Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 29: Unexpected blessings

I participated in a focus group on the effect endometriosis has on women's lives a couple of months ago. One of the questions they asked during this focus group was "What have been the positive outcomes in your life from having endometriosis?" When I first heard the question I couldn't think of anything at all. What could be positive about having a chronic illness?

However, after thinking about it for awhile I could think of quite a few things.

For one - this blog. Through writing here, particularly through the NHBPM challenge, I have received a lot of support. I've had people email, facebook message or call me to say that they have been reading and enjoying this blog. It really makes my day when I get one of these messages. I also used to write in a diary and also blog a lot when I was a teenager, which has fallen by the wayside as I got older, and getting back into it through this cause has reminded me of my passion for writing. (Believe it or not, my first grade prediction of my adult self was that I would be an author.)

Through being diagnosed with endometriosis, I have met some funny, strong, spunky women that I would never have met otherwise. Particularly being new to Canberra, being part of a support group has allowed me to branch out of my usual circle of friends. Endometriosis does not have a certain kind of women that it picks to be its host - these women have lives that are very different to mine and it has definitely broadened my worldview.

I take care of myself a lot better since I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I eat healthier (a lot less sugar!), make more effort to exercise and allow myself to rest more. I never used to take time out for myself at all, but I'm slowly but surely learning how to.

The experience of having endometriosis and fighting to get diagnosed and treated has made me a stronger person. I'm not as scared now to speak up and have my voice heard, no matter how "gross" or taboo someone else might find it. I also have more empathy, and you won't hear me saying stupid statements like "People shouldn't have IVF, because if they were meant to be able to have a baby, it would happen naturally." (Very ashamed of that one.)

Lastly, endometriosis has actually improved my body image and made me more relaxed. Sounds a bit odd to have that as a side effect of endo, but after having numerous doctors prod me and see me in all kinds of compromising postions, as well as having to go out in public looking like hell when I don't feel well, I really don't care too much anymore if I wear a dress and a little cellulite is showing, or an outfit doesn't match completely. Being internally examined by complete strangers (or close friends' mothers - that's another story) can do that to you...


This month I will be taking part in National Health Blog Post Month. Check back every day to see the new topic and learn more about endometriosis. Today's prompt is to write about the unexpected blessings of your health condition.

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