I am the owner and organizer of Endo Southwest. I was inspired to create Endo Southwest because of my own endo journey and all the challenges that come with having this chronic illness.
I have struggled with endometriosis since 2018 when I went off hormonal birth control for the first time since first getting my period. Shortly thereafter, I experienced my first endometriosis flare. My flares consisted of intense pelvic and back pain, vomiting, fevers, chills and sweats, IBS and near-fainting. I had no idea what was going on and lived in almost constant fear that I would "do something wrong" that would set my body off.
I had CT scans, ultrasounds, blood tests, urine tests, stool samples, acupuncture, massage, arvigo massage, pelvic floor physical therapy, counseling, an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy and my first laparoscopic surgery where the surgeon told me that I was "completely fine" and my insides looked "beautiful" (she was wrong-I had a second surgery that removed tons of endo lesions and diagnosed me officially with the disease in 2022), all in the name of trying to figure out what was wrong with me .
I often missed work, social engagements, and my life in general, because I was just trying to survive the pain. As a mountain athlete who finds so much joy in outdoor pursuits, I felt like my identity was being stolen from me since my pain stopped me from enjoying activities like running, skiing, and rock climbing. I was constantly angry, disappointed in myself, disappointed in my body, and just generally pissed off. I suffered from (and still do from time to time) chronic anxiety and depression.
Finally I was able to get incredible care with an endometriosis specialist who does over 400 laparoscopic robotic excision surgeries (after many battles with my insurance company), and had all endometriosis lesions removed, as well as my appendix which was approximately 6 months away from appendicitis due to inflammation, and was diagnosed with endometriosis officially on May 2nd, 2022.
Of course, my journey is not over. Endometriosis has no cure and excision surgery, although the gold standard of care, does not stop the growth of the disease.
The sad thing is, I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to endometriosis diagnosis and treatment, for several reasons. First off, I was diagnosed with endo in 4 years. The average diagnosis takes 7-10 years. The fact that this makes me lucky is appalling. Secondly, I had access to resources, insurance and an amazing surgeon (after much trial and error). But the most important thing I had (and still have) is a best friend who also has endometriosis. That made all the difference in the world on my darkest days, in my most hopeless moments. Having someone so close to me, that I can text, call or just go to her house anytime, day or night, makes endometriosis feel smaller, and my courage, strength and ability to deal, alot bigger.
The support and love I have felt and continue to feel from my best friend who has endo too is a huge reason why I started Endo Southwest. I want other women with endometriosis to have the kind of connection and support that I have had throughout my endo journey (which continues today).
I want to bring women with endo together because facing this disease with someone you love by your side, makes it feel a lot less daunting.
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