I dropped out of school at 16, went to TAFE for something to do, got a job, tried out banking as a career, decided I didn’t like it, tried out real estate, decided I couldn’t handle the ego’s involved, worked in the construction industry and figured that this was where I would stay. I liked it. Mostly tradesmen (having grown up with tradesmen I was comfortable with it), a close nit group of people, a relaxed atmosphere. It was great.
Then I met C.
At the time I had a Mirena in to “treat” endometriosis, however, it was beginning to “fail."
I was getting a semi-regular period and the first tell-tale signs of a flare-up (period-like cramping throughout the month, painful sex etc).
I saw a gynaecologist who gave me the same advice I was given 4 years earlier, if the time was right for me, have a baby while I still could. We decided to start the old trying but not trying, thinking it would take us at least a year to fall pregnant. As fate would have it, we conceived our beautiful boy right off the bat. 6 weeks in, Hyperemesis Gravidarum hit.
What followed was one of the worst 6 months of my life. I had bought a house not long before meeting C and not long after we met he bought a block to start paying off to build on in 12 months’ time. We bought the building time forward, found a house plan we liked and began the building process, we also needed to start trying to sell my house as we could not afford to keep both.
Due to our financial commitments, we could not afford for me to stop working (against doctor’s orders). And due to the toll that working full time and keeping the house clean for viewings, and the general housekeeping that goes with owning your own home took on me, I was in and out of hospital (roughly once a fortnight in the hospital on a drip), unable to get better. C’s parents offered to let us move in with them while we tried to sell the house and up until our new house was ready to move in to. We packed up and moved in.
At 30 weeks pregnant HG started to ease up a little with me being able to rest. Then, at 33 weeks I went into premature labour, was flown to Perth and sat in King Edward Memorial Hospital for 3 days to make sure baby wasn’t going to come yet. Once I was sent home baby began to grow rather quickly (as they do), and he came at 37 weeks, 6 days. Unable to breastfeed I got my period back in 8 weeks.
8 months later, I began to once again get the endometriosis flare-up signs. I spoke to a doctor who told me that unless I was able to take the contraceptive pill or have a baby, there was nothing I could do to treat it. Now that my baby is nearly 15 months old, I have the constant pain, cramping and pain during sex that seems rather indicative of endometriosis becoming an issue again.
So here I am.
26 years old, with chronic pain, pain that interferes with not only a chance of a professional life again, but also with the “intimate” times between me and my husband.
Pain that interferes with my quality time with my son. And facing the same question, “what do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
The answer is both simple and complex.
Simply, I love to read, I love to write.
I have many ideas that I would love to put down on paper and share with others, I just need to figure out where to start.
The complex part is that I would like to be truly healthy. I would like to be able to decide when or if to have another child based on when C and I are ready, not because I have a disease that I can do nothing about short of having a child and doing something permanent to stop my period. I would like to feel good in myself, I would like to get through the day without pain. I would like to be intimate with my partner without pain. I would like to help spread the word about endometriosis to raise awareness of this disease, because with awareness comes funding, with funding comes research and with research comes a cure.
How can we put the question to 15 year olds, asking them to decide what to do with the rest of their lives when their lives are only just beginning?
At 15 I had no idea of the path my life would take, and I would never have believed I would be where I am now.
I am grateful for it, every single messy, wonderful step on my way to being here. Now, I have the opportunity to pursue my goals, the simple and the complex, that I would never have had the determination to pursue when I was first asked that question.
So now I ask you, what do you want to do for the rest of your life?