So, I’ve had Endometriosis since I was 13. At the time, I dealt with hemorrhaging (excessively uncontrollable bleeding), the worst cramps of my life and no remedy. Because I had irregular periods, my doctor put me on the pill (at 13), which didn’t work out too well since I couldn’t remember to take them at the same time daily and they made me nauseous. I’m a Chicagoan and after being referred from one doctor to another (& countless hospitalizations), I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was about about 15. My doctor told me I would never be able to have children, my condition was hormonally dependent (so we had to find a birth control that worked for me) and the condition is agitated by stress. We tried Depo Provera which worked, until we hit that 3 month mark. I felt like my body was punishing me for all the good days I had. I was on Depo for 10 yrs and even though still had REALLY bad times, it was the only medicine that gave the the type of relief that allowed me to live a semi-normal life.
I experienced a lot of embarrassment because I’d bleed through my clothes. I had days that I didn’t want to get out of bed, but did so anyway, just to be sent home because my cramps were too aggressive for me to concentrate on anything else & I messed up my clothes. I tried all types of tea, Epson Salt baths, heating pads, diaper covers (to prevent bleeding through my clothes), using several pads and tampons simultaneously, all types of medication (prescribed and over the counter) that NEVER worked! I felt like a prisoner of my own body. I refused to talk to too many people about this. Shit, the people that knew, knew by default. My family, best friend and cousin but only because they witnesses my “Endo Episodes” 1st hand. This post has taken me 5 days to write, because it takes me back to a very sad time in my life…
Around my Junior year in High School, I transferred to a school in the City which offered Gallery 37 (an acting/art after school program), a step team (like the Frats and Soros), I took piano lessons, a member of Upward Bound and Urban League. This may seem off topic, but belonging to these programs made me feel like I was a part of the team. Although I still fought my battles, it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming mentally and emotionally because I had other things to focus on. My REAL saving grace came at the beginning of my schooling, which was gym. I was able to release aggravation, by being physical, competitive and feel positive emotions, which later I found were Endorphins. By the time High School came, I was totally hooked! But, I had limitations because I had chronic Asthma until I was 23 years old.
When I was about 22, my whole family (and ex boy friend) moved to Las Vegas. About a month into living here, I had a horrible episode. My daddy rushed me to the hospital and after reading my chart and giving me a drip of “real drugs” all night, I was refered to my current doctor. During our 1st visit, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t stand straight up. He told me we would HAVE to explore a laparoscopy if my pain didn’t go away or calm down significantly in 2 wks. Of course, it didn’t so we did it. A laparoscopy is an out-patient procedure where they cut you open and laser out the built up scar tissue that grows in your Uterus, Fallopian Tubes, ovaries or whatever lady parts this yucky monster attacks you. Of course I was scared, as this was my 1st operation. My recuperation time was about a month. He also found some pretty big cysts. I was told this procedure was to bring me relief but if I were able to bear children, that’d be a beautiful surprise. Apparently, my beautiful surprise came AS SOON as my recovery time was done. God sent me my beautiful baby girl.
My pregnancy was pretty good. I had little to no issues w/my condition. Hormonally, I was a lil cray cray, but that’s about it. My sister often jokes about how I handled my labor like a G. The truth was, I’ve felt worst pain and I knew a beautiful baby girl was my prize, but under normal circumstances, the prize was feeling normal about 5-7 days later. After I had my daughter, I had postpartum depression. I was not willing to go on meds, so I went back to work as soon as she turned 6 wks old. My daughter and her dad had a beautiful bond and she and I didn’t, which hurt. Because I was anti-drugs and I gained 50 pounds, I began to exercise like MAD via Lifetime and Exercisetv.tv. I was able to claim my old body back in about 60 days. Also, my daughter and I started our bond when she was about 3 months old. I had a C-Section, so I couldn’t do the ab challenges like I wanted to, initially, but when I could, I rode that thang til the wheels fell off! After that, I still had horrible battles with my condition, not to mention my daughter had chronic asthma, chronic allergies and chronic eczema. Because of our excessive doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations, I lost many jobs, which created money problems. If it weren’t for my parents, granny and siblings, only God knows where I’d be.
Skip forward 3 yrs, I had my son. I had postpartum depression with him too and my doctor put me on Prozac. He warned me that I would have to wean myself off. I stayed on for about a month, then I stopped cold turkey (I know, I’m so damned hard headed). About 7 months later, I moved to Miami with my boyfriend. Now, he’s from there, had a foundation and family. I felt like a fish out of water, but I wanted my family to work so I tried my best. I stayed for 4 yrs and had a super crazy experience overall. In that time, I managed to get my AS in Psychology and I became even more dependent on exercise. No matter how my life was going, I felt in control in the gym. I loved the body that I was creating, all of my problems disappeared, I found the willpower to deal with whatever came my way (and believe me, it was always something). I took sculpting, dance, yoga, pilates, belly dancing, cross-training, boot camp and urban kick boxing classes (to name a few). Toward the end of my stay in Miami, I came across a Hip-Hop class that taught me about Twerking (read about it in my “Why Twerk” post) that introduced me to me. I learned how to control my muscles, I learned how to do body isolations fast, slow, up, down. I learned how to do the dances the women down there did that just intimidated the life out of me. But most importantly, I learned to believe in me. I learned that I control my life. It started in fitness, but took precedence over me. All of me!
Fast forward 1 1/2 yrs later. I’m in Vegas. I teach Twerk Out Work Out and Hot Hula via the City of Las Vegas, I’m in the process of offering the classes online and then BAM, I get sick (AGAIN, WTF!?!) I have become so tolerant to being in pain ALL the time, I have a hard time deciphering when I need to get help or not. Sometimes I go to the Doctor and explain my symptoms and they look at me like I’m a hypochondriac who has nothing better to do than complain about pain that’s not there. Or complain about heavy bleeding, cuz who reads medical charts any more!?! What’s worse, there isn’t much definitive information out there about Endometriosis. I find more answers, support and possible remedies from others who suffer compared to the doctors who are just well paid educated guessers (shade but no shade).
I created this post to share with someone (or some people) so they can realize they are not alone. Although there isn’t a “cure”, there are ways to manage this condition. I hate talking about Endo because I don’t want to take on the whole “woe is me” mindset, nor do I want a pity party. I’m a survivor and so are YOU! Education, exercise and prayer and saved me. I’m currently looking into meditation (I’ll let you know how that goes). If you ever need a friend, you got a friend in me (a complete stranger, lol). My granny ALWAYS reminds me, God doesn’t put more on us than we can bear. And this too shall pass. Until next time. TTYL
All my love (& support)
Angela bka “Ms. Twerk Out Work Out”
Ps- Feel free to leave questions, concerns and/or comments on this post. :~*