The Result of Endometriosis

As a young lady I suffered from excruciating pain during my menstrual cycles.  One monthly cycle was worse than the other.  Doctors and female family members always told me that’s just how things are for some women. I was prescribed "the pill” as a means for lessening my monthly discomforts, which regulated my periods, but had no affect on my pain. Over the years I accepted my fate of monthly anguish and learned how to work through it. Doses of Extra Strength Motrin every two hours and a electric heating pad pressed against my belly or lower back was a monthly routine.  The first twenty-four hours was the worse and on the alternate monthly cycle, the excruciating pain lasted forty-hours.  I would be incapacitated during these periods and mentally drained from the pulsating pain.
I was actively involved in various team sports, but my participation and performance was hindered when my cycles would start.  It wasn’t until I sustained an injury my first year in college and was prescribed a narcotic pain drug that I found a means for deadening my menstrual pain to the point I could function through them.  This was important as I was attending college on an athletic softball scholarship. Failing to perform due to feminine issues was not a recognized or acceptable excuse.  If I lost my scholarship, I would lose my education. 
Living with such pain for so many years, it was such a relief to finally find something that controlled the pain.  At least that was how I saw it.  Relief from that monthly curse of womanhood.  I guarded and limited my use of the prescribed narcotic to ensure my monthly cycle did not interfere with my ability to participate in athletic performances. Beyond college, the challenge involved functioning in a work environment. How do you tell your male boss you need a day or two to deal with your menstrual cycle?  To this day, I have no idea how I endured years of monthly pain.
I even had a doctor tell me child bearing would resolve my menstrual pain issues.  When you go through years of pain, there comes a point when you believe just about anything.  I married once, but never became pregnant.  At the age of forty-one, I began experiencing lower abdominal pain outside my menstrual cycle.  Believed to be a gallbladder issue, the doctor ordered an MRI and ultra sound exams.  The gallbladder was found not to be the issue.  Next a contrast MRI of my kidneys was ordered and my left kidney was found not to be functioning.  In addition, a growth was seen on one of my ovaries and a partial hysterectomy was recommended.  Once I was opened up,  they found I had endometriosis throughout my abdomen. A full hysterectomy and a left nephrectomy were performed.  The endometriosis was so severe it had growth around the left ureter, clamping off any flow and killing the left kidney.  It was believed this had happened some time in my twenties.  Despite having annual pap smears and regular gynecological exams, I had never heard of endometrioses or was aware of the damage it could do to a body left undiagnosed or unattended.
Lori Norris
Sun City, AZ

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