Endo, Adeno & Me
The Journey Continues...
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice."
Resilience, chronic pain, self-actualization & affirmation were some elements that brought me to start Meraki Life & Style, LLC. Here is a peek into my 20+ years of reproductive health challenges that have shaped me into the woman I am and continue to transform into.
Almost 25 years ago I was diagnosed with the chronic and extremely painful disease, StageIV Endometriosis. I'll never forget the night it happened, my life as I knew it was about to change forever. This searing, gut-wrenching pain awoke me out of my sleep during my sophomore year in college, causing me to fall out of bed. The pain was surreal, almost out-of-body, screams of pain were the only thing that enabled me to catch my breath. My boyfriend at the time was startled awake by my sobbing and screaming as I lay on the floor gripping my abdomen, writhing in pain.
He jumped into action and reached out to his fraternity brother, who had a car on campus, to rush us to the emergency room. I was in so much pain I began to hyperventilate and was unable to walk on my own and they had to carry me through the dorm, to his fraternity brother's car and ultimately into the ER. Considering none of us knew the cause of what had brought me to the ER in such distress, the doctors consequently had to rule things out - unfortunately, this process took over 4 hours of Xrays, ultrasounds (regular and vaginal - which was further excruciating).
The ER called in 4 surgeons to examine and observe me and decipher my lab results as I lay on the gurney in mind-numbing pain. It wasn't until about 2 hours into my ER visit was I informed that the ER doctors were trying to determine if my appendix had ruptured and if so, that is why they couldn't give me pain medication which could mask this possibly life-threatening condition and would require immediate surgery to remove the appendix. Once it was determined it wasn't my appendix, 4 hours later, the symptoms were attributed to a multiple cyst rupture, and I was finally given some pain relief. At the time the attending physicians were still not sure what had caused the rupture, but eventually sent me on my way with the potential diagnosis of endometriosis - which can only be definitively diagnosed through surgery, and that was my welcome into the 1 in 10 women world of Endometriosis.
As a result of this diagnosis, I was told at 19 to get a hysterectomy and I wouldn't be able to conceive or even carry a child to term because it would be put my life in danger. Knowing that this may become a reality has always been at the back of my mind but having to actually go through with it is entirely different. Some days I feel so numb.
In 2019 almost 23 years later, 20+ OB/GYNs, 4 surgeries, 2 runs on lupron (horrible side-effects), 3 runs on Mirena, the last pelvic MRI, it was found that I had a 10cm fibroid-the size of a melon, (1 of too many to count - that was only just 2 small ones years ago- my severe Adenomyosis and Endometriosis) that it's time to go through with a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, the hysterectomy has had horrible lasting side effects resulting in a transected ureter, chronic pyelonephritis, several hospitalizations, 2 in ICU, 3 additional surgeries, a blood transfusion and added daily pain. It's still a struggle some days just to get out of bed and do regular day to day activities. During my 3rd surgery, in 2012, I was also diagnosed with the Adenomyosis and Fibroids, which added another dimension to my journey with chronic illness and pain. I continue to persevere and push through. I pray one day there will be a cure (NO having a hysterectomy or babies does NOT cure it). I am so happy to see it's starting to get the long-overdue attention it deserves. I look forward to sharing the reality of being an EndoWarrior and what some of us go through in our daily lives and provide resources for others as we press through this life. Thank God I don't look like what I been through. 🙏🏽😁#smilethroughthepain
Endometriosis: A Silent Journey...A Celebration of Resilience
They say a picture speaks a thousand words...this gallery showcases the pain, fatigue, sisterhood, resilience and my desire to bring awareness to endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids and the stories of the those of us who deal with it everday... #endoblack #endowarrior #endometriosis