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When I Was 11 Years Old, I Came to the Conclusion That My Body Hated Me

When I Was 11 Years Old, I Came to the Conclusion That My Body Hated Me

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If you’re a woman, you’ve probably heard about girls who start their periods between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, women who bleed for three-to-four days and it’s done, and those lucky others who don’t even realize it’s a period until they use the restroom. We’ve all heard the stories about these magical beings one time or another, but this story isn’t like the fairytales you hear in the office bathroom. This story is honest and a little rough around the edges.

Aunt Flo came to visit me when I was just nine years old.

I was absolutely unprepared as I walked into my fifth-grade classroom that morning. When I finally made it home, the reality hit me: I was nine years old and would bleed every month for the rest of eternity… that’s what I thought, anyway. Finally, eight long days later, my first period was over. I survived it! It wasn’t so bad. Everyone cramps, right?

Once the first cycle passed, I thought I’m a woman now. At least, that’s what everyone was telling me. Except, I didn’t feel like a woman. To be honest, I felt kinda gross and very confused.

Let’s fast forward a little bit. Picture for me a goofy, short, 11-year-old girl, with frizzy hair and dark eyes. That was me at 11. That summer, I stayed a couple weeks at my aunt’s house babysitting while she was at work (I also stayed the night whenever my grandparents were traveling). Well, it just so happened that Aunt Flo made an appearance while my family was gone. And this time, it was totally different. This time was unlike any of the times before it.

The bleeding was heavier, which was scary. There were clots (and I didn’t even know what clots were!) And there was so much pain. I had never in my life felt pain like that before. I knew cramping was normal, but this, this was not normal. It couldn’t be, right? So I made an emergency call to my grandma crying and explaining how badly it hurt and how scared I was. She told me to take some Tylenol, get a heating pad, and rest as much as I could.

When my grandma came home she told me that almost every woman in our family history had issues with their reproductive systems in one form or another. She told me that before I was 30, the doctors would take all those organs out of me.

“It’s just what happens in our family,” she said.

I can remember the devastation I felt that day. The realization that this pain was going to take over my body every single month was almost too much to bear.

Every time Aunt Flo came to visit, she’d get worse. I didn’t think a “worse” could even exist until I was faced with the reality of it. Before I turned 12, and from then on, I ended up missing one to two days of school each month because I was in so much pain from my period. I would go to school absolutely miserable all the while my girlfriends seemed fine. They were starting to get their periods, too. But theirs didn’t hurt. Why were they still running and playing, when I didn’t want to do anything but sleep and eat chocolate?

It took some time before I finally figured out that my body was just different. It didn’t work the way the other girls’ bodies worked. My body hated me. I didn’t know why, but that’s the conclusion I had come up with.

Between the ages of 13 and 16, I scoured the internet, searching for anything and everything related to reproductive issues, until I stumbled across a page about Endometriosis. As soon as I read the description, I immediately knew. This is what I have. This is my life.

Even though all of my symptoms lined up, it took years to get an official diagnosis. (Six years to be exact.) Most doctors didn’t believe me, while others said it was normal. But it didn’t feel normal. I didn’t feel normal.

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