Written By Christine Schoenwald
On paper, we couldn’t be more different, but for some reason, I strongly identify both with Lena Dunham and her Girls character, Hannah Horvath. I don’t live in New York, I’m way older, and I’m not a tenth as comfortable with my body as both Lena and her character seem to be.
But besides a need to write and promote essay books, Lena and I have something else in common: we both have endometriosis and have both had our insides described as a mess.
Endometriosis happens when the cells from the lining of the uterus appear and continue to live outside the uterine cavity. They’re outside the uterus, but are still under the influence of female hormones, which means they react the way they’re supposed to if they were inside the uterus — thickening and shedding once a month. But the blood has no place to go, so cysts, adhesions and scar tissue are formed; everything becomes glued together and causes your insides to look like a mess.
I had the usual cramps and intense periods when I was growing up, but I didn’t know I had endometriosis until I was diagnosed with a big cyst. They didn’t immediately diagnose me with the cyst, but I was treated for a yeast infection a couple of times before I finally got the cyst diagnosis. When my doctor went in to remove the cyst, she found endometriosis everywhere — like a crime scene in my pelvic area.
Once we knew that I had endometriosis, that’s when all the fun began with surgeries, treatments and pain. In some ways, this has become a curse to me and has made me very knowledgeable in the area of chronic pain, pain management, and the struggles of living with endometriosis.