Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Writer to Bring on Hope

In a desire to create more support and encouragement for those with women health issues, infertility, and pain I have asked some people to share their thoughts, stories, struggles, and hopes.  I hope to encourage and support all who are reading and the readers to come.  I hope that this is just the beginning and that those without this will become more aware, and those fighting through pain and infertility will find encouragement and support.

My first guest author will be from Arielle Dance.  You can follow her on twitter @A_healthyDANCEr. Here are her words...

 I am debating how to really start this and what to share. So many of the women who write blogs tell the basics: diagnosed at 15, had 5 surgeries since 04 and 2 were excision. I could complain about the pain, nausea and all the complications that have come with endometriosis. I could even talk about the Lupron treatment from hell and the birth control pills that landed me in the ICU with blood clots on my lungs. I don’t want to really talk about that, although I don’t mind answering questions about those things. I want to focus on something prettier, more fun, more joyous.
I want to talk about our survivorship and our advocacy. I’ve had this disease since I was 15 and it wasn’t until I was 20 that I learned about the wonders of being a survivor. I met hundreds of women from across the world on social network support groups and realized that all of us have a different story and many were unimaginable. We always think we have the worst case ever or that no one understands us. But truthfully there are millions who understand. Granted, no two cases of endometriosis are identical, but knowing that millions of women experience what you feel to some extent is important. I consider us all survivors. Not that this disease is terminal but this disease can definitely kill dreams, kill relationships and kill hope. But we survive it all and even when we think we’re going insane, we continue to survive. Many endosisters can’t survive. They give up, lose hope and fall to the hands of escape. I honor the struggles of fallen endosisters and I celebrate the surviorship of those who have remained strong and undaunted.

Another aspect of endometriosis that many of us do without much thought is advocate. We know how to stand up and speak out. In spite of all our pain many of us manage to educate others, post pictures to bring awareness, wear yellow, share our stories, and stop letting our health care providers make all the decisions about our health. We advocate and educate... we are testaments that this disease sucks and information should be shared with as many people as possible.

It’s easy to be sucked into the stigmas and shame that surround this “women’s issue”. We are taught not to speak about issues of blood, issues of the vagina or anything that may hinder us from being sexual or mothers. But the advocacy comes when we break through those barriers when we shout out loud that we have endometriosis and everyone ought to know what it is. It’s a breakthrough when you think about it. Soon the day will come when every woman with endometriosis is unashamed to speak out but truthfully many remain silent or misinformed. Some tend to only speak out when they are in pain or going through the storms of infertility. But we should be able to speak up anytime because even when you’re not hurting there are still millions of women who are affected by this disease and millions more who will be diagnosed in your lifetime.
I say all this to remind survivors that there is still hope. Be faithful and keep your head up. I say all this to encourage survivors to be advocates, to stand up and speak out. And I say all this to say that it’s okay to be shy about your health but silence helps no one. Be strong, you’re surviving.
*Arielle Dance is a graduate student with endometriosis who is studying women’s health. She has dedicated her academics and advocacy work to endometriosis. Currently, Arielle is working on IRB approved research on women of color with endometriosis. Arielle has recently begun video blogging about her findings in other areas of research as well as sharing her struggle with endometriosis.* 
 Arielle's youtube page that she speaks of can be found here.

Thank you Arielle for your words.  I hope to keep this guest writer journey going on.  If you are, or know somebody who would be willing to share, please comment below and I can contact you with further information how how to do this.  Thank you all for you time.  I would love to know you thoughts on what has been shared today.  Thank you.