My Endo Story - Nicole
by Nicole Lambert
I was 11 when I started my period, in the backseat of our family car, on the grueling 1000+ mile return trip from my grandparent’s house. I honestly can’t remember if I knew what was happening or not, but I remember the pain. This first dance with the devil set the unfortunate tone of all the many, many months that followed.
"Another benchmark in the years to come that would be full of missed occasions, too sick to go, too sick to care..."
I remember at 13, going with my family to see a movie. I was in agony. It was an early summer day, and the heat from the sun made the backseat warm. I laid against it; my first heating pad. Even though it barely made a dent in my pain, it helped a little, and I was grateful. I begged to stay in the car, just wanting the heat, wanting it more than the movie we were supposed to see. Reluctantly, I was allowed to. Another benchmark in the years to come that would be full of missed occasions, too sick to go, too sick to care.
Eventually my mom took me to our family doctor who, after coming up empty handed on a reason for my symptoms, dismissively determined I was depressed. Well…yes, yes, I was, but that did nothing much for my cramps. It was suggested I go on birth control to see if that helped; and it did, for a while at least. The repercussions of my chemical intervention was a whole new set of problems. Full of fluctuating hormones that my body did not like, I threw up almost every morning before school. I joked and called it my morning sickness. In time that evened out, and I had many years of “ok” periods. The monthly cramps were still pretty brutal, but manageable, and I loved the convenience of knowing where I was in my cycle. Maybe the birth control would have kept helping, I’ll never know. At 19 I got a blood clot in my eye, resulting in permanent vision loss. I would never be able to take birth control pills again.
"Now I felt like I had a constant UTI. I had a strange, and very uncomfortable stretching and pulling sensation in my abdomen, and the pressure baring down from inside was just miserable. I even tried standing on my head once, just to see if I could get relief that way..."
The focus returned to managing the pain. Midol turned into Tylenol-3, then Vicodin, muscle relaxers, and benzos. Nobody knew what to do with me, so we took the “throw all the pills at it” approach. I continued that way for several years, floating from doctor to doctor, trying to find someone, anyone, to give me some answers. Now I felt like I had a constant UTI. I had a strange and very uncomfortable stretching and pulling sensation in my abdomen, and the pressure baring down from inside was just miserable. I even tried standing on my head once, just to see if I could get relief that way. I didn’t lol. At this point, I had conceded that this whole thing was all in my head. I told myself that, every single day. The doctors kept saying “nothing’s wrong, nothing’s wrong”, and I was so exhausted, I just accepted it.
“There’s nothing wrong with me!” I would lie to myself with conviction, despite the fact that my periods were so heavy now, with great big clots. Like eggs to be lain by the hour. This is gross, but I hate having to use the restroom in public during my period, because it’s virtually impossible to come out of the stall without blood on my hands. It’s just so much, and so messy! The pain started to get worse again, very concentrated in