I am sure Kyung, the ENDOSTRONG patient of the week would agree with Pablo Picasso when he said:
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
As an endometriosis patient, Kyung has suffered greatly and her art has often contained images and expressions so many endometriosis patients can relate to. Like so many other patients, her journey to get proper care was a long one.
Kyung got her period in middle school but didn’t start having symptoms until she was 24.
She would have severe, sharp pains in her abdomen and had no clue what it was from. She had no idea whether her issues were of a digestive or gynecological nature.
Her friend, a cancer survivor, urged her to keep a log of every symptom. It was only then that she figured out it was related to her period and made an appointment to see her gynecologist, despite her lack of health insurance.
Luckily, the receptionist at her doctor’s office had endometriosis and the doctor was able to diagnose Kyung, being familiar with the disease. He scheduled surgery to remove the endometriosis, but when he opened her up he was completely overwhelmed with the amount of the disease pervading her abdominal cavity. He felt he couldn’t treat her so he closed her back up and prescribed continuous birth control pills to avoid a period.
After the surgery, Kyung obviously continued to suffer and her symptoms got much worse. She started having even more digestive issues, post-nasal drip, and severe, chronic fatigue.
Kyung tried everything from changing her diet to acupuncture and other Eastern medicines. She tried seeing a gastroenterologist, but he couldn’t help her.
Being a very sharp and organized person, what she found most alarming was her brain fog. She remembers countless instances where she would put something like a book down somewhere and then not remembering where she put it the next day. Kyung knew something was definitely wrong with her body. She even went to Korea to try and get medical help there.
Another failed surgery
Kyung was having more sharp pain in her abdomen again. She went to a fertility specialist who told her she had a cyst on her ovary. The doctor was clear he was only comfortable removing her cyst and ablating some of the endometriosis. Still uninsured, but needing relief, Kyung agreed to the surgery at a great expense. Months later Kyung was in agony. It was like she never had the surgery.
Emotional and physical relief
Kyung was upset, in financial debt, and still in a lot of pain. Her pain now was not just happening when she was ovulating and on her period but more and more throughout her entire cycle. She needed help.
Kyung visited a few doctors in New York City and was so touched by Dr. Seckin. His compassion and his assurance for quality care were overwhelming to her. She never thought she would ever be able to get help for this disease.
Through him, she connected with a group of women that had already had surgery with him. She was so nervous, as it was right before her own surgery. The ladies assured her it would be okay and even showed her their scars. Kyung saw such beauty in being part of this caring community and it gave her some peace.
Kyung’s surgery was quite extensive and recovery was tough. But now Kyung feels better and stronger and doesn’t have that fogginess she had before. She is in a better place.
Taking it easy
Kyung’s advice to other patients is to be easy on yourself. Know your body, honor your pain and fatigue, and know when you need to slow down. Kyung never wanted to be a sick person and would push through everything. She has now learned to rest more when she is tired and take it easier when she is in pain. She understands that it is okay and necessary.
Kyung Jeon is a world-renowned artist. Please check out Kyung Jeon’s incredible artwork inspired and influenced by endometriosis: