March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and today also marks the close of Endometriosis Awareness Week (March 4-10). To help spread more insight about this debilitating disease, I wanted to share how traveling helps me manage my struggle with it.
I’ve battled with endometriosis since I was 17 years old. I started to miss school whenever I got my period—I almost didn’t graduate because I missed so many days. In college my pain got worse, my hormones were going wild, and I developed cystic acne. I eventually even dealt with pain during sex. And the worst was when I unknowingly had an ovarian cyst and it ruptured. The pain of all this was becoming unbearable. I used birth control, but that only helped for so long.
Then, after graduating I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa for an internship. I lived and worked there for a few months and everything changed with my health. It took a 180° turn because I was so happy. The weather was spectacular, people were warm and inviting, the scenery was breathtaking, and the culture was inspiring. On top of that, I got plenty of exercise, made incredible friends, and I did meaningful work through my internship with an environmental NGO. I had my period a couple times during my time there, and the pain was lighter, my skin was glowing, and my PMS was under control.
Throughout my travels going forward I was always able to overcome my period and the pain.
When I was in Norway a few years ago, I got my period while staying at a remote cabin in Geilo, right before the group of us were heading into the hot tub. I was hurting, but the excitement of being at a snow-covered cabin in Norway outweighed the pain. I took my medicine, grabbed a tampon, and had the time of my life.
If you want to learn more about endometriosis, visit endometriosis.org and of course, always talk to doctor. Remember to be honest and don’t shy away from asking difficult questions. Head to speakendo.com for even more encouragement, info, and support.