Why Do I Talk About My Uterus?

  
     In light of HBO’s “Girls” actress/producer Lena Dunham’s announcement that she will not be doing press for the upcoming season of this show due to a “rough patch” caused by her endometriosis, I’ve been hearing and reading some deeply disturbing comments. Comments suggesting she, and other women need not share what should be private medical information. That talking about it “isn’t brave” and “no one needs to know this”. And shockingly, even comments that she, and other women with endo are just “looking for attention” or are “lazy”.

      Fortunately, these comments were not directed at me, nor have I ever had anyone echo these types of sentiments to me personally. But I can tell you in no uncertain terms that my uterus is the LAST thing I would want to receive attention for. Yes, I consider my medical details highly personal and very private, and I never would have thought I’d be sharing them in a public forum. 

     So you may be asking, then, why do I talk about my uterus? Why don’t I just keep my female medical issues to myself? I’ll tell you why: 

1. Because I had symptoms of endometriosis for seventeen years before I was diagnosed. 

2. Because if my symptoms had been recognized earlier, treatment could possibly have prevented what I deal with now: moderate to severe pelvic pain. Every. Single. Day. 

3. Because if my story can help someone recognize her own symptoms or those of a loved one, maybe they can avoid going through what I have/am.

4. Because if I were talking about cancer or diabetes, I wouldn’t need to write this list.

5. Because there is very little accurate information about endometriosis out there, and there is an incredible amount of incorrect information floating around (perpetuated by misinformed articles such as CNN’s recent one on Dunham that sparked the comments above).

6. Because many people I talk to don’t even know what endometriosis is. 

7. Because women have been told things like “some women just have it worse” or “it’s in your head” by doctors that should know better.

8. Because endo is the #1 cause of female infertility. 

9. Because for decades, women have been made to feel ashamed for talking about their “women troubles”. 

10. Because there is NO cure for endometriosis. Having a hysterectomy does not cure it.

11. Because yes, I have a small business rooted in my struggle with endometriosis – sure, it’s nice to make sales, but I have a good full-time job; raising awareness about endometriosis and advocating for sufferers is far more important to me than the financial side of it. 

12. Because some symptoms of endo are very similar to that of gynecological cancers, and if girls and women are too ashamed to talk about it, it could be deadly.

13. Because some men (and maybe some women?) think that the uterus is the same thing as the vagina. I wish I was kidding.

14. Because some doctors accuse women of “exaggerating” their pain to get painkillers, when in reality, it is often the case that women actually downplay their pain and other symptoms. 

15. Because we need to collectively demand better care from the medical community for endometriosis and other gynecological conditions.

16. Because it’s a Saturday afternoon, and I’m writing this as I lie on my heating pad in pain and thoroughly exhausted from being in pain. This shouldn’t be my life at 30.

17. Because 1 in 10 women and girls suffer from endo and they need to know they’re not alone. 

     In our over-sharing culture, I can understand why some people may initially balk at the idea of Lena, or myself, sharing such personal information. After reading this, I hope it is more clear why talking about endometriosis and women’s health conditions is so important! Thank you for taking the time to read, and feel free to share this story! Why do YOU talk about your uterus or about endometriosis? Share your reasons in the comments! 

by Courtney Fitzpatrick     Splendometria Jewelry Co. Creator 2016 All rights reserved.

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Post-Surgery Update!

Bottom left: my breakdown on the plane; bottom right: my four laparoscopic incisions; top: saying positive with the help of Amaretto

Bottom left: my breakdown on the plane; bottom right: my four laparoscopic incisions; top: saying positive with the help of Amaretto

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My Endo Awareness shirt arrived just in time for my trip to Ottawa for surgery!

Rocking my Bloomin' Uterus shirt :)

Rocking my Bloomin’ Uterus shirt πŸ™‚

Since returning home from my cystectomy/excision of endometriosis via laparoscopy in Ottawa, I wasn’t feeling quite as bad as I expected. I was just very tired, a bit sore and bloated from the air they pump into your pelvic region to perform the procedure. Although the surgery went very well for the most part, I received some sad news that was confirmed by the doctor when I spoke to him last week: I lost my left ovary.

Interestingly though, the doctor explained that when he went in, my endometrioma cyst, Fallopian tube, and what was left of my ovary was adhered to the the muscle wall of my abdomen. He believes that the ovary must have been taken during my inguinal hernia repair surgery 13 years ago that involved my ovary slipping through the muscle wall. I was never informed that the ovary was even damaged, let alone removed, at the time. My doctor said he cleaned up the “mess” that was left, and believes that’s what was causing the majority of my pain. He removed some endometrial tissue he found at the back of my cervix, but said I did not appear to have advanced disease, which was good news. He also checked my right ovary an tested the Fallopian tube, advising me that both looked healthy, and that conceiving shouldn’t be an issue for me.

Although the loss of the ovary apparently happened many years ago, it was still somewhat devastating news to receive. I had a little breakdown (above) on the flight home when I had two adorable babies sitting in front of me but after hearing many women tell me they’ve gone on to have multiple children with one ovary, I’m feeling better about it and I will cross that bridge when I come to it. That’s why we have two, right? 😊

My 4 incisions (above) are healing up and although they still hurt, they feel a little better each day. I am still exhausted as my body works to get better, and there are good days and not-so-good days, but overall I’m doing it well. I definitely have a newfound respect for women who have delivered and/or had a C-section – I was not very mobile and enough pain to be prescribed some heavy narcotics, and I didn’t have a human come out of me!

Anyways, I just wanted to give an update to go along with the awareness and education part of my advocacy, and since I’ve had so much support from everyone – thanks again, it is and has been much appreciated! When the pain from the surgery subsides and I have healed more, I will have a better idea if the surgery was successful in resolving my pain and other symptoms, and will update accordingly! For now, I’m keeping a positive attitude with the help of Amaretto!

Courtney πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

Donations

Splendometria Jewelry Co. is committed to donating 10% of each sale toward women’s health education, awareness and research, and toward advocating for better, more integrated healthcare for women.

Registered charities associated with endometriosis, women’s/gynecological health, and related causes will be featured each month, along with the amount raised that month and to date. To suggest a charity to be featured, please fill out the form below. Please note that at this time, only Canadian Registered Charities will be considered.

In addition to jewelry purchases, monetary donations are also being accepted.

Amount raised to date:

$95.70CAD

Stay tuned for which charity will be featured this month!