“Well, it’s not cancer, so you have nothing to worry about.”
Um. Yeah. No.
Among other things, I have endometriosis. It’s a disease that affects the female reproductive organs and can cause pain, infertility, and nerve damage. The quick version is that the lining of the uterus starts growing outside of the uterus and can bind internal organs together and attach to nerves, causing permanent damage.
I have a lot to worry about. I’m in body-wide pain 24/7, have problems sleeping because of it, am exhausted from the fatigue that comes from constant pain, and have flare-ups in pelvic pain so severe that they land me in the emergency room several times a year.
Nobody gets to police how the sick get to feel about their own bodies.
Nothing to worry about? Start with insanely expensive insurance, PTSD-like symptoms from the pain cascade in the brain, daily medications that keep me functioning and alive, the cost of said medications, the side effects of said medications (drowsiness, weight gain, mental slowness, loss of coordination, nausea, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis), weekly doctors’ visits, surgeries, hospital stays, insomnia – and somehow I still have to hold down a full time job and pretend that everything is okay.
It’s not cancer. Fine. Good. I’m grateful for that. But just because it won’t kill me in 6-12 months doesn’t mean that it won’t rob me of almost everything that I was supposed to have as a young woman. The life that I was on course to have is gone. A large part of me did die. And forgive me, healthy people, but I am not yet through mourning.
I may never be.