When I began writing this blog post, I started with a detailed description of every ridiculous doctor’s appointment I’ve had since my diagnosis. But it sounded so cold and clinical and not something that people would relate to.
So, I decided that maybe I should tell you what my life is like with endometriosis. Prior to my diagnosis, I did whatever I wanted. I lived on an acreage with my husband and our 3 dogs. I worked out regularly. We went to parties with friends. We travelled. We had a huge garden and I canned and froze vegetables every single year. We had lots of hobbies – a motorcycle, convertible, boat, camper, race cars, snowmobiles, etc. We seemed to be constantly doing construction work on our house. We loved life and we were always busy. Our life was FULL of fun! Over the last 5 years, that life has slowly changed into something far less fun.
-Life is full of questions now-
Will wearing jeans hurt my abdomen today or should I just stick with my leggings?
Do I feel a flare up coming?
Why am I so bloated?
Am I actually tired or am I just fatigued?
Is that another new symptom?
Will doing this make it hard for me to function tomorrow?
Will doing this cause a flare up?
What kind of side effects will this medicine cause?
Will this medicine work?
When is the pain going to start again?
When will it end?
What is wrong with my body?
Gender bias in the medical field is one of the main reasons that I’m so passionate about educating people on this disease. Without gender bias, many women would not have to suffer through years and even decades of delayed treatment. A study by the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in the early 2000’s found that female patients are more likely to have their pain described as emotional or psychogenic.
Pain is complex, hard to treat and there aren’t a lot of good answers for medical professionals on how to best manage people in chronic pain. Still, women seem to face more skepticism or indifference when it comes to their symptoms. Whether it is an implicit or unintentional bias, doesn’t negate the fact that 90% of women with chronic pain feel the health care system discriminates against women.
I’ll be having my first endometriosis surgery on April 25th with excision specialist Dr. Heegaard at OB-GYN West. We will also be removing my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes. And while it wasn’t the result I wanted at the beginning, 5 years of pain and suffering can change your perspective. I’m now elated to have a plan, a light at the end of the tunnel and a Dr. who believes me and is competent and skilled enough to truly help me.
Endometriosis can be a lonely disease. One full of challenges that you must learn to navigate. But it doesn’t have to be like this. With increased awareness of the symptoms of the disease and better training for medical professionals on the appropriate treatments, we can overcome these issues and provide better care for future generations. I hope you will join all of the Endometriosis Warriors this month to help us spread awareness and education!
— The Minnesota Endo Warriors are honored to help Kristi share her story and are committed to providing a place of community and comfort to those living with endometriosis and their loved ones. Kristi is proud to partner with the Minnesota Endo Warriors. If you would like to connect with Kristi and continue to follow her story you can through her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Countdown to the 2018 Minnesota Endo March