I lie on bed folding my legs. My knees touching my chin. Part of my pillow is wet with my tears. My hands curled around my stomach trying to stop the deep twining pain. I try to move, but I can't. I hear sounds- may be my mother/father/sister/husband asking me to stop crying. They lie to me often by consoling that the pain will fade away in few minutes. Yes, just few minutes! Few minutes of excruciating pain! But going through the ordeal every month is no joke. And the name of the monster is Endometriosis.
“The boss is calling you”. I heard the voice. Fingers crossed. I locked my computer, moved my chair, straightened my dress and knocked the glass door. I saw my boss watching TV. Yeah, in a TV channel, you are expected to watch TV 24x7, interpret what other channels are airing and then develop better programs than them. In a way, you are not stealing the ideas but just developing new ones on similar grounds. He asked me to come in and I greeted him.
“Which project are you working on”, he asked me with a smile on his face. My boss, with whom I just follow protocols like wishing and reporting, is a sane and highly intelligent man in my eyes. I had never interacted with him, though I find my colleagues share a laugh with him quite often. I am a nerd for him and I am fine with it.
“The one on Environmental Issues and nothing much”, I said anticipating some new project.
“How is your health now? Are you feeling any better?”
“Yes sir. I am doing alright”.
“I want you to take leave for at least 6 months. I see you taking off every month for 2-3 days. I think this will not work. May be you should take leave for 6 months, get well completely and come back to work”
“I think I will be fine without taking leave too. However I will think about it. Anything else?”
“No. That’s all for now. Let me know what you have decided”
I walked upto my desk, unlocked my computer, typed a letter and submitted it in the HR.
After I started packing my stuff, the HR and my boss came to me and asked if I took the decision consciously.
“My problem will continue for life long. It is not a 6 months affair. You better hire someone who is hail and healthy. And I wish you will not do this to anyone else”. I uttered expecting them to read between lines. I did not inform anyone and walked out of office. I started my bike and tears began to flow. I cried all the way till home. It is troubling me again. How much ever I try to fight, it takes over me. A reason for my downfall. The reason for the downfall is Endometriosis.
I woke up from a blissful sleep. I never slept so deeply in ages. I realized I wasn’t at home. The ceiling was different. I am on a different bed. The smell is familiar. Looks like a hospital. It took a while for me to recollect why I was there. Just when I was about to move, I had excruciating pain in my body. Everywhere. The doctor walked in and sat next to me.
“You have lot of tissue. We tried to remove most of it, but we could not remove all. I guess you have to go through the pain for life”.
These were the words I have been expecting to hear or not hear for over a decade. Stage 4 Endometriosis-the very reason for my abnormal pain every month. Again Endometriosis.
I was 13 when the trouble started in my life. That evening, I was studying for my final exams when the pain started reaching peaks. I told my mother and she helped me by giving all those home remedies. But nothing worked. I cried the whole night and my mother took me to the school next day, to write the exams. I came back in the evening and realized I reached puberty.
Puberty- the life of a teenager with a troublesome period. The saga continued every month. Pain, nausea, vomiting, passing out. I could never understand why I had to go through these things while my peers never complained about anything. Every month was a new story. Once, I passed out in the bus stop. Once, I vomited in the railway station. Once, I cried in the principal’s room. The pain is devastating. No painkillers can suppress it. I was put on heavy medication for my age. Yet, no relief.
The doctors used to say that, it was all in my mind and I need to put it out. But I never understood how come I have pain in my abdomen and the doctor says it is in my mind. There is no genetic reason as none in my family had this. I wonder why I get such stuff in life out of blue but never a lottery. The pain would just happen to me during my exams, family occasions, travel and every time. It always hampered me from socializing. Writing exams. Attending interviews. I always met people with a heartburn, swollen belly, dizzy eyes and crumpled walk because of the pain and the painkillers.
I lost jobs because I often fall sick. At least through my colleagues’ understanding, I get fever or flu every month. It was not easy for me to discuss about my syndrome with my male colleagues. The bosses would never understand it either. They have wives, sisters and children but no one suffers this much. So, they would brush it off. It is stigmatic to explain why I need leave. While some thought, I take off because I am bored to work, some would assume I bluff talking about flu every month. I used to get all those expert suggestions from my colleagues who would recommend to have a full body check up in hospital, eat fruits every day, do yoga and be positive and some extremists even suggested I get married or have children for mental peace. I still doubt this option!
I could never explain to anyone how a tissue is feeding on my hormones inside my body and growing up at its will and troubling me every month. No one will understand. There were certain occasions that made me realize that -as a woman, I am strong, independent and confident. But this pain suppresses me to the core and makes me vanish for days leaving no traces of my existence. No, I cannot let it happen to me. Pain is an understatement for what I go through every month. I need to overcome this. Overcome something that alters my personality. Overcome something that kills me. Overcome something that weakens me and makes me cry. Just overcome it.
It took nearly 10 years for me to understand the dynamics of the pain and my very own lifestyle. I slowly started to enjoy my painful days by sleeping, reading books, catching up on movies that I missed. I realized that, by lying on bed I could do 100s of things. I no more cry of pain. May be because I know I have to deal with it. The pain never pains me anymore. My tolerance level increased in folds. May be the very reason why I never cry because of any physical pain. Now, I have my own time every month. 3 complete days for myself. I read, watch movie or just sleep. I eagerly look forward for those 3 painful days, where the pain forcefully makes me take rest. I overcame a chronicle that is going to be with me for another 20 years. I am assured, for another 20 years, that no matter what, I have my own 3 days every month- painfully mine.