It’s Women’s Health Month and there is no better time to tell you about a campaign close to my heart: Get in the Know about ME in EndoMEtriosis. As some of you may already know, I have been helping to raise awareness about endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease that affects an estimated one in 10 women, including me.
Starting when I was 15, I had sharp pains in the lower part of my stomach and heavy bleeding during and between my periods. I saw a few doctors who said it was normal, so I assumed it was just part of being a woman. As a performer and entertainer, I’ve always had a high tolerance for pain, so I just pushed through and ignored it.
Then in 2008, while performing on Dancing with the Stars, I had a particularly bad “episode,” as I call them. I started experiencing horrible pain and bleeding, so much so that my mom (who luckily was there) insisted we go to the hospital. Right away, I met with my gynecologist and it was then I found that I had endometriosis.
When I got my diagnosis, I felt relieved. I finally had a name for the pain I had been ignoring. I talked about my symptoms with family and close friends and it led some of them to talk to a doctor about their own symptoms. I’ve since found out most women can suffer up to 6-10 years before receiving a proper diagnosis!
Through this campaign aimed at inspiring women to learn about and understand endometriosis, I too have learned so much. Most importantly, I’ve learned I’m not alone.
I am the ME in EndoMEtriosis! I’m here to show women what the face of this disease looks like. By spreading the word, I hope to help women address their symptoms so they don’t go through years of debilitating pain.
My fellow #endowarriors and I are committed to making a difference. Check out MEinEndo.com to “get in the know” about endometriosis and its symptoms and download the great resources available to help start a conversation with your healthcare provider. You can also “stay in the know” by signing up to receive more information about endometriosis and updates from the campaign.
I believe sharing my endometriosis story within even just my own circle has helped a lot of people, so I want to encourage other women to do the same. Join me in sharing your story by using #MEinEndo or even if you don’t have endometriosis, find the next “ME” and encourage her to share her story.
Together, we can change the way endometriosis is understood.