Molly and I have our work cut out for us this summer
Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight
her nose to the ground,
a rusty shadow
neither hunting nor playing.
One stood; sat; lay down; stood again.
One never moved,
except to turn her head a little as we walked.
Finally we drew too close,
and they vanished.
The woods took them back as if they had never been.
I wish I had thought to put my face to the grass.
But we kept walking,
speaking as strangers do when becoming friends.
There is more and more I tell no one,
strangers nor loves.
This slips into the heart
without hurry, as if it had never been.
And yet, among the trees, something has changed.
Something looks back from the trees,
and knows me for who I am.
— Jane Hirschfield
today is the Million Woman March for Endometriosis in Washington DC. Sheryl Crow is gonna be there, even. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, apparently; we are supposed to be wearing yellow ribbons. this is the first year I’ve heard of any kind of organized campaign or movement surrounding this disease, which I was diagnosed with in 2004 but which I’m pretty sure I’ve had ever since I “became a woman”.
generally I believe that you shouldn’t talk about your health issues in public. it’s boring and there are better ways to get attention and feel special.
however I wanted to write this anyway because I’ve been in the middle of a pretty wicked flare-up for the last three months and the frustration I feel with the medical establishment is at an all-time high.
the personal is political, you might say.
endometriosis is when the lining of a lady’s uterus goes rogue and starts growing outside the uterus, eventually fusing together all internal organs in a web of tissue that behaves just like the stuff inside the uterus, except it doesn’t get bled out when you get your period. it just hangs out in your abdomen, waiting for its chance to ruin your life. your internal organs are totally covered with super sensitive nerve-endings. makes sense: if something is touching the outside of your internal organs there is probably a problem, right? trouble is, when estrogen levels spike and all that tissue gets inflamed, it’s supremely unpleasant.
this is a disease which affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide. that’s about one in ten. there are few confirmed risk-factors, other than heredity, but new research is showing the disease might be linked to dioxin exposure (chemicals found in commercial pesticides), quelle surprise. another shocker: that research is “highly controversial”.
symptoms include mild to debilitating pelvic pain, sometimes associated with menstruation and sometimes with ovulation and sometimes just because. and also severe ongoing gastric distress, general trouble eating and digesting and excreting. with the inflammation of all the rogue uterine tissue comes crazy bloating - like, I’m talking about clothes that were too big suddenly not fitting. and fatigue; this nonsense is exhausting.
it also causes infertility, which to be honest is just fine with me.
and you know, I really can’t help but think: if this was a disease that affected one in ten men and caused 176 million men crippling chronic pain and infertility for life, 2014 would not be the first year you’d be hearing about an awareness campaign. there would be money scheduled for research. there would be doctors dedicated to the cause. it would have been Item One on the to-do list of modern medicine from the start.
most laypeople don’t know endometriosis exists. it’s doctors’ job to know, but there are so many misconceptions out there about the disease among medical professionals, it’s almost Victorian the way it gets treated.
for example, all three doctors that have failed to help me deal with this bullshit were/are laboring under the false assumption that endometriosis can be cured or managed with hormones - ie, oral contraceptives or The Pill. this is a gross oversimplification which, I think, must come from the fact that high estrogen levels do cause endometriosis symptoms. but it’s also pretty typical of doctors: write a prescription, adios.
other myths that persist, to the detriment of afflicted women everywhere: that the pain is emotional, that pelvic pain is normal, that young women can’t get it, that pregnancy is an effective cure. doctors have a history of spouting nonsense to women, and this is just the latest chapter of the story I guess?
so although my doctors have all been women, maybe you can kind of see how their view of health is totally informed by patriarchy and misogyny.
as it stands, there is actually no cure. there isn’t even a reliable treatment. a whole foods diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a generally healthy lifestyle and a low BMI can all contribute to making life liveable but there are still days for every endometriosis sufferer where she is flat on her back, incapacitated by dizzying pain radiating from her ladybits and shooting like barbed wire down her thighs and up her spine until she just smokes herself into a THC coma. or maybe that’s just me.
but of course, smoking weed is bad for your health.
actually, the only proven treatment for endometriosis is extremely painful invasive surgery, which due to the chronic nature of the disease, must be performed every five to ten years. to my mind, that’s no treatment at all.
but hey, it’s just women suffering, so it’s not that important. we can just live with getting surgery every five or ten years. who needs to keep a job or have a life?
so I’m posting this because of all that shittiness. and, because you probably know someone who has endometriosis and deals with it every day. I mean, statistically speaking, if you know a gay person, you know a woman with endometriosis, right?
well fuck, you know me, at least.
losing weight: it’s not that hard once you’ve filled up on god
Dief from Due South
Odysseus’s dog Argo
Happy from 7th Heaven
King Arthur’s dog Cabal
the dog in The Artist
Rex the Wonder Dog
Murray from Mad About You
Blood from A Boy and His Dog
Superman’s dog Krypto
Blue from The Sound and The Fury
all the dogs in both Incredible Journeys
all the dogs in Jack London’s books
Snowy from the Adventures of Tintin
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Santa’s Little Helper
Marley of the interminable death scene
Doc Brown’s dog Einstein
Hagrid’s dog Fang
Hogwarts’s cerberus Fluffy
Odie from Garfield
Huan the heroic wolfhound from the Silmarillion
the Beast from Sandlot
Richard Adams’s Plague Dogs
Rover, Red, and Charlie
Porthos, Captain Archer’s dog from Enterprise
Riker’s dog Blacktoe
Bandit from We3
Ace the Batdog
Dogmatix from Asterix
the Littlest Hobo
Rowlf the Dog
Hawkeye’s dog Arrow
Eddie from Fraser
Garm from Farmer Giles of Ham
the Shaggy Dog
Bruiser from Legally Blonde
Frank the Pug from Men In Black
Otis (and Milo but he’s a cat)
the (Fox and the) Hound
Buck and Lucky on Married… With Children
Jed Clampett’s dog Duke
Jeannie’s genie dog Djinn Djinn
Old fucking Yeller
EVERY SINGLE FAMOUS DOG EVER WAS A BOY EXCEPT LASSIE (WHO WAS PLAYED BY A BOY) AND NANA FROM PETER PAN. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT
idlegoth asked: hey! i saw your post about stuff docs have recommended for pain relief, and I was wondering if you could recommend anything for a 17 year old girl who's having her first major flare up since her first lap surgery? I also have PCOS so I'm on birth control for that (progesterone only because evidently estrogen makes me have stroke symptoms) but I haven't had my period in 2 months and I'm in pain, plus I'm getting flu symptoms that I've read accompany flares. Any advice? Thanks so much!
wow, that’s a lot of suck to happen to one girl. sorry dude.
I do know that no period plus flu symptoms equals go to the doctor. if you don’t have access to healthcare, get in touch with Planned Parenthood and see if they can help you out, cuz they usually can. better safe than ectopic pregnancy, you know what I mean?
unfortunately I don’t have any experience with PCOS so I’m not sure how it plays into your cornucopia of awful. I actually don’t know anything about you: are you overweight, underweight, sexually active, vegan, anemic, a unicorn?
all I know is that everyone’s pain is different. and personally I’ve only found a very few very important things to be effective in managing to not have every day of my life ruined by this Judas of a uterus.
first and most importantly, clean up your diet. I hope I’m not being presumptuous but I know how I ate when I was 17 and it was the cause of a lot of problems - mentally, emotionally, and physically.
eat real food. fruits and veg. nuts, organic eggs. stay away from packaged, processed stuff, basically anything with an ingredient list. cut out refined dairy, sugar, and flour completely. animal fats really aggravate my symptoms and there was a huge difference in how I felt once I made the switch to a ovo-vegetarian diet. there was an even bigger difference when I finally gave up wheat.
it will be difficult because everyone wants you to eat crap that makes you feel like crap. your friends will want pizza and your parents will call it a phase. you won’t be able to eat anything from a vending machine or the school cafeteria or fast food, or have any of the pastries you see everyone else hoovering with their coffee in the morning. and the only thing you’ll be able to find at a gas station when your blood sugar is crashing and you just need a little something to keep you going til dinner is exactly the trash that will make you feel like your insides are made of mechanical cacti.
you just have to be firm with the world. and firm but a little bit soft on yourself. you have to wake up every day and remind yourself that if you eat like other people do you will feel like absolute shit. sometimes after long periods of eating well you won’t feel like absolute shit so you’ll be able to eat a little bit of something that you just told someone you can’t have and they’ll probably be shitty about it at you. sometimes you have to lie and say you’re allergic to get servers and strangers and loved ones to take your goals seriously. sometimes your family will sneak shit into your food because they think you’re being fussy for no reason and want to prove some kind of point. sometimes you will decide to be your own worst enemy, to eat the birthday cake anyway, knowing you’ll spend the rest of the party doubled over in pain. who knows. food is a weird thing and it makes people weird.
I have heard that soy can aggravate symptoms. this has not been my experience but I don’t eat a lot of it. I do know caffeine can be a killer. I know some beers bother me and some don’t, that hard liquor never hurts and neither does wine. you might not find that’s true. when in doubt, smoke pot.
also, exercise. unless you are completely incapacitated by pain, get up and go for a walk or a run or a swim. swimming is really awesome; I am pretty sure dolphins don’t have endometriosis. yesterday when I got home from work I was in such bad shape I wanted to spend the rest of the evening in a THC coma but instead I went for a 10km run and came back feeling almost human (aside from the drunks who chased me down an alley threatening rape but that’s another story). no one could have convinced me this whole exercise thing would be a thing had they given me this advice even a couple of years ago. for most of my life to this point I was staunchly anti-sweating. so if you don’t believe me, I won’t be offended. maybe try some free yoga instead.
sleep enough. you will feel worse when you’re fatigued, a lot worse. drink water, more than you think is necessary. treat your body right and give it time and you will guaranteed feel better, even if you never get better.
but seriously go see someone about those flu-like symptoms, that sounds bad.