I Have Endometriosis

When I Google my first and last name the first page that comes up is a prayer request for a laparoscopic surgery I had nearly two years ago “for endometriosis”. When I first saw this I was quite upset.

Is the first thing I want people to learn about me is that I have endometriosis? What if I need to get a new job? Awhile back I contacted the suppliers of the page requesting the prayer request be removed, but did not hear back — so there it remains, embedded in the digital atmosphere.

While it still bothers me that this information is the first thing that online searchers see about me, I realize now that endometriosis is such a big part of me — why shouldn’t people know?

Today I write in this blog about endometriosis, during this month of March, which is dedicated to endometriosis awareness  — and scream to the world that yes — I have endometriosis!

Why should I be ashamed about it? Why is it such a secret? Why hide it?

Perhaps all the silence with endometriosis is because it is a woman’s disease? And has to do with the dreaded — period. Sshhhh…..

When I was a young girl I recall feelings of extreme embarrassment when I was on my period. For years I had my mother purchase sanitary pads for me, because I didn’t want to have to go through the checkout lines with those dreaded packs of pads that proved my secret.

Coupling this secret with a relentless pain, made me hate my period that much more —  fighting through the pain with a forced smile, the color drained from my face — a reality painted clear…. for those who looked close enough.

I find that things are easier now being straight up about endometriosis. It seems the topic comes up often, especially on days of pain, or when people notice my dietary restrictions, or when I decline an alcoholic beverage at a social situation, LOL.

I’ve tried out different elevator pitches for people when I say that I have endometriosis and receive the usual response – “What is that?”.

It goes a little something like this –

Endometriosis is when cells from my uterus end up outside of my uterus, attaching to other organs, primarily in my pelvic region. These cells react like they are in the uterus so they inflame and cause me a lot of pain. It’s kind of like having a bunch of blood blisters all over my insides. This pain is really bad during my period.

A lot of times this starts the conversation to a host of other things if the recipient is interested 🙂

By being straight up and honest about endometriosis, I’ve found other women who have it too — women that I’ve had a lot of interaction with, but never knew we shared this pain. By speaking out about it, it helps them speak out about it too.

Silent Suffering

When I read stories of other gals with endo, there is a common denominator — most spend years complaining of a host of different symptoms — very painful periods, bloating and other “stomach issues”, painful bowel movements, abnormal bleeding during their monthly cycle, or after sex, pain with sex…. all written off as “normal”, or IBS, or ….. anything but endometriosis.

Had it not been a co-worker mentioning the possibility of endometriosis to me, I don’t think I would have ever been diagnosed. I had never heard of endometriosis. I complained for years about my painful periods to my doctors, gynecologists… but this major sign of endometriosis was written off as “normal”.

Let it be said – painful periods are not normal. 

Since this knowledge and information is lacking in the medical community, it is important to continue talking about endometriosis. I believe that the earlier the detection of endo, the better.  Letting it continue means letting it spread — causing more pain and issues down the line, compromising fertility and organ damage.

Endometriosis has caused me pain and suffering for much of my life, but it took about 18 years for me to name this disease, and I know that I am not alone in this lack of diagnosis. It is time for this disease to have a name. We need not be silent about this pain that is affecting 1 in 10 women.

That’s 10% of women – many of whom are likely in the dark, or suffering in silence as they think that periods are just painful. I know that I never knew anything different.

On the Positive Side?

I first learned about endometriosis from a friend and was able to diagnose myself because of forums filled with endo sisters talking about their symptoms.

I continue to learn so much from fellow endo warriors who share their experiences and successes with different methods of healing.

Much love to all of my endo sisters (and friends and family of) who continue to talk about endometriosis. To spread the word — to help give a name to the pain and suffering that so many women go through.

It is important for us to spread the awareness and pay attention to other women in your life who may have similar symptoms. Who knows? That woman may be suffering in silence too.

And next time when you are having a bad day why not respond to the common question – “What’s wrong?” with a simple response – “I have endometriosis.” 

How did you find out you have endometriosis? Did a doctor suggest it or a family member or friend? Have you told someone new this month? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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