Possible womxn 8/12 Vanessa – Has Endometriosis
Damn. I am proud to have this incredible womxn be a part of the Impossible Boudoir Project. Vanessa has struggled for years with endometriosis and continues to struggle hard to this today. I was shocked and surprised to hear all of the things she has been through while trying to figure out what was wrong with her for so many years and the things she continued to go through when she knew what was finally happening. You think to yourself, there is something wrong with me internally; a doctor should be able to fix me, right? Wrong. Vanessa voiced so many times in our interview that she HAS to be her own advocate for her body and her endo. After all the hoops, medication, debilitating weeks and life altering news doctors would tell her, she realized after almost 15 years that the only person she could trust with her medical condition was her.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again for the people in the back… listen to your body. Only you can really know and understand what’s going on. Just because someone in a white coat tells you you are this or you need that, get a second opinion and that second opinion is you. Listen to your body.
“It took me 15 years to get diagnosed with endometriosis.” – Vanessa
Growing up Vanessa was always “too” much. She was too tall, or too thin, or too big, had too many freckles, was always too x,y & z. At one point in her developing years, she was told by medical practitioners that she was too thin which confused her so much as a child because she felt totally fine in her body. One of the last times she ever has felt fine in her body.
Ever since Vanessa started her period in 5th grade, that’s right, 5th grade, she always remembers them to be incredibly painful. Her mother, aunts and grandmothers would just tell her it was normal. Periods suck. Which they do. You’re just having a bad period. That’s all it is. Some girls just have harder periods than others, you’re one of those girls.
“I used to be really active growing up but it all caught up to me when I was in high school. I was super fatigued all the time and would stop going to practices. My parents thought I was just being lazy and wanted to stay home and watch TV all day or something. Then my doctors would just tell me the same thing everyone always had been telling me, that I was just having bad periods.” – Vanessa
For years and years of her formative life, Vanessa thought she just had really bad periods and that there was nothing she could do about them. “I used to think I had done something wrong to my body to have experienced such painful periods.” – Vanessa
It wasn’t until Vanessa went to hair school in 2014 that she really realized something more was going on with her. After years of experiencing….
-trying every birth control out there to find none of them helped
-spending countless money on period pads and super tampons to bleed through all of them, some within 30minutes to an hour
-developing cysts on her ovaries from all the mensuration
…she had had ENOUGH.
When Vanessa was working one day at her new hair school up in Seattle, she had gotten her period and her body went into this short of shock.
“I started slurring my words when I thought I was talking completely normal like we are now. My stomach started to get these sharp pains, then this migraine set in. I couldn’t feel the temperature of water and nobody knew what was going on with me.” – Vanessa
She went to the ER and you’re not even going to begin to fathom what happened next. At first they thought she was experiencing a heart attack which they informed her that she might have a pulmonary embolism due to said heart attack, and to ‘get her family here because she might bleed out and die.’ Then they came back 20 minutes later after Vanessa had already alerted her friends and family or her possible imminent death, that she just had a lung nodule. 13 hours later in the ER, they released her basically with a see yah, don’t know what’s wrong with you. We think it’s just your period… The next morning the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance contacted her telling her that her doctor thinks she might have lung cancer and her email inbox was now being flooded with ‘how to live with cancer’ letters. She then confirmed with her doctor again that it was just a lung nodule and not lung cancer.
They told her it was a heart attack. Then they said it was a migraine. Then it was her period. Once again Vanessa was back to the same spot she had been in for the past 15 years… It’s “just” a period. She said to herself, “OKAY. I need to figure this out. I’ve been sick my entire life. I need to figure out what the fuck is going on.” – Vanessa
She said to herself she was done going to the ER countless times just to be told she is having bad periods, or to actually be told that she might die and/or have cancer which none of that was true. It was now time for her to start figuring stuff out on her own. She got WA Apple Health Care which she is so thankful for and finally got a primary care physician to try to help her out. She was excited to see her physician and she recommended Vanessa take a pelvic cat scan, something the ER never had her do. Upon looking over the cat scan, keep in mind, this is weeks after her emotional rollercoaster of false news, she now, get this, had ovarian cancer. Vanessa jumped on her next move which was to now find a gynecologist which she had to wait over a month to see. Finally Vanessa was, yet again, confirmed to not have cancer of any type, but to have endometriosis.