Chronically Trying: Six Months Without Painkillers

Alekszandra Rokvity
7 min readJun 28, 2022

I completed my challenge and I’m ‘back on the sauce’.

Source: Canva

I went to the supermarket. I knew it was risky. I had already started spotting and the pressure of the seatbelt against my uterus on the car ride over made me nauseous. Normally, I wouldn’t dare go shopping in this state. But — I hadn’t been home in a couple of days and my fridge was empty. I knew exactly what I needed and where it was, and my boyfriend was with me as help. I really thought I could pull it off.

Endometriosis is an Unpredictable Foe

I found myself kneeling on the floor, tucked away in the gift card section like a dying animal hiding in a cave. My backpack was spilled wide open, the berries I came to pick up were on the floor (don’t forget your endo diet!), my phone was in my hand. My mind was overcome by a thick fog.

I knew very well that it was ‘game over’. My legs gave up, my uterus was under extreme pressure, my intestines were in a knot. But no one was around, and I couldn’t move.

At some point, I saw a woman’s face very close to mine. I remember her big lips and dark hair, but not much else. She was kneeling next to me. I kept telling her I was fine. “You can’t help me,” I kept saying.

Surgery is not the Gold Standard

Up until the new ESHRE Guidelines for endometriosis came out a couple of months ago, the medical community all around the world swore by laparoscopic surgery being the so often quoted “gold standard” in the treatment of endometriosis. It took them decades of failure to admit that this is not true. I suppose they were hoping to have something else to offer before they admitted that medicine has completely failed women.

I had undergone the surgery knowing full well that the odds for success were very low. As a person who researches endometriosis professionally, I have the privilege of reviewing data before the larger community is pressured into swallowing their pride and admitting they were wrong. Still, I made the decision to go through with it. It was time — my ovaries were both in a state (chocolate cysts, fallopian tubes in weird yoga poses…) and I had no idea what stage of endometriosis I was at or what damage to expect…

Alekszandra Rokvity

Activist. Feminist. PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies and Medical Humanities.