I have been meaning to write this for a while now but simply have not got round to it. With being unwell in the run up to my surgery and being knocked off my feet by the surgery I have felt a little useless, like a drain on those around me. As with all my posts I share these feels as an insight not for any form of sympathy. When I have a flare and when I am recovering post op I depend a lot on those around me: my partner, my family, my in-laws, my friends. The absence of my independence often gets on top of me, I feel like a burden, my wonderful imagination likes to run wild conjuring up imagines of all the exciting things people could be doing rather than being stuck with me. During these times I channel my inner mystic and I can hear their bored internal monologue complaining about how much of their time I am taking up and what they would rather be doing. All this leaves me feeling rather deflated and I ALWAYS end up saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. I perpetually reiterate these words until they lose all meaning.
On one of my trips to A&E, while curled up into the foetal position, I started my (by now predictable) sequence of sorries. Chris took my hand, looked me dead in the eye and asked me to please stop apologising. He explained that it made him feel bad, that it seemed like he must be behaving like he was annoyed or angry with me for me to feel the need to apologise. He explained that if given the choice he would definitely rather be somewhere else, doing something else with a pain free Laurene. If he had the choice he would take the pain away. If it was his choice I wouldn’t suffer at all. But given that the universe doesn’t work that way he was more than happy to be with me, he didn’t care that he was in a hospital, he just wanted to be where I was. The honesty of his response left me taken aback. My snowballing imagination and low self-esteem hadn’t allowed me to see the reality that was before me. Those close to you love you for who you are including your flaws, imperfections and endometriosis. When you’re sore they want to be there to help, don’t apologise for the conscious and well informed decision they made to be by your side.
Sorry is also a redundant word when it comes to chronic illness. Sorry suggests that the situation is a result of a conscious decision, that there is something to be learnt to stop the situation happening again. Endometriosis is unpredictable, you don’t make a conscious decision that leads to a flare, and there isn’t anything you can learn that will permanently stop future flare. If you have succeeded in doing this please do share your secret! Unfortunately I don’t believe anyone has, your endometriosis is largely out of your control. Yes you can watch your diet, yes you can take your hormone tablets correctly, yes you can take up yoga, yes you can meditate, yes you can try holistic treatments, yes these will all help you manage the disease but at the end of the day the beast does what it wants and it will flare randomly when it wants.
On that night, laying on a trolley in the Ulster Hospital A&E I made a promise to Chris and myself that I would replace the negative “I’m sorry” with a positive “thank you”- thank you for being here, thank you for staying with me, thank you for helping me, thank you for being a wonderful, selfless you. If you do one thing this week make it thanking those in your life. I have so much to be thankful for, many people will go through their whole lives without understanding or feeling what it’s like to be truly loved, unconditionally loved. If like me you’ve ever had a partner, family or friends: willing to hold your hand and help you walk, willing to physically carry you when your own legs let you down, willing to cancel their plans at a moments notice just to hold you because you’re world is being pulled down around you by something you can’t control, who wants you to wake them when you wake at 3am because they don’t want you to be alone, who holds no resentment for cancelled plans, who reads about endometriosis so they can talk your language, who holds your hand during your doctors appointments and asks they questions they know you need the answers to but your too distraught by the tears to ask, who understands the importance of holding your hand and saying nothing because the pain is so strong there are no words, who are there when you need them time after time, after time, after time without ever asking for anything in return. If you know what it’s like to be loved and cared for unconditionally thank those who provide it. Acknowledge what these special people do because we are damn lucky to have them, don’t apologise for things you cannot control be thankful for the controlled choices people in your life make to support you.