Michela is a teen endometriosis advocate. The Endometriosis Summit will be a Town Meeting of both practitioners and patients. This allows us to hold space for the voices of endometriosis. She writes:
If I asked you about endometriosis what could you tell me?
Having a chronic illness is difficult; emotionally and physically. You have to preserve through your day and through challenges that many other people do not face. School, sports, and even hanging out with your friends can be difficult- this is what I have to live with on a daily basis.
At only 16, my endometriosis has taught me many things: not to be ashamed, advocate for what I need, and for others when they are struggling. We will have no hope in changing this disease if we don’t teach and support everyone that is struggling.
When I was younger, I would hide. I would hide my pain, my diagnosis, my anxiety. Hiding was a mistake. As I got older, I realized that endo was a part of me, something that I would have to live with, so I might as well embrace it. Pain does not mean you are “too delicate”. The strongest women I know, including my mother and my “aunties” all have endometriosis and are all incredibly strong. Having endometriosis does not mean you are weak.
I had to learn this myself. I learned that advocating for your self is the most important thing to do. No one lives your life, therefore no one knows what it is like to be you. Sometimes advocating for your self is difficult. Many times, you may get rude or hurtful comments, such as “she’s over exaggerating” or “it’s all in your head.” This is what makes advocating for your self tough. When I hear comments such as these by those who are supposed to help me, I feel helpless, and sometimes even begin to believe the comments. Experience has taught me not to. I know my truth and as you advocate for yourself with this disease, so will you.
It took me a long time to tune out the noise from others. Now, advocating for other teenagers is super important to me. Sometimes people need help. I want to be that person that hears and helps them. Teens with endo live really difficult lives, and I know this because I live it too. Your friends may not understand, teachers may think less of you, and doctors may think you’re faking it. Don’t worry, I believe you and understand you.
Endo is a part of me, but it does not define me. My hope is to one day make a difference and be apart of finding a cure for this awful disease.
The Endometriosis Summit is a place for people with endometriosis of all ages to learn and be heard. Tickets are on sale at www.theendometriosissummit.com