I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel)

I find it difficult to be a brown Christian woman in a predominantly white church that gingerly touches on racial issues. It makes me want to stand up, speak up, and protest. But, I’m simultaneously tired of always fighting, always being hurt by the news stories that show me yet another white person who despises brown and black bodies in their white spaces. These particular white people dehumanize us and hate us for simply existing.

It’s hard not to categorize myself in that us vs. them mentality. It’s easy to feel like I’m always waging war against the world, particularly against white people. Yet I’m tired of fighting a war that cannot be won by me. I think I need to start fighting this war on my knees because we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but with spiritual beings, with demons.

There is a demon of racism. We must stop pretending that it’s acceptable or understandable to be racist because “they’re older”, “they’re Southern”, “they weren’t exposed to other cultures”, or “they didn’t go to college”.

Stop it!

Racism is a demon that must be cast out.

Gabrielle G.

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Captured, Objectified, and Liberated

“Where do you see yourself being captured and objectified?”

I see my Latinidad objectified. My brown skin, curly big hair, large breasts, big butt, full lips, and dark eyes are sexualized and fetishized. My very existence as a voluptuous brown woman is seen as sexual. Men generally look at me like I’m something to devour, and white men in particular look at my color and body like I’m something to colonize, control, consume, and exploit.

They ask me to say something in Spanish. They insist on calling me Gabriella, even though my name is Gabrielle. I wonder why they insist on asserting dominance by changing my name, thereby conforming me to a Latina image they have in their minds. “You just look like a Gabriella.”

When I speak passionately about inequality, they raise their eyebrows, amazed by my passion and freedom with my words. Wow. Such a fiery Latina. Never mind the fact that I’m speaking about racism in the church, which they like to ignore because it doesn’t affect them. All they choose to see is my color and culture, and they stereotype me.

I wonder if I’ll ever be seen as Gabrielle, a wonderfully complex woman who happens to be Latina. It pains me to be seen as Gabby the Latina. That identity is not my sole identity. I am so much more. But, if others refuse to see that, that’s their choice. I will not perform for them, speaking Spanish or dancing salsa when they demand, as if I were simply there to entertain them.

I must stop myself from showing them that I’m “not so different”, or “not a stereotypical Latina” by talking about C.S. Lewis, Soren Kierkegaard, and other white male Christian leaders or writers. I have to actively control my innate need to prove myself to white Christian men, demonstrating that I have every right to sit at the table with them and lead with them. This is an ongoing battle that I must wage every day.

I’m learning that I do not have to conform to the meek and mild stereotype of a Christian woman, specifically a white Christian woman, because when people talk about American Christians, they’re only thinking of white Christians. I am a loud Latina and that is a great thing. I use my voice to speak up for myself, for others, and for marginalized groups. I am also a quiet Latina and that is a great thing. I’m quiet in groups of new people, observing them, and enjoying the conversation from afar. I can sit with those who are sick, depressed, anxious, insecure, or grieving, and I can hold that sacred space in silence for them.

I don’t fit into any stereotype of being Latina. I am my own type of Latina: beautiful, insecure, loud, quiet, fearless, scared, tough, and fragile. I am an anomaly and an enigma. Just like everyone else, but distinct in my Latinidad.

I Am the Bleeding Woman

One of the most suspense-filled, exciting, and emotionally-drenched stories in Scripture, at least for me, is found in Luke 8, Matthew 9, and Mark 5. This is where we meet the Bleeding Woman. Every time I’ve ever heard this story spoken about, each time the pastor or speaker has failed to truly impart the significance of her actions and of her infirmity. I remember sitting in pews and wondering where she was bleeding from and what the significance of her blood was. Now I understand that she had a problem with her menstruation.

Period blood. This type of blood produces the most disgust in people, particularly men, even though it is the only blood not born of violence, other than the blood that is shed while giving birth. This type of blood is natural and serves a specific purpose: it prepares the uterus to possibly bear a child after the lining is shed throughout those 5-7 days or so. Or, if you’re like the Bleeding Woman, and like me, that period can last for a week and a half, two weeks, even years. In the Bleeding Woman’s case, she bled for 12 years. 12 years of constant menstrual blood with no way to stop it.

Although our western society doesn’t ban women from church during their period or force them into seclusion, Jesus’ cultural group did. Many groups in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa still practice some type of period-shaming, which can even cost the woman her life in some cases. During Jesus’ time, a menstruating woman was considered “unclean.” She was not permitted to go into the synagogue. She was not permitted to be around other people. She had no pads or tampons to catch her blood. No pain killers for those days when the cramps and headaches were too much to bear. No heating pads to give relief. Nothing. Women of that time used cloth and stayed away from everyone while they bled.

For a woman with a regular menstrual cycle, this was probably a welcome getaway from having to manage the home, the cooking, and the cleaning for that week. She probably relaxed and had some alone time. But for the Bleeding Woman, this was her entire life as a menstruating woman. She had been consistently denied fellowship and probably lamented never having the chance to marry or have children. How could she have any of those things? She was unclean and needed to separate herself from others lest she tarnish them as well.

I’ve had my fair share of lonely nights and, let’s face it, lonely days with no one to talk to, no one to share my heart with. I’ve faced depression and anxiety, which can feel incredibly isolating. But I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have been cast aside for 12 years, with literally not one soul to cling to. The Bleeding Woman was resilient; she was still hopeful despite the decade of infirmity, loneliness, and doctors who could not cure her. She believed that someone was the cure for her illness. That person was Jesus Christ.

The Bleeding Woman saw Him walking with a massive crowd pressing all around Him. I imagine her adjusting the scarf on her head, careful to hide her face from her neighbors lest they expose her identity, and secretly joining the crowd that followed Jesus. She weaved her way closer to Him and with the strong faith she had, she knew that if she could but touch His
tzitzit (the fringes on His prayer shawl), she would be healed. Even His garments declared healing! She did so and was instantly healed. With that, she was all set to quietly slip away. But Jesus called upon her to identify herself. As a woman who had been unwanted and unloved for 12 years, how had her identity been warped by that seclusion? How did she speak to herself? What name did she call herself? Unclean? Unwanted?

The Bleeding Woman answered, fearfully explaining her reasoning for touching Him and her hope for healing. Jesus called her “daughter”, remarked that her faith had brought her healing, and commissioned her to live in peace.

I am the Bleeding Woman. I suffer from a condition reminiscent of hers: endometriosis. I’ve had severe bleeding and pain for weeks on end. I’ve tried countless ways to end the pain and have seen far too many doctors than I can remember. Recently I’ve been placed on birth control to stop my period, thereby stopping my pain, but not actually curing the disease. Endometriosis doesn’t have a cure, they say. I’ve accepted that I may deal with this illness for the rest of my menstruating days, content to be on birth control until the doctor finds another way to treat me.

But if Jesus healed the Bleeding Woman, who most likely had endo or something related to it, can He not heal me? Why haven’t I asked for Him to heal MY issue of blood when He so obviously longs to do so? I’ve suffered for 10 years with no cure. The Bleeding Woman suffered for 12. I’ve been to various doctors who have had no answer for me. So did the Bleeding Woman. The Bleeding Woman didn’t run up to Jesus, open her arms wide, and proclaim before the world, “Heal my reproductive issues! My vagina doesn’t stop bleeding!” No, she gently and gingerly approached the One whom she knew had the key to her healing. She displayed great faith which doesn’t need to shout from the rooftops all the time. Sometimes faith is quieter, more afraid, but still trusting. Faith is asking for what you need, knowing that He will give you what you need, even if you’re afraid. Faith is what moves the hand of God to heal, no matter how you approach Him.

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

Single Christian Women & Birth Control

Growing up in the church, we were taught two things regarding birth control. Either you shouldn’t take birth control as a married woman because you should trust God with the number of children He wants you to have OR you can take birth control as a married woman in order to enjoy a couple of years with just your husband before bearing children. So…which is it, church?

No one ever mentioned taking birth control for medical issues, such as endometriosis or PCOS.

I have endometriosis and I am a single Christian woman. I’m not having sex, nor do I plan to before marriage. I also take birth control to manage my symptoms, i.e. completely stop my period. With endometriosis, the symptoms can become excruciatingly painful during your period, but you can experience general pelvic pain throughout the month. Most gynecologists agree that conservative treatment of this chronic disease is through birth control, thus stopping the period and stopping the pain. When a woman is ready to have children, she can undergo a laparoscopy in order to remove the growth from her pelvic region. This procedure will improve her chances of getting pregnant, as endometriosis can cause infertility.

Endometriosis has affected my life for over ten years, but no doctor I ever saw about it would even mention birth control as an option. I was shooed away with phrases like, “Just take Advil.” “It’s just a bad period.” “Your period will regulate in a few years.” Well, after ten years of being ignored by general practitioners and gynecologists alike, I finally found one gynecologist who believed me and immediately put me on birth control. Her reasoning, “The most important thing is that we stop the pain. You should not have been in pain this long.”

I’m grateful that I have medical insurance and that my insurance covers birth control at 100%. I pay nothing to have that Depo shot injected into my hip every three months. Nothing at all. I’m also grateful that no one has shamed me for being on birth control, as I find that the idea of a single Christian woman being on birth control is still confusing to many Christians.

Before actually getting birth control, I did have some concern that my Christian sisters would judge me and assume I was having sex if I were to ever disclose that I was on it. It’s unfortunate that if a single Christian woman is on birth control, and is “found out”, she must justify the medical necessity of it or else she’s looked upon with suspicion. There are Christians who also believe that women such as myself are lying and are using birth control under the guise of endometriosis or other reproductive disorders in order to have promiscuous sex with fewer consequences. There are even Christians who do not believe that birth control is a medical necessity in certain circumstances.

I met a young Christian lady in her early twenties a couple of weeks ago and immediately we started talking about periods, pain, endometriosis, and birth control. She confided in me that her parents had a shared Christian health insurance plan and that she participated in that as well, although not by choice. She described to me the intense pain she experienced during her period and I began asking various questions as only a woman who has endometriosis can.

“Do you get nausea?”
“Do you feel like you’re going to pass out?”
“Do you get heart palpitations?”
“Do you bleed a lot?”
“Do you get severe headaches?”
“Do you get backaches?”
“Do you get diarrhea throughout the week?”
“Do you get severe pain that extends throughout your entire pelvic area?”

Yes, yes, and yes.

I urged her to see a gynecologist and ask about whether or not birth control might assist her. She told me that her Christian health insurance did not cover birth control, because birth control wasn’t considered medically necessary in the Christian world.

This outraged me. After a brief tirade of passionate angry words regarding sexism and ignorance in the Christian community, I began doing what I do best: helping women. I told her about GoodRX where she can get medicine for a cheaper price with no insurance. I sent her information about a free medical clinic in our area where she might be able to get it prescribed, as even a simple gynecological visit would not be covered by her Christian insurance.

I wonder how many other single Christian women are silently suffering with diseases like PCOS and endometriosis, not getting the birth control that can greatly reduce their pain, because either their parents or their church would disown them if discovered.

Birth control is awesome. If you need it, take it.

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

Birthing New Life/Dreams

I woke up on January 1st, 2019 with the tangible remnants of an intense dream upon my spirit and mind. I woke up remembering every single detail of the dream, which usually only happens when the Lord gives me a dream, which He often does. When I have dreams that I remember, I find that they are mostly apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic in nature, and they usually stir up feelings of urgency, purpose, and destiny. I know that Jesus is returning at any moment, and I wish He could come this very moment to free us from this life.

We know that toward the end of the world as we know it, God will give us dreams and visions. “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams'” (Acts 2:17). Now, I’m not an old man, but I do dream dreams. I’ve had dreams of cutting off the devil’s head and fighting in a battle at the end of days. I’ve had dreams where I just see Bible verses and then wake up and study them. I’ve had dreams/visions of speaking in tongues and I’ve awoken with my tongue tingling, which makes absolutely no sense in the physical realm. I’ve had intense moments of prayer where I’ve seen images of the cross on fire. Consuming fire.

So when I get a dream from God, it tends to be so normal for me that I’m not surprised at all. But, my dream during the night on December 31st, 2018 to January 1st, 2019 was so different, so stunning, that I had to immediately write it down on my phone. This was one of the first God-given dreams I’ve had that spoke of new life, not of the end.

To give context to this dream, you should know that I’m unmarried, have no children, and have actually been told it might be difficult to get pregnant because of my endometriosis. I’ve always planned to adopt children whether I could conceive or not, but I must admit that pregnancy actually frightens me because of the possible complications.

The day before this dream was the last Sunday of 2018. I went to church like I usually do and felt a sort of breakthrough in my spiritual life. While praying I felt like God was saying that this whole time I had been pushing the church away, I had actually been pushing Him away from me. We had our moment of reconnecting and I immediately felt God say to me that I was going to be a missionary after all of my “failed” attempts, but that it will look differently than I think it will.

The next night I had this dream.

During the dream, I was in labor with my third child. It appeared that I was in a sort of makeshift hospital on a mission field. I was surrounded by other women who were all in labor. As they rushed me into the delivery room, I began to feel panic and I looked around, hoping to find someone who would listen to my cries. I was scared of having complications, even though this was my third child. When in the delivery room, no one hooked me up to any machine to monitor my vitals and I was terribly afraid of dying of a PE or some other serious complication. I kept yelling for someone to check on me. I had no husband in this dream, or if I did, he wasn’t present. But, I didn’t need him. All of the other new mothers around me gave me enormous amounts of encouragement and they advocated for me. Because the staff in this makeshift hospital were so busy, I actually had to deliver my own baby. I put a brown t-shirt or towel down between my legs and pushed for a little while until this baby came slithering out of me. I immediately wrapped it up and saw that it was a boy, a very light-skinned boy. His skin was a warm golden shade, but so light that he almost glistened. I also noticed that he had a sunken fontanel, which comes from dehydration. I called for someone to come over and help me and my new baby and then I called my mom to tell her the good news.

I have such a close relation to the spiritual realm. I’ve seen demons cast out. I’ve witnessed and participated in divine healing (most of them strangely my own), I’ve heard demons actually speak to me and tell me to go to hell, and I’ve battled with the demons that speak through people I know. Spiritual warfare is not new to me. In fact, I’m so accustomed to it that I forget that some Christians don’t experience much of it, and sometimes I wish I could have that luxury.

So most of my dreams involve me fighting demons, fighting the devil, fighting evil people, fighting for justice, and setting people free. I had never before had such a dream with this promise of sparkling new life. It felt so divine, especially because of the mention of the number three, which signifies the trinity. This dream was foreign to me in every way. I don’t know if the dream has a literal meaning, because I may never get pregnant or have any children, but I know at least on the spiritual level, that God is birthing new life in me.

 

Naturally, the spiritual warfare increases when God gives such a beautiful, affirming spiritual experience. And so the battle wages on.

 

Thank You, God, that You birth new life in me. I pray that this new life takes shape in whatever way You see fit for my life.

 

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

Isolated in Georgia and Hunting for Platanos

Dear readers,

I’ve lived in Georgia for about six consecutive months. As each month passes, I’ve been finding myself enjoying more and more aspects about the Southern life. Who knew there could be so many options for chicken? And not dealing with below freezing temperatures and blizzards? I’m good with that.

As I stepped out of the shower tonight and prepared to style my curly hair, I went to Spotify and selected music by Romeo Santos. I used to despise him because while I lived in Washington Heights, New York City, that’s all I heard. People would blast bachata and reggaeton music well into the night and the sounds would drift into my bedroom window along with the strong aroma of marijuana. Oh yeah, some drug dealers lived in my building. It was no big deal.

Immediately I was brought back to what my life was like in Washington Heights. I’d wake up, make my tea, look out my apartment window and see countless brown and black families cooking breakfast, making their coffee, and sending their kids off to school. On weekends I’d get up early and hit the supermarket before all of the Puerto Rican and Dominican ladies and their carts could take over, each shouting in Spanish about one thing or another. It was so easy to go to the grocery store two buildings down, get all of the plantains, yuca, beans, and Goya products I wanted. I never had to search for it in the “ethnic” section of the store. The whole store was the ethnic section. I’d walk down the street, carrying my bags home, and hear everyone around me speak Spanish. I’m actually not fluent in Spanish, so people were surprised when I DIDN’T speak Spanish to them in Wash. Heights. No one looked at me like I was “other.” Many women in that neighborhood looked like me. We were a sea of brown faces and curly hair. Not once in New York did I fear racism. I could easily walk down Wall Street and 181st Street with the same confidence of a native New Yorker.

“I belong here.”

“This is my hometown.”

“I’m accepted here.”

“I can fully be myself.”

Now that I’ve been living in Georgia for the past six months, I can say that I’ve encountered at least 4-5 racist attacks, compared to the two I experienced throughout the first 24 years of my life in New York. I’m not going to lie. Being one of the few Latinos down here, especially being a Latina of Caribbean heritage rather than Central or South American heritage, can be extremely isolating. I’ve been followed around and harassed for speaking Spanish to my mother in public. I’ve been told that Trump is going to get me out of the country. Every time I speak Spanish in public or go to an area that is new to me, I’m always aware that I could experience a racist attack. I prep myself for them. My existence here is offensive to some people. So when I get to my apartment and shut the door, I speak LOUDLY to my mom in Spanish, blast bachata music, cook rice, and forget about what awaits me on the other side of my apartment door. 

I’m open to what God has for me here, but there are nights when I do miss New York City, which is a magical place indeed.

At least it’s a place where I never, not once, worried about racism.

 

 

Also, where do people find platanos in Georgia? Asking for a friend…

 

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

Justice Has Come (If You Want It)

This picture shows a response to a Christmas related Instagram post of mine about continuing the fight for social justice. I’m tired of Christians who say that the focus is on Jesus alone and we shouldn’t get involved in politics. My friends, you are woefully mistaken and seem to think that politics is just ideas. No. Politics affect our daily lives all the time, well unless you look like those who run this country. Then for you they are just ideas.

Jesus came for the people our country is putting into cages. For the people we are deporting. For the people our military has murdered and raped overseas. For the inhabitants of land we stole. For people who look nothing like us. For people who speak other languages. For LGBTQ+ folks. For those with disabilities of all kinds. For black men. For black women. For black children. For those who suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and mental illnesses we don’t understand or feel comfortable with. For those enslaved in our criminal justice system which lacks a lot of justice. For the women who deal with sexual harassment every single day of their lives. For the girls who are forbidden to attend school. For the country folk who are living in generational poverty and who never got to attend school. For those who have no health care and are suffering financially and physically. For those who are being abused in their churches and can’t say anything…

What am I supposed to do when celebrating the ushering in of a God whose heart beats for justice? Sing white Christmas carols and eat cookies? I can do that, too. But the reason that Jesus came is for justice and to reconnect us to God the Father/Mother. So no I will not put aside my “liberal social justice stuff.” Because Jesus is a social justice God. Period.

Where Are You, Childhood?

Readers,

As I grow and test the waters during this 25th year of my life on this earth, I’m coming to more realizations about my childhood and my present state of being. Typically, these are not pleasant realizations. They often involve some comment made by a person that hits me below the belt, and I have to ask myself why I’m so hurt and offended. Or perhaps I’ll explain a little about my childhood to someone and they look at me with full eyes, open their mouths to speak, and a sympathetic voice rushes out, pressing upon me their deepest sympathies for what I suffered.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that I was suffering anything different from anyone else. For a while, I thought that my home life was standard and that everyone had a father and mother like mine. It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I learned how fathers could be gentle and loving. It wasn’t until I was 23 years old that I realized that sometimes mothers can be too close with their children, and actually prevent them from being fully free to live their lives as children. When your mother has no friends of her own and no therapist, and you are the child she deems “able to handle it”, you are exposed to an onslaught of information you had rather not known.

This was a part of my childhood. Throughout my life I have been included in conversations I wanted no part of, told secrets best kept hidden, and forced to carry the burden of being “the strong one.” I was considered the strong child, the stable child, the one that is most reliable and able to carry weighty information, whether that’s about the family’s financial situation or about affairs and divorce talks. I heard them all. My brother was not exposed to such information. My parents needed someone to vent to and I was chosen. At the time it almost seemed like an honor. ‘Wow. Mom and Dad think I’m strong and capable. I must be. That’s why they’re telling me all of this. I can handle this. I can.”

I couldn’t handle it. Because I was given this information, much more was expected of my behavior and my personality, which was being shaped by the inappropriate confidence between my parents and myself, ironically enough. I had to be stable, for the sake of my family. My grades needed to be excellent. My friendships had to be healthy. I needed to be happy and well-behaved, giving no lip. I had to make sure to remind myself that I wasn’t allowed to tell my brother the secrets I was forced to carry inside.

I had no one to talk to about what was told to me.

Is it any surprise that at 14 I became irritable and angry with my mother? That at 15 I became depressed? That at 16 I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks? That at 17 I became depressed again and almost suicidal? I wasn’t allowed to be broken. So all of that pressure erupted inside and completely broke me.

Of course this one childhood issue didn’t cause all of the aforementioned mental and emotional distress, as I was a child of an abusive home and well-acquainted with darkness, but it definitely contributed to my suffering.

I didn’t realize any of this until I was 23, sat in front of my therapist and she called my mother a word I’d never expected to hear: manipulative. I immediately rejected that term. My mother? No. We were friends. We’d always been friends. That’s why she told me everything she told me throughout my childhood and young adulthood. I tasted the word for a bit and decided that it didn’t apply to my mother.

Two years later, at 25, during my second therapy session with a new therapist, she asked about my childhood. I threw everything at her, letting my words spill over and fall onto each other. At the end of it all, I said, “So, they would tell me these things because my brother needed to be protected.”

“But what about Gabby?”

Tears rushed to my eyes and I blinked them away. She was right. What about Gabby? What about Gabby’s childhood? Why couldn’t Gabby be protected from the things her older brother was protected from?

I feel the repercussions of this childhood trauma to this day and am just now beginning to work through it all.

I wish I had some words of wisdom to close this post with, but I don’t. I’m left only with the question that haunts me when I think about my childhood.

What about Gabby?

 

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

Adult Birthdays Matter

TW: suicide

Readers,

I just screamed at my mother through painful tears. Not my best moment, but I stand by what I did and said.

On November 26th, I turn 25. 25 is always a big deal for people, but for me, it’s especially important.

Last year, I almost killed myself. I was so incredibly depressed that I had no hope for my life. I didn’t want to live anymore. I didn’t have a plan to kill myself, but I didn’t want to be alive. I wanted to die. If I were braver, I would’ve done it.

A year and a half later, I’m still here. Although I’m not where I want to be financially, occupationally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally, I have strong hope that things will improve. I don’t want to die. I want to survive this life. I want to LIVE this life! I want to experience every good thing possible on this planet and love as much as I can, with no fear.

So, my life is worth celebrating. Everyone’s life is. For those of us who have wanted to die, birthdays are yearly reminders that we didn’t fall into the hands of death. They’re yearly celebrations of what we didn’t do, even though we really wanted to.

My mother knows of my history with suicide, yet she still can’t understand why my birthday is so important. My brother offered to take the three of us out for dinner and a movie to celebrate my day. “Pick whatever you want. Even somewhere nice. It’s your day”, he told me. I was surprised by his generosity and warmed by his care.

My mother just kept saying that he’s spending too much money. It’s not necessary, she says. I’m not a child anymore. I’m a grown woman, so birthdays don’t matter. I’m acting entitled.

I asked her why she thinks I care about birthdays. She had no idea. I screamed at her.

“Because I almost KILLED myself! I didn’t want to live anymore!! So EVERY birthday is a reminder that I’m still here!!! I will always celebrate my birthday!! Just because you don’t care about birthdays or understand the way I live my life, doesn’t mean you can shit all over it! So just shut your mouth if you’re going to talk like that to me.”

Speechless.

Gabrielle

Suffering for a Decade with an Undiagnosed Chronic Disease

Readers,

I have painful periods. No, really, they’re awful. I know there’s this new movement of trying to love your period and embrace it in all its glory, but I simply can’t do that. Why?

I have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a chronic, treatable but not curable, debilitating disease. Tissue that is meant to grow in the uterus grows outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, even throughout the pelvis and up toward the lungs. Doctors are unsure why this disease exists.

Endometriosis is mysterious disease. The average time for diagnosis of the disease is 7-10 years.

For me, it took 10 years.

For years I would visit my pediatrician, then my primary care physician, and then three gynecologists complaining of the same symptoms. In fact, by the time I saw my third gynecologist, I brought with me three full pages of symptoms. After reading the symptoms, she immediately diagnosed me with endometriosis.

My symptoms?

 

Heavy periods

Blood clots while menstruating

Intense pelvic pain

Fatigue

Dizziness

Missing work or school the first day of my period

Heart palpitations

Anemia caused by menstruation

 

My gynecologist doesn’t think it’s necessary to do the surgical procedure needed to officially diagnose endometriosis; she thinks I have enough symptoms to feel confident in her diagnosis.

I’m on birth control now to stop my periods.

I aim to see an endometriosis specialist hopefully sometime during the next couple of months and I want the surgery to confirm the diagnosis.

I hope they can remove the excess tissue, easing my pain and helping me become more able to have a baby and have sex with no pain.

 

Endometriosis can cause painful sex and infertility. That breaks my heart.

Women readers, if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT FOR A DIAGNOSIS!

Gabrielle G.