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Saturday, November 3, 2018

My Illness Journey Part 1: Painful Periods


 Hi I'm Kayla and when I was 13 years old I got my period.

No, it wasn't a magical ordeal straight out of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." It was your pretty average period.  Then as time went on, shit got real.  I started having to miss days of school because of period pain.  There were days I could barely get out of bed.  One of my aunts has Endometriosis [a chronic condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus goes rogue and grows wherever the fuck it wants, usually on the outside of the uterus and intestines], so we all just assumed that's what I had, but we never did anything besides actively try to ignore it for 5 years.  My whole family has a tendency to be in denial about stuff until shit hits the fan.  We sweep things under the rug, and don't do anything about it until the rug is five feet in the air atop a haystack-sized mound of dirt, dog hair, and unsolved problems.

So that's how it went with my Endometriosis.  We ignored it until it refused to be ignored.  Then we went to a doctor who prescribed birth control and advised that we ignore it some more.  Well, the birth control didn't help so we tried another variation, and another, and another... until the doctor decided it was high time I saw a gynecologist (Finally!).  Fortunately I was on medical leave from college for the sequence of events that followed (see previous post to see what the college fiasco was).

The gynecologist took one look at me, my family history, and my Ashkenazi Jewish blood (for those who don't know, having Ashkenazi Jewish blood means you're medically screwed), and he decided it was high time to test for Endometriosis.  The only way to diagnose it is via a small surgical procedure called a laparoscopy, in which they stick cameras in your bellybutton and abdomen to look around in there.  In a laparoscopy to diagnose Endometriosis, there's the lovely added measure of sticking metal tongs up your hoo-ha to move your uterus around so the camera can get a look at all sides of it. Fortunately I was out cold for the whole thing.

On February 19, 2016 they performed the surgery and they found lots of Endometriosis lesions so I had a definitive diagnosis (yay!).  A month later I was set to begin the treatment prescribed by my doctor. The doctor gave me no information on the treatment apart from: "it's a drug used to treat men's prostate cancer and also endometriosis because it starves the body of estrogen. It will put you into a false menopause." I asked about the side effects, and was told that the only side effects were hot flashes and moodiness.  So, in March of 2016, I received my first monthly injection of Lupron.  Not long after, my entire body completely fell apart and my life became a living nightmare.



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