This Endometriosis Awareness Month, I Want You to Know I Am 1 in 10

March is Endometriosis Awareness month and I am one in 10. One in 10 women have endometriosis and if you know 10 women, you know endo.

I am 22 years old but my journey with this chronic invisible illness began when I first got my cycle at age 12. Yes, endometriosis has something do with your reproductive cycle, but it is so much more than a simple “period.” Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can fuse your organs together and make life a living hell. It robbed me of my childhood. Of going to a real high school. Of sports. Of friends. Of happiness.

It takes an average of seven and a half years to be diagnosed, but even after receiving a diagnosis, many of us are still in the dark. Our “treatment options” aren’t that great. Medically-induced menopause, laparoscopy/excision surgery, hysterectomy (partial/full), other birth controls and pain management. However, none of these can “fix” us because endometriosis doesn’t have a cure. We are stuck with it for life.

It isn’t talked about enough. If it was, maybe I wouldn’t have had to endure as much as I have. I was given injections and put into menopause at age 14 and when that didn’t work like the doctor thought it should, I was put on 30 pills of steroids a day to try and stop the bleeding in my lungs. Yes, you heard that right. I also have endometriosis in my lungs and I cough up blood whenever I am on my cycle or it’s around that time. I suffer from chronic pain every day and my life is full of challenges. No 14-year-old child should go through what so many of us have had to go through. We deserve more.

We aren’t making it up. We are normal people. We all hold different jobs and we may be so good at handling the pain you probably won’t see the pain behind our smiles, but we are in pain. I hope one day we won’t have to hide how we feel, I hope one day we will have better treatment options, I hope one day doctors will take us more seriously, I hope one day I won’t be judged for trying to make the most out of the life I’ve been dealt.

So this is my story. I’m speaking up so maybe “someday” will be sooner rather than later. So maybe my story will save someone else the many years of waiting for a diagnosis. So people won’t have to struggle in silence and so they know they aren’t alone. Endometriosis is a chronic invisible illness that is very much real and debilitating. We deserve more! Please join me in this fight to raise awareness that so many live with this. Share my story, talk about endometriosis and make it known.

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