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Ready to Rant: Stop Dismissing Our Pain – Living With a Chronic Illness

Ready to Rant: Stop Dismissing Our Pain – Living With a Chronic Illness

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#RantInspo: This was supposed to be an Instagram caption, but I thought it’d be put to better use here. 

I’ve been a journalist for at least seven years and yet I’ve never had the courage to publish personal essays or even “hot takes” (ew) until now. I’ve learned that being a journalist isn’t just publishing the news, it’s about becoming one with the community. Not the entire community, but the community I, as a journalist, write for.

For me, that’s the #Endometriosis and #InterstitialCystitis communities.

I definitely never write about how angry my chronic illness makes me, but I think today is that day. I just had a super long thought-shower, so I’ve had some time to get riled up. (You know, the kind of shower you take when you’re in unbearable pain and you can barely stand?)

As I was lying there (Yes, I was on the literal floor of the shower.), I couldn’t help but think about how inconsiderate my friends, family, and even my husband can be at certain times. (While they may not mean to be or are even aware that they’re doing it is completely irrelevant to me at this moment.)

This quick rant stems from a conversation my husband and my in-law were having the other day. His friend called out of work because he’s having a minor procedure. I thought this was perfectly normal. I mean, when you have surgery (of any kind), you should take time to rest and heal. While they were chatting about this, I chimed in with: “I had a cystoscopy and was expected to show up the next day bright-and-early,” in hopes that they’d realize that maybe going home is the best thing for this dude. Welp. That didn’t work.

His mother then said, “Your work is different.” *Cue eye roll* (She rolls her eyes every single time I make a comment about my pain, the several surgeries I’ve had, or DO YOU ENDO.)

OK, so there are a few things I’d like to point out here.

I work from home now, but I didn’t then. Even so, this isn’t OK. Anyone who has a minor or major procedure should take some time to rest. Literally, anyone. 

A cystoscopy is no walk in the park. I was fully awake sans anesthetic and with a urogynecologist who told me two very concerning things:

1. That I didn’t have Endometriosis because “It’s not supposed to hurt before your period.” (HAHAHAHA! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?) 

2. “We’ve looked at everything and nothing is wrong with you.” Thank God I finally found a urologist and an Endometriosis specialist who knew what the hell they were doing. (Even though it was two cystoscopies and a few months later.)

Dismissing someone’s symptoms or issues isn’t cool. Honestly, it’s a great way to make someone feel like they’re going crazy. (Believe me, I know.) For years, I’ve had to convince doctors, family members, significant others, and even close friends that I was/am in pain. And now, post laparoscopic diagnosis, I’m still doing it? When will it stop?

The moral to today’s rant: Stop to think about what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes before you speak or carelessly roll your eyes. They may have an illness they’re trying really fucking hard to hide.

Even one seemingly harmless comment could ruin their day or their week.

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