I have a disease. I don’t look sick. I don’t have a handicap. I don’t have any outward signs that something is wrong. Most people in my life don’t even know I have this disease. I am 25-years-old, and I have endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue in a woman’s uterus grows outside of her uterus, such as on the bowels, ovaries, and pelvic region. A life with endometriosis is different for everyone. There are no rules or commonalities as to how it operates. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The severity of your pain isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of the extent of the condition. Some women with mild endometriosis have extensive pain, while others with advanced endometriosis may have little pain or even no pain at all.”
I was diagnosed with stage 1 endometriosis during a laparoscopy two years ago. Unfortunately, I have more symptoms of the disease than other family members with stage 4. Symptoms include pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and infertility, to name a few. I started having symptoms not long after I was married. I don’t remember a time in my married life that didn’t involve stomach pain at least every other day, or a time where I didn’t double over from stabbing pain. I don’t remember the last time sex with my husband wasn’t dreaded. I don’t dread it because I don’t love him. Words can’t describe the hurt and anguish I have because our sex life is non-existent. But the pain is so severe, we cease to be intimate. Most days, I wonder if this pain is worth it. Will I even be able to have children? Or is this a sign from God that there’s a little boy or girl out there that needs the love only my husband and I can provide when we adopt them as our own.
I don’t tell you this for a pity party. I tell you this for awareness. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 girls and women in the U.S. and 176 million women worldwide. These women are your family, friends, co-workers, and your community. They live with a disease that has no cure. A disease that is often brushed off because you can’t tell we are “sick.” I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to go through each day with a smile when you are in constant pain that no one else understands.
Be compassionate to everyone. You never know who is fighting a battle you can’t see. Help these women not to fight the battle alone.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.