Today is the last day of February (and it's the 29th that's a bit special), which obviously means tomorrow is the first day of March.
March is an important month to myself and about 176 million odd women the world over because it is Endometriosis Awareness month.
Endometriosis is a tricky disease to speak openly about because of where the disease is typically located. Nobody wants to hear about problems in those (reproductive) areas.
But Endometriosis can and does spread to other areas of the body and for me—and a lot of women with Endo—the pain isn't localised to our pelvis.
We feel it all over our bodies.
Headaches are also a big part of Endo. I get shaky, nauseous and extremely weak with my headaches. I’ve thought I was dying sometimes. I get back and leg pain. Endometriosis has also been found in the lungs and brain, in muscles and joints.
Endometriosis has no cure.
Endometriosis is a hard disease to live with and yet, most people have either never heard of it, think it's blown way out of proportion or don't want to hear of it.
Most of us share a common dream.
To have more awareness among the community, to be able to talk about it, to have young girls fully aware ‘period pain’ beyond some mild and uncomfortable cramping isn't normal.
We also want duty of care across the board. The average time frame for diagnosis is 7-10 years. That is a long time for things to go haywire inside your body. This is a big part of the reason why a lot of women with Endo are unable to have babies.
The damage becomes irreversible.
That is disgraceful.
Some women are told their pain is in their heads and prescribed medications for mental illness.
That is also disgraceful.
Endometriosis is a common disease. 1 in 10 women worldwide suffer but this number is thought to be higher, with many women going untreated. It is an invisible disease, sufferers look fine on the outside and the growths can only be seen by a laparoscopy where the areas affected are magnified. Diagnosis can only be confirmed once the tissue that is cut (excised) during surgery is sent for biopsy. If the tissue is ablated (burnt), it can not be biopsied.
During March, I will be bringing you some stories from my brave Endo sisters. I hope you will read these emotionally charged and inspiring stories.
Tomorrow, I will kick it all off with my own story, or parts of it.
If you would like your story featured please email email@example.com, thank you.