It can be a hard place to sit. You are stuck between two choices. On the one hand you have the option of surgery. It feels like a drastic option but the promise of “no more pain” is irresistible and somehow it seems to almost blind you of what that means. The surgery means cutting out one of your ovaries or absolutely everything, depending on which doctor you speak to. They illustrate this as your only option. You weigh it up as having either dealing with severe pain or not being able to have children.
On the other hand you feel a sense of hope in trying new methods. You want to believe that there must be more out there to try, to explore and hopefully one of those methods will work and finally rid you of this agony, this endless torture. It is hard because each day that you experience pain, you don’t know how you are possibly going to carry on living like this. You hope that each day will be better and the days where you don’t experience pain seem so few that they become a treasure, a blessing… being pain free is the most amazing thing in the world. You envy people who seem to never suffer with pain and it seems so unfair that your life has become simply living with painkillers and hoping that the next day will be better.
Thing is, I have been in this place. I know it well. I was at those crossroads over six years ago. I just wanted the pain and the endless symptoms to end. I didn’t care about the consequences anymore. I didn’t even care how it would affect my body. I just wanted it to stop. I knew it meant I would potentially not have children but to me, the ability to live life again was worth it. Even if it was just to live life for me!
Unfortunately, the decision is not that simple and the solution of “cutting everything out” is not always the definite end to pain. In many cases, the endometriosis still manages to grow back in some women. It is still not a guarantee for all women.
So, what do you do? We are all different and I cannot advise you on what is the best decision to make for your body. Instead, I will guide you on how to make the decision a little easier.
3 things to consider:
1. How much pain are you in?
Measuring pain levels are almost impossible. I know for me, I would be in tears from the severity of pain. I believe the tears were a combination of pain and panic, all rolled into one. Which unfortunately just made things worse! Thing is, you know how much you can bear and how tough you are. Do you feel you can handle another 6 months of pain? Do you think that if there was a deadline to it all that it would make it more bearable?
If the answer is no, then perhaps the answer lies therein.
I have a good friend who had severe endometriosis. It had managed to find its way into her lower back and she couldn’t even walk. It was horrible and to her, the decision to have a hysterectomy was a given. She has been pain free for over 5 years now and doesn’t regret it.
Not all our cases are this severe. I know mine was not this bad. Though I experienced severe pain, which kept me in bed for many days in a row, I could still work and do things around it. Not well and there were many days where I had to call in sick for work, but I managed to get through. Unfortunately, even in these cases doctors will still recommend complete hysterectomies or more surgery as a solution.
2. Have you really explored and implemented natural healing properly?
I know it is hard going 100% natural. I did that too. Going 100% natural means relying completely on our bodies to heal themselves. No surgery, no mirena coil, no contraceptive pill, no hormonal treatments and even cutting out many of the over-the-counter drugs we use every day. This is hard and chances are you will begin to doubt yourself, or others around you will question your choice in doing this. It means relying solely on a natural practitioner to guide you and your body to find natural solutions.
Natural healing doesn’t work in combination with other treatments. It will certainly help you feel better when you use them in combination but you will never heal fully with these foreign things in your body. They are simply not supposed to be inside you and your body was not designed to have them in there. Every drug you take has a countereffect in there. Not just on your Endometriosis but on every function that happens naturally in your body. This might be okay for a short burst, like taking a headache tablet but it is scary to consider what this is doing to your body over a longer period of time.
Many of us dismiss natural methods as ineffective. We go and try one element of natural healing, like we might go and do acupuncture for a little bit or try a supplement suggested by a health practitioner for a period of time. Your naturopath might even suggest a series of supplements to solve a particular symptom. Thing is, natural healing doesn’t work in isolation. All elements need to work together to heal the body. It is holistic. That means every aspect of your life, your thoughts, your diet, your emotions, even where you live and what you do for work are all factors in your healing and feeling better with endo. It took me years to realize that my job in advertising was not suited for healing. I was going out drinking heaps, under lots of work pressure to meet deadlines and was working far too long hours. I wasn’t exercising or eating well. I never attributed any of this to my severe pain with endometriosis until I changed careers and noticed the dramatic difference in a matter of months.
3. Listen to your inner self
I know many of you who have written to me with this question are seeking some kind of guidance. Perhaps you want me to tell you to go natural? Perhaps you feel the pressure but your inner self is telling you not to? Thing is, I can’t make the decision for you. I can only guide you on my personal experience, which will be different to yours.
What do you feel inside of yourself is the right decision? Without the worrying about how long you have to endure this for? Or the “is my life ever going to be normal?” stuff.
Allow yourself to go still. Sit somewhere quiet and just breathe. Focus on your breathing and try to clear as much of the worrying and fears of pain from your mind. Just think of a happy place or find stillness (if you can). Now, within that space of peace, focus on what you really want for your body. If you are religious, you could also ask God in a prayer on what you should do.
The important thing is to stop your mind clutter. What I mean by that is that endless worrying and overthinking of things and to come to a resolution about those matters.
For me, I gave myself an ultimatum. I said I would try natural healing for 6 months. Really give it 100%. I would do anything—cut out gluten, cut out chocolate, cut out sugar, get needles put in me, walk on coals… if I must! I really did it properly though. I walked everyday. I did yoga, de-stressed, changed my diet gradually and did some massive emotional healing. I cannot attribute only one aspect to my healing journey, as I believe it all worked in combination.
I am not 100% healed… yet, but I can promise you that I don’t wake up in pain each day or for days in a row anymore. I don’t lie screaming in agony even after taking volumes of painkillers. I can go for walks without pain and can even enjoy sex again!
I know for many of you reading this, this sounds like a far reality from where you are now.
We all have our own journey to travel and though mine worked out for me, it may not work for you or the road may take longer or require more drastic methods to work. In some cases, the severity of the endo is too far gone and there are no further options left. Only you can make these decisions for your body… but please make sure you have really researched everything properly before you do.