Thought I should post an update and let my loyal readers know I survived surgery. It’s been four days, and I’m fine pain wise, not so fine tummy wise. Note to self: The food you think you’re going to want to eat after surgery does not remotely resemble the food you are actually going to want to eat after surgery. I have a fridge full of food I can’t even look at. I had someone bring me ginger ale, which is not something I would ever drink. Ever. It’s delicious. Saltines are divine. Applesauce is tolerable.
Anyway, turns out what the doctor (and I) thought was wrong with me was not at all what was wrong with me. (Warning: More lady problems ahead.) I’ve had horrible cramps my whole life. I’ve got a history of ovarian cysts and of fibroids. So, all of that seemed logical when the doctor said it was the cause of my pain. Turns out it was severe endometriosis instead, a word that was barely even on my radar. Now that I’m reading up on it, I had all the signs. Ladies, you should not have cramps three weeks of every month. (Duh.)
Apparently they stage endometriosis from one to four, and most women get treatment around stage two. I was a four. All the way a four. Doctor said he had no idea how I was getting around at all. I should have been in excruciating pain.
Here’s the thing. I was. I just tolerated it. It came on gradually over the last couple years, and I did what I had to do to get by. You can’t call in sick every other day. So you take ever-increasing doses of ibuprofen, and you buy multiple heating pads to keep them everywhere you might sit, and you just deal. The pain becomes a part of life that you have to tolerate. It isn’t pleasant. It might not be normal…but.. maybe it is? Maybe it’s all in your head? Maybe somehow it’s your fault? If you just ate better or slept better or meditated more, it wouldn’t hurt so bad.
Or maybe it’s none of that. Maybe there’s something wrong. Maybe going through every day of your life miserable Is. Not. Normal. Maybe you need help. Maybe you need to look out for yourself and ask for help. Maybe you need to keep asking until somebody has an answer.
I have to tell you, I’m taking less pain medication now, four days after surgery, than I’ve taken in months. The pain I have now is much more tolerable. And it’s a sign of my body healing. It’s a sign of me getting the help I needed and taking care of myself.
The situation has me pondering what else in my life I’ve been tolerating because I thought it was normal. What are you tolerating in your life? What if it isn’t normal? What if it isn’t your fault? What if you could get help and make it go away? What if we’re put here on this earth to be happy and to love and to experience joy? Not to suffer.
Maybe our task in life is to eliminate as much suffering as we can, and to spread as much joy as we can. That means a lot in terms of how we interact with others, but maybe it means even more in terms of how we take care of ourselves. I, for one, am re-thinking everything in my life that causes suffering and doesn’t bring me joy.
Life is too short. I deserve better. Maybe you do too.