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When Endo Doesn’t End: Bright Red Reminders That It’s Not Over

When Endo Doesn’t End: Bright Red Reminders That It’s Not Over

I was in my library bathroom when I noticed a sight I hadn’t encountered for years: a huge period stain had leaked through my jeans. How could this happen? Bleeding through a tampon and a pad in under three hours isn’t something that’s happened to me before. I hadn’t leaked since the 7th grade when I was still getting to know my period and figuring out which products were best to use on my heavier days. But a frantic Google search from the bathroom stall confirmed my fears – extremely heavy and painful periods are to be expected following a laparoscopy.

My recent laparoscopic surgery made me feel more empowered and in charge of my reproductive system than I had ever felt. I advocated for myself, I didn’t take “no” for an answer from the OBGYNs who dismissed my concerns, and I sought help from experts until I could make an appointment for the surgery I knew I needed. I knew what the post-op complications were but really hadn’t experienced many. My recovery was standard, my post-op appointments looked good, and I had started a new birth control plan to keep my reproductive health in check.

I was doing everything right.

Yet, as I stared at my favorite light-wash jeans in the mirror (spotting that ruby red stain that was perfectly visible to every other student I had walked by on my way to the bathroom) I was reminded that my surgery didn’t cure my Endometriosis, it only introduced me to it. I realized that in meeting my Endo, what I hadn’t yet met were the slew of remaining realities and implications that a post-surgical diagnosis had in store for me. It would mean moments of deep vulnerability caused by extra heavy periods like this one, expensive follow-up appointments, and the looming reality of hospital bills that don’t seem to end.


The fact is, it’s easy to feel like once your surgeon puts down their scalpel, your problem has finally been solved. We are told to breathe a sigh of relief because making it as far as the operating table really is incredibly lucky, especially considering how under-diagnosed Endometriosis is. It’s the feeling that we’ve finally managed to convince enough people that yes, something is wrong, and they’ve finally taken us seriously. Yet here we are, facing similar problems after we just had the one surgery that was supposed to solve them all.

Endo is an untreatable and incurable condition.

We knew this from the moment we first Googled the seldom-spoken word, yet somehow it comes as a surprise the moment that first post-surgical hurdle hits. Every woman with Endo knows the powerlessness that comes from admitting defeat from the bathroom stall. That feeling of knowing that even when you do manage to get a new tampon, you’ll still have to sit in the sticky, uncomfortable reality that you haven’t been cured.
This post was written by Isabela Espadas Barros Leal. Espadas is an Endometriosis advocate, women’s rights activist, and editor for the Columbia Daily Spectator.
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