chronic illness

Dear NASCAR

The Importance of Endometriosis Awareness
I know you don’t know me but let me take a moment to introduce myself and share a little bit of my story. My name is Jamee and I am 30 years old. This week marked nine years since my first surgery and my initial diagnosis with endometriosis. In the years since I have had five additional surgeries and endured countless treatments (some of which are considered experimental).

The immense pain and side effects of the disease have had a major impact on every aspect of my life. My first three wedding anniversaries were spent recovering from surgery. My dream of being a hospital chaplain is on hold as my body cannot handle the long shifts and being on my feet. I had to make the choice to have a total hysterectomy at the age of 26 in hopes of finding some type of pain relief only to be met with further complications. I had to have repeat open abdominal surgery in 2011 in which it was confirmed that endometriosis had in fact returned despite the hysterectomy which included the removal of my ovaries.

Scar tissue from this surgery resulted in a total bowel obstruction which required major surgery and a three week hospital stay. After meeting with my surgeons and specialists, it has been determined that it will likely happen again given my history of endometriosis and scar tissue so every day is lived with a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This is just a small portion of my story and I am only one of millions of women who struggle with endometriosis every day. Here are some of the facts and statistics:

  • Endometriosis is a disease in which the tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called endometrium), if found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue. It is primarily found on the pelvic peritoneum, ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, on the bladder, and the bowel.
  • Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide in the prime of their lives; 8.5 million suffer in North America alone.
  • It accounts for a significant loss of productivity of nearly 11 hours per woman, per week.
  • Endometriosis remains a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility, and accounts for nearly half of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually – though many may be needless, as the disease is not cured by the removal of the reproductive organs.
  • Endometriosis has the potential to significantly impair quality of life, sexual function and satisfaction, and negatively impacts relationships, emotional and physical health.
  • Annual associated costs to society due to endometriosis range between $70-100 billion annually.
  • Signs of endometriosis include crippling menstrual pain, pelvic pain that gets worse after sex or a pelvic exam, chronically heavy or long periods, bowel or urinary disorders associated with periods, painful sexual activity, particularly penetration, significant lower back pain with menses, and allergies, migraines or fatigue that tends to worsen around menses. (Facts and statistics from the Endometriosis Research Center)

Endometriosis is so much more than “bad cramps” or “painful periods.”

I am writing you because endometriosis is a real disease and despite the fact that one in ten women battle it on a daily basis, there is not nearly enough awareness, accurate education (even within the medical field), and research funding. Until there comes a point and we  “recognize the lack of large scale international clinical trials, lack of funding for research and, not least, the potential overlap of effort from country to country when centers work in isolation and can’t share data”, we will never find preventive strategies, non‐invasive diagnostic methods or ultimately, the cure” (Professor Robert Schenken, World Endometriosis Research Foundation).

I am writing in hopes that you will join our efforts in helping to raise awareness for endometriosis. March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month symbolized by a yellow ribbon. Many sports leagues turn pink in the month of October, and while I am not in any way minimizing the signficance of breast cancer and the importance of continued awareness and research, I would love to see some yellow displayed throughout the month of March. Not only for me, but for the 176 million women and girls struggling world-wide many of whom are wondering if they will be able to get out of bed and make it through another day.

As a long-time fan of NASCAR, I am asking if you will consider joining in our efforts to raise awareness for the disease. I am not asking for the entire field or every car to be painted yellow. Something as simple as wearing a yellow ribbon would make a difference and maybe encourage someone to look up endometriosis for the first time and make the decision to get educated and involved in awareness, research, and advocacy – or more importantly, get help for themselves or a loved one.

Thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and consider this worthy cause.

Sincerely,

Jamee Miller

Please help spread the word by tweeting, sharing, pinning, and emailing this post as much as possible! You can find NASCAR on Twitter and Facebook and pretty much every team has a social media presence! The more people we can get to read and support this post, the better our chances of success! Thank you for taking on this challenge with me! You can grab the button in the sidebar to post on your blog, twitter, or facebook as well!

 

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11 comments on “Dear NASCAR

  1. Brandi Quinn Lawson says:

    I’m Sorry you’ve had to go through all of that,i’d hoped somethings might have changed. My first surgery was almost 27yrs ago it wasn’t until the third one that they found Endo I was told it was because they weren’t looking for something like that in a 13yr old. Altogether I’ve had 26 surgeries one due to a partial bowel obstruction,when I was twenty I had one where they went in to my spinal cord and cut the nerves to my uterus I was down for 6months. i was also given lupron starting when I was 14 and on & off til i was 24 along with countless other treatments, I was lucky i was able to have my son after loseing 2, after he was born they did a hysterectomy three months after that they went back in for my overies . I’m now almost 39 the other night I was thinking and I can’t even remember not being in pain. which I know some has changed there is more awareness now than there was in 86′ . I didn’t meet anyone with Endo until I was 20. God bless you and I will keep you in my prayers

    Reply
    • Jamee says:

      26 surgeries? Oh my goodness! God bless you! I took one 3-month course of Lupron and it was all I could handle. I had absolutely awful side effects and it turned me into a psycho. I’m surprised my husband still agreed to marry me (we were engaged at the time). I hate endometriosis and the torture it brings to so many women! Thank you for commenting and sharing your story with me!

      Reply
  2. Christy Jones Carter says:

    Thank you for getting the word out there! This disease is very real and needs support for a cure!!!!! I too have suffered from this disease, had 2 ectopic pregnancies ( the last one almost killed me when it ruptured), 5 abdominal surgeries with the last surgery being a hysterectomy & ovary removal at the age of 32 because I couln’t take the pain anymore. Before the hysterectomy I had multiple treatments of Lupron. Thank God I had a OBGYN that understood the disease and didn’t just blow me off like the first OBGYN I went to. Now I have severe bowl pain and I know what it is from and have been trying to convince myself that it was nothing to worry about, but the pain is getting worse and I fear that my endo has come back also despite the hysterectomy. I pray for a cure as no one can truely understand the pain, tears, misery and how life changing this disease can be for women. Endo took my ability to concieve my own children, took my first wedding anniversary (recovering from hysterectomy) and many, many days/weeks/months out of my life and Endo gave me many emotional and physical scars that I carry with me every day of my life. God bless you and all those who take a stand and try to get the message out there about this retched disease. I say ENDometriosis!!

    Reply
    • Jamee says:

      Your story sounds so much like mine (especially spending wedding anniversaries recovering from surgery – how romantic)! I hate that someone out there is suffering the same way but I am so thankful for the wonder of the internet that I can meet others who are walking the same path and can truly say “I understand” when it comes to battling endo on a daily basis. Have you ever seen a GI specialist? I had a lot of GI issues that for the longest time we just attributed to my endo but come to find out I had Celiac disease as well. Granted I still have abdominal pain and some GI issues but going gluten-free has really made a big difference! Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your story! Together we can make a difference!

      Reply
  3. wendy says:

    Hello I am a 46 years old and dealing with this disease. I’ve had 6 months of treatment and it didn’t help. I was considering having a hysterectomy but now I see you had it done and it seems like there is no treatment for this. Even with surgery its still there. Am so frustrated cannot get no relief. During the 5th month of my treatment I were fine until intercourse and it flare it up. Without intercourse I was doing fine. Thanks for sharing your story. The endo causes my thighs to hurt therefore walking for me is painful and driving. I don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    • Jamee says:

      I have a lot of muscle pain in my legs as well (especially my thighs)! I think its where endo and scar tissue can put pressure on those nerves in the hip area that lead down to the legs! Intercourse is very pain for me too but the thing that has helped the most is seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor physical therapy! As she explained it, with endometriosis or other pelvic issue, your body goes into super defensive mode so the muscles will lock down to protect itself. The stress of the tense muscles in turn will create more pain which will make the body think its needs to protect itself even more so the muscles lock down even further and thus the cycle continues. I will not lie, the first week or two of therapy can be really painful but the payoff is well worth it! I am actually getting ready to start back next week! After my emergency surgery this summer, everything has locked back down so I’m looking forward to getting some help to get these muscles to relax to lower the pain and hopefully look forward to intimacy with my husband again without tears or an ice pack!

      Reply
  4. swetha says:

    Hi. i am 28 years old i had 2 surgeries . but still my endo was back , i am eagerly waiting to have a child .but my 1st iui failed my gyn said that the stimulation injections for multiple eggs
    may lead to develop endo very quickly so now he gave me ovuloc tabs. he suggested me ivf but he was not sure weather it success or not, i found my endo when i was 25 .because of regular hospetal checkups and continuous spotting i was quit my job .endo was changed my
    life . but my husband was very supportive. i cant bare pain in my periods.and i know that it has no cure.but hope for the best praying god to have baby,

    Reply
    • Jamee says:

      Having a supportive husband is so important! We went through infertility as well and did two IUIs! Wishing you the best of luck & hoping you are blessed with a pregnancy soon!

      Reply
  5. I have endometriosis which has resulted in infertility and ongoing pain. Thank you for reaching out to Nascar. I have liked their page and posted a request (on their page) requesting they support National Endometriosis Awareness Month in March by sporting yellow ribbons.

    Reply
  6. Sharing Our Spoons Link Love - Sharing Some Of My Favorite Links says:

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