Endometriosis through Poetry and Science

It’s Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is one of several factors contributing to my own infertility. Today, we’re sharing info on endometriosis via poetry by Jenny Rough and through scientific facts from Endo Warriors

Elizabeth

In the Bathroom by Jenny Rough

What is Endometriosis?

(Sourced from endowarriorssupport.com)

Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when tissue similar to the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) implants itself outside of the uterus. This results in the formation of cysts. scarring, and inflammation; all of which can cause chronic pain, infertility, adhesions, and bladder and bowel complications.

Endometriosis is most commonly found on the exterior of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and pelvic floor. Endometriosis can also occur — although It is less common — on the bowel and sciatic region. In extremely rare cases endometriosis can be found growing on the liver, diaphragm, lungs, brain and central nervous system.

Blausen_0349_Endometriosis

Source, Wikipedia.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Pain during ovulation
  • Irregular or heavy menses
  • Painful bowel movements during menstruation
  • Urinary pain during menses
  • Chronic pain lower back pain
  • Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Changes in bowel habits during menstruation
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving
  • Dyspareunia: Pain during and after intercourse

Women with endometriosis may also suffer from higher rates of allergies, yeast infections, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgiamullerian anomaliesinterstitial cystitisadenomyosisthyroid diseaseCrohn’s diseaselupus, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases; as well as increased rates of ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and brain cancer.

Kickstarter – Help us take the ART of IF to Washington, D.C.

As I began writing this, Maria was somewhere up in the sky or enjoying her layover in Minneapolis and I was about to board my flight to LAX. The past month has been a whirlwind prepping for our exhibit in Iowa City last weekend and Los Angeles County, this Saturday. I can only imagine that the next few weeks will fly by as well!

RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day is May 14th and Maria and I, along with Maria’s husband, Kevin, and my mother, Judy, will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, lobbying for legislation to help those with infertility build their families.

The ART of Infertility is heading to Washington, D.C. with a pop-up exhibit and workshops on May 15.

The ART of Infertility is heading to Washington, D.C. with a pop-up exhibit and workshops on May 15.

On Friday May 15th, we’re holding a pop-up art exhibit and writing and art workshops at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K in Washington, D.C. from 3 – 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public. We have artwork coming in from around the country (we’re still accepting art entries if you’d like yours included, click here.) and will be displaying local artwork, as well as a selection of the portraits and stories we’ve collected over the past year. Marissa McClure Sweeny will be teaching an art workshop and Jenny Rough, who you heard from on our blog yesterday, will lead a writing workshop. Registration is required for the workshops so please contact us if you’d like to attend. These community art events are powerful tools for raising awareness about infertility and building a network of support for those living with the disease.

The event in DC will be our 13th in a little over a year. (Is that possible? I had to check it 4 times to believe it was right!) We’ve been almost completely self-funded until very recently and, if the project is going to be sustainable and allow us to provide a creative outlet to more people in more cities, we know we can’t continue that trend. It’s been suggested by those who like what we are doing that we launch a Kickstarter campaign to allow people to easily contribute to the cause.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.18.24 PM

A screen shot of the Kickstarter campaign we hope will help take the exhibit to Washington, D.C.

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, here’s how it works. You have an opportunity to contribute to a project, in this case, our pop-up exhibit and workshops in D.C. and get a little something from the project in return.  We have some cool ART of IF swag featuring art from the project as rewards for contributing (ART of IF T-shirt, journal, or messenger bag, anyone?), as well as opportunities to get framed artwork from the show and a digital version of the exhibit we put together for D.C. We set a goal of $3500 and only receive money if our funding goal is reached. We don’t make it to $3500, we don’t get a thing. We only have 20 days to reach our goal! So, we’re asking for your help in funding this show in our nation’s capitol. Will you please join us in supporting the men and women with infertility in the DC area and those traveling in from around the country for Advocacy Day by contributing to our campaign? Here’s the link! ART of IF in DC Kickstarter Campaign.

Thank you!

Elizabeth

 

What is Your First Fertile Memory?

Today’s guest blogger is Jenny Rough. We’ve gotten to know Jenny a bit while working on our upcoming workshops and pop-up exhibit in Washington, D.C. and are looking forward to meeting her there next month!

Elizabeth

What is your first fertile memory?

A friend of mine asked me that question, and I spent a few moments in silence. I thought back as far as I could.

Sunflowers.

Sunflowers

The day I stood among the sunflowers in a garden by the side of our house. The sunflowers had grown even taller than me, just as my mom had said they would when we planted the tiny seeds. I was four years old.

It’s fascinating to me to hear how others answer that same question. Last month, I asked the women in the Living Childfree support group I host through RESOLVE. One woman recalled a summer night and a backyard full of fireflies. Another woman remembered a hike through a rainforest. Her family was an “indoor” family, so every twist and turn on the adventure brought a new surprise and engaged her senses.

On May 15, when the ART of IF’s pop-up exhibit is in Washington, D.C., I’ll be holding a workshop on journaling your fertility journey. One of the writing exercises will be to spend five minutes writing about fertile memories.

How about you? What is your first fertile memory? Please email me at jenny.rough [at] jennyrough.com, or post a comment here and share. I’d love to hear about it!

Jenny Rough is a writer who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Every summer, she hikes out the sunflower fields near her home. Visit her on the web at jennyrough.com.

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