Endometriosis came into my life at a very early age. I was 12 when I experienced my first symptoms. Despite this, I had plenty of dreams when I was young: I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to write stories in the summers and become a famous novelist. I thought I’d move to a French-speaking country and teach English as a second language. I wanted a nice husband and 2 children. They weren’t extravagant dreams – I’d have thought they were perfectly achievable!
To a certain extent I came close to achieving my goals. While birth control effectively masked my symptoms in my 20s, I got a degree in European History and French but still needed by teaching qualification. Then, as with many of us, life happened to me. I met my first husband and moved to England. By the time I was legally able to work in England, we really needed money so I took a job as a secretary. Before I knew it, many years had passed, I hadn’t got my teaching qualification but I was a very good secretary.
My life wasn’t shaping up as I’d planned but at least I thought I’d be able to have a couple of children with my first husband. I was taking birth control until the point when he decided that we ought to try for children. When the birth control left my system, my familiar period pain returned in abundance. It took another couple of years before I was diagnosed with endometriosis, PCOS and insulin resistance.
Like Peter Waite on “Letting Go of the life we have Planned”, it took me a number of years to accept life in my body. Oh sure, I’d had endometriosis all along, but having strange symptoms and learning to accept your diagnosis and the limitations that a chronic illness places on you are two different things.
Learning to accept yourself – including any malady you have – takes time. Lots of time. In the process you may need to re-evaluate your long-term goals. You may need to ensure that you don’t feel guilty for letting go your old life-plan. You may need to learn how to manage your physical symptoms. You may need to make changes to your lifestyle. You may even need to ask for help from friends and/or a partner.
All these considerations take time and effort. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t do what you wish you could. Don’t worry when life-plans need to change. As with the rest of your life, the journey has yet to be completed.