Tara was 24 when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Now 32 years old, she shares her experience with us…
Tara’s Journey: I am sick. I am chronic illness. I am not curable. I am angry. I am scared. I am pain. I am draining. I am sad. I am a fighter. I am strong. I am weak. I believe. I hope. I dream. I wish. I love. I suffer. I struggle. I laugh. I cry. I scream. I am mad. I am endometriosis.
Endometriosis has changed my life in more ways than I could ever possibly explain. It has ripped away part of me and has destroyed many of my hopes and dreams. I feel like an alien is living inside my body. I am no longer in control of my future. Endometriosis owns me. It holds ownership to one of the biggest dreams I have ever held. It has taken away my right as a woman to bare a child. It has left me hopeless, resentful, angry, confused, and scared, scared to death that one day it may take my life. No endometriosis cannot kill me, I understand that but it can cause things that can.
Endometriosis has in many ways killed my spirit. It has caused me to live in constant fear and constant pain. It causes me to feel less than adequate in comparison to everyone else. It makes me physically ill; with cramping, nausea; tummy troubles, panic attacks, anxiety, stress, and heartache. These are elements of pain I deal with on a daily basis. Endometriosis has no real face, I am its face. You cannot see that I am ill. You cannot see my chronic disease and illness. You cannot see my pain just by looking at me. You cannot hear my thoughts and fears. You cannot see my struggle. There are days when I feel like there are a thousand knives stabbing inside me. There are days when I feel like someone is squeezing my insides as hard as they can. There are days when I feel sharp pain, gnawing pain, numbing pain, and pinching pain, take your breath away pain. There are times when I feel like all I want to do it lay in a ball and cry. The physical pain is nothing compared to the internal emotional battle I struggle with daily, every single day of my life.
October 21, 2008 my life dramatically changed. That is a day I can never take back, but wish with a thousand wishes never came. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. Not because it was a happy day and I experienced great joy, but because it was the day that I realized my life would never be the same and that something without a face, a voice, a cure or a reason came in and ripped my heart apart. Many people do not understand this.
Because you cannot see my illness you do not believe that I am in hell almost every day. I go through more emotions in a day than I ever thought were possible. I can wake up and feel fine, make plans with you and then bam within a matter of moments I am in more pain than you can imagine, or truthfully would want to imagine. I get up and go to work every day. No matter how bad the pain. I go because it’s my job. I go because no one would understand if I didn’t. I go because I have to live a normal life. Many people wonder why I am not in a relationship. Being honest it’s because I am damaged goods. I cannot provide my partner what the girl next to me can. I cannot make him a dad, his parent’s grandparents. I know children come in a variety of ways but I cannot ask someone to go through this struggle with me. I cannot take away the beautiful moment of “I’m pregnant” from someone like endometriosis has taken it away from me. I will not put someone through the pain I go though in my heart knowing that having a baby will never be easy and with my stage 4 and non-working parts will never happen. I will carry that for the rest of my life and I know that pain. No one else should feel that pain too.There is not a moment in my life where I can remember that I didn’t want to be a mom. I have always wanted to have babies. I have always wanted to be pregnant and watch my belly grow, knowing that there is life inside me. I have dreamed of what my daughter or son would look like and what trait’s they would get from their mom.
These dreams are gone. They are nonexistent.
Let me ask you a question, what would you feel if your lifelong dream was ripped away from you? Through all this pain, I know that I have a beautiful life. I don’t take that for granted and I never want to appear as though I am not utterly grateful for the life I do have. I value all of the people in my life, people that have come and gone, people who are new to my life and old. I am so grateful for the love and life that I have and never want to appear any different. I know that many things in my life could be so much worse and I try and remind myself of that daily. Since this diagnoses I have had very few people that I have been able to 100% turn too. There are so many reasons that I keep this to myself, and over time I have become more comfortable expressing myself.
Throughout this unfair reality though I have had two constants; my mom and dad. My parents have shown me more support than words could ever explain. I am so lucky that I have the most beautiful mom a girl could ever wish for. My mom is my rock; she is my strength, my motivation, my inspiration and truly my angel. My dad is the most selfless beautiful man I know with the most amazing heart and that holds nothing but unconditional love for me. The bond between my dad and I will never be broken and there has never been a day in my life where he has not shown me love and support. My dad has always loved me for me, and this illness shows me no exception. I have ALWAYS been close to my parents but one positive from this diagnosis is that I feel it brought us closer, on a deeper level. Knowing my parents the way I do, I cannot even imagine the heart ache and break they feel watching their only daughter go through the endless emotional and physical struggle, that is endometriosis.
So here you go, finally putting my feelings, thoughts, aches and struggles down on paper. Something I have avoiding doing for 6 years. Please do not take anything away from this, other than I wanted to share my inside struggle. But please do keep in mind that , if we have plans and I cannot come please do not take it personally. It means that my endometriosis is acting up, I’m incredibly nauseous, having tummy troubles or in so much pain and discomfort I cannot even fathom doing any more than I am forced to do. More than anything know that I love and value you more than I could ever say! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life, and for being part of my story.
The Last Word: I am currently working on a follow up, I have had many changes since I wrote the first endo letter. It’s been about 2 years and a hysterectomy later!!
I want to send a special Thank You out to Tara for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and victories with us today. You are a beautiful, brave, and strong woman. And especially, thank you for the deep impacting words of your gut-wrenching honesty. The emotional battles and scarring that Endo may cause is rarely published. And today you have given me goosepimples and heartache. May you find peace in all of this. And I hope to hear from you in the future. Yours, Lisa.
And if YOU would like to share your story, please let me know. The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoWarriors, and our friends and family, too.