Nafea, Diagnosed with Endometriosis

MV Plus | March 16, 2022

“I was at the ER due to a major pain attack, barely able to breathe. I was told that I did not look like I was in pain,” says Nafea, who is now diagnosed with Endometriosis.

“I have been to the doctors over the years due to severe cramps and fainting. I have been told that it is a part of every girl’s life.” Nafea says that she does not need the validation, but with an already fragile mindset from years and years of getting dismissed, it gets tiring.

Nafea found out about endometriosis after they went for a routine check-up after she got married. After the routine check-up, they figured she had a fibroid. She had to undergo surgery to remove the fibroid. They discovered that it was not a fibroid, but all the organs were stuck together because of extensive endometriosis.

“During the surgery, there were additional life-threatening complications. My husband was given the choice to let the doctors continue the surgery or stop the surgery since there was a 50-50 chance of survival,” says Nafea explaining how her family found out about her endometriosis.

“At first, they didn’t tell me as I was not in the mental state to process the discovery. They took their time to let the doctor explain since I was recovering from the surgery at that time,” says Nafea, expressing how her family took her feelings and mental well-being into consideration when explaining the situation.

“My family, my husband, and his family were very supportive. They gave me the strength to go on.” Nafea added that there were some skeptics who used to assume she had a low pain threshold. She described the diagnosis as a relief.

“It was hard to understand. I had to think about the long-term effects this will have on my life. It took time to convince myself.” Nafea explained her thought process throughout the diagnosis. Nafea had tried various hormonal treatments and medication which resulted in large weight fluctuations. She explained that unkind words did not help.

Nafea further explained how people suggested various “cures” that have helped them or someone they know. Nafea says that unsolicited advice like this does more harm than good to her mental wellbeing.

“Believe me, I have undergone and explored many medical and alternative interventions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here.”

“Society does not believe that people go through situations they cannot bear. For me, it was important to recognize that I need professional help. So, we decided I should get professional support to work through my emotions and find a way to live with this.”

“It affected every aspect of my life. I needed to accept that my body would not work the same way as others due to the chronic pain.”

“My work supervisor and workmates were very understanding of my situation too. But I know that this is not a luxury everyone receives for a situation like this.” She explained how she was absent for periods of time and how her boss was considerate enough to give her flexibility. 

“With this amount of medical intervention, it is sad to see issues come up due to medical negligence. This is something I had to deal with as well.” Nefea has faced medical negligence throughout her journey dealing with endometriosis, which has led to further health complications.

“Don’t look at a person and assume that they can function the same. Showing strength does not mean a person is not suffering.”

Nafea explains that she drew strength from the people around her rather than seeing her life as a competition. She says she understands that she cannot function at the same speed as the people around her.

“I know my goals. Although my condition may affect the speed at which I reach it. I still have the ability to reach my destination despite it.”

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can affect women of any age. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life.

– Photostories in partnership with Endometriosis Association of Maldives