March / April 2016
By Hillary Howland
For better or worse, endometriosis will always be part of “my story.” I think I always knew that the recurring episodes of intense abdominal pain, mindnumbing cramps, constipation, and a constant stabbing pain, literally stabbing, was not exactly normal.
But everyone told me, “Relax! It’s all part of being a woman!” For years I dealt with this until, at 19 years old, I finally saw a doctor who diagnosed me with endometriosis. I’d never heard of it before that day. I went through a laparoscopic surgery which confirmed that I did indeed have abnormal uterine tissue scattered throughout my body. And it was responsible for all those symptoms of “being a woman” I’d had over the years. This article could take up volumes of journals – thoughts, feelings, experiences – all associated with my link to this disease. I went through a period when I was told I was infertile, that I would never have children. I continue to this day to suffer from the disease, spending a joyous New Year’s Eve in the local emergency room with an ovarian cyst the size of a large fist, and needing a heavy dose of narcotics just to even tolerate the first day of 2016! “My story” though, I am grateful to say, has a happy ending. Two happy endings, really – Isabelle Grace (8) and Rockwell Reese (4). Saying that they are “worth it” would be cliché, and also, I feel, unfair to those with endometriosis or infertility who don’t have that happy ending. For any of those women, and for the millions of others that suffer with this, I simply offer my sympathy and understanding.