It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized just how much of a pain in the ass I must have been. Not only was I an emotional wreck, I was cranky and tired…and I didn’t know it. I think this realization has been the worst part of my healing. Understanding that my self awareness was minimal. I don’t know if it common amongst chronic illness patients, being continually in a state of Fight or Flight. Or maybe being diagnosed so young stunted mental awareness… or maybe its just me, maybe I’m just slow to recognize my own behavior. But oh my… How angry was I?
It has been a strange experience, to remember painful parts of my life. Some memories are very vivid, others are dull but enhanced by stories from family and friends, and there are a lot of empty spots. I can remember feeling angry and confused. I wanted to be left alone a lot. I can’t imagine having to put up with me. I annoyed myself, so I can’t image how my family felt.
I wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to my family. My Mom and Dad did everything they knew to do. We would travel to see the best doctors. They would provide whatever treatment I needed, even though insurance rarely covered it. (Endometriosis is considered an infertility problem by insurance, and often not covered, although I believe it has gotten better over the years). They would let me sleep on the kitchen floor, even though it broke their hearts, I insisted it felt better. I would yell at my Mom for asking how I was feeling. “Any better today?” she would inquire. “NO!” I would snap, “Thanks for reminding me I feel like shit. I feel like shit today. I felt like shit yesterday!” She just wanted me to know she cared, and I couldn’t see it. Mom, I am sorry. Thank You for caring!
To my sister. Wow. Honey, I am sorry. Thank you for putting up with me (like you had a choice!). It was in college when I began to grasp how very unaware I was. Either I blocked painful memories or the pain pills aided in my forgetfulness (probably a combination of both). The pain had flared up again. My sister and I had an apartment together at the time, and finals were around the corner. I had a paper due for an Urban Development class. I was in so much pain. I found myself laying on the kitchen floor again. In tears. My sister and boyfriend (now husband) helping me write my paper. At one point my sister put a wet wash cloth on my forehead. “What are you doing” I asked. “This always made you feel better. You’d calm down and go to sleep.” I laid there grateful for the gesture and confused. I had no memories of that at all. They tell me I slept, and they wrote my 10 page paper. They tell me I got a ‘B’.
And to my husband. I love you. We started dating when I was 16. He’s been there for 15 of 17 years of the Endometriosis. And he still married me 🙂 He took care of me after many surgeries. Not slept because the hospital loaded me up with so much saline I’d have to pee on the hour, if not more. Watched me lay in bed for days, rub my back for hours, tell me I wasn’t a hormonal disaster, and hold my skinny body with unbrushed hair that probably hadn’t showered in days, telling me I was beautiful and that he’s lucky to have me as his wife. Where did I find this guy? For real. Forever in love.
I write this not only for my family, but also for the family members of those who are struggling. I didn’t know I was angry, ungrateful, and selfish. Between pain pills and hormones my brain was awfully clouded. I really thought I was fine, and everyone else was overreacting. I cannot imagine how hard it was to put up with and watch. All I can say is, we can’t do it without you.
To my family, I love you. Thank you!