I have been chronically ill for 31 years; I have multiple chronic conditions. My journey with chronic illness began at the age of 13 when my endometriosis symptoms started (in 1982). After 10 years living undiagnosed with endometriosis, I was finally diagnosed at age 23 by an outpatient surgical procedure called laparoscopy. (Laparoscopy is the only definitive method for diagnosing endometriosis). I’ve had 7 abdominal surgeries since 1992 (6 laparoscopies and 1 laparotomy).
I have found acupuncture extremely helpful (for symptoms of many illnesses) since I started it in 2001. I’ve learned quite a bit about alternative medicine over the years. Much of it is information that I wish that I had learned sooner! I am now 44 years old.
In addition to endometriosis, I have multiple other chronic illnesses. My doctors believe many of these are related to my endometriosis. Some are not.
Some (but not all) of the other chronic conditions I live with are fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, interstitial cystitis, Reynaud’s, irritable bowel syndrome, neuropathy, migraines, and vulvodynia/vulvar vestibulitis.
My newest diagnosis (in 2010) is migraines. It would appear I have migraines that are triggered by hormonal fluctuations and that I have cervicogenic migraines as well. Physical therapy has helped with the latter. I truly believe acupuncture has decreased the frequency of my migraines. Exposure to synthetic chemicals found in (common) commercial cleaning products, perfumes, “air fresheners”, fabric softeners, etc. can trigger migraines for me.
Since infertility is so common in endometriosis patients, I also write a great deal about it.
Please see the About Chronic Healing section of this blog for information on what this blog discusses.
Clearly, being chronically ill can be challenging, painful, exhausting, and frustrating. However, living with chronic illness has enabled me to learn how to advocate for myself (and others) and figure out which coping skills work best for me. I have become more creative and have learned how to manage challenges while coping with significant adversity. Chronic illness took my career and has certainly placed many limits on what I can do. However, I have worked hard not to allow chronic illness to make me bitter. I may be sick and I may get frustrated at different lifestyle changes I’ve had to make but I believe I’m following my purpose now and that is a great comfort to me.
In my journey living with chronic conditions and networking with fellow patients, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the nicest, most thoughtful, most compassionate, and most understanding people!! The first part of my journey getting to know fellow patients was at the local level with in person endometriosis support groups (starting in 1992 when I was diagnosed with endo). In 2001, I started an endometriosis support group in my local area. On June 1, 2008 I started writing the blog that preceded this: Jeanne’s Endo Blog. It boggles my mind every day how many amazing, supportive, kind people I have met through blogging!
I encourage and welcome your comments; I hope you find Chronic Healing helpful, supportive, and informative.