The Tricky Business of Making Plans By An Endometriosis Sufferer
“Ok, so how about 14th April?”
“Let me check my P Tracker.”
My husband and I are planning our holidays. It’s a tricky business.
“Well, no honey, 14th is no good as that’ll be a week before my period and I can’t guarantee I won’t be spotting already and I wouldn’t be able to go swimming or use a Jacuzzi.”
I also know that I’m likely to feel achy and I wouldn’t be able to walk far or relax.
The week of my period is, as it’s been for a very long time, a complete write-off. It’s that one week of the month, one week in every four, when my life is, quite literally, put on hold. I reduce my activity to the barest minimum. My existence is reduced to surviving. I turn from active to passive. My brain is so overwhelmed with the onslaught of heavy bleeding and extensive pain in the pelvic area, legs and often my arms, that it really can’t cope with anything else. Travelling is out of the question.
Well, ideally a week after my period, because then for one week, there’s a chance I’ll be feeling my ‘best’.
“Try April 28th maybe?” I ask him, having consulted my period tracker app.
I know that my ‘best’ is not that good either, but it’s our best shot: although I won’t be bleeding, my endometriosis influences our holiday decisions quite extensively. A day excursion? Will there be loos on the way? – I can’t guarantee that my bladder and my bowels will behave. It’s scary. The not knowing what my body will decide to do to me. Tummy ache in the heat is awful. Foreign toilets are scary.
Airports are tricky. I know that the lady in the red hat has got nothing better to do than watch me go to the loo four times in a row at the departure lounge. Embarrassing. But that’s my life. I’m used to it now.
“You’d better go now again as we’ll be boarding soon,” warns my husband. He means the loo. Our trips are planned around those. I’ve been to all at the airport on the way from the entrance to the gate. To some a few times. I’ll annoy him by needing to go again the moment the seat belt signs are off.
“I can’t help it.” I pledge with him.
And I can’t. It’s just the way it is. It’s the way it’s been for a long time.
We’re both hoping that once my 7-cm chocolate cyst that sits right on top of my bladder is drained, my bladder will get a bit of a breather and will stop telling me it’s full all the time. My husband is used to stopping for a comfort break 10 minutes into many of our journeys.
Strangers are more awkward. How do you explain to your male colleague that he got there earlier, because I had to stop twice on the way? Good for him. I’m fine with his smug face. Life is not a race.
The operation’s been successful. My bladder is a bit better. We both cheer my bladder.
Life with endometriosis is full of those precious small moments of joy.
We’ve got our routine. We try to be patient with each other. I refuse to feel sorry for myself for as long as possible whenever possible. People simply don’t understand. I’ve stopped trying to explain.
C’est la vie.
My husband’s booked our holidays. I’m looking forward to it. Maybe my body will even behave. Here’s hoping!