By: Gabriela Yareliz
Hello beautiful friends!
This post is about a campaign close to my heart: Get in the Know about ME in EndoMEtriosis. I had been learning a lot about this disease after I heard Julianne Hough was diagnosed with it, and then, my interest grew after I myself was diagnosed with it. It’s because of this that I feel it’s important to raise awareness about endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease that affects an estimated one in 10 women. I am the one in 10.
In high school, I developed horrible cramps that led to vomiting and often enough, fainting. I also had extremely heavy bleeding during my periods. The doctor said it was normal, and she told me to drink teas to lessen the pain and that maybe it would help with the bleeding. I continued to suffer and pass out in random places. I was even tested for hypoglycemia, just in case. I remember many nights lying on my cold bathroom floor next to the toilet, ready to vomit, shaking from the pain; praying silent prayers that the Advil would soon kick in. I learned to recognize the signs of when I was going to faint. I would lose my hearing first, and then, I would black out. I knew my symptoms well, and this is how I learned to deal. I took the bar exam experiencing this pain, for crying out loud. Now, I feel like I should get a trophy.
This year, during a routine exam, my doctor told me to go see a specialist. I figured I was gaining weight, so I had been doing a lot of abdominal exercises. It turns out it was inflammation in my abdomen, not additional weight. I met with the gynecologist, and I found out that I had endometriosis.
By this time, I had a slight suspicion. I figured being diagnosed wouldn’t change anything, but put a name to the pain. The diagnosis meeting was actually pretty traumatizing. The specialist focused on risks of ovarian cancer, infertility and told me I needed to have blood work done to check for tumor markers. He said I needed surgery ASAP. I left the office in tears. These things will send a young woman, hopeful of having children in the future, into a spiral.
I finally got my sonogram report, and I sat down with my doctor. We discussed the report. It turns out there are some alternatives before surgery. Thankfully, the report looked like it belonged to a healthy young woman. Every person is different and needs to work out a proper plan to manage the condition. I am still on my journey to figuring that out.
I have been educating myself a lot about the disease. I think there are several important messages that I want to convey:
The first is that you are not alone. The second is that you have to do what is right for you and be empowered. I decided that I could either let my thoughts cripple me (and they were crippling me, believe me), or I could decide that I would take charge and manage my pain, the best I can as I have been doing, but with a more targeted approach. Also, there will never be a lack of surgeons who just want to slice you open. You need to make sure that is what is best for you.
I am a huge believer in using nature to heal ourselves. I found great resources from doctors who use holistic healing methods. One study revealed that some of these supplements reduced tissue, and inflammation; some women canceled their surgeries and others got pregnant. This reversal of symptoms in the Italian study is a big deal.
I have decided to harness my diet a bit more and be a bit more disciplined with my diet, supplements and exercise. I am leaving a fantastic link here, which changed my view and approach (it includes more on the Italian study). Thank you, Goop, for your holistic focus on wellness and your informative resources.
Back to #MEinEndo– This campaign’s purpose is to inspire women to learn about the disease and share their stories. Women’s stories have helped me, and I want to add my voice to the conversation.
I am the ME in EndoMEtriosis! “I’m here to show women what the face of this disease looks like. By spreading the word, I hope to help women address their symptoms so they don’t go through years of debilitating pain.”
“Check out MEinEndo.com to ‘get in the know’ about endometriosis and its symptoms and download the great resources available to help start a conversation with your healthcare provider. You can also ‘stay in the know‘ by signing up to receive more information about endometriosis and updates from the campaign.
Join me in sharing your story by using #MEinEndo or even if you don’t have endometriosis, find the next ‘ME’ and encourage her to share her story.
Together, we can change the way endometriosis is understood.” (Citing Julianne Hough’s campaign post).
I will continue to update you on my journey.
[insert Wonder Woman here]