Changing The Stigma Of Endometriosis

Endometriosis-Awareness-Awareness

 

Its hard to believe that March is half over and Endometriosis Awareness Month will soon be winding down. It has done my heart good to see my Facebook feed turn yellow and see a steady stream of endometriosis awareness posts, educational articles, and resources shared so frequently. It almost me sad to think that is going to change.

I would love to see endo awareness become more of a year round thing. I obviously know that for many of us it is. I mostly definitely want Blogging For Endometriosis Awareness to become a year round campaign. I would love to have monthly linkups. Thoughts?

The theme for this week’s post is, “If I could change one thing about the stigma of endometriosis, it would be . . .”

I would love to change the stigma that endometriosis is a “female problem.” Granted it is a disease where the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the abdominal cavity and elsewhere in the body so it is obviously an issue that most predominantly affects women but somehow the stigma that its a “female problem” or a “female issue” makes it more taboo to discuss.

No one wants to talk about periods, bleeding, bloating, painful sex, and things sticking where things aren’t supposed to be stuck.

Endometriosis is not bad cramps, PMS, or crappy coping skills.

Endometriosis is a serious disease that can cause chronic and crippling pain. It often takes YEARS to receive a proper diagnosis (source).

Endometriosis is a major source of female infertility. A staggering 30-50% of infertile women have endometriosis (source).

Endometriosis often results in premature hysterectomies which often do not provide long term relief. Hysterectomies are the second leading surgery for premenopausal women (following c-sections) and a large portion of these procedures happen as a result of endometriosis (source).

In a survey conducted on the long term effects of endometriosis, 51% of the women surveyed stated that endo has affected their work and 50% stated that it has had a profound impact on their relationships (source).

These examples are just a small sampling of how greatly a woman’s life is impacted by endometriosis. I honestly believe that if endometriosis affected men in the same ways as it affects women, there would be far greater advancements in research and treatment options but because it is still considered just a “female problem” by so many, resources are limited.

I would love to see this stigma changed. It is by our efforts to raise awareness, support, and, most importantly, education about the disease that we can have a hand in changing it.

 

 

I am excited to announce that this week’s linkup post also includes a giveaway! One of our business sponsors, Seaview Jewellery, has graciously donated a beautiful necklace and charms to give away to you awesome folks! The charms can be put on a keychain or zipper pull as well as a variety of other places. This week there will be 3 winners (one will win the necklace and two others will win charms). Look at these beautiful creations:
Seaview Jewellery Endometriosis Awareness Jewelry

 

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what stigma about endometriosis (or chronic illness in general) that you would like to see changed (mandatory)!

For an extra entry, tweet this post and then leave a comment letting me know that you did with a link to your tweet!

This giveaway will run through Friday, March 27th! You can also visit Diane’s blog for additional giveaways courtesy of Seaview Jewellery! Next week’s linkup will also feature endometriosis awareness jewelry giveaways courtesy of Seaview and our other business sponsor FJJ Creations!

 

P.S. Don’t forget to link up your post this week!

Strength In Numbers: What Endometriosis Has Taught Me About What It Means To Be Strong

Strength In Numbers: What Endometriosis Has Taught Me About What I Means To Be Strong

In the almost 8 years of blogging (EIGHT!), I have written many times about how endometriosis and chronic illness has changed my life for the better and for the worse. I have learned not to take anything for granted. I have learned that I am much stronger than I could have ever given myself credit for. I have learned the importance of being your own advocate and I have learned to trust my gut instincts and to trust my heart.

I have written about all of these in posts and letters time and time again but one thing I haven’t addressed is how endometriosis has made me stronger because it has made me a part of a team.

I have always been independent and even a little bossy depending on who you ask. I am also an introvert to the core. I can be social if necessary but I am more relaxed in intimate gatherings and thrive in solitude.

In a way, this works rather well with chronic illness since I don’t get out and about like I used to so I don’t feel trapped and start climbing the walls.

But . . .

I also know that I cannot do this alone.

When I was in seminary, we had to take a class on death and dying. Sounds like a really fun class doesn’t it? In class there was a little quiz that we had to take that judged what we feared most about the dying process and death, such as the afterlife, burial vs cremation, the physical process, etc. What I feared the most was losing my independence. I cringed at the though of being totally dependent on someone else and not being able to do things on my own.

Since being diagnosed and in the years since, I have had to face that fear. I am not completely dependent on someone else at this stage (even though there have been some periods of time in which I have had to be) but there are many things that I have had to come to terms with.

I hated asking for help.

I hated saying no.

I had to be on top.

I had to be in charge.

I had to have the A.

I had to be perfect.

I mean I knew perfect was impossible but I had to be as close to perfection as possible and the only way I could achieve that was by depending on what I could control.

ME.

I thought asking for help, saying no, or not having the full approval (imagined or not) meant that I was weak.

I was wrong.

Obviously that doesn’t work at any point in life. Sick or not. Striving for perfection only sets you up for failure and heartbreak. It also causes havoc in your relationships. It also creates an upside down picture of God’s love and His grace.

It took me awhile to get it through my thick, hard-headed self but I learned that my strength doesn’t come from me.

Yes, I am strong, confident (sometimes), and determined but my strength comes from God’s love, grace, and mercy and from there my strength filters throughout all aspects of my life.

Coming to this realization has helped me in my marriage by accepting my husband’s help and allowing myself to be completely vulnerable. And also allowing him to be my advocate when I cannot advocate for myself.

Coming to this realization has helped me have more real and authentic relationships with family and friends.

Coming to this realization has helped me understand the importance of taking on chronic illness head on as a team. As much as I would love to be able to cure this beast on my own and have women everywhere be free of pain worldwide, we need each other.

Endometriosis has taught me the important of being a team. It has taught me the importance of campaigns such as Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness, Her Yellow Ribbon, and the Endometriosis Research Center to make an impact on the world to spread awareness, education, resources, and support.

I have learned the importance of activism across all types of illness as bringing awareness and research for one is a win for all. Organizations like WeGo Health work alongside organizations and activists of all causes and while Blogging for Endometriosis hits its major stride in March during Endometriosis Awareness Month, we work behind the scenes all year teaming with groups like WeGo Health and hopefully we can work to make BFE a year long drive to fight for not only endometriosis but all invisible illnesses.

Endometriosis has taught me that as a team we are strong and we are unstoppable.

Blogging For Endometriosis Awareness