For over twenty years, Heather struggled with intense abdominal pain. It wasn’t until 2014, during a surgery to remove a belly button hernia, that doctors discovered she had endometriosis. While she was relieved to finally have a diagnosis for the pain she had suffered through, she was upset that it had taken so long to be diagnosed. During her suffering, numerous physicians prescribed new painkillers but never encouraged her to participate in any pro-active solutions to heal her body.
Through Heather’s journey she learned that endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women. Living with endometriosis hasn’t been easy and has caused many problems for her. For years she would suffer from so much pain that it would be difficult to move, go to work, or attend events. To manage the pain, she now gets weekly acupuncture treatments and takes Chinese herbs but her pain management comes with a hefty price tag because Chinese medicine is not covered by most insurance providers.
God dealt Heather a hand but she lives in it. She is thankful to God that she is living! While endometriosis has gotten in the way of numerous things, she is committed to being the best Heather she can be and living life to the fullest. She has a wonderful life and wonderful husband to share it with and that is a blessing.
Not letting endometriosis stop her, Heather has always valued the importance of education and promised her grandmother before her untimely death she would be the first family member to graduate from college. Staying true to her word, she earned an Associate of Arts from Cuyahoga Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University. Heather also earned a graduate Nonprofit Management certificate, an Emotionally Intelligent Leader certificate and a Women in Leadership certificate. She is currently scheduled to earn a Coaching certificate from the Weatherhead School of Management at CWRU in August 2016.
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The most common cause of Endometriosis is pain. Other symptoms might include:
- Pelvic or low back pain that may occur at any time during the menstrual cycle
- Lower abdomen pain before and during menstruation
- Painful periods
- Cramps for a week or two before menstruation and during menstruation; mild to severe cramps
- Pain with sexual intercourse; during or following
- Bowel movement pain
Symptoms, treatments and outcomes might vary due to the individual. While most women will relate if they have endometriosis, like anything else you should not compare your symptoms, diagnosis and treatment your situation is unique. This will help you stay on track other than thinking that all outcomes are the same. In other cases there may be no symptoms. Some women might experience no pain at all, while some women might have severe pain.
Doctor’s might prescribe Birth control pills to help to prevent or slow down the development of the endometriosis. This sometime’s masks the endometriosis. Lupron is also sometimes prescribed. It acts as a suppression of hormone production and is sometimes used to treat symptoms. Some patients might need pain killers depending on the severity of the pain. Endometriosis is a long lasting illness that in some severe cases your Doctor will recommend surgery. Laparoscopy is also a plan of action in some more severe cases, which removes the endometrial cells through with a few small incisions. This does remove it forever and symptoms can reoccur which might lead to more surgeries.
Join other women during Endometriosis Awareness month by getting the facts and continue to raise awareness for an illness that millions of women live with every day. I stand together with others to fight endometriosis.