March 10th is Endometiosis Awareness Day. A day close to my heart. To celebrate (is that the right word?), I want to share a glimpse of my story and some of my favorite resources.
A week after my 11th birthday I got my period and along with it, severe chronic back pain. The pain made it unbearable to stand, sit, lay, or even breathe. No matter what I did, it was there. I saw multiple doctors for my back and was told I was healthy. I was put on 800mg of ibuprofen 3x day and as much Tylenol as I could handle. This didn’t touch the pain, but instead wreaked havoc on my stomach. I ended up in the ER with a stomach ulcer. It healed. Again, I was healthy.
Fast forward a couple months and new pain started showing up. Joint pain, worse acid reflux, severe constipation, and ASTRONOMICAL cramps. I went to more doctors. Again, healthy. Nobody seemed to believe me.
I couldn’t figure out why I was unable to go to school, or hang out with my friends, or even get out of bed at all some days. It ruined most of my relationships and took away my preteen and teenage years. It continues to get in the way of relationships, school, and everyday life 10 years later.
It took me collapsing on the bathroom floor from the pain, struggling to get a breath to get my parents to believe me. It took multiple trips to the ER for my friends to believe me. It took 4 years and a surgery (and a pissed off mom advocating for me) for my doctors to believe me.
There is no cure. There is minimal research. There are 176 MILLION women living with this condition that impacts EVERY aspect of their life and the lives of the people who love them.
It is unacceptable that this disease is unknown.
This diagnosis has been the biggest roadblock in my life, but it has also been the biggest blessing. It put me on the path to becoming an adolescent gynecologist so girls no longer have to go through what I had to. I am lucky that I was able to find something so beautiful from something so horrible, but most women with endometriosis are suffering. Please consider donating to EndoFound. If you cannot, there are other ways to help. Simply reach out to anyone you know with endo and tell them you see their strength. Ask the women in your life about their periods no matter how uncomfortable society has made that feel. Tell someone today about endometriosis. Share this post. Just talking about it can help so many people.
Thank you for hearing me out. Here are some links for further reading or donating:
Donate here: https://www.endofound.org/donation
My favorite way to describe living with chronic pain: https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
Hope students!! Don’t forget to wear yellow on March 10th to be entered to win a biggby giftcard. More information here: Women's Empowerment Organization - Hope College
Last but not least, I want to thank some people for getting me through the hardest times in my life. It is obvious that endometriosis impacts my life, but many times the lives of the people I love are impacted almost as much. Please know I am eternally greatful for your support and love and from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I decided to start a blog because my mental and physical conditions are constantly changing, and I want to help encourage people with similar experiences, and let them know they are not alone.