When I had a hard time coming up with a name for my blog, I wanted to use the name that Helios gave me when he first saw me – Foxy. But it was my sister that suggested the rest of the title – and I love the fact that it doesn’t sound remotely pornographic! Instead, it captures exactly how I feel about my dealings with my illnesses. I hoped to convey the sense of trying to maintain my femininity together with the frustration involved with having a chronic illness and the fight to get treatment.
You know, I’ve had more doctors inside me than boyfriends! Just getting a diagnosis – a real diagnosis – took 19 years. 19 years! Granted, every month was not pure agony – my 20s in particular was frightfully easy thanks to The Pill – but anyone who has been through this much pain wouldn’t let anyone go through this. I had been to a number of gynaecologists including one who tried twice to send me to a sexual psychologist. I knew the pain wasn’t in my head!
The ultimate reason that I was diagnosed wasn’t because of the excruciating pain – pain that makes me lose sleep and work and was part of the reason for the break up of my first marriage. The reason I was first diagnosed was because I was having a hard time falling pregnant. It makes me think that doctors are OK with leaving patients in agony but infertility is something that they need to treat! Can you believe that?
Now, I try hard not to condemn anyone and I know all the GPs in the UK are overworked but I cannot believe that something as common as Endometriosis should be so overlooked. Perhaps we get poo-pooed because there isn’t a satisfactory treatment? It seems that most GPs are great with sore throats, colds and flu where they can just dish out the painkillers or antibiotics. However, you have to keep pestering doctors to get referred to a specialist and you have to keep pestering your specialist for answers and treatment.
Don’t be afraid to look into alternative treatments. I was afraid to try acupuncture at first (and even wondered if I would run screaming from the place with loads of pins in me – looking like some kind of naked metallic hedgehog) but it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. The thing that I liked most about Chinese Medicine is the fact that they seemed to want to deal with preventative medicine as well as treating my Endometriosis. I found myself on the table with all sorts of needles sticking out of me – in my head, hands, legs as well as stomach. It was odd to say the least. I can’t tell you if it was more ticklish to have the needles in my stomach or in my back (not all on the same visit) but I can tell you not to move AT ALL when the needles are in. It is very relaxing: so much so that I fell off the table once at the end of a session. Please, if you try acupuncture, don’t do it when you have to immediately get back to work!
I think you can see that I’ve been busy trying to keep on top of my symptoms. I’ve visited GPs, gynaecologists, fertility experts, acupuncturists and even a genital expert. If you want to get the treatment you need to feel better, you have to keep demanding help. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to get the treatment you need. Be persistent. You deserve to feel better.