Monday, 23 September 2019

Endo Flare-Ups and the Stay-at-Home Mum: What It's REALLY Like!

It was Thursday night, around 8pm, that I first noticed something was awry. I'd gotten changed into my pyjamas in the bathroom and recoiled at the sight of myself. I was humongous. My usually comfortable and baggy clothes were tight with my top barely covering anything lower than my belly button. I should have realised then, what was to come, but I didn't. I brushed it off, blissfully unaware of the pain that would take hold of me only a few hours later.

Pug in a blanket

We got into bed around 9pm, after a few episodes of The Middle (thanks again, Prime Video!) and all seemed relatively normal. By 10pm, that illusion was shattered. Even though I was beyond tired, I just couldn't get comfortable, no matter which position I tried sleeping in. Things weren't looking promising.

By 1am, I'd entered a new level of hell. Not only had I not slept but I'd become more than just uncomfortable. I was nauseated and in pain. I got out of bed, grabbed a mefenamic acid tablet and immediately took it with some water. Sure, I should have eaten something and hindsight is always 20-20 but I was in too much pain to think rationally.

Not too long after, I needed the toilet. Gross, TMI. But the pain continued. This was not a digestive issue. That was when it became very real to me; the bloating, the discomfort, the pain, the nausea. I was caught in the eye of the storm. An endometriosis flare-up unlike any I'd experienced this year.

I'll be honest, I'd been quite dismissive of my endometriosis recently. It's always there, lurking in the shadows, but the pain has been mild, manageable and infrequent so I was tricked into a false sense of security. After all, it was being managed okay, flare-ups were rare and usually short-lived and mefenamic acid usually relieved those pains with great success. I am one of the lucky ones. There are many others out there whose endometriosis is unmanageable, who struggle daily and who sometimes require regular hospitalisation. But I digress.

As soon as my toddler's eyes fluttered open sometime around 7, around the same time that he started rousing me to consciousness (yes, I'd finally gotten to sleep!) in the mildly aggressive way that little ones do, I knew that I was in a really bad way. 

My first words to him? "Mummy's not very well, will you look after me today?"

It was a big favour to ask of someone so small, someone so dependent on me to look after him but honestly, he rose to the challenge and did an exceptional job. He spent his day cuddling and kissing me, stroking my hair and just being content to play by himself or watch TV quietly. 

Don't get me wrong, I still prioritised his needs over my own and fulfilled my basic duties as a stay-at-home mum. I fed and watered him. Changed his nappy regularly. Cuddled, laughed with and read to him. I sang to him. Pulled silly faces at him. Danced with him. I did whatever I could, in whatever way I could, for as long as I could. 

I still looked after him but he looked after me, a whole lot more.

Before you start questioning my partner's whereabouts and why he wasn't able to provide care for me, you need to know this: he already does more than you could possibly imagine. He works from home most of the time, more out of necessity than anything else, because my other symptoms (fatigue, migraines, etc) often make it difficult for me to look after my son alone. He does more than his fair share of the housework so that I don't overexert myself. He is patient, understanding and supportive and guess what? He'd already had to call in last week saying that he needed to work from home instead of the office - because I was physically broken from our trip to Chessington. (It was an unfortunately bad week for me!)

The day itself was a living nightmare. That nausea that I'd succumbed to overnight had only strengthened over time and I can only describe it as like being seasick, out at sea in a little paddle boat in the middle of a tropical storm. Nausea has married up with pain now for as long as I can remember and honestly, I often think the nausea is worse. Pain, you can make yourself more comfortable and try to move past it. Nausea requires patience. You need to wait it out.

By mid afternoon, the nausea had finally subsided. It was only then that I realised the source of my pain. My ovaries. Not just one but both of them. They felt like they'd shrivelled up into rocks and the pain was intense. I'd argue that it was one of the worst physical pains I'd ever felt in my life - up there with back labour, miscarriage and some of the other intense pains endometriosis had thrown my way.

At this point, I was maxed out on mefenamic acid and I knew that paracetamol would be redundant so all I could do was make myself comfortable and wait. Sadly the pain continued into the night until it burnt itself out but guess what? I survived. 

But getting out the other side of the flare-up wasn't the only outcome, I'd discovered that my son and I are a team. He's a clever little boy but even as I asked it, I knew that what I'd asked of him was well beyond his capabilities at his age. Still, he surprised me with his gentleness, his care and kindness when I needed it the most and for that, I am grateful.

For today's call to action, I'd love to know what my fellow endo warriors, especially those with kids, do to help when things get particularly bad. What makes a flare-up just that little bit more bearable? Let me know in the comments below!


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*Featured Image by Matthew Henry on Unsplash
2 comments on "Endo Flare-Ups and the Stay-at-Home Mum: What It's REALLY Like!"
  1. Sound absolutely awful, glad you got through it with the love and support you have around you. Big hugs xx

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