Many people make New Year’s Resolutions around this time of year. The definition of resolution is “The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.” In the past I have made resolutions to exercise more, spend more quality time with friends and family or to eat better. But as 2013 comes to an end and the start of 2014 is imminent, I find myself simultaneously reflecting on this past year and thinking ahead to the future. I want to make attainable goals that really mean something, not only to me, but the entire endometriosis community.
Simplify My Life: Endometriosis is a very complicated disease. Even the experts in the field admit there is still so much more to know about endometriosis in terms of the origin of the disease and how to diagnose and treat it. Just this past fall, I had a complicated surgery with Dr. Seckin and his team of three other surgeons. I cannot change that I have endometriosis, nor can I immediately change how complicated the disease is and the pervasive way it impacts my life. So I have decided to simplify everything in my life that I can. I find myself repeatedly asking the questions, “Do I need it?” and “Do I love it?”. If the answer to both of these questions is no, then I am letting go of it. I am determined to live more simply.
Be Gentle With Myself: I, like ALL other endometriosis patients, am a tough survivor. But I also find, like MANY other endometriosis patients, I am tough on myself. Sometimes I think it stems from my own denial of the disease and other times I think it is from a deep desire NOT to let this disease cripple me or impact my life. I am constantly pushing myself to the point of exhaustion and often ignoring my endometriosis symptoms until they are debilitating. In 2014, I am determined to be gentle with myself. I am going to accept that I have a disease which makes me fatigued and sore. I WILL give myself a break. I am going to keep reminding myself that being aware of the impact of my disease and giving my body a rest, does not make me weaker, but makes me more awesome. I am determined be more awesome in 2014.
Be More Vocal About My Disease: I am determined to talk about endometriosis whenever it seems appropriate. For example, a group of my husband’s and my high school friends came over for a holiday gathering. The mostly male group asked me how my year was. After taking a deep breath, I briefly talked about my epic surgery with Dr. Seckin, the same as I would if I had a knee replacement. They listened and wished me well and then the conversation moved on. We all survived the conversation and were better off for having it. I am determined to be brave and talk about my endometriosis, because my friends, my family, my co-workers, my community and the world at large will ALL be better off for having this conversation.
Reach Out to Other Women with the Disease: When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis, I did not talk about it and I did not know anyone else with the disease. Through the Endometriosis Foundation of America, Endowarriors, social media sites like facebook and twitter and even while sitting in the office of Dr. Seckin, I have connected with so many other women with the disease and have helped others get diagnosed. I have learned that reaching out not only helps others, but enriches my life is so many ways. The sharing of information and support is the only way we will get through the complexities of living with this disease. I am determined to make something beautiful come from this horrific disease.