By Keona Tann
I have suffered from endometriosis (commonly shortened to endo) for 28 years. It's a disease that is hard to pronounce (en-doh-mee-tree-oh-sis), difficult to diagnose and impossible to understand. From the age of 13 I suffered horrendous periods that were associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, clammy sweats and frequently unbearable pain. Often I would suffer pelvic pain that could last for months. I struggled for years to be diagnosed and then still suffered extensively due to the fact that my endo growths were drug resistant. This meant that the only way to control them was with surgery. In my late teens I was advised that I may not be able to have children. But miraculously I managed to conceive naturally and I'm the proud mum of 2 gorgeous kids that are a really blessing.
Finding you have an illness, disease or condition is just the start of a very long and difficult road. It's hard to understand long term suffering and so many seemingly unanswered prayers. I’ve found that an invisible illness is a very lonely existence! The disease left me severely debilitated many times and unable to participate in life as I desired.
I believed the lie of being alone for a long time but thankfully God sustained me and revealed that companionship in shared suffering can be found.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, the New Living Translation, states that: “two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help”. I find that I ‘fall’ so many times physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that I need regular prayer time with God and a team to help me.
For me my team consists of a good GP who I trust and can talk to; specialists who are knowledgeable and want the best for me; an amazing husband; a supportive and caring family; a Christian counsellor; a psychologist; a close circle of friends I can text, message etc. and importantly a team of prayer warriors.
I implore you please DON’T suffer in silence alone.
With the modern technology that we have today you can connect from your bed to people all over the world. There are great Facebook support groups for numerous diseases and conditions.
I have found reaching out and inviting friends for a cuppa catch up gives me an opportunity to be encouraged and supported as well as a chance to try to encourage and support them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) challenges me to: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”. I believed, for a long time, that I couldn’t possibly make an impact from my bed as I felt trapped and shackled to my illness. But I believe God will empower us to reach out to others and He will take our small effort and turn it into something amazing. A simple text to a friend can brighten their day, so don’t underestimate the small gestures you make as they can have a HUGE impact.
So please take a big deep breath, pray and then share, share, share!
Keona Tann has lived most of her life in the beautiful Australian state - Tasmania. She has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. Keona and her husband consider themselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. They have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion. Keona's working life has seen her develop over 15 years of customer service experience. Health issues have plagued her for 28 years and over the past 2 years have been severely debilitating. Seeking direction from God her passion for writing was recently reignited. Writing the following mission statement: "I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding." she hopes to launch her new career soon.