When I think of pain I think of a lot of different things. I think of loss. Of failing. Heartbreak. Emotional pain is the first to come to mind. Then there's the more simple, straightforward pain. Hitting your knee on the corner of a coffee table or getting stung by a bee. I always think of getting a splinter when I was a kid. To me, at the time, that was the worst imaginable pain. However, I never wanted my mom to take the splinter out because I knew that would hurt even more. Even if it'd be over in the blink of an eye.
I once had a splinter right in the side of my finger, I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. My mom tried to convince me to let her take it out, her main argument was that my finger would really hurt while I drove my Winnie the Pooh car - since the steering wheel would dig into the side of my finger. I said I would rather live with that for the rest of my life than have her take it out. My stubbornness only lasted a day or so.
Currently, I feel a lot of pain a lot of the time. Instead of being a splinter in the side of my finger, this time it's endometriosis. I want to clarify that I have yet to get an official diagnosis. Which is, I know, controversial and self diagnosing is not something I generally advocate for. However, something that has come a long with the physical pain I have felt is fear. Fear that if a doctor tells me that I am right and I do have endo it will all become too real for me to process. Fear that the pain I feel won't be believed and instead written off. Or that the diagnosis could be something much worse. Something that my brain won't even let me think of, let alone write down or say out loud. So, I've been sitting with the doctors phone number in the notes on my phone for a month now, avoiding dialing it.
For a long time, I thought that the pain I felt was a normal thing. That everyone felt it every month, so I never thought it was important enough to bring up. It was just an unfortunate part of life. It wasn't until sometime last year when I really started to realize that something might be wrong. So, naturally, I pretended I had my own PHd and went to WebMd to see what it could be. I was faced with a terrifying list of possibilities. Entirely overwhelmed, I moved on from the thought until a few months ago when I mustered up the courage to do some more research. Endometriosis is the only one from the terrifying list that seems to, sadly, check all the boxes.
I've read countless articles, watched too many videos, and thought endlessly about endo since I first read all the symptoms. The one that pops in my head the most, usually to ruin an otherwise perfectly fine day, is infertility. Most women with endometriosis experience infertility in some way.
So, for the past year or so I have channeled my stubborn inner 5 year old and convinced myself that I never even wanted children in the first place. I'd rather just not be a mom. Which is a perfectly fine thing to do. I am content with never having children. Except for the fact that I don't know if that is true. I can't promise you that this choice isn't just me trying to make myself feel okay about the fact that my body probably can't have a healthy pregnancy. That I will probably experience miscarriages in my lifetime. My body not only causes me pain, but also can't do one of its most important jobs. I don't know if I have just convinced myself to the point of believing it to be fact or not.
What I do know is that it has been hard. Hard to be in pain. To be scared. To not have answers. But also to not really know if I want answers. They might hurt more than the physical pain itself. I've sat with these thoughts for a very long time. They've raced through my mind. Kept me up at night. I think they'll keep doing that for a while, but now they also exist outside of my mind. So, that makes them a little less overwhelming. Less frightening. Still painful, but easier to process.