I would have been about 12-years old when the pain began. I went back and forth to the doctors every month, so much so that the doctors put me on the pill that year to try and avoid periods completely.
Life went on and I had been on the pill for 15 years when I felt something wasn’t quite right. I was 27 years old and had very little in my life that brought me real happiness. After leaving University I had moved to Sydney and begun living a very lush lifestyle of partying as a way to cover up a deep inner emptiness. I was in the finance industry where everyone played hard and partied hard. This was a new world for me.
My life was out of balance emotionally and so physically it had to come out. I woke one day to feel a sharp pain in my back and so had a scan where they found a 12cm growth on my adrenal gland. The doctors thought it had spread to my liver so it was recommended that I have two surgeries, the first on my adrenal gland told me that the growth was benign and then a few weeks later I went back under the knife to have liver surgery.
Once they opened me up they found that I had endometriosis all over my liver and they removed that and sewed me back up. Having endometriosis spread on the liver is a really severe thing, but no one ever said that to me or asked me about my levels of stress or diet, no one suggested things that I could have done for myself to improve my outcome.
At that point I decided to stop smoking and partying and developed a better appreciation for my body. It started me on a path of recognizing that what was going on in my insides was a much deeper thing than just the physical. I began to ask myself why it was happening and the important questions about how I was living. I started exploring and learning about emotional health.
Two years later I finally came off the pill. At that time I was married and we thought we might try for a child. The pain was debilitating as my body tried to manage all the backlog of hormones pumping through me. I was bleeding constantly and had to go to hospital as the pain was so severe. They cut me open down the middle, looked inside and promptly sewed me back up as what they could see required specialists who could clear the huge amount of endometriosis adhesions that had essentially sealed my bowel shut.
A lot of my bowel was cut out, I was given a hysterectomy and that removed all of the endometriosis for good. That sorted me at a physical level, but I had to do a whole lot more work at an emotional level. My first husband is a beautiful person but I realized as I explored who I was on a whole new level that we were on two different paths and so we parted as friends.
I was never one of those women who hungered to have children, but there was a sense of sadness when I knew that I would never have the option after the surgery. Along with that though was also some relief that I could now get on with being authentically who I was, healthier and focused on living my life the best way I could, a new start.
I find it amazing how you can transform from one person to another, almost like having a whole new life in the same body. I truly felt that a lot of the sadness I had been carrying from a small child left me along with the surgery. Thinking about who I was before then is almost like talking about someone else.
I went through the journey of releasing and forgiving my father in that emotional journey. There was alcoholism, rage and a horrible heavy energy in the house growing up. It was something that I was told not to talk about so I held it inside, deep in the belly. Over the years on a head level, I just moved past it, but those old feelings of constant stress and trauma repressed inside I now know had festered into physicality. It helped me so much to get to a place of release with Dad before he passed away three years ago.
When Dad died I felt sad, but I also felt a sense of peace for him. I started to explore the power of my body and fully got into fitness and running marathons. I found a new passion around health and nutrition and then noticed that I was attracting some really interesting people into my life that were teaching me about different modalities of health and wellbeing, about purpose.
So my story was about sadness, adversity and physical challenges and then a flowering into a new me. I was in the accounting industry for a lot of years but I wasn’t in love with what I was doing. I knew that I wanted to help women with health and personal growth, and use what I had learned to help people empower themselves.
In my journey towards learning to love myself, I had to find out what I didn’t want. I dated a few strange people after my marriage ended and then I noticed that I was letting people just arrive in my life. I found myself in a relationship with an alcoholic man and saw how I was trying to heal the broken bird, back in the ‘healing Dad’ story. I learned with a jolt of wisdom that I had to focus on being the best me I could be. I told myself that I would take a break from dating for a while
That was when I met my now husband, a truly loving and warm generous man. Everything was easy with him. I was ready to meet him and have this lovely life I now lead. I feel in a really good place these days.
I truly believe we have the power to heal ourselves. It is very important to do the emotional work to find out why your body is unhappy if you are struggling with health that is not ideal. Checking our mindset, our thoughts that go around and around and leave imprints in our body chemistry is important. We really do hold our health in our hands and taking the time to do that homework on You pays huge dividends. We live in a world where convenient food is easy and available everywhere but our bodies don’t like it. We must nourish ourselves with good food and laughter, good friends and doing something we love – that’s when you find beautiful health and feel good.
Something I have learned is that doctors can do some pretty miraculous things but they cannot do the deep work that you can only do for yourself. I guess I just expected that medicine would hold all the answers for me when I was sick. Now I understand that the first person responsible for my body to be healthy and strong is Me. When I take the lead on health and understand that people around me can support that goal, whether they are helping manage my thinking with mindfulness or advising me on foods that will nurture and support immune system healing, or whatever is needed, then I feel powerful and that just feels right.
For a long time I felt some anger towards the surgeon who cut my belly open and then promptly sewed me back up. The scar that was left was out of line and it made me feel very sad to look at it. I am working on looking at that scar now as a testament of my journey from sadness to love, from pain to laughter.
Our scars can be what we make them to be. Our bodies are our own and are beautiful if we can learn to be kind to ourselves whatever journey this life takes us.
@madebeautifulbyscars is a human global story series created by Author and Therapist Veronica Farmer, capturing real stories from men and women who have refused to let life scars hold them back from creating an extraordinary life.
Made Beautiful by Scars is a powerful movement for change around how we see our life scars. Instead of hiding our wounds, we share them and the lessons richly learned.
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