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Endometriosis

"My name is Michelle, and I'm an endo warrior. I've never had a normal period. I want people to know about endometriosis and adenomyosis. More than one in 10 women have endometriosis. I’m one of them. For more than a decade, my periods were extremely heavy, excruciatingly painful and completely debilitating. And they didn't last three to seven days. My periods sometimes went on for weeks at a time. I bled for two whole months one year. But the saddest part of this is that as a teenager struggling to be "normal," I never realized my heavy periods were anything but. Doctors didn't believe me and told me I was depressed. It took several years (and lots of tears) to finally convince a doctor in Hawaii that something wasn't right. He suspected endometriosis and four years later, I've had three surgeries to help improve my quality of life. It shouldn't have to take so much effort. Last week, I had a hysterectomy to help "cure" my adenomyosis, another chronic disease I recently discovered I had. More people need to know about these invisible illnesses. People need to listen to their bodies. Trust yourself. Endometriosis doesn't define me, but it sure as hell helped me understand myself a lot better." @myshellie23

 

“1 in 10 women have endometriosis. It takes an average of 7-10 years to get a diagnosis. When I started my period in middle school, my cramps were terrible. I remember feeling like all I wanted was to sit lay in bed for hours to relax, but I was stuck in a sixth grade classroom trying to cope with pain I had never experienced before. Everyone told me periods were supposed to hurt, so I thought it was normal. When I got to high school, the pain spread to my back and I developed migraines. In college, the pain was constant. I had no relief between cycles and my periods were excruciating. I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis in 2017 during a diagnostic laparoscopy and I cried with relief knowing that I wasn’t crazy, what I had been experiencing wasn’t normal, and that I had a name for what was going on. I had a second surgery in 2018 with an excision specialist to remove the endometriosis. It was wrapped around my nerves, infiltrating into my muscles, tucked up near my bladder, and back near my colon. Since my excision surgery I’ve felt a lot better, and I try to raise as much awareness about endometriosis as I can. I’m still healing and I still have bad days. I do a lot of work in physical therapy and luckily my insurance covers massage. I see a counselor every two weeks to talk about how my physical health affects my mental health. I’m still able to work my dream job as a pediatric nurse despite my living with chronic illness, but managing my health is like another full time job. Painful periods aren’t normal. Pelvic pain isn’t normal. If you’re experiencing any of these things, talk to your doctor about endometriosis. Endometriosis has just been the beginning of my chronic illness journey. I’ve also been diagnosed with several other conditions that often go along with endo. If anyone ever needs a place to talk, vent, or ask questions, I’m always available to listen.” @chronicallyilliemillie

 

“I'm wearing this yellow aware necklace because I know endo. I became rather #endoexperienced as I trudged my way through the majority of my life holding on to the belief that this was just how everyone felt. As an adult, it has been discovered that I have a handful of chronic illnesses including Lyme and autoimmune disease, chronic pain, inflammation, and mental health issues -to name a few. My experience with endo comes with a few months of validation, over 12 years of sucking it up, a dash of not looking sick, and a smidgen of disbelief in my entire self. I have only just begun sharing a slice of my experience with endometriosis, and I will continue to use my voice to raise awareness for it. I created www.iknowendo.com, where I work to expose the humans who support humans with endo. I share my photography, experience, and partner with other humans who know endo. The idea that nobody can see our illness is outdated, because we are seen. The humans in our lives are visible and so is their support. Endo isn't easy, there is no cure, frankly, there is no treatment either. We are left to fend for ourselves while also attempting to be productive members of society. We need to be aware, we need to stand together, and we need to listen to humans who have something to say. If my endo was showing, it would not have taken me the majority of my life to get a diagnosis. I would not have had to battle this on my own. We can do better - let's make it happen.” @amanda.haswell 

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