This post is in recognition of this Month (March 2013) being Endometriosis Awareness Month.
Around 1.5 million women in the UK alone have this condition, including me! So please do read the following, there is an Aikido link, I promise....
But before I get ahead of myself, I think I should at least try and explain what exactly endometriosis is.
I think the best way of explaining it is this. All us ladies of child-bearing age have a menstrual cycle. This, as I'm sure many husbands, fathers, boyfriends and partners will agree turns the most agreeable, sweet natured woman into a hormonal screaming banshee for about a week every month. As we all know, if a woman is not pregnant, the uterus (womb) lining breaks down and she bleeds. The cycle then starts again, with the womb lining being built up again in preparation for the next month. With endometriosis, the womb lining grows outside the womb, and is found around the uterus, its ligaments, tubes and ovaries. It can also spread to grow on the bladder and bowel and rarely the lungs. As its womb lining, every month when the bleeding occurs, the endometriosis bleeds too. As there is nowhere for the blood to go, it becomes trapped, causing pain. This blood then sticks to other organs in the pelvis causing further problems.
So onto the actual post, or reason why I'm posting anyway.
Grrrr...there is a saying 'never count your chickens before they are hatched'. How true this is.
Although I had been feeling alot better since the laporoscopy, the endometriosis pain had been creeping up on me again. I was so glad not to be in constant pain (the endometriosis I had was growing in a few places where there are alot of nerves) that I dismissed it at first, enjoying my first run of good health for a least 3 years. That was pretty stupid of me as it turns out. So I'm now back where I was a few months ago now.
Since my diagnosis, I'm finding that many people haven't actually heard of Endometriosis,
and those who have, sadly are under the impression that it is 'just bad
period pain'. The most annoying thing about endometriosis is that you
have good days and bad days with it. Some days I have just too much pain
and feel too tired and wiped out to do very much, and other days, I
have too much energy. Its just the way it is. But I do wish that my
'energy days' could happen more on training days. I might have a shot at
being able to train for my 1st Kyu.
I am not sure how many people there are who practise martial arts who have a chronic long term medical condition, but I am finding with Aikido at least, there is still training I can do, despite the pain and fatigue. Okay, so I can't do randori every session, but I can do basic foot and hand movements and still keep some flexibility by stretching to warm up and cool down. Oh, and breathing helps too with pain relief. I think that the adaptability of Aikido is one of my most favourite things about this art, I'm not sure that many other martial arts would be as quite so adaptable for people such as myself.
So at the minute, its very basic training for me. Little or no breakfalls, with emphasis on basic movement. This might drive some people crazy, but for me, its working. The most important thing is that by doing this, training slowly and going back to basic movement, means that I'm ironing out old and bad habits.
Thank you for reading. I know that the first half was perhaps too personal and hard to read. But its important that people know how debilitating this disease can be. And awareness starts with people being willing to talk and share experience.