I have been asked to write this by my partner to give the point of view from the partner to show what happens and what life is like when your wife/partner is suffering with endometriosis.
I guess I had better introduce myself first for those that do not know me, my name is Neil and I’m 36 years young (bit too old for the full-on party lifestyle, bit too young to be sat with a horlicks in front of the fire). I first got together with my current partner Andrea a few years ago where we managed to click almost immediately and everything was going swimmingly for the first year, so well in fact that we decided to start a family together. We had the occasional problems for about a week in every month as I’m sure all males who read this will testify to, but I would put that down to me being the archetypal male who didn’t fully understand what went on duringthat time of the month. How little did I realise that these would be the better months before everything blew-up in our faces and we would have such a struggle both mentally and physically.
It all started 1 fine night where we had both been out for a meal and a couple of drinks and got back home at a reasonable hour. We went through our usual routines of Andrea going to get ready for bed whilst I did her hot water bottle and myself a coffee. Andrea was an unusually long time in the bathroom in pain and being sick. We initially put it down to something that she had eaten and went to bed. It was half past 1 in the morning when I was awakened by Andrea in fits of tears and bent double, at which point we decided to go to the hospital as something was most definitely not right. Once there she was given painkillers and we had to wait in A & E for an age only to be told at half past 6 that they believed that it was a urine infection. We did what any normal person would do, accepted their diagnosis and went on our way with antibiotics. Although this did help for a while we still suffered with the usual pains whilst the throwing-up became gradually worse. After much persuasion I finally managed to talk Andrea into going to the hospital again as all of this was not right, so we spent another happy fun-filled night in A& E only to be told it could be IBS or something that she was eating and away we went on our merry way to go with something new to do (monitoring all that she ate).
After a couple of months of monitoring all that we were eating, and finding no pattern I might add, we had got nowhere fast. With this in mind off we went to the hospital again only to be given the same old excuses. After much talking to each other we were having no more of this and demanded a second opinion, to which we were told that on-call gynaecologist would come down and see us.AN ON-CALL GYNAECOLOGIST, “why was this service not offered to us before?” I asked myself. We were finally getting somewhere but the kick in the guts was yet to come.
After Andrea was admitted onto the surgical ward at Sandwell Hospital, she was bedded down and taken for scans and x-rays to show what was going on. A 6 cm cyst was showing on the scan, an operation to remove it was the only way forward. It was revealed when the surgeons operated that the 6 cm cyst was in fact 10 cm and that whilst they were in there they had to remove an ovary. We were then told that our chance of children had greatly diminished and that our chances of conceiving were very slim (I believe you might have got better odds of finding Graham Norton kissing a girl than of us getting pregnant). During this week nothing can prepare you for that rush back and forward to the hospital, trying to get a decent nights sleep but not being able to as you’re helpless watching your partner suffer and of course the inevitable “I wouldn’t blame you for leaving me as I can’t give you children” talk. As gut-wrenching as it is for you not to be able to conceive naturally, it’s even harder to try to convince your partner to try to stay positive as there is always an alternative.
After being put on prostrap originally and being what we both jokingly call a menopausal bitch, we were doing fine. Things were finally starting to look up. We were put forward to the womens clinic to be put forward for IVF funding, which I am pleased to say we are finally on the list, we couldn’t be happier. Andrea was put back on the prostrap again (boy I just couldn’t get a break, back to menopausal bitch) to prepare her body for the treatment, then, along comes another kick in the guts. The pains came flooding back again with avengence. Another trip to the hospital this time to be told that there were 2 cysts this time. Boy we just couldn’t get a break. Miss Malick (the consultant) did give a ray of hope. The operation might not be as invasive as before and they could possibly go in and remove them without harming our chances of having a child. We are still waiting for our appointment but are remaining positive.
I guess to sum up, if I was to give advice to a partner who is going through this too I would advise that you be strong for your partner, stay positive and ride through the bad times together. The bad times don’t last forever and you can always make the good times outweigh the bad. Also, if you feel that your partner is being mis-diagnosed, get a second opinion. There is always help and advice out there if you look for it.
This is not a conclusion, like the movies say,TO BE CONTINUED…..
(Sorry there’s meant to be fade-out music here like the movies)
It is easy to forget that Endometriosis and other chronic illnesses have on others, the people who surround you. We all know that people do judge us because they do not understand the disease, the impact it has on us personally and on our life. I don’t know how many times I hear, you look well today, when inside all I want to do is curl up into a ball and cry, but I don’t I smile and say thank you.
Everyday there is one person who walks my journey with me, sees me at my worse and feels my pain yet fights to keep me positive, makes sure that my life is as easy and stress free as possible. Yet he never moans, he never shows the hurt he feels seeing me the way I am. These are the silent heros’ the ones that support us and keep us strong to get through each day. I am truely lucky to have someone by my side who doesn’t judge me, feels my pain and is so supportive each and every day.