March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, which makes me a tad uncomfortable. I speak about this disease weekly. (Aren’t you bored yet?) My existence is a daily exercise in awareness, from writing to social media to the excuses I offer during flare-ups.
Many publications give space to endometriosis patients during the month of March. My inbox overflows with Google Alerts, while friends and relatives send me every piece they come across. Finally, my daily rants feel justified. Except, once March is over, endometriosis will still be an incurable, under-researched, rare disease. I will continue to write about it, while millions of people with endometriosis become invisible once more.
We make so much noise during March because endometriosis is an important issue.
Endometriosis patients bear a huge weight. Some call it a burden. My therapist and I talk about an overfilled backpack.
Like our pain levels, our burden is hard to quantify. How can we express the weight of an ever-present illness? Maybe some numbers can help:
- Three doctors have made me cry. The first didn’t allow me to ask questions about an upcoming surgery. The second belittled my request for a specialist. The third squealed with happiness when I scheduled an appointment with my desired specialist — she was pretty ace.
- The eight years between giving up my dream job and my diagnosis.
- When I was 12, I lost so much blood during my first period that my mother drove me to the emergency room in a panic.
- I bled nonstop for 78 days while attempting (and failing) to travel the U.S.
Some numbers are so high I have lost count. The number of times I feel perpetually sick. The number of times hopelessness overtakes me and I feel like giving up.
And let’s not forget the promises of a cure that never come to pass.
If another doctor tells me a baby will cure my disease, I will throw my TENS machine at them. It may be a tiny gadget, but I am sure that, if hurled at the right angle, it could cause a tenth of the pain I have to live with daily. (Disclaimer: I will never, ever throw anything at any health professional, other than a dirty look and a world of sass.)
Endometriosis is a heavy load for women who are masters at making endometriosis invisible. It lives inside so many people — a lady clutching her abdomen while waiting for the bus, a yoga teacher wishing she could cancel her upcoming class, a mother of three who is sick and tired of being sick and tired yet carries on.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, but this disease is a heavy burden that exists throughout the year. Endometriosis is persistent and relentless. I guess it’s no coincidence that people with endometriosis are just as stubborn.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.