Helene Combe

Through my journey as an English teacher and a language learner

Month: March 2017

Itinerary of a chronic pain: my life with endometriosis

I suffer from endometriosis since age fifteen.

Don’t pity me, I didn’t even know what that was three years ago. I just knew that a couple of days per month, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, that I would be weak and tired, and that I felt like I was about to die, basically.

One time, I was so in bad shape that my mother brought me to a hospital: they thought I was doing an appendicitis and they opened me up straight away, without even waiting for the tests results. Turns out, I wasn’t having an appendicitis. I had something but they didn’t know what… I had endometriosis already, but I didn’t know it yet.

I hated OB gyn. The first time I went, at 16 years old, she hurt me so bad that I wasn’t able to walk properly for the rest of the day. The second time, she didn’t believe me when I told her I was a virgin (I was eighteen). When I tried another one, she called me a liar for when I said that I had only one sexual partner (guess what, not every girl is a slut!). That last one called me a “sissy”.

My period lasted between three and five days, and I was sick the first two days: nausea, headaches, stomach pains, dizziness, even dysuria. I suffered from ache in my own vagina 20 days per month. I could say exactly in how long I was supposed to have my period because I could feel it. 

The first time I tried to have sex, it hurt so bad that I bursted into tears immediately. I could try again only two years later, with a more patient partner, who understood that something went wrong (patience was apparently his one and only virtue, otherwise he was the biggest dick I have ever met in my whole life). I fainted once during sex, a long time ago. I still can’t truly understand why people are so into it. Even if it gets better with time, after five minutes or so, it starts to hurt so much that I pray for it to stop.

I finally found, after ten years, an OB Gyn, a very gentle and kind lady who put me into a special pill, a whole month pill, which means I can’t have my period at all. Sometimes I do, because the endo is still here, it’s just slower than before. The last time I got it, I felt dizzy, weak and like in a roller coaster. That reminded me that it was still here, inside me.

Recently, I complained about people asking me when I was having a baby. The truth is when you have endometriosis, you don’t know if you will be able to, at all. Every year, during my annual OB Gyn appointment, I am asking if it’s going to be possible and invariably, the doctor tells me it will be. I want a baby, at some point. Not now, for various obvious reason, but endometriosis is surely an element to consider.

I am not gonna die from endometriosis. I am stage one, which is pretty basic, I have my pill for a month, I never stop it and it’s okay. One of my former colleagues had to be put on early menopause because the whole month pill wasn’t working on her. The endometrium is so infiltrate that she has to go into surgery once a year. I am far from it.

I had a flower tattooed on my appendicitis scar they performed on Christmas Eve in 2009. It wasn’t that far away, but they didn’t do a sonogram to check what they were doing. And every time someone is asking me when I’ll have a baby, I respond that I want a dog anyway. Because it’s better to fight it by ignoring it, by living anyway than to explain every boring day that something is happening inside of you.

 

 

 

 

 

#genderequality?

Wednesday, I had a little glimpse of what the word “hypocrisy” means.

Thousands of women on this planet was captioning their latest selfie on Instagram, or Facebook, or Snapchat or whatever network is trendy now with these hashtags: #internationalwomensrightday , #feminism, and of course, my favorite, #genderequality.

Last Wednesday, I got into a prestigious teaching program in England. My goal, you got it by now, is to be a top level English teacher: I enrolled to Cambridge ESOL Examination, I passed two exams within four months even if I have full time job, I worked my ass off to be on this program. I had to pass a written test, to ace an interview to finally get in.

If I were a man, I would have been praised. People would be congratulating me. No red carpets, but almost. I would have been the boss, am I right?

But I have ovaries, and apparently that is more important than anything else. When I told people about my enrollment, about the fact that I had to study in England (AKA my dream since age nine) to achieve my goal, this is how they freaking react:

What about your husband?

Does he agree?

Wouldn’t be clever to have kids instead?

(My husband is fine, thank you)

Nobody cares that you have a brain, girl. You may be the smartest person in your block, you may ace every test you are going to pass, but your main objective is to bring kids to this planet. How can you pretend that we have gender equality if these remarks still exist?

It’s not men who said these to me. It was full grown up women. That’s maybe what hurts the most.

There is no gender equality.

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s day should be abolished

Don’t throw me stones just yet, hear me out.

Imagine that you are black person, and on the Abolition of slavery day, every people around you would come to greet you, to buy you some “black” stuff, talking about “black” stuff and basically, move the Earth around the fact that you’re black.

I am pretty sure that any black person would be upset. They know that they are black they don’t need a special day to remember it, they have a mirror. It’s exactly the same thing for women. We know that we are women, we don’t need an ad in the subway to remember it.

Okay, I didn’t plan to focus on Women’s day, because I thought it was too mainstream, but right after I decided to write about another topic (which was how public university libraries were poor because the librarian asked me if I wanted to borrow a copy of Witness  on VHS), Google and Facebook and Snapchat and Amazon and everything on Earth decided to put under my nose some “women stuff”.

So when I clicked anywhere on the search bar, including on the Amazon one, these few items were automatically suggested:

-make up

-recipes

-shoes… (that’s just examples, but you got the idea!)

I am no scientist but I am 100% sure that having a vagina doesn’t mean we live for make up or recipes or shoes. I don’t, my friends sure don’t either, and that’s just purely sexist.

Can we stop being hypocrite and pretending it’s cool to have a Women’s day? No, it’s not! It’s not cool at all! Why don’t we call it “Ovarian days” for what it worth?

Is there a “Testicle day”? A “penis day”? No, I don’t think so. Because we don’t need to make men remember that they exist: they already know it. Women’s day is just another excuse to say: we know you’re here, it’s cool but don’t think you’re too important.

Well, we are.

© 2019 Helene Combe

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