Where has this year gone?
Well, the answer from my perspective: straight down the drain.
But with five months left, maybe I can salvage it.
I made a choice at the end of last year to proceed with a new-to-me treatment for my endometriosis. I had exhausted all other options with no success and frankly, I was exhausted. This past May marked 16 years that I've been suffering with this condition and every month I keep hoping for improvement. But the past few years, even after surgery, my condition worsened, and it went from a five-days-a-month nuisance to a twenty-five-days-a-month ball and chain.
For 16 years, I've watched it slowly take over, jeopardizing my friendships, relationships, work, physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life.
Canceling plans, making excuses, laying on the couch, popping painkillers, crying into the pillow. To the outside world, I must have looked like a sad, lazy, flake. The invitations to hang out stopped coming, and I watched as friendships started to fade away. Sports became infinitely more difficult to participate in. I would lay in bed, heating pad plugged in, painkillers within reach, and a hot cup of tea by my side, and I would just blame myself. Why couldn't I beat this? Why couldn't I be stronger?
I could write a novel on all the negative ways endometriosis has impacted my life. Though I have let friendships and relationships fall through my fingers, I am grateful that I've had a family who love and supports me, and who is always there with blackberry brandy for my tea (my grandmother's secret cure for cramps).
Fast forward to January 6 of this year. I received my first injection for a treatment that would send me tumbling into medical menopause.
What I was expecting: two weeks of hell, six months of zero cramps, and some hot flashes.
What I got: six months of hell, some cramps, hospital visits, hospital bills, the body of a 65-year-old, and a strained marriage.
And now: a horrible hormonal transition, prescription-strength vitamin supplements, infections, and a fuck-ton of guilt.
This is definitely not what the first year of marriage should be like. I am lucky to have had such a patient, loving, understanding, and supportive husband through all of this. But I can see the pain, the frustration, the anxiety, the pressure, and the anger. I don't blame him.
I blame myself.
(Anyone can connect the dots between my endometriosis and depression, right? Funny how I was so blind to it for all these years).
But, I know I tried as hard as I could since January. I started this blog to try and give me something positive to focus on. I stepped up my social media game to try and connect with others, find inspiration, and put myself out there. I enrolled in some culinary classes to learn and find confidence in myself. I took and passed my first NCIDQ exam. I even had small victories, like getting out and getting a latte or beer with my husband on days where I didn't think I could move.
Despite those accomplishments, both large and small, I still look back and see all the time I spent on the couch watching Friends and Frasier on Netflix. I still see all the times I didn't get up and go outside. I still focus on the lack of intimacy I caused. I see the commitments I abandoned, and the people I wish I paid attention to.
In April I started seeing a behavioral therapist, which has been incredibly helpful in beginning to look objectively at both the endometriosis and this treatment, separating myself from any guilt or anxiety it may cause. I still have a long way to go (you can't just turn 16 years of bad habits around that quickly), but I hope it's part of a long-term change of perspective.
There's still time to turn this ship around.