Throughout middle school and high school, I would get terrible cramping during my periods that would cause pain, nausea, and constipation. I didn’t really know how to handle the pain, so I’d just take over-the-counter painkillers. And sometimes, I’d miss class just so I could rest in the nurse’s office.
Even though the pain was terrible, deep down I felt as though I was making a big deal out of nothing. I feared that I was weak; that I was just being a baby! It made me feel terrible. I really started to doubt my strength. Because of this shame, I mostly stayed quiet about my pain.
But one day, when I was visiting home from college, a close friend of the family came by the house. She saw that I was in pain and sat down to talk to me about it. She told me that I should never be scared to speak out if I don’t feel well. She said that something could really be wrong, and staying silent wasn’t helping anyone! She recommended I see a specialist, and something about our conversation really lit a fire under me!
So I called my doctor and got a referral for a gynecologist who specializes in pelvic pain. The next day, I scheduled an appointment with the specialist. At my appointment, I told him about my symptoms and he immediately scheduled a laparoscopy.
After the surgery, I remember waking up in recovery and the doctor leaned over to tell me that I had endometriosis. He then asked me why I was smiling, and I said, “Because it has a name.” I was so happy that all this time I wasn’t just weak. I wasn’t making a big deal out of nothing! The pain was real, and it was called endometriosis.
This story was submitted by a real woman and reflects her personal experience. It does not reflect AbbVie’s thoughts, opinions, or beliefs. Before making any changes to your treatment or lifestyle, consult with a physician.