Story by Sugandhaa Pandey
I was a twenty-two year old student, living away from my family. It was 2018 - I felt a severe ache on the left side of my abdomen on the night before my finals and was admitted to the hospital.
Without proper diagnosis, the doctor said I needed to undergo an immediate surgery for appendicitis. I was scared. On contacting my father, he arrived the next day and cancelled it.
As my menstrual cycle was going on, my father and I decided to visit the gynaecologist. It was then that I was diagnosed with Polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism and realised I was saved from a wrong diagnosis. I was doing fine for the next six months. The worst was yet to come.
In 2020, I was living with my sister. It was a regular day and she went to her office when I received a call on our landline. Suddenly, I felt the same pain in the midst of the call. This time, the pain was unbearable.
I bawled and shivered. I couldn't even reach my bed. I somehow managed to contact my sister and her colleagues who thankfully lived nearby. I vomited and after a few hours, the pain subsided with the help of injections.
In the month of June, I got the necessary tests and scans done. I ended up diagnosed with Endometriosis, which I found out that I had since the onset of puberty which I never knew.
During my teenage, I had always been told by the doctors that I was constipated or it's normal to have severe cramps during menstruation. They never got into the detailing of why my abdomen or pelvic area pained. The symptoms of endometriosis were always there.
Finally, my surgery was done in July. The delay in surgery made me experience how women don't get the stance to opt for surgeries in an honorary manner or even talk about it when it comes to reproductive disorders. Female sexuality is misunderstood and considered a taboo.
I expected the medical professionals to comfort my parents when they were worried about the possibility of me undergoing a hysterectomy, which eventually didn't happen.
Instead, they suggested to my parents that I, a twenty-four year old, should be married early and plan a baby. It left me perplexed. But, I had to calm my parents even though I was the patient and had a lot on my plate already.
After being diagnosed with endometriosis, I was told to remain silent as I'm a female who's suffering from a reproductive disorder that's considered to be forbidden in our society. I experienced how our society is gripped with so much taboo including medical staff regarding the same that they do not feel the need to research more, give detailed information and talk about it without any hesitation.
I searched on the internet for personal stories regarding the same to relate to, but found none. I felt lonely and frustrated. Throughout the journey of my diagnosis of PCOS and endometriosis, I yearned for emotional support.
Gradually, I opened up to people around me only to know they had similar problems. I felt at peace knowing I had someone to talk to.
I felt the need to speak openly about it on a larger platform. At least my story could reach someone from any part of the world, making them feel at ease.
I feel the gravity of my situation in my day-to-day life. But, I have no reason to feel ashamed about it.