Post It Notes and Endometriosis

Post It Notes and Endometriosis

I’ve meant to write this post for some time now, but the blank page was staring at me and the words just wouldn’t come out. Even now, I’ll probably write and rewrite this post a hundred times before hitting publish. Getting real and sharing your truth is tough, my loves! Here’s to being brave, and talking about health, post it notes, and endometriosis.

My brain is swimming with thoughts about life, about happiness, about plans, and about how everything got thrown out the window when I sat in a sterile office with a doctor I had never met, because the one I went to before was suddenly on a six month sabbatical. I’ll never forget the way this kind eyed woman who didn’t know me or my medical history looked at my test results and wrote a few things down for me on a Post It note, knowing that I would go home and research anything and everything associated with endometriosis.

“Avoid WebMD”, she said. It’s like she read my mind. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I left with the Post It note and my test results clutched tightly in my hand, and I made it to the car before sobbing so hard that I could barely breathe. Endometriosis explains why I’ve always had the worst cycles with mind numbing pain. Endometriosis means that pregnancy might never happen, or it might be a really difficult and lengthy process with a lot of doctors and needles, or it might happen naturally, without a hitch. It can mean everything, or it can mean nothing. All of that power in just one word, scrawled on a Post It note.

For some reason, I always thought that pregnancy would be easy for us. Nathan and I did all the ‘right’ things. We got married, we bought a condo, we upsized to a duplex, we both have creative careers doing what we love, we got a puppy, we booked one last hoorah trip to Europe this August, and then, babies. It was always going to be babies next. It was going to be pregnancy, and maternity leave, and a girl and then after a few years, a boy. I’m a planner, and I had it all planned out. 

Now, I have no idea what that looks like, and that scares the shit out of me. What happens if I can’t get pregnant? I believe whole heartedly in the power of positive thinking, but with this one, I had to go to the worst case scenario first, to be ok with whatever happens.

If I can’t get pregnant, we travel. We adopt a baby that needs a loving family. We get more fur babies and keep being a ridiculously awesome aunt and uncle to our niece and nephew. We cultivate new hobbies, experience new things, love each other, love our families, love our friends. That would be our everything. That doesn’t sound so bad.

The worst case scenario can’t happen because in my bones, I know I’m meant to be a mother. 

The number of stories I’ve heard of a friend of a friend that successfully had babies naturally despite endometriosis, or through IVF or other fertility treatments, or through adoption – it is staggering. There is so much love, so much support, so many success stories! Infertility is common, yet it is uncomfortable to talk about. So I’m talking about it. Writing is my therapy, and sharing with this community is what makes me feel like everything will work itself out, however it is meant to. I will let whatever happens, be ok.

That’s all I can do, and that’s what I’m putting on my new Post It note, because words only have power if you let them.

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  • Reply Stream and Stone June 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    My love, this is beautiful and courageous.
    I’m so happy I came across this post. My mother has endometriosis and she led basically the exact life you’ve described and had the same plans. I know plenty of women who have endometriosis who’ve been able to get pregnant but my mom wasn’t one of them.
    My parents adopted all of their kids. Me and my 3 sisters. Never once in my life have I felt like I didn’t belong. I’ve never had a single insecurity about being adopted. My mom is my mom, my best friend. I hope you can find some great support while you go through this. Thank you so much for sharing my friend. <3

  • Reply ashley cornish July 7, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Nicole,
    Read this when you first posted, but forgot to comment. Though I don’t have endometriosis myself, I can very much relate to your story. Just about four years ago my husband (then boyfriend) was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. This meant he had to undergo a rigorous regimen of 52 weeks of chemo, 27 treatments of radiation and surgery. Because his cancer is so rare in adults, the chemotherapy regimen needed to be super aggressive. The down side to this were all the side effects that went along with these poisons (ie: killing your heart (literally), losing your hair, appetite, nails, etc). The worst of these side effects was the impact on his fertility. This LITERALLY killed us at the time (and still does). I’ve only seen him cry a couple of times in all of years together-and this was one of them. We were lucky in the sense that we were able to store “samples” both here and in Calgary before he had to start treatment. Me, being the former NICU nurse and being a little too wise, realizes that fertility treatments are often not successful, and so parenthood may or may not be in the cards for us…So here’s what I’ve learned in the time since: It’s ok to be angry (frustrated, whatever) and grieve for what you’ve lost, if you need to talk to someone, it’s well worth it. I don’t know if any of my rambling even made sense, but if you ever want to chat, I’m always in your neighborhood (the in laws live there!)

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