It has been a very long time since I was sick and an even longer time since I felt knocked out because of it!
It all began last week, with a horrendous plane landing coming into Dunedin, right in the middle of a storm. I felt such tremendous fear with that landing, which took a total of 40 minutes! I knew that my tears, breathing exercises and the calming words I kept repeating to myself were not exaggerated as I saw others completely break down in tears, once the plane finally landed. There were tears, hugs and claps! I can tell you, I won’t be keen to fly for a while!
So, during all of this, I know I put my body through some incredible stress and anxiety, and on top of that, the dude who was sitting next to me kept coughing over me. A wicked combination of low immune function and joyful bugs awaited their new host: namely me! Yes, I got a nasty cold and it is one I don’t believe I ever want to go through again.
Most colds seem to be the snotty, head-cloggy type. This one is different. It went straight for my glands and my throat. Next, into my lungs and a persistent cough, which kept me up some nights! The snottiness was fairly low on the scale but boy, what a nasty bugger this one has been. So, during this whole experience, I noticed how my emotions and thoughts went through a series of stages, while I tried to get well again. I also recognized that some of those emotions and thoughts were similar to my long journey with Endometriosis.
I thought it would be fun to break down our journey into stages, so you can see where you are at and hopefully can also see what is coming up ahead for you…
Stage 1: The Acknowledgement
This is really where we receive the insights that we are indeed sick or have a label for what we are going through. For many of us with Endometriosis, this in itself could’ve taken years and can fill us with a deep sense of relief. When we know what we have, we feel more of a sense of where to go from here.
For me, that acknowledgement came with a nasty sore throat and those glands being so swollen, I struggled to swallow! No question what this could be, right?
- In some cases, we may not even want to know what we have and may live in a place of denial with whatever is going on for us. I know I did this for a long time when it came to my digestive health.
Stage 2: The Research
This is where we are likely going to explore our options. We might hop online and visit some websites and get some ideas on what we can do. Hopefully, we dive deeper than simply listening to the opinion of one doctor and really know what is out there and what we can do to feel better.
This is about getting an “informed consent” and really researching what we do to our bodies and the long-term effects of our choices. Grab a free copy of the Informed Consent Guide here. Take care of yourselves first, ladies!
Stage 3: The Confusion
This is likely where we get conflicting information from doctors or those around us. We may hear two completely different viewpoints on how to approach something and are stuck with what to believe. This creates a sense of frustration and some level of anxiety. I know I got confused with whether I should take full days off to sleep or deal with the anxiety of not getting our house packed in time for our move! Sleep was pulling me but I also knew that I would be very stressed out trying to finish everything in the last minute. So, I compromised and did a little every day to finally get everything packed.
Stage 4: Anger
This is really where you hit that wall: why me? What is wrong with my body? and those self-defeating thoughts. I can tell you, these are hard to avoid when a cold hits you right between assignments being due, a big move to the other end of the country and a limited amount of time to do it all in! LOL!
With Endo I remember being stuck in this place for a number of years. I felt angry with my body for being “weak”, for being “pathetic” and I so desperately just wanted to be like everyone else and be able to do whatever they could. I was angry that I had Endo and blamed my body for it for so long!
When I discovered that it might be genetic, I opted for being angry with my mother, because I already had so much stuff there to be angry about and figured it would be great to add another thing to the list!
I was really not a nice person and the smallest things would ruffle my feathers. So glad I moved past that stage…
Stage 5: The Acceptance
This is where we get to a place of accepting ourselves and where we are at. We may even come to a place of appreciating the lessons we are gaining by going through this. I know for me, I actually became grateful for having Endometriosis—yes, it took a few years—but it did happen!
We accept our bodies. We accept our limitations and we find a way to live that works for us.
Stage 6: Taking Action
This is really the stage when we just feel so stuck and frustrated by it all that we decide we need to do something. We can’t stay in hating ourselves, our sickness or our bodies any longer and it doesn’t bring us forward. So, we seek out things to DO, actionable steps to bring us forward. We implement, we try and we explore. It becomes an adventure of testing and retesting. Trying, trying.
For me, this involved slurping a range of interesting concoctions to help soothe my chest and alleviate all that stuff that was obviously stuck in my lungs!
For Endo, it was testing a different diet, different supplements and really using my body as a guinea pig for all of it. I was willing to try anything and never gave up hope that I would find something that worked. Feel free to visit some of my older posts to get some ideas on the things I have tried:
- Why I am sticking an oily tampon up my vagina
- My experience of doing a Colonic
- Doing a liver flush – good or bad idea? (please don’t do this one!)
Stage 7: The Resolve
Over time and with enough persistence we get a handle on it all. We finally feel a sense of control and management of what we are going through. For me, this was discovering ginger and lemon tea at 1 am in the morning when my cough wouldn’t ease up!
For you this might be finding a diet that works for you or finding forms of meditation that ease things for you on a stress level. The wonderful thing with approaching the body holistically is that we can keep adding different things into our lives and eventually they all combine to give us relief.
This stage does of course come with different layers and we can get to different forms of contentment and acceptance of our body’s health. Initially, I was just happy to not have pain every day, then it was not having pain the week before my period and finally I was only truly content when I had reached a no pain period!
Our goals get greater as we recognize what our bodies are truly capable of!
Important point to note here: it is likely that we can take steps backwards or we might even go over a number of stages over and over again to finally move onto the next stage. I know for me, I went back to anger a fair bit before I could truly move forward to acceptance and taking action when it came to my Endometriosis.
Perhaps you can see yourself in these stages and recognize where you are at on your journey. Feel free to share where you think you may be at or if there are any stages you feel I should add…