Seven years ago I never would have imagined that I would be as healthy, happy and fulfilled as I am now. I have endometriosis, a debilitating condition which robs you of your energy, optimism, and hope. I thought life would stay this way until my life was changed one night in 2011. This is my story of conquering endo.
I am writing my story so that other women who are suffering from this condition can know that they too can have hope for a kinder tomorrow.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis. I remember that day so vividly. I was sitting in the Doctors office with my husband when I heard those words “ You have endometriosis”. I didn’t know a whole lot about the condition but I did know that it was implicated in infertility and was something that no woman wants to have. I was devastated. I had known that something wasn’t right for some time; with constant abdominal and pelvic pain and fatigue. Hearing those words just cemented my fear. I felt incredibly alone. My husband tried to tell me not to worry. His words were lost on me.
Following my diagnosis the pain continued to increase. It honestly felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside and they were very angry with me. I was exhausted and constantly nauseated. I hardly ate anything, I lost a lot of weight. This pain went on for years. I had surgery to remove adhesion’s (where the uterus sticks to organs surrounding it), had hormones administered (zolodex), and developed depression and anxiety. I became a different person. I did have good days but many days I stayed in bed, couldn’t work and socialising was the last thing from my mind.
Through all of this my husband was amazing. It’s during the trials in life you realise the strength and integrity of the one you married. He had always been a wonderful partner but he was truly my rock during those dark and difficult years. If I was the person I am now perhaps I wouldn’t have put him through so much. Hind sight is an incredible thing.
Essentially my life felt as if it had no purpose, that there was no end in sight to my pain and heartache and that I would be stuck in the spiral of depression forever. This was my fate. How could this be possible when I was a Christian? Why was God doing this to me? I asked an awful lot of questions and received very few answers. I prayed, I asked for God to heal me, I desperately cried out to Him to heal my pain and ease my suffering. I essentially felt very sorry for myself. I felt as if I had the right to feel sorry for myself. Everyone else around me seemed to have it all together, no one else seemed to have pain that paralysed them. How the years have given me understanding.
On the evening of April 10th 2011 (three days before my 28th birthday) I was reading about endometriosis on the internet. I came across a website called www.endo-resolved.com. The website described a natural approach to healing endometriosis. This was completely foreign to me. I had tried the conventional approach and it had truly made little to no difference to my symptoms. I was desperate, I was honestly ready to try anything and what could I possibly lose? The approach was radical, it seemed completely crazy and when I told my family I wanted to try it, many of them thought I had lost my mind. I probably had. Desperation calls for desperate measures.
The diet entailed cutting a whole lot out. It meant giving up plenty of things I loved. I’ve since told people about the diet that changed my life and they tell me they couldn’t do it. I tell them they would if they were as unwell as I was. They admit that they have to agree. The endometriosis diet included….. eating NO red meat, No gluten, No sugar, No dairy, No soy, No e numbers (food additives), No caffeine, No chocolate, No preservatives…WITH a HUGE emphasis on naturally grown food and home cooked food (preferably organic if you can afford it). I became gluten free, salad eating, almond milk drinking, chicken eating, no morning wake up coffee, eating like a hippy girl overnight. Why? Because to be honest I felt like it was my last option besides having a hysterectomy in my 20’s.
I went cold turkey. It was like a detox. Within two weeks I started to notice that I had slightly less pain. The stabby little person inside my tummy had lost a bit of their strength. The stabs became slightly duller and less like that little person was trying to rip their way out of my abdomen. I stuck with the diet religiously. Checking every package for the ingredient list, rejecting any offending products and substituting with home cooked food. I learned how to cook, I mean really cook properly. With the increased energy I had I focused more on cooking meals that nourished my body rather than hurting it.
I stayed on the diet for 7 months. In that time my pain reduced from excruciating daily pain to bearable occasional pain. I gained six kilos (now that doesn’t sound like much but at 46 kilos at my sickest that was 13% of my body weight.) I had enough energy to return to work in a meaningful capacity. I was able to go for walks when before I had days where I struggled to walk to the letter box. I felt like I had my life back.
This is by no means the full story. There are simply too many experiences to mention that brought me to that place of anguish in 2011. There are too many wonderful experiences since to do them justice by writing them down.
There is more healing, hope, patience, love, humility and prayer. There is an understanding of how small I am and how great God is. My faith was not destroyed by endometriosis. When I saw pain and suffering, God saw refining through trials. When I saw depression and heart ache, He saw the bigger picture. The times in our life when we are weakest, He is our strength.
There is more to my story and there is more to yours. You aren’t defined by your weakness, your depression, your pain or suffering. I loved God through my trials but I was angry with Him. I questioned Him constantly. I know I can’t understand God’s ways. His ways are far above mine. I do know one thing though… ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5
God bless you and thank you for reading my story.