The Endo journey is colored with a lot of pain, uncertainty, darkness, medication and anxiety. Here are 7 truths that every Endo-warrior needs to know:
1. It is not all in your head
Pain and discomfort are personal. There is no scale that it has to be measured by for it to be termed real. The manifestation of Endometriosis and it’s symptoms differs from person to person. You do not need any person, or physical depiction to validate your pain. Pain is your body’s way of asking for help, so it shouldn’t be ignored or covered up, but treated with the seriousness that it deserves.
2. You are not alone
One in ten women suffers from Endometriosis. Invisible diseases can be very difficult to live with, the truth is that many people may not understand, but that doesn’t mean that no one understands. There are communities of women who are willing to walk with you and stand with you. If you are in Kenya, you can plug in to Endometiosis Foundation of Kenya, Endosisters East Africa or contact me via Yellow Endo Flower. For the international community, please look for the Endo foundations or orgnaizations in your area.
3. You are strong
Holding on takes strength. When you are low on spoons and wonder how you will make it through the day, remember that your strength is intact. It is not measured by the things that you do or achieve; being takes strength, choosing to fight another day takes strength, crying takes strength, acknowledging your limitations takes strength. Oh, dear Endo warrior, you are strong, even when you feel like everything but it.
4. You are your greatest advocate
It is good to have a support system and good team of healthcare professionals. The truth is that they may let you down, and in the moment of despair you may feel defenseless and alone. Deep within you need to understand that you are your greatest advocate. No one can fight for you like you can. If something doesn’t feel right, stand up for yourself. Listen to your gut, the small voice that whispers the ‘buts’ and then speak up.
5. Information is power
There is a lot of information out there about Endometriosis, when you have the energy, read and research. Interact with others online and learn from their experiences. Read the fine print of pamphlets, then listen to how your body responds to medication.
Ask your health provider questions, and try to understand the procedures and treatment plans that s/he prescribes.
6. Your voice matters
When you are ready to share your story, please do, because your voice makes a difference. There are so many women who have no idea that Endometriosis exists, so many women who are suffering in silence.
If we all speak up we will cause a revolution, and many women will be able to get the proper diagnosis in less time and quality health care.
You can read stories of Kenyan Endo warriors here. If you would like to share your story please drop me a line via firstname.lastname@example.org
7. You are a star
Deep within you, there is a light that no amount of darkness can dim. Even the depths of Endometriosis and the darkness that it brings cannot hold you back. Take it a day at a time and try to see the silver lining on the grey clouds.
Shine. Dazzle. Be.