For years I felt pressure to tell my story with endometriosis in a certain way; how long ago were you diagnosed, what stage is the disease in, what’s your pain level, how many surgeries have you had, etc.

I never identified with this formula. Yes, I have “endo stats” as I call it, and I’ve always felt pressure to divulge my medical history. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I accepted that my medical history is not my story. My story begins where my endometriosis (endo) ends.

Audrey Michel. Owning endometriosis. Endometriosis story and finding healingDuring my last laparoscopy surgery, no visible sign of endometriosis was found. How great! I was free of the disease! This was supposed to be the best day of my life, everything I had dreamed of…endometriosis was GONE! Except I was in more pain than I had ever been. I didn’t know where to turn, I didn’t know what to do. I clung to medical professionals more than ever. Went to every specialist in any discipline that seemed like they might have an answer as to why I hurt so bad. I ended up with more appointments, more prescriptions, more treatments, and more confusion.

Throughout 2008-2009 my perspective and beliefs were shifting. And more importantly, my heart and intuition were staging an intervention. I didn’t know it at the time, but my story was just beginning. What I identify with is the journey to dig out of the hole coping with endometriosis and chronic pain put me in. In dealing with day-to-day life with chronic pain and disease I created many unhealthy habits

, and disconnection from myself and my body were the worst. Between the fog of medication

, the “I’m Fine” mask, and a high pain tolerance, my body, mind, and spirit were numb. Owning my pain and my endometriosis meant accepting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain and trauma I’d avoided for over half my life. Welcoming pain and trauma as a part of my story sucked, I never wanted any of it. I wanted (and thought I was living) a life of perfectly checked boxes off the “you’re-supposed-to-do-this list”.

Today my life looks very different than it once did. I no longer have the 8-5 corporate career I went to college for. I no longer feel pressure to keep a perfectly clean home, attend every social gathering I said yes to. Most days I get out of bed around 8:30am after doing body work and listening to inner wisdom. Once or twice a week I have therapy sessions alternating between acupuncture, kinesiology, trigger point and energy release massage, and chiropractic. Don’t ask me to shower before noon unless I’ve scheduled a meeting outside my home office. It may look like I spend my days galavanting about from coffee shops to massages to chillin’ on the sofa with my cats, and that’s okay. I know my body requires a lot of maintenance to remain pain free and at optimal physical, mental, and emotional performance.

I now allow myself to feel all feelings and sensations, even if they’re uncomfortable or painful. I believe my sensitive body is powerful and I view physical pain or tension as communication from my emotional body and a road map for uncovering negative thoughts and beliefs. Listening to my body is a tool for discovering unhelpful mental patterns. I’ve made it my business to honor my body and to listen to my body, and to inspire women to do the same.

I am obsessed with self-care and maintaining unconditional self-love because I know what the opposite feels like. It’s pretty shitty. It took my living through darkness and hitting rock bottom to be okay with spending any amount of time, money, and energy on my wellness needs. I am worth it. So are you.

Audrey Michel. writer. speaker. spiritual growth coach.

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