Last week I had my second round of Zoladex. I knew that having this treatment at all was going to be a bit of chance taking; we were working on a theoretical basis, even if the discussion surrounding Endometriosis was years old. (On a side note, this begs the question why Zoladex hadn’t been suggested in the decade I have been have gynecology treatment, but we won’t hold any grudges. Okay, not MUCH of a grudge.) It was based on the answers we did have, all of which pointed to Endo as the answer, just without the final confirmation. Zoladex was a way of finding confirmation in rather a crude manner; pain stops it’s Endometriosis, pain continues, it’s not.
Well, miraculously, wonderfully, amazingly – the pain has stopped.
Obviously I still have my other lots of pain, but this pain has stopped. It’s so absurd to say that. It’s stopped hurting. For the first time since my periods began, I haven’t had pain in my abdomen. In the fear of oversharing, for the first time since becoming sexually active, I’ve had pain free sex. I didn’t need painkillers afterwards. What we thought were food intolerances have stopped. I’m not in pain when going to the bathroom. I can bend over without my belly screaming. I even wore something with a bit of a waistband the other day. Admittedly this I could only manage for an hour before my body started to complain, but goodness knows that’s an hour longer than I have managed in who knows how long.
I’m recovering from a nasty bug at the moment, so I can’t judge completely how my body is tolerating the treatment, but the only real side effect that is having an impact is insomnia. I’m used to my various pains waking me up, and this is still happening with my fibro, so it’s not a real issue. Quite honestly I’ll take being awake at 3am if it means I can live more freely. I’ll see how the rest of the following weeks go before I judge truly how the Zoladex is being reacted to.
There is an edge of bittersweetness to it all. For years, I have been arguing that something isn’t right, that something has been missed or ignored, that I need to be listened to. I know that many people, especially women, around the world will be familiar with this. We simply are not listened to. It is easier to shut us down, shut us up, tell us to stop making a fuss, sometimes outright threatened (shout out here to the doctor know ‘affectionately’ as Doctor Dickhead who told me he could operate on me to see what was causing the pain but I “would”, not “might”, end up with a colostomy bag and would never live a normal life again, and anyway I was just making a fuss) into silence to keep us down and quiet. I was already sure in my suspicions that it was Endometriosis, though of course it’s natural, somewhere between common sense and the medical silencing, to wonder what if there is something else going on. For the pain to have eased to a stop, it gives me an answer, and whilst knowledge is a powerful wonderful thing, in this case it simply leads to more questions. Where? What stage? How much? Fertility? Operations? What next? Maybe if the silencing around Endometriosis wasn’t as dramatic, I would feel more comforted in my new knowledge.
That’s not to say I’m not happy. My mood has massively improved with the change in my pain levels, and generally I can’t stop smiling. I know what’s going on now. I’m not imagining, exaggerating, lying or having repercussions from my sexual abuse, all of which have been implied or stated outright at various points over the last few years. I need to call my doctor today to sort out one of my medications, and I can’t wait to update her, as she has been almost as invested in this journey as I have been.
The pain has stopped. I’m already nervous about what will happen when we reach the end of the six month trial and I have to stop the Zoladex. I know I can handle whatever comes next, because I’ve handled everything up till now. There will be improvement and then there will be return to normal. All of that is part of the proof needed. This year will be a written off in relation to fertility, as the focus needs to be on getting my body to a state where it could cope with a pregnancy. This is a separate issue to get my head around, though I am handling it quite well 95% of the time. There have been moments of metaphorically stamping my feet (because if I actually stamped, I’d fall over) in sheer frustration from the whole situation we are faced with, but generally I am at peace with where I am, and where we are.
I feel so much better. I’m very tired, but as I say, I am recovering from a particularly unpleasant bug, along with the happy yet oh so tiring festive season, and the hormones, and the insomnia, and my other health conditions, so it would be remarkable if I wasn’t tired. It’s still far better than the amount of pain I had been in even two months ago, a memory I doubt will leave me no matter how far away I travel in both pain relief and time. I know the pain will have to come back when we reach the end of the six month trial, even if it’s only to prove a point, a temporary return whilst it’s decided what to do next, and this is hanging at the back of my mind as the days count down until the six month point.
But the point is – the pain has stopped! Just saying that makes me smile. The fact Zoladex is working, the fact I was right and not imagining things, the fact that I can tolerate foods again, the fact I can have pain free sex…. All of these are wonderful, wonderful things. Sitting with this knowledge is a brilliant start to this year, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.