1. A full day when your clothes fit properly
Have you ever heard of “endo belly”? Despite sounding like it might be the sign of a good meal, endo belly is PAINFUL. One minute you’re going about your day and the next you’re waddling around, desperate to rip off your jeans before they cut off your circulation completely. But there has to be a reason why you’re so bloated, right? Well...no, not exactly.
2. The “aha!” moment when you understand your symptoms
After reading about endo belly, you may have wondered if it’s actually a food sensitivity causing so much bloat. Sure, that would be a reasonable explanation, right? But here’s the thing. Endometriosis can be the reason behind SO many symptoms that seemingly have no explanation. Some people might find relief from eliminating foods from their diet. Personally, meat was a huge trigger for me so I’ve stopped eating it. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t countless other symptoms that may or may not be caused by your endo. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, muscle aches — the list just keeps going on.
3. Your friend’s engagement announcement at an impromptu happy hour
Endometriosis can be a lot like other chronic illnesses. Some days you feel fine, and other days you don’t. It’s not always predictable. No matter how badly you want to attend a social outing, sometimes it’s not possible. Either you stay home and take care of yourself, or you force yourself to go and end up risking the possibility of being in more pain because you pushed yourself too far.
4. Feeling like you’re in a tampon commercial
Ok, one thing that is CERTAIN is that if you have endometriosis, a tampon commercial is definitely not an accurate representation of life on your period. Trust me, you’re not going to be frolicking through fields of wildflowers and you probably aren’t going to feel like salsa dancing either. Instead, imagine yourself in bed with 10 heating pads and several bottles of painkillers lining your sheets.
5. The rush of endorphins after a great workout
Exercising is a real catch-22 for most people with endo. You want to be healthy and working out can release those endorphins that make you feel so good. But working out can also send you into a fetal position on the floor after just a few sit-ups. Finding an exercise routine that doesn’t make someone with endo want to throw up or die can be pretty difficult.
6. A satisfying bathroom experience
Endo isn’t just a bad period. It isn’t just severe menstrual cramps. Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of your uterus grows and attaches to other parts of your body. And since your uterus is in the same region as the organs that control your bathroom habits, well….you can see where I’m heading with this. Endo can cause pain when you use the bathroom. It can cause you to go more frequently than you’d like. Some people even pass out from the pain. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
7. Deciding you’re going to try to conceive...and not wondering how
It’s no secret that reproductive conditions can affect fertility. That’s not to say if you have endo you will be unable to reproduce. But if you do have endometriosis and you know you want to have a successful pregnancy someday, it’s important to be aware of how the condition can affect you. A good doctor can work with you to help preserve your fertility or find alternatives if it becomes necessary.
8. Receiving a perfect attendance award
One of the first things my doctor asked me when I was being evaluated for endometriosis is whether I often missed school when I was on my period. Everyone experiences endometriosis differently. Some may be able to manage their symptoms quite well with minimal disruption to their daily routines. Others may be unable to get out of bed several days out of each month. It doesn’t help that endo is still somewhat of a misunderstood and embarrassing condition. If you’re still in school, you probably don’t want to be in pain in front of your peers. As an adult, it can be uncomfortable to explain to your bosses why you might need accommodations or why you take more sick days than your colleagues. Some employers might not believe you when you try to explain how endo affects you. Finding a work situation that is doable is unfortunately difficult for many people who have endometriosis.
9. Chatting about your latest conquest with your friends
Endo is exhausting. And uncomfortable. And for some, difficult to discuss with others. When you begin dating someone, you’ll have to decide when to mention your condition to them. The pain caused by endometriosis can make it difficult to be intimate with someone. So now you have to decide. Do you want to let the person you’re talking to get to know you before you tell them? Or should you tell them right off so you can cut them loose if they react badly? And if your partner wants to have kids in the future...well, that just adds another stressful conversation to the mix.
10. Feeling like everything is going to be okay
Endometriosis can affect your mental health in so many ways. At first, you don’t know what’s wrong and you might spend all of your time trying to figure out how to feel better. Then you start missing out on things because you’re in too much pain. You’re too exhausted to keep up with your hobbies. You start feeling negative about yourself if your productivity starts slipping. All of these things snowball and can send you rolling into a pit of depression. If you finally get diagnosed, you know what’s wrong but now you also know that you’re stuck with this condition. It’s hard to stay positive, especially when following the advice from your well-meaning friends doesn’t lead to any changes for you.
11. Feeling understood
Here’s a little tip from me to you. Believe it or not, just because your doctor is an OB-GYN doesn’t mean they know a whole lot about endometriosis. So if your doctor is brushing off your symptoms or you don’t feel like you’re being heard, please don’t feel afraid to get a second opinion. It can be frustrating to feel like no one is taking you seriously. You may even feel like maybe you’re exaggerating or your symptoms really aren’t that bad. But you know your body, and if something doesn’t feel right you shouldn’t be afraid to keep searching for answers.