Sherika Wynter, Voices Of Endo
I have a very different outlook on life in my 30s after battling endometriosis for the last 10 years. I often find myself reminiscing on some of the promises I made in my early 20s: upper management by 30, married with child by 30, own a house by 30... All things society placed on me as necessities.
But here is my reality, I had my 4th laparoscopy a month after my 30th birthday. It was my longest, most draining and complicated surgery to date. It was also where they discovered my left ovary appeared to be non-operational. I was devastated and cried from the depths of my soul. I was left wondering..What did I do wrong? Where do I go from here? Is this the beginning of infertility?
All my questions no one had answers to. But as my reproductive endocrinologist said, "We don’t give up. We fight this. You will be fine." For the last 8 years, he's never been wrong, so there was no need to start doubting him now. I knew I needed to take my faith to the next level, believing, “What is for me, is for me.”
Putting Myself First
As I rounded the corner of 30, I began to place my personal life first because, at work, I am dispensable. In life, however, I only have one shot. I have to make it count. With that I mind, I started to prioritize my visits to my reproductive endocrinologist . During these visits, we would check my AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) levels, my ovaries and ensure my uterus is fluid free. Yes, I've frozen my eggs but I wanted to ensure that my body is still in a position to carry when the time is right. (Notice I said "when" not "if" --- I believe my time is coming.) I’m also more cognizant of my food intake. As my dad would say, “You are no longer a spring chicken, Sherika!” I’m preparing my body for the long run as I’m ready to put up one hell of a fight.
Key Benefits for Work
Many don’t realize the impact endometriosis has on your career and it took time to learn what I needed from a company to balance both sides. Company benefits are more important now that I am diagnosed. When I interview for jobs, I make sure they have an option to work remotely. This way, if I'm not feeling well on a particular day, I can take the time I need to heal. I can go to my doctor appointments without feeling guilty or needing to take the entire day off just for an hour appointment. I also ensure their insurance is accepted by my physicians. It sounds extreme but it is very difficult to switch doctors with endometriosis. Our condition is complicated and coverage may be denied. For example, I’m currently paying for my last surgery because it wasn’t a covered procedure. I was able to negotiate a $52K procedure to an affordable amount but I was taught a valuable lesson. You have a right to inquire about these details in order to be proactive about your health.
2 for 1 Deal
Lastly, I've finally accepted that my endometriosis is a 2 for 1 deal, you get me, you get it. We are a perfect package for the right life partner and the right set of friends. For years, I’ve wondered if it was a hindrance, the reason why past relationships failed and the source of my singleness. I would beat myself up about it. Now, I realized it's just another piece of the puzzle that makes me unique. Granted, every so often I find myself going down that self-guilt road but I remind myself, "There isn't a more beautiful picture of you available. Shine with what you have."