Dear Kenyan Endo Warrior, You Don’t Have to Walk Alone

Living with endometriosis can be hard. A majority of my memories are lonely, scary and empty. But, times have changed. I know that in the event I have a flare up there are women that I can call for advice, support and prayers. Women who get me, and don’t think that I am faking the pain or being unnecessarily sad.

Dear Kenyan Endo Warrior

The Endo community in Kenya has grown. It warms my heart to see the different people shining their lights and encouraging other women. The truth is just because, I walked alone doesn’t mean that other women should walk alone.

If you are looking for women to walk with, cry with and navigate this season with, please see below:

Endometriosis Foundation Of Kenya

It was founded by Elsie Hadassah Wandera. You can read her Endo Story and see what her journey has been like.

There’s a closed Facebook Group for women living with Endometriosis, a Facebook Page to create awareness about Endometriosis and a Whatsapp Group to support Endowarriors in Kenya.

They have meet ups from time to time.

Endo Sisters East Africa

It was founded by Doris Murimi.

They have an office in Thika at Gospel Preachers Church, Karibaribi, Thika, near Mary Hill Girls school. You can follow the conversations on their Facebook Page.

They have their first monthly meet up on Saturday 6th May 2017 at Cake Plaza next Prestige Plaza, off Ngong Road, at 3pm – 6pm.

They go to schools and talk to girls about Endometriosis. If you would like to invite them to your school, you can send them an Email.

Waiting Wombs Trust

It was founded by Editah Hadassah Trip. You can read her Endo Story and see how the Trust was born.

They have a closed Facebook Page where they walk with women who are waiting to conceive and encourage them.

They will have their first meet up on 17th June 2017 in Nairobi from 2pm at a venue to be confirmed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed and you would like to talk to someone, please send me an email and I will put you in touch with someone who can walk with you.

Please don’t suffer alone. As always, I am here to pray with you, cry with you and laugh with you, because I believe that one day, soon, we will laugh.

Blessings,

Ess

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#TheKenyanEndoStory: Hadassah Trip

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It is always uplifting to read the stories of other Endo warriors who are braving through life and shining their lights. Our third Endowarrior is Editah Hadassah Trip. She is the founder of Waiting Wombs trust. Hers is a story of pain, grace and hope. She is walking with women whose wombs are waiting and sharing a message of hope.

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After our grand wedding in 2007, I wasn’t keen on conceiving in the first 3 years. We were on honeymoon hence I didn’t see any hurry. I had also lost my sister during child birth and it crushed me.

Fast forward to the fourth year, I experienced horrible cramps, visited a doctor and was treated for cysts. That was the beginning of our waiting journey and the medication process. I was put on some strong hormonal medication that nearly killed me, they had to be flushed out of my system fast.

I experienced my first “societal punch” when someone asked me to try different positions and stop wasting time. (I never lack sober responses for such questions – trust me )

We kept trying, started visiting doctors who confirmed that all was well with us.
I had a laparoscopic surgery in 2010 where the doctor removed 12 fibroids and 6 cysts. I remember asking him how so many growths could be in one petite person.
I recovered and went back to my normal routine.

Later, a pal gave me some herbal medication that worked for her after a long waiting period. This totally affected me and resulted in fresh cysts, said the doc. Reversing the effect was a painful process.

In 2014, I experienced another flare of pain and ended up in the theatre again, this time for an emergency open surgery. I was diagnosed with severe Endometriosis. Was put on the those jabs that drive you straight to menopause (at least some of us know what menopause feels like lol!). How do our mother handle hot flushes?
I remember one day fanning myself ( July) and a client asked me ” madam, ni kushuta ama joto?” (Madam, are you feeling hot or did someone fart?) lol!!
Anyway, I faithfully took the medication for 6 months. This time I was confident that I had recovered and my twins would come any moment – those twins are still coming :).

I have since gone for six Hysterosalpingograms which is an X-Ray to see the inside of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. I’m not doing it again because the last one left me limping, crazy medication, horrible herbs, uncomfortable procedures. At some point my hubby and I promised ourselves that we’d only visit doctors if we must. Oh how I hate hospitals!!

PREGNANCY KITS

I need to mention how uncomfortable I feel buying the pregnancy kits. Knowing that it could be another 200 shillings washed down the drain. I know you understand that feeling only too well. There’s a time I was sure that the babies had at least settled in (Dr. Google can be a monster eish!). I took the tests thrice just because I wasn’t prepared for another negative result. I even tried putting on a different set of specs just in case my eyes were a problem. Call it “honest deception”. I think I cried for an hour or so after finally accepting the results.  My eyes were so swollen the next day and I had to go to work. I survived

Anytime I was put on hormonal medication e.g Clomid, my reaction was extreme. In one instance, I developed severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. I react to everything! Literally!

THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS

Two months ago I was upcountry. An old lady relative approached me and said ” I saw the cause of your childlessness in a vision. Give me some money and let me pray for you “. Thank God my husband was there who politely told her off.

Some of the uncomfortable comments I have faced as I wait are:
” what are you still waiting for? ”
” you are pretending to be happy yet you aren’t”
” why are you wasting your husband?”
” you keep postponing this issue thinking you’ll be young forever- shida yako”

Why am I sharing this? Why am I still hopeful and waiting? Does it mean that I don’t have low moments? No. I do. Am human and a woman for this matter.
We have however accepted that children come from God. See the bible cases where ” The Lord opened wombs and conception occurred “? I cling onto such promises. I have faith that my conception will be natural because there’s God in heaven who can do the impossible.
Doctors can talk about infertility or barrenness but I don’t buy that, I am a waiting womb. Adoption is an option for us whether our Samuel comes or not. And as we wait, we’ll make the best childless uncle and auntie by God’s grace.

Should The Lord in His wisdom decide to withhold this blessing from us, we’ll still trust and serve Him. Doesn’t He have good plans for us? He’ll provide the strength needed to hang on.

PARTING SHOT

Let’s be encouraged dear ones. Don’t allow your current situation to define you. You are special, you are loved.

There may be pressure from within, from in-laws, spouses ,society and all, hang on. Even Peninah could only do so much until The Lord remembered Hannah.

 

rose

Her favorite flower is the red Rose. It is a symbol of love. Promoting family love regardless of situation.

If you know a woman who is waiting on the Lord for a child, you can refer her to Waiting Wombs for more information. You can connect with Hadassah directly on Facebook.

If you’d like to share your story on this platform, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary of A Kenyan Endo Warrior- The Warning Sign We Missed

Dear Diary,

Where there is smoke, there is a fire.

As a little girl, I had trouble with my bowel movements. I hated going to the toilet. When I felt the urge, I’d have balancing tears because I knew the pain and sheer discomfort that awaited me. My diet was fairly okay, and I tried to drink water and eat my pawpaw, but my poop wouldn’t move (pun intended). I was the preteen girl with chronic constipation, I was always tired and cranky. I envied anyone who could poop with pain and problems.

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When I hit puberty, things got worse. It was more like, out of the frying pan and into the fire. IT WAS HORRIBLE. Pooping during my periods was extremely uncomfortable. My tummy was very bloated and I felt a piercing pain as the poop moved through my intestines. Sometimes, I couldn’t walk, I would sweat, in pain, until it passed. Bowel movements became a serious prayer item. Around the same time, I experienced such discomfort when trying to pee. I’d go and sit on the loo but it just wouldn’t come out. I even thought I was stressed. I remember one time we went to climb Mount Kenya and I just couldn’t pee, other girls kept asking what’s taking so long, but it just couldn’t come out yet it hurt so much. After about 20 minutes of squat-waiting, I finally peed. My period came the following day, but I had no idea, then, that there was a connection between the pain and my menstrual cycle.

Little did I know, Endometriosis was nesting in my abdomen.

Love always,

Ess

 

#TheKenyanEndoStory

When I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, I only knew one other woman with Endo and she was not willing to talk about her journey because of the stigma she had received. I was alone; I felt like an anomaly. My journey with Endo was very lonely and depressing. There are many times that I was almost consumed by these feelings. Suicide crossed my mind a couple of times. By God’s grace, I made it through.

As I researched about Endometriosis a few years back, I realized that there were many stories from the UK and USA but very few, if any, from Kenya. A few years later, I found other women in Kenya who were fighting Endometriosis; I was encouraged and wished I’d heard these stories of pain, strength and courage earlier.

 

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A couple of months ago, I had a dream to share stories of women suffering from Endometriosis in Kenya. I wanted the world at large and the people of Kenya to know that:

*If you know ten women, you know Endometriosis. It affects one in ten women.

*Endometriosis does not fit in a box, it is vast and multi-faceted. It attacks different organs, so every woman’s experience in unique.

*Endometriosis doesn’t have a trademark look. Many women are suffering yet they look normal. Behind their smiles are souls that carry pain unknown.

*Information is power. The more we talk about Endometriosis the more women we empower and together we decrease the stigma.

*We need policies that support women with Endometriosis in Kenya

*Specialized healthcare needs to be more affordable and accessible. Getting a diagnosis in Kenya is like buying a parcel of land.

Several months later,

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a new segment on this blog #TheKenyanEndoStory. yellowendoflower.wordpress.com.

It will feature stories of pain, hope, courage and strength to encourage women in Kenya and around the world. The first story goes live in a few minutes.
If you would like to be featured in ‘Her Endo Story’ #TheKenyanEndoStory, please send an me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess