I remember my first period. I was in the 6th grade and woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I thought to myself "I have never felt pain like this before...what is happening to me?" As the pain intensified, I started to scream. My mom came rushing through my bedroom door to see what was wrong. At first, we thought it was my appendix, and that it ruptured. I then took a Tylenol hoping the pain would go down and that our next stop would not be the hospital. After an hour, I was able to fall asleep and my mom decided to send me to school in the morning. During the day my pain was manageable, but I remember feeling like something was still not quite right. As soon as I got off the school bus, I ran home and up the stairs to our bathroom, it was there that I had a revelation. It was not my appendix that ruptured, and it was not that I had a rather embarrassing accident. It was, in fact, my period. From that day on my life was never the same. Countless school and work days missed, people thinking I was exaggerating my pain, not being able to make parties or celebrations. The pain had completely taken over my life!
My OBGYN was the only medical professional who I felt truly listened to me, and at the age of 24, the decade's long mystery was solved: I had endometriosis.
I went through my fair share of birth control, cyst ruptures, laparoscopies, alternative medicine and home remedies (heating pads are God's gift!). I struggle every day to put a smile on my face, and guess what?...I do. If I am allowed one humble request, it's this: when a woman expresses their pain, listen not only with your ears but with your mind and your heart. We are suffering, but we are survivors.
Thank you for hearing my story.
*Patient stories submitted to Endofound.org are the views of the patient and not necessarily those of the foundation.
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