I had endometriosis and I don’t care if you know. I owe it to March 2018 (and beyond) – month of endometriosis awareness campaign worldwide and my fellow companions (both men & women) who are still connected through social media.

I know that this epidemic affects 176 million women worldwide and I am sure thousands of cases would still be unreported/unheard. I was happy to find that there are communities and celebrities running campaigns to spread awareness against endometriosis among women and hence I would do my part too.

Here comes my personal story.

I was diagnosed with this epidemic 6 months ago in September 2017 which was quite severe. It came as a setback partly because neither I had any classic symptoms which generally lead to diagnosis of endometriosis (treating doctor was little shocked too) nor was I into a sedentary lifestyle or junk eating. I have always been into a very rigorous and well defined fitness regime and yet victim of this epidemic.

I had multiple cysts surrounding both ovaries with a frozen pelvis. Doctor investigated by all means, if there was ever any pain that I suffered but I hadn’t at least for last 7-8 years as far as my memory goes. She also tried to find out if there was any herbal product that I was consuming which created cysts and again I wasn’t. All I could recall was the discomforting pain during my cycles for couple of months almost 10 years ago while I was still in school. I very clearly remember my mother took me to a general physician at that time due to chronic pain and I was prescribed a pain killer and nothing more.

Later, post completing school, I didn’t have any complaints. Education and successful career have been my top most priority and I was quite clear that I am not going to get into any matrimonial bond before a certain age unless I place myself financially independent considerably. Therefore, I decided to get onto a rigorous fitness regime which is a good blend of weight/strength training, cardio, swimming, cycling, cross fit, yoga etc, to keep myself fit so that I don’t regret later. In fact, I had most effortless periods like clockwork every month. They say that effortless periods are a sign of strong physiology and what more could I ask for but any symptoms.

During one of our consultation sessions with my gynecologist, my husband and I were contemplating reasons for not finding any symptoms so far, we realized that it might have been due to body’s response of entirely shutting down (flight/fight mode) that part when required care/treatment wasn’t provided during early years when I felt chronic pain. We took opinions of two more doctors and both spoke similar language.

Despite of this there were few things quite right which helped in advanced treatment and recovery. For starters, my hormonal balance was good, I was physically strong to go through bilateral surgery on immediate basis due to a good fitness regime. Hence started my journey as a patient which led to a successful bilateral laparoscopic surgery in last week of December 2017. I am now back to my normal life and taking few injections (Decapeptyl) to suppress body’s tendency to create further cysts.

My journey as an endometriosis patient has been quite an eye-opening experience against stereotypical mindset and rumors spread like wildfire. Pain during periods isn’t normal and way of life as they say. Women of all age groups, if you feel slight discomfort during your cycles or even if you do not, as was my case, then also please go for regular medical checkup at least once a year. We are living in different times when diseases surprise us with no beforehand symptoms ironically when we do everything right. Each woman must consult a well-practiced gynecologist regularly about personal well-being. I found mine in Dr. KS Jeyarani Kamaraj (leading Gynecologist & Obstetrician in India) and I couldn’t thank her enough for right guidance. We must seek professional guidance and shouldn’t go by widespread rumors served as wisdom.

We as women must speak enough for ourselves and rise above stereotypes. Walk away from those who make you feel guilty about a disease that you did not have a clue about in the first place. Time to break free from narcissists who manipulate to drag you down at the hour of need and support, and especially if that narcissist happens to be a woman playing any role in your life. As women, we need to join hands for each other’s progress if not now, then when?

A good support system always works magic. I am fortunate and blessed with amazing husband, mother, father, sister, friend, brother and colleagues at work who supported me abundantly at every stage and this phase passed in no time.

Last but not the least, we owe no one any justification for our body. We do not ask for diseases and no one suffers in our place hence nobody has rights to condemn us or our body. Let us join hands to spread awareness to eradicate disease not women and make this world a better place to live.

Thank you for sharing your story Varsha.

If you would like to contact Varsha, you can follow her on Twitter @varsha1123 or on Instagram @varshachaudhary1123.

Remember, every one of us has a different story, and the more shared, the more we can learn. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact me at shireen.emlwy@gmail.com.