Talking about Uteruses with Duderuses
I'm not an expert on Endometriosis, this disease I have, but I do feel like an expert on my main symptom: PAIN.
I knew I wanted to talk to the Sickboy crew about Endo, but I realized I don't often talk about my pain. It's one thing to say your back hurts or you've got a headache, but a lot of people get weird when you start talking about pelvic pain.
Unfortunately, doctors often don't take women's pain as seriously as men's, and I grew up being told that my terrible PMS was just ‘the way of the world’ for women. (Honestly it’s probably what turned me on to feminism, because god damn this status quo nonsense I will dismantle the patriarchy from my bath tub because it is the only place I don't feel pain!)
So I'm going to tell you all about my pain and if you are curious why I feel it, it has to do with original sin. Jk, jk - check out the podcast! I've taken to giving the different types of pain I feel fun, catchy nicknames like:
The Red Hots (feels like my ovaries are on fire)
Stabby (pretty straightforward)
Doin' the Twist (awful sensation that something in my pelvis is caught or twisted!) Ache-y (Stabby's boring cousin)
Hello Cervix! (I like to sing this to the tune of Hello Dolly when I'm in a piping hot bath. I sing, because otherwise I am sobbing about how aware of my cervix I am.)
Crushin' It (my uterus being a champ at contracting)
Pumpkin (the sensation of hands inside my pelvis, scraping away at my insides).
Then there are degrees of severity. I remember seeing this handy pain chart that had numbers 1-10 and corresponding faces that went with it. 1 is mild pain which has a happyish face and 10 is unbearable pain matched with a sobbing one.
I was a kid when I first saw it and I remember thinking "how can pain be UNbearable? Wouldn't you be dead?"
Oh young Lesley, how wrong you were!
I've since made my own pain chart, it goes like this:
Stage 1: Mild pain, but I can still work and get through the day. If I don't have pain meds, I am only a slight gremlin. Stage 2: Moderate pain that interferes with life, I can do most things but I'm a major grumpus and I need meds. Stage 3: Severe pain. I need to lay down on a heating pad or in the bath (sobbing) to find any relief, with medication.
Stage 4: I'm not getting any relief from pain meds or heat, I take stronger drugs to knock me out because at this point I really start to wish I was dead (later, I will feel terrible for thinking this, but now? Death seems imminent).
Stage 5: Unbearable pain. I am past the point of wishing about anything, sometimes I black out. I am Frodo on Mount Doom and can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water. No joke, it is very much like that, minus the volcano and eagles and stuff.
Luckily I have pain free days, and usually only hit Stage 4 or 5 once a month. That's not the case for all women with Endo, and the degree of pain experienced doesn't indicate what stage of disease you have.
I'm so grateful for the Sickboy dudes having me on the show and would like to end with this story which I forgot about when we were recording. This is not my story, it was relayed to me by a nurse, but I think it sums up all of the mystery, awe and terror I feel about my uterus. It’s also great at parties!
The nurse had a patient in her late seventies whose uterus had fallen out (because YES that can HAPPEN). When she asked the patient what she had done about it she said, "Well I just washed it, powdered it and put it back up."
You're welcome world!
Lesley made for a pretty incredible guest! Check out her episode over on iTunes here!