Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Confession time

Confession number one: I procrastinate. Not very often, and not for too long, but I am finally admitting to the world, that I am a procrastinator. Or maybe not the whole world, because I have no followers yet, but I'm hoping that will change.

I've been thinking of making a blog for awhile now. "You gotta make a blog!" all my friends keep telling me, "If you want people to know about you and your book (more on that later), then you have to write a blog!" Of course they're right. But between dealing with chronic pain (more on that later), and taking care of my children (no, they are not the chronic pain that I am talking about), blogging just sat on the back burner.

Until now. The time has officially come for me to produce a blog. "Why?" you ask. "what is it about you that warrants a blog?" Good question. And so I am brought to confession number two: I need publicity. Lot and lots of it. You see, I am writing a book. A book about a disease that affects about 8.5 million women in North America alone, myself included. And that, my friends, brings me to confession number three: I have endometriosis.

Here's a quick crash course on endometriosis (please be aware that the information that I am giving you is in no way a full picture of the endometriosis disease): Endometriosis, or endo as it is often called, is a disease that affects woman from as early as age eight. The name endometriosis comes from the word ‘endometrium,’ the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. This tissue builds up and sheds each month during the menstrual cycle. When a woman has endometriosis, this lining, which is only supposed to be in the uterus, grows in other areas of the body, such as the ovaries,  fallopian tubes, bladder, and bowel. As a result, tissue develops into what are called lesions, nodules, implants, growths or tumors. While not all women experience symptoms of endomtriosis, those who do  have symptoms such as excruciatingly painful menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy menstruation, chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis, and pain during and after intercourse,. Endometriosis is also one of the top three causes of female infertility.

So why do I feel the need to write a book on endometriosis? To answer that question we are brought to my fourth and final confession: There was a time in my life, when I was first diagnosed with endometriosis that I was so miserably lonely, so sure that I was the only one who suffered, sure that no one could understand what I was going through. I was so despaired, so alone, that I wanted to take my own life. I didn’t want to live in the solitude that I felt like defined me.  

But against all odds, here I am. Alive, strong, and happy. Why? Because of other women’s support. Because of the knowledge that I discovered: I AM NOT ALONE. There are millions of warm, knowledgeable, wonderful women with endometriosis who are thrilled to share their stories with other women and girls so that we don’t feel alone. And now I want to give back. I want to take these beautiful women’s stories, shape them into a book, and share them with others who are in despair. Share them with those who feel their lives are defined by the misery and solitude of this disease. Teach them that they are not alone. Every woman with endometriosis has a unique story to tell, each with its own innate set of learning experiences, each with its own strength to draw from. I feel that a book is an unbelievable way to collect these stories of strength and fortitude and share them, not only with those who have the disease, but with those who need to understand.

So please, follow my blog as I write about my experiences with endo, the painful, the hopeful, the dark and the light. Share your stories and experiences here with me, so that I can learn from you, and find strength and solace in your words, as you find the same in mine. I can't promise you that each post will be cheerful and upbeat, as life with endo rarely is, but I can promise openness, honesty, and a sense of belonging for all of you who choose to join me on this journey. 

And when the time comes for my book to be published, with G-d's help, I hope that you will read it and share it so that together we can make a difference in the future of those with endometriosis.

Thanks for reading,
Rachel Cohen

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