Friday, March 18, 2011

Let's Talk About Endometriosis!


Often in conversation when the inevitable question "what do you do?" comes up, I reluctantly have to explain that I live with chronic illnesses which impact on my ability to work full time and sometimes my ability to even work at all. If people probe for more answers out of concern or curiosity and ask "what's wrong?", I'll usually reply with "oh just fibromyalgia and some other conditions". I don't usually like to declare that I have chronic fatigue because it just sounds like a fancy name for laziness but very rarely do I even mention that I struggle with endometriosis.

I often shy away from mentioning that I suffer from endometriosis because it's hard to talk about. Pain is a very personal and a difficult discussion to have. I'd rather not have to deal with the embarrassment of explaining what it is and how it impacts on my life. How do you make explaining that you can't leave the house because you are on your period bleeding to the extent that if you move you'll bleed a river less embarrassing? How do you inform your male boss the reason why you are a bathroom "frequent flyer" peeing machine and that you need to go to the toilet AGAIN even though you just went five minutes ago is because you have an adhesion that attaches your ovary to your bladder? How do you make it less humiliating? For the record, I just laugh it off and blame it on the bottle of water I just drank... which is somewhat true.

March is endometriosis awareness month which of course is all about raising awareness, supporting and encouraging women who so bravely live with and fight the disease but it has got me thinking, why aren't we so keen on talking about it? Sure "uterus" talk isn't glamorous and there is nothing pretty about endometriosis (aside from the lovely awareness flowers and ribbons), but endometriosis deserves as much awareness as any other disease. Although the disease isn't fatal, it impacts on every area of a woman's life. Endometriosis can effect fertility and if left untreated may increase the risk of infertility.

If we talked about the impact of endometriosis more freely maybe doctors would stop suggesting that a woman's undiagnosed pain is all her head. If we talked about it, maybe women wouldn't have to suffer in silence for years before receiving a diagnosis. If we talked about it more often maybe we'll see more hope of a cure and less cases of infertility. So why aren't we talking about it more? And why isn't the media acknowledging awareness?

When I do happen to mention that I have endometriosis (but it doesn't have me!) it's usually to people who I feel comfortable in confiding with but for the most part, I neglect to acknowledge it as something I deal with on a daily basis at all. How is that raising awareness? How is being silent going to change anything?

Many women who live with endometriosis feel as though they suffer in silence. So how do we start talking about endometriosis, how do we raise awareness and break the silence? Over at The Fight Like A Girl Club, Jamee shares some great ways on how to get involved and get talking about endometriosis in her article March is Endometriosis Month.

It's important to note that there is a time and a place to talk about endometriosis. Talking openly about it with some guy that you've just met probably isn't the best awareness strategy (and no, I've never done that just in case you were wondering...). Let's face it, period pain and "lady parts" talk isn't exactly a hot topic of conversation at the dinner table. I'm not telling you to ear bash the poor person sitting next to you about the intricacies of endometriosis, but I am encouraging you to find your voice. Raising awareness is about having a voice and finding your voice can be such a powerful thing. It can help bring validation and hope to your pain and the knowledge that you are not alone. Having a voice means that you are fighting for your freedom. It means that you are refusing to be the victim and means you are diligently seeking change for the better, not just for yourself but for others also.


Over the last few weeks I have been planning and preparing articles to share with you throughout endometriosis awareness month. Aside from the odd run in with writers block I am finding the disease very difficult to write about and publish for the whole world to see but I have been inspired by so many courageous women who are truly warrior writers, writing their hearts out and sharing with the world their struggles in the hope that it may help another. If they can do it, so can I.

I've found my voice through writing. I don't want to remain silent any longer, so I am writing, hell, am I writing and I am so proud to be one of the many beautiful women who are endometriosis warriors, writing for awareness and more importantly, unity.



Article written by Emily Ruth
© 2011 chronicallycreative.net


 

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