I have been battling with stage 4, widespread Endometriosis for what has been a good part of the past 10 years. Endometriosis occurs when cells, like the ones in the lining of the womb, are found elsewhere in the body. These cells react the same way each month as those in the womb do, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. Therefore, this process causes debilitating symptoms such as chronic pelvic cramps, lower back pain, painful sex, bowel dysfunction & pain, bladder pain, chronic fatigue, and infertility.
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis two weeks before my 18th birthday. This was after I had been misdiagnosed in my previous 2 surgeries (one of which that led to me having my appendix removed). It was confirmed that I had widespread, stage 4 endometriosis throughout my pelvis covering my bladder, bowel, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes. This diagnosis resulted in me getting a bowel resection.
Treatment I am Recieving for Endometriosis
Fast forward to now, and I am currently recovering from my 10th surgery, all thanks to this disease. Due to having such extensive damage on my bowel, in Oct 2018 I was fitted with a Sacral nerve stimulator to help it function (like a pace maker, but for the bowel). It’s a relatively new treatment, and we still haven’t found a setting which works for me how we would like it too. It’s a little frustrating, but I’m sure I will keep you updated and go into detail on one of my posts.
Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after my recent surgery I was admitted into the Royal Liverpool Hospital for a week due to my bowel becoming extremely dilated. In turn, this caused horrific abdominal pain and my bladder to constantly be in retention. As a result of this I now have a catheter in for the next 6 weeks, whilst I trial new bowel medication Resolor. This was sprung on me out of nowhere. Yes, I’ve had endometriosis removed from the bladder in the past, but it’s never caused problems to this extent. It’s been an adjustment and is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It’s a knock-on effect with this disease. My self confidence has taken a great big nose dive the last few weeks. I am trying to adjust to my new normal, but I’m trying to be patient. It will come with time I’m sure.
One of the things I am incredibly grateful for is that our beautiful 3-year-old daughter Grace is in our lives. She truly is a little miracle. We had everything stacked against us, but one day when we least expected it, we saw those two positive lines on our pregnancy test. We were 2 weeks away from starting our first cycle of IVF when our dreams came true.
My Pregnancy Experience
Pregnancy was difficult. I bled throughout my pregnancy, suffered
Longing for Another Child
We were medically advised not to have more children for the sake of my health. Those words were extremely hard to digest and accept. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over hearing those words. My disappointment in no way means I am not incredibly blessed and thankful for our beautiful little girl, because believe me, I am. But, it’s more so that the choice to have another child has been taken away from me (like it has been for so many others). The choice that so many can take for granted is the choice we long for. I think many people can make the mistake of assuming that you are ‘selfish’ if you want more than one child and that you should be ‘happy with what you have’. Just because you have one child, that doesn’t mean it takes the pain away from feeling like you don’t have a choice.
Motherhood is a beautiful journey, but it can also be a very tough one. Add a chronic illness into the mix, and some days you can feel like everything if falling apart. My thought while writing this is that if I can open up about my journey with Endometriosis and motherhood it may help me mentally arrange my thoughts, as well as hopefully help someone reading this. I want anyone in a similar situation to know that they are not alone. Being chronically ill and a mama can be very isolating and lonely at times, so I want to help others feel less alone.
About the Author
Anna is 25 years old and she lives in North Wales with her husband Scott and her beautiful daughter Grace. Anna has decided over the years to share her journey of battling a chronic disease whilst trying to be the best mother she can be. She originally started sharing her story on Twitter (@BattleWithEndo), and then moved to Instagram (@battlewithendo_ox) with the intention of starting a blog.