This Endometriosis Awareness Month, we want to emphasize how endometriosis shapes the lives of the womxn in our community. Since 1 in 10 women of reproductive age are impacted by endometriosis, it’s extremely important for us to press beyond the statistics and encourage women to share their experiences. We at LILAS Wellness are so grateful to our ambassador Victoria Marmet for sharing her endometriosis experience with us. As a skilled blogger and vivacious influencer, Victoria encourages people to engage in women’s wellness discussions with intentionality and relatability. She's also in the process of launching a bakery! Here are some of her thoughts and reflections:
1. How do you prioritize wellness in your life?
First, I prioritize my wellness with what I eat. Health and wellbeing come from the inside and what you eat is very important for you and your body. So, I try to eat mostly vegetables and fish, but I never deprive myself. If I want something, I eat it and I think that's the key to a balanced diet. Also, I take vitamins daily to support my immune system, my energy levels, and my skin health. And of course, all my vitamins are 100% natural. I also prioritize homeopathy over any other medicine and I regularly exercise.
2. Tell us about your experience with endometriosis.
People usually assume I’m fine cause I don’t look sick, but I do have this invisible chronic illness called endometriosis that makes my life really difficult. I had my periods at the age of 12, which is normal but my periods weren't exactly "normal.” By that, I mean that I never stop bleeding. My periods were almost every day. I had them for a week, then nothing for a few days, and BAM, periods again! So both my mom and I were a little bit confused. We went to see multiple doctors but no one explained to me what I had. The pain I had and still have is hard to describe. Sometimes it feels like a car is crushing me – it's very painful. And then, I slowly started to have all the other symptoms like pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation, cramps one or two weeks around menstruation, heavy menstrual bleeding, discomfort with bowel movements, lower back pain, migraines, vomiting, nausea, weakness, stress and more... At the age of 14, my gynecologist put me under birth control to try to manage my irregular menstrual cycle and it helped, but I still didn't know what I had.
3. On average, there is a 7-year delay in diagnosing endometriosis. Did you experience a delay in diagnosis? Why do you think there is an issue with diagnosis?
I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 17 so it took 5 years. Imagine 5 years with the anxiety of not knowing what is going on inside you. I think diagnosis is so delayed because talking about periods and menstrual cycles is "taboo.” I think that some girls are afraid to talk about their pain with their mothers or doctors because even a few years ago, women thought it was normal to have extreme pain during our periods, but it's really not.
4. Why did you want to become an endometriosis advocate?
I want to be an endometriosis advocate but I think it's important to spread awareness around this chronic illness that women have. This illness honestly sucks, makes us suffer every day, and I want society to be aware of it. I want girls and women to know that they are not alone!
5. What advice do you have for someone who has just been diagnosed with endometriosis?
Do not be afraid and listen to your body only because other people always have an opinion on everything, but your body is your own and listen only to it. You have the right to not go to the gym, to avoid school, to skip the family dinner because you are in pain. You also have the right to cry in front of cat videos or eat a whole chocolate cake if you want and if it makes you feel better. Don't ever feel guilty for what you are suffering from!
With leadership like Victoria’s, endometriosis warriors will get the help and resources they need as we all become more culturally aware of the condition. Let’s be intentional in supporting womxn impacted by endometriosis in any way we can!