Advocating for yourself
I think it is often hard to feel “heard” as you walk this journey. To feel understood may feel impossible. For me, that changed when I walked in and met with Dr. Kahn. I felt heard, respected and was a part of a real discussion instead of just being talked to. My past medical experiences have made me become a huge advocate fo myself which I feel is necessary in this process.
Being young and not fully understanding what all comes with being a girl to the extent that I do now, I was often told I had cramps, you’re fine, take Advil, it will pass. (This was never by family or close friends who truly believed something was wrong.) I would miss days upon days of school, lay curled up in bed crying and at times when the pain was too bad I would go into the ER only to be told I had cramps (again) and to go home. My patience hit its limit one day when I was living in Chicago and went to the hospital. I was accused by the ER doctor of just wanting drugs and turned away. At that moment I knew that I needed to start really standing up for myself. I collected every form from every doctor that I had seen related to this topic and started a binder. I met with my doctor in Edina, MN and she really worked with me to figure out a plan of what to do to improve quality of life. By this time, endometriosis had started to affect my digestive system as well and I rarely felt myself. The day I walked in to meet with Dr. Kahn he challenged me to use my voice, my experience and to speak up. He told me that this would continue to happen to girls around the world until people started to draw attention to the issue. He is right!
I cannot expect others to understand but I can help to educate them and hopefully the next girls who suffer will not have to walk the same road many others of us have. I believe that you know your body better than anyone and if something doesn’t seem right or a discussion with a doctor rubs you the wrong way you need to listen to your gut and push forward.