One of my favorite tweeters, @VitaCatholic, got me talking about endometriosis--or more specifically using the pill to treat the pain associated with it. I mentioned my bout with it, and she thought I should do a post about it, so here I am. :) Thanks, by the way.
So, the title of this post sounds ominous. Bear in mind that I am not normally one of those people that thinks that ALL bad things that happen to someone are a direct punishment from God. I'm not even sure that I totally think that my short, intense bout with endometriosis was, but if not it would be highly coincidental. So, the story.
I am a convert, before I was Catholic I was a Mormon. Before I was Mormon, I was nothing. I mean, if you asked me, I would have probably said I was Christian, but would have meant it in the the generic I-like-to-help-people-I'm-a-good-person-and-I-believe-in-God-and-Jesus sort of way. Becoming Mormon was probably an integral step in my full conversion, as scary as that sounds. Some day I'll have to do a post on my conversion. At any rate, when I was Mormon I met my now husband who has always been a faithful, devout, Catholic. We became pretty good friends and spent a lot of time hanging out. As a "good" Mormon, I tried my best to engage him in debate and convert him. However, he always had much better responses (the Truth will generally help your case considerably ;-)) and often I could not respond to him without checking with my Mormon authorities first. In fact, I was appalled when some Christian church didn't think that we were Christians, I didn't know much about Mormon theology because I hadn't gotten TOO far from the meat and bread part of training.
So, I had been having a lot of doubts, these doubts were gnawing at me. I mentioned to my best friend (my now husband) and we started discussing my leaving the Mormon church. I also started mentioning it to the people I was friends with in the Mormon church. This was because I was a "good" Mormon, I needed to give them the chance to combat it. And they did, sort of, with love. Man, can those Mormons love, in the love your neighbor as yourself sort of way. I had phone calls and visits and people showing such concern for me. And for various reasons, I faltered. I decided that maybe the Mormon church wasn't "right" but at least they were nice, and cared about me so much, so couldn't that be the Holy Spirit?!
And, that's when the cramping started. I had never experienced cramps in my life until this time in my life. And this was a double you over in pain kind of cramps. These cramps, literally, knocked me down when they started. It was at work, and I was in so much pain. To top that off, I started bleeding every 7 days. Heavy, painful period. Lasted only a few days, but when it comes every 7 days, that's a whole lot of bleeding. Couple that with the excruciating pain, and well, it sucked. :-| Bottom line, it was awful.
I went to the local GYN in Lamar, and he put me on the pill. Guess what? Didn't work, I had break through, horrible bleeding. Ridiculous cramping still. He didn't know what else to do besides a hysterectomy which was off the table at this time. I decided to see my old GYN in Greeley, CO who I had always trusted and liked. He did some hormonal testing, everything was normal. He put me on pain killers, because by this point I was unable to go to work for 2 days every 7 days. He also put me on a couple types of estrogen. Our last resort was either putting me into a sort of fake menopause, or laparoscopy to see if it was endometriosis and try to remove what was there. I opted for surgery.
In the meantime, my doubts about the Mormon church were still gnawing at me despite all the love that those Mormons bestowed on me. Then one day at work two ladies I worked with were having a conversation about Heaven. I was not involved, just in the room. One of them asked the other "do you think there will be marriage in Heaven" and the other one said "I don't know, I've never thought about it" and the first said "Well, I don't, Jesus said there won't be, so there can't be". Wait, what?! Stop the train. This is one of the foundational Mormon "truths", that there IS marriage in Heaven, that you can be with your family for eternity. So I joined the conversation. And I researched. And I talked to my friends that were various Christian denominations, and I talked to Jason who was taking a sort of laid back approach to this during this time in the conversion. Everyone agreed. The Mormons were wrong.
I had pretty much made up my mind to leave the Mormon church when I went in for my surgery. I was REALLY nervous. I have always wanted to be a mom, and I was frightened that it wasn't going to be possible. The doctor went in and looked. And guess what? No endometriosis, nothing. There was a small piece of scar tissue on my bowel that he thought might have been causing some pressure, but really nothing that was on the uterus would account for the horrible cramping or incessant bleeding.
I had some cramping for another week or so, but the bleeding had stopped. By the time I had informed all of my Mormon friends I was leaving the church and had started looking seriously at the Catholic faith, the cramping had stopped as well. By the time my next cycle came along, all my Mormon "friends" who were so good at loving me before had stopped that loving. But I'd found a better love. Christ in the Eucharist. Although I could not receive Him yet, I could sit with Him, and visit Him, and pray to Him. And that love far exceeded any love that I had ever known. And I found when my period started, I didn't have any cramping associated with it, just like what it had been my whole life; and the bleeding didn't start again in 7 days.
So, that's my (long, sorry!) story about endometriosis. I don't know for sure if it was the wrath of God, or a warning, or purely coincidental. But I have a feeling that while I'm getting all of this down my guardian angel is chuckling and thinking "boy, it sure did take a lot to get her convinced!" ;-)