Reinvention after Endometriosis
The month my life stood still-
As I walk past the dry erase calendar hanging on the wall in the laundry room, I my eye catches the writing on it as if it were engraved in stone, “SURGERY”————— with a long streaked line blocking out the time we will need to be away. Just over 6 months have gone by and still it is on display as if I need a daily reminder of the event that has completely altered my life. I know the calendar will change….one day, when I am ready to wipe it off the board and move on. It’s as if I did this now however from this -non permanent surface I might possibly forget, or worse others would forget. When something tragic has happened we tend to hold onto the threads of reality surrounding the event. Even if it is more painful, we have not decided to move on and so we can not make the leap forward.
Even though I am holding onto this (easily removable) form of cataloging events I have actually had a tremendous amount of self growth . I am actually in the process of reinventing myself.
Why would someone so young even need to think about a reinvention? I am 32 years old. Young enough to have the whole world in front of me but yet old enough to face the cold reality that life can throw on us at times. There are so many reasons why a person would look to change themselves . It may be out of force, it may be out of choice or it may be a combination of the two. In my situation it is a combination, I say that only because I like to think I have a choice in the matter.
I am a dreamer and have always been since I can remember. I love dreaming of the future and what the possibilities can be. Nothing is certain for the good or bad in the life we live… or so I thought. When we are young we think of life as an adult in a way that glamorizes and romanticizes it. “When I’m….(such and such age)… I’m going to have it all figured out”. I thought the same thing. They always ask you where you think you will be in 5, 10, 15 years and we would like to think we can plan the far ahead with some what certainty. Well that isn’t always the case.
There are those rare people that find life to flow smoothly as if they were riding a float down a lazy river and it ends exactly where and when they wanted, or close enough. For others it seems like we are on a ride in the rapids, gripping onto every rope on the raft so we don’t fall into the ice cold waters never to emerge above it all again.
There are so many cute phrases going around, the age old “if life gives you lemons then make lemonade”. My new favorite is “grow where you are planted”. This can be applied to life on so many levels. I have found it has been applicable in a geographical way and a physical health way.
How to begin… the story could be quite detailed and some what gorey. I will spare you the full length version and skip to the good stuff. All my life I have suffered with Endometreosis. I wasn’t fully diagnosed until 2015. This plays into my strong-as-an-ox disposition. First surgery was unsuccessful in the sense that I was suffering from healing and was still completely full of endo. which can be like dry leaves to a flame…more inflammation. At this point my husband and I did research and found a few books to educate us fully about his debilitating disease. We had just decided to start a family and were feeling desperate to get better. As the year went on and my health declined we knew that something drastic would have to happen. We got in touch with the top woman’s health Dr in the country (I believe “world”). It was set, the date of my next surgery.
My health was in such a bad state that I was practically disabled. I was not working out of the home anymore. I could not do regular house work, make dinner, etc. I would struggle to get myself up and dressed. I would have good days thrown in where I could get out of the house with my hubby to go see a movie or to my religious meeting.
“Who have I become”, I don't know this person who cant get up, cant get dressed, this person who lives in such a state of pain that could be unimaginable for most. I was losing me. My hopes of having a family of my own had flicked out as if it was an ash in the sky that floats away so far that you don't even remember it being there to begin with.
As the date moved closer we were making all of the necessary preparations, flight (his office is on the other side of the country) hotel, rental car, etc. Then the month arrived. It was time to write the calendar out so everyone would know when we’re leaving, in surgery and arriving home. This is the itinerary STILL left on the infamous dry erase board. My second surgery was not a full year from the first surgery.
The second surgery has proved to be a success in lowering my overall pain caused from end. I had to have a hysterectomy amongst other surgical techniques due to the extent of the disease. My doctor said that looking at me he could see why no one believed me that I wasn’t well. I look the picture perfect idea of health. In a weird way this annoyed me but I am grateful that I don’t look the way I feel, ugh that would be a sight to scare all eyes. He is such a kind doctor that truly understands the needs, emotions and makeup of women.
After the surgery I will never forget him coming to the recovery room. I heard him ask the nurse if I was awake, I struggled to open my eyes but saw him. He reached over and put his hand on my head and said “you will be alright now”. I then felt reassured that our decision to fly across the country was well worth it.
When my husband and I went into my post-op apt. we were informed by the doctor that my case was quite extensive. Much more than was anticipated, (no one can tell what is happening until they are actually inside). He went through pictures of the surgery with us explaining all of the details on what had happened. Unfortunately the endo. I have is the type that spreads. It was all over my organs and abdomen walls. He very carefully and skillfully removed all of the endo. and scar tissue and other parts that were damaged past repair. This was no minor procedure he informed us, this was “major” surgery.
So we traveled home and let the healing process begin. It has not been a walk in the park. The amount of tissue healing was great because of how extensive the endo. was. This meant that I would not be returning to work for sometime. My working profession was a LMT for the past 13 years. I have loved every minute of helping others feel better. It was strange though, once it had given me so much joy seeing others feel better and being able to assist them in this. Now I felt resentful. Giving my energy away and my strength to another. I had my own business with wonderful clients and made my own schedule. Why wasn’t my desire there? What happened? I just lost my drive, my ability to process another persons pain. For years I have taken on the world for my clients, feeling their pain, empathizing with them and continuing support through text. I had to be conscious of how much I would give because I am the person that gives until there is nothing left.
The time has come where it wasn't up to me to give, my body was calling all the shots. It had nothing to give and so I was unable to continue with my massage career at this point. I was able to hand them into the care of another LMT that I highly recommend. Even still when someone asks me about massaging again I feel bitter and upset. Like why cant they understand that I cant anymore. Its all gone. My body wants time for itself now. I hope one day I will be able to enjoy helping others through physical touch once again but I am not going to press the issue any time soon.
What to do with myself now? Now that I have undecidedly cast off my career. I needed an outlet, someway to express myself. I have always been into art, painting, sewing, drawing, pottery, pretty much if there was a creative part of an activity I have tried it. I love it! Art, yes start creating again. I found inspiration on the internet through various sites, instagram and youtube. So while I was practically home bound I put myself through art school. I couldn't get enough. Trying new techniques, paints, media. I was truly having fun and able to be absorbed in something that was bringing me joy again.
This has lead me into my new career path. I am now an artist selling on multiple platforms, in a local gallery, Instagram, Etsy, Fine Art America and commissions. Creating something from your mind that others enjoy has brought me peace again. I love painting with a brush and continue to mix this in with new techniques. I started exploring something called pouring method. This can be achieved with various media and techniques. Oh my goodness I was hooked. The movement of colors and rhythm you can create by mixing in different elements has become a huge stress relief to me. It reminds me the even if we don’t have ultimate control we can still end up with something beautiful. Everyday I am thankful for my loving supportive husband that has stood beside me through every painful night, every tear shed, every new venture tried. He is the one that has encouraged me to keep creating, he loves my work and is truly a blessing. I will delve into the problems I have with self doubt another time, that being said it means the world to me when my loved ones, friends and followers enjoy the art I create. I truly would love to inspire another who is dealing with unfortunate issues. To let them see there is always a way, a path that can lead to peace and happiness.
It can be scary not knowing the outcome of your choices. How will I feel? Will I turn into a basket case? Will I be less for not having all of me? Will I love myself? Can I still dream? The questions are endless. There will be those days that you “just can’t deal”, on those days I have come to accept the reality that I need to chill, relax and nap.. LOL. On the flip side there will be those days where you watch a butterfly float around your yard and you are thankful that you could see her in all her glory as she soars. The moment your fur-baby snuggles under your chin. When your loved ones give you a hug and lets you know they appreciate you. Those moments that give you the momentum to keep going, to take a shower and get dressed and to show that day it hasn’t won.
I hope you have found a piece of encouragement to take with you today. I would love to hear form you, email me if you have any questions about what books helped, what you are going through, etc.
Hoping you the best of days!