Day 7: What is the biggest realization you have had?
For celiac disease, I guess just how serious of a disease it is. It’s not just getting an upset stomach and diarrhea if you ingest gluten. The consequences of undiagnosed celiac disease can be extremely harmful, from anemia to miscarriages to cancer. And there are approximately 2.5 million undiagnosed people in the United States. Not to mention there’s also an increased risk of developing other autoimmune diseases that positively correlates with age at diagnosis; since I was diagnosed at a later age, there’s about a 33% chance that I will develop another autoimmune disease at some point. Stellar.
For endometriosis…wow. Just the fact that the disease is so under recognized and so badly treated. That there are still physicians out there who perform ineffective surgery after ineffective surgery on their patients, all the while knowing that is it not helping them because the gold standard of treatment is excision surgery, not ablation, coagulation, or fulguration. That women are being told their symptoms are in their head, that they can’t possibly be in that much pain. That women are being subjected to hormonal therapies with horrible, sometimes permanent, side effects that don’t do anything to actually treat the disease. That women are being lied to and told that pregnancy and hysterectomies are cures. Women are losing their ability to bear children in their 20s because they are being told there are no other options other than a hysterectomy. That is reprehensible. It disgusts me that medical schools are still teaching the same old crap about endometriosis that has been taught for decades, information that is out of date and incorrect and could be harmful to their patients. It’s a terrible disease that deserves a cure.