Invisible disease badly hurts young women 0
Bill Tieleman's step-daughter, Erin Ross Coward, is suffering from the debilitating effects of endometriosis. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
It is not a woman's lot to suffer.
- actress Susan Sarandon
Opium, morphine, OxyContin, Naproxen, Lyrica, Hydromorphone, fentanyl, Lupron, Cesamet, Visanne, Cipralex, clonazepam and ibuprofen.
These are just some of the drugs my stepdaughter, Erin Ross Coward, has taken over the past few years.
But Erin isn't addicted to drugs - they were all doctor-prescribed to relieve the extreme and chronic pain of her endometriosis.
March is the month dedicated to awareness about this surprisingly common but mostly unknown chronic illness that affects one in 10 women in varying degrees.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue like that, which lines a woman's uterus, grows elsewhere in her body, usually the abdomen.
That tissue responds to the menstrual cycle like the uterus tissue does - it builds up, breaks down and sheds.
But unlike during a period, this blood and tissue has no way to leave the body, resulting in painful inflammation and sometimes internal scarring.
And like many with severe endometriosis, Erin also suffers from fibromyalgia - a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.
At just 27-years-old, Erin has undergone five separate surgeries to remove endometrium tissue attaching itself to her internal cavities and even organs, making it still more challenging to remove.
She has also made literally countless trips to the hospital for morphine injections when the pain is unmanageable, to her doctor, gynecologist, massage therapist, acupuncturist and naturopath seeking relief.
The pain is visceral and debilitating. The other results of endometriosis include serious fatigue, irregular and heavy bleeding, nausea, dizziness and depression.
As parents, my wife Shirley Ross and I feel a very different pain from watching her suffer - emotional and intense, with a sense of helplessness.
And there's no solution.
Erin has bravely not only faced the disease but writes publicly about it on her blog - End Endo BC.
"I am not bitter about living this way, I'd rather live then be dead, so I keep trying. Keeping my head above water is the plan," Erin wrote Saturday.
Ironically, just as endometriosis awareness month started, Erin's plan to become a teacher was put on hold because she is in too much pain to continue attending classes at the University of B.C.
So please find out about endometriosis. With so many affected, everyone knows a woman like Erin who needs your support.
Read more Tieleman at www.TheTyee.ca and http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/ Email: email@example.com