my usual coping strategies – not eating, drugging myself up and drinking water. I headed to Runcorn on the train (where I was supposed to do business consultancy).
A Miriad of Endometriosis Coping Strategies
As a sufferer of stage 4 endometriosis you develop ‘coping strategies’ that you think will allow you to get on with your everyday life. These ‘coping strategies’ are to mask the disease from others, so that peers and colleagues see you leading a ‘normal life’. They are an attempt to keep your job, relationships and friendships going despite the horror that is endometriosis.
I sat in First Class so that no-one could see me and I could be on my own. I felt like all of my organs were being pulled down by a heavy weight. I could eat, drink or even go to the loo. When I got to Runcorn station, I tried the coping strategy of shutting myself in loo until I felt a bit better.
I didn’t. I nearly passed out.
My ever-supportive manager was waiting for me in the car to go to the business meeting. As soon as I got in the car I think he saw the pain in my face. Tears started rolling down my face. ‘You should have phoned in sick. You need to go home.’ He was right. I was in denial, saying ‘this is stupid.’ I got straight back on the train to go home with pain that was crippling me.
Seeing my GP Doubled up in Agony
Only I didn’t go straight home, it was too bad. I went straight to the doctors. Doubled up in agony, I begged them to fit me in. They found me an appointment and tried to get me to be seen sooner. They were so understanding, and helped me in to the doctors surgery.
This was the first time I had seen my new doc, and what an impression I must have made! He could see that my agony was so severe that only morphine would barely touch it. This, combined with the fact that I hadn’t eaten for 24 hours and a low blood pressure.
Getting admitted to Liverpool Women’s Hospital
After the trauma of my visit to A and E in York last October (that’s another story), I was scared to death of hospitals. But, he sent me to Liverpool Women’s hospital and they were absolutely brilliant. I was admitted for just 48 hours to get the pain under control and my eating back to normal.
One thing I have learnt this week – sometimes, with endometriosis, you just have to admit defeat. Don’t try to battle through the pain all of the time. Recognise when you need to rest or get hospital treatment.