Monday, 3 February 2014

-1 Day

Endo 365

'The Last Supper'

I have just waved goodbye to my family, house and chickens and am en route to Surrey in preparation for tomorrow. On the eve of my operation I feel excited, prepared, and of course, emotional. It is such a strange notion to think the next time I see my brother and sister, I will be rid of the thing that has been central to my life for so long. I have been looking forward to this near mystical operation for so long that it is weird it is finally happening. Very weird, and I don't think it will fully sink in until I wake up tomorrow post op.

Going into tomorrow, I feel very strong and mentally solid thanks to last weeks space to think and write. I already feel bigger and beyond my operation and I think being prepared and strong will ensure the best results. My body will instinctively fight and cope better than it would do if I were in a negative mind set. It is at times like this that I am always so grateful for the things I have had to overcome throughout my life, because it has become instinctive for every essence of me to fight. I will not run, I will not burry my head in the sand, I will not give up, I may doubt myself and capabilities, but that only ensures I fight all the harder to compensate.

There are only two concerns on my mind:

1) This will be the first operation where my mummy wont be able to sleep beside me... I am not looking forward to being alone in hospital, I am an extravert and find comfort in company, especially that of my Matriarchs. Thankfully my best friend Suzy is coming down to give me her support. Thank you suzy, it is invaluable and I am looking forward to you being there to hold my hand whilst I scream, and video me when I am savouring the delicacy of laughing gas. You are the best and I am very lucky to have such a loyal friend. I have been overwhelmed by the response to my blog, and messages of love and support for my op even from people I circumstantially lost contact with years ago.

2) My fertility. To those of you who don't know, endometriosis is the biggest cause of infertility. Thankfully, the last time I was 'opened up' (such a glamorous phrase) I had no endo on my Fallopian tubes or ovaries. However, because of all those horror-like blogs I read, written by poor women who had the most dreadful experiences, the prospect of not having children quickly became my biggest fear. As a impressionable and venerable fourteen year old trying to make sense of a this alien condition she had just been diagnosed with, reading those angry blogs nearly broke me. If you ever feel like that, and god knows everyone is entitled to at times, I urge you to express yourself and then do not publish it,  you never know what reaction you will instil in others.

Being the eldest child of three, I am naturally fiercely protective, and the prospect of not having my own babies was more devastating to me than my diagnosis. I scold myself for every having thought like this now, however when presented with the prospect of being infertile at such a young age, I felt pointless as a woman. In what world was it fair or just that I was going into labour twice monthly, the worst part of having a child, then never being allowed the best bit? It was the most upsetting aspect of this condition for me, which I know is silly because there is no evidence to suggest I am infertile. Over time and many teary nights, I eventually came to terms with this notion of logic. I was aware that I could adopt, but you always want what you cant have. I wanted to have my own child, to see my husbands eyes reflected in the face I made. I want to feel my baby grow inside of me. I am ashamed to say adoption wasn't an option for me.

And then, something very special happened to me in February 2013- Februarys seem to be a big month for me. I was on a school trip, touring the north of India. We were in Dharamsala on the Tibetan border in the Himalayan Mountains. We visited the Dalai Lama's monastery, walked through the sacred mountains and finally, visited his school for orphans and Tibetan refugees who would never again be reunited with their family. When I saw these children, toddlers and babies without a mummy, without a place they could call their own home, I wept but felt like a wight had been lifted; I had an astonishing realisation that these beautiful, precious children need what I can so easily give. I felt such love for them that I realised it doesn't matter whether they cary my genes or not. This realisation brought such gushing relief, for the first time since I read those poisoned blogs, I realised I would be okay. As long as there are children in this world that need a loving home, I will be fulfilled as a mother. The rest is science, and we all know I'm an artsy type.

My advice for today: 

I wish every woman and girl who even sheds one tear over the possibility of not carrying their own child could feel the peace I feel about it. However I think it is a grieving process, and then a beautiful realisation blossoms in its place. Please don't think you will never be a mother because there are so many worthy, innocent young lives out there in need of someone like you.

The more people who know I have endometriosis, the more women tell me they once had it. It never amazes me how many women it effects, and more so, how many of them were told they would never conceive... and yet go on to have three, four children!

What I have learnt is that no expert consultant ever knows, or can conclusively guarantee anything with endo- it is still such an unknown quantity. So lovely ladies, never, ever give up hope.  Hope can work wonders and is the best anecdote sometimes.

Tomorrow I shall wake up for a light breakfast, go for a swim, write and reflect upon what the end of this era means for me. If you are having a tough time, write. It works wonders. If you are having a good time, write. It is nice to reflect and savour those times when things aren't so easy.

Shall I let you into a secret? 

I have a 'Motivational Scrapbook' where I log all the quotes I read that inspire me, challenge me, offer comfort to me, and give me strength when I need it. I also create my own when I am in a particularly philosophical mood. This book was the first I packed today and I hope some day it may bring comfort to my grandchildren. I urge all people, any people with health conditions or otherwise to do this because it is a brilliant creative output and will become invaluable to you in times that you may need to rely on your own mental resources.

I am now going for the 'last supper' of my life as a caterpillar before I embark on my surgical metamorphosis, with a beautiful, quiet, peaceful tummy.

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