Dr Jacobs, the daughter-in-law of Mevrou Jacobs, did meet me for tea. Which led her to talking to Ma. Which led us to travelling to Dr Jacobs’ clinic.
“Endometriosis,” Ma said, once the tests and ultra sounds were all done. “What does that mean?”
“It means,” Dr Jacobs said, “that some of the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – think of it as a bed for the potential baby – is growing outside the womb. Normally, this bed is expelled once a month if the woman is not pregnant. That is what is known as menstruation. But with endometriosis, the ‘bed’ is also being built in other areas in your daughter’s pelvic area.”
“And this is painful?” Ma asked.
Dr Jacobs nodded. “I can tell you the pain is real, and the excessive bleeding is not something your daughter is doing on purpose. She really does need more sanitary pads than the average woman.”
“What can we do?” asked Ma. I could hear she was trying not to cry. “Is there a cure?”
“There is no cure. It’s a chronic disease like diabetes. But it can be managed well and I am going to make a follow-up appointment where we can go through all the options and give your daughter the support she needs.”
Ma looked at me with glassy eyes. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I had no idea that this was even possible.”
I tell you, to finally have that thing acknowledged. To understand that that thing was not something small, that I need to hide, to be ashamed about, to simply “toughen up” about has changed my life. To hear Ma say ‘sorry’ lifted a weight off my heart that I didn’t realise I’d been carrying.
It’s also helping my pocket. No longer does my mother expect me to pay for my ‘extra’ pads. She now understands I’m not being wasteful, that I really do need more than the average woman.
Which doesn’t mean I’ve stopped earning my own money.
“Will I still be hearing you read?” Mevrou Jacobs said, after I got my diagnosis.
I smiled, even though I knew she couldn’t see it. “Yes,” I said. “I can’t wait to find out what we’ll read next.”
Tell us: Have you ever had a weight lift off your heart because someone finally believed you about a problem? What was it?