Why I Think Lena Dunham's Article About Her Journey With Endometriosis Is Wonderful
Lena Dunham, I love you.
Writer, producer, actress, and activist Lena Dunham wrote an article for Vogue in which she details her decade long battle with endometriosis and her recent decision for a radical hysterectomy. This isn’t the first article Dunham has written on the topic, and I hope it isn’t her last. While her fight has hopefully reached a relief-giving, albeit emotional, resolution, some of us still in drifting along in our own health purgatory find solace in her stories. At least I do.
Dunham perfectly captures that rivalry between want and need with a refreshing honesty that is raw and humorous. And when you’re in the thick of it, comradery is priceless.
Tomorrow I will undergo my 16th or 17th surgery. Laparoscopy, cystoscopy and hydrodistention with pelvic floor botox. Just weeks after my 30th birthday I, like Dunham, am tooth and nail fighting for relief, realizing fully that it might come at the expense of one of the most natural things in the world. But when you are only three decades into life, and already at your wits end with your failing body, I think radical decisions don’t seem as scary as they are necessary.
Even when necessary, though, radical decisions should be given ernest and thorough considerations. Weighing the potential of relief with the certainty of loss isn’t an easy task, even for someone like me who isn’t sure about parenthood in the first place. I’ve never been one of those people with an innate desire to be a biological mother. And yet… when a decision is no longer solely mine to make, and the circumstances of life have backed me into a corner, there is something rather tragic about it. Losing options before I really got to fully evaluate them is hard.
That’s why I think Dunham’s article is so wonderful. She doesn’t sugar coat the nitty-gritty. She doesn’t gloss over the wide range of emotions. She doesn’t act like there is any easy solution or simple alternative to any of these struggles. She fully acknowledges the weight and gravity of the situation, and openly showcases her vulnerability through it all.
So Lena, thank you for speaking up. Thank you for shedding light on the complexity and difficulty of having health issues as a woman of childbearing age. Thank you sharing and explaining your fears, your joys, and your unknowns. Thank you for validating the struggle for women in pain, physical or emotional, as we forge ahead in these very tough battles.