I am so excited to share Julie’s journey with you today! I was so excited to connect with Julie on Insta-grizzle and get chatting. I worked out very fast, that we had a lot in common! Julie has been brave enough to step forward and share her story because she believes it is important to raise awareness and support for others out there.
Tell me a little about yourself
My name is Julie, I am 26 years old. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband Ivan for 7 years and we live in Pasco, Wa. I am a cosmetologist, I do hair and lashes. My faith is very important to me, I am a Christian and I don’t know where I would be if not for Jesus Christ. I am also very involved in ministry, at my church Hungry Generation and in mission work. For fun, I love doing outdoor stuff, spending time with my loved ones, working out and traveling.
When and why did you start to think something wasn’t quite right?
When I was about 14, I started getting excruciating periods to the point I had to get taken to the hospital. My mom or older sister didn’t experience these kind of symptoms so I knew it wasn’t normal. But my aunt has had endo as well as other female issues so I always went to her and was able to compare symptoms. I figured out pretty early on that I likely had endo, although over the years it increasingly got worse and as the years went by I learned a lot of issues I had I realized were connected to endo.
What did you get diagnosed with?
Endometriosis and possible IC of the bladder.
How long did it take to get diagnosed?
Officially, over 12 years since symptoms started. But unofficially I knew what it was pretty much right away because my aunt has endometriosis so I was familiar with the symptoms. The first time a doctor told me I likely have endo was when I was about 19-20. But officially I just got diagnosed about a month ago at my surgery.
How has it impacted your life in the past, present and future?
It’s impacted me tremendously. It has caused me so much pain, and got worse month by month. It’s affected physical fitness, because if I would push myself I would get really bad endo pain, so I knew I could do more based on my fitness level but had to slow down because I couldn’t handle the endo flares. It was the worse when I would try to push myself, not feel the pain during the workout but afterwards have to pay for it for about a week or so, it took a while learning that balance. It’s also affected my marriage quite a bit, Intercourse was quite painful, which resulted in me not having any kind of desire for that which of course affected my relationship with my husband. At first he took it personally but at one point he did research and really dove into what endo does and has been extremely supportive and understanding. I also had to take pain medicine on a regular basis due to constant pain, not just on my period but at random times of the month. I was regularly taking 800mg of ibuprofen and that’s just not good for the overall health, sometimes it would help, and sometimes it wouldn’t. Honestly there was so much more but I can’t even remember everything.
Do you think if has impacted your mental health?
When dealing with pain on an almost daily basis it definitely takes a toll on your mood. I would be grumpy and mean, and of course my poor husband had to deal with the most of it. It has been really hard dealing with something that has been internal, nobody else knew unless I told them how badly it affected me. When people asked how are you, my “I’m doing good” was completely different than what they would consider doing good. I was still in pain, honestly I still struggle with the thought that people just don’t believe me, that they think it’s not as bad as I say it is, because nobody could see it. I am almost a month post op and maybe now people could see the severity of it if I show them pictures of my cut up bruised stomach, but I still have a part of me where I feel like I have to explain myself, and maybe people still don’t believe me.
I hope Julie’s story has inspired you to either share your own story or helped you learn more about endometriosis! If you suffer with endo and would like to share your story, don’t hesitate to contact me, or even if you know someone who suffers from it, pass along my different contact methods. I love chatting!