Excruciating pain abruptly hits and I know that instead of truly ovulating, I am instead feeling the pain of endometriosis. As the few weeks lead up to what should be my "cycle indicator" but really isn't, I often lie awake crying. Crying because it's agonizing and seemingly unfair. The pain cycle ranges from 6 to 14 days out of each month. Crying because I can't move my legs or my body, for fear I will throw up. Crying because this pain is so much more than an autoimmune disease: it prevents life from growing. The pain is more real than ever and it seems to be screaming into my face.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the lining of a woman's uterus grows in places outside of the womb causing chronic pain, internal bleeding, and often infertility.
Endometriosis hurts. It's physically and emotionally painful; it affects us in ways that are often too vulnerable to speak of.
I have read countless articles and blog posts about pain management for endo. (HI: read Endometriosis Awareness). The attempts I've made are countless and it always comes back to: a hot rice sack, laying down, crying to Jesus, and a heavy painkiller. I hate the painkillers. The pain is excruciating and frustrating and discouraging. The pain reminds me once again of my broken body. The pain...it can easily distract me from my supreme desire of clinging to Jesus as His beloved. It can swoop me away into self pity and self-centeredness; the exact place I do not want to be.
She looks healthy and alive, and she is. She doesn't appear broken within, but she is. Endometriosis means silently suffering. The cure? There is none. The cause? Unknown. The treatment? A ridiculous amount of hormones which actually puts you into fake menopause; or removing your uterus. Neither of which is on my radar. (1 in 10 women silently suffer from this). And it takes a lot of self control to not constantly complain while the pain and inflammation is flaring. It includes a lot of me wishing I didn't complain, because I do complain, and who wants to be around someone who constantly complains?
Articles on pain management are easy to find. Blog posts to feel un-alone and understood are even more important and just as easy to find. (HI: read Yellow Paper Dress's Endometriosis Journey). We don't need another one of those. But what I want to offer is something else. It is easy to get wrapped up in our chronic pains and conditions and our endometriosis. It is easy to label ourselves as just another human battling the pain and loss that comes with it. It is easy to walk around with a false identity. Where is the freedom in that? In seeing ourselves and living as though our value, or lack of, comes from a disordered body and a diagnosis that will complicate life on earth?
I fully believe that the best thing for us is Jesus Christ. In all things. In our sufferings, in our disappointments, in our chronic-issues. While I stop denying the fact that I have a very real chronic disorder, I want to invite you to remove the Endometriosis Identity. And instead, place on the identity of an image bearer of God. A child of the Creator. The perfect and most loving Creator.
Learning to see Him in my brokenness,