Have you ever met a multi-talented person? She was once a radio host, runs a podcast, is an organizer, pet lover, dog psychology expert and also is a professional ( Executive Assistant) Lina Sonia is a bubbly character, you have no choice but notice her anywhere she is. She even changes accents depending on who she’s talking to- from British, American, Arabic, Indian to Nigerian. She is a Kenyan- Nigerian, who lived in Nigeria for 15 years, before relocating to Kenya last year.
Something that most people don’t know, is that Lina suffers from a condition called endometriosis. This is a condition in which the tissue making up the uterine lining (the lining of the womb), is present on other organs inside a woman’s body. Endometriosis is usually found in the lower abdomen, or pelvis, but can appear anywhere in the body. March being an endometriosis awareness month, we are spreading the yellow, so we asked Lina to share with our readers her journey as an Endo-warrior.
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
You have actually just summarized who I am in the Introduction but in short …Lina is a warrior.
- When did you discover that you had endometriosis?
I think it was when I was 20 years old. But all through my teen years, I had always experienced really horrible period cramps. The ones that would have you rolling on the floor crying if not throwing up or purging on yourself. Everyone told me it was normal and that once I grow older, it would stop, but it never stopped. the pain got worse almost every month.
2. What are some of the symptoms you have to deal with and how often do the symptoms come?
When I was younger, during my teens years, a week before my period; I would constipate so bad that I would go for a week without going to the toilet. I would have horrible headaches, my feet would swell, I would be so tired all the time, lose appetite, a lot of times have cold sweats, on very bad months, I would start having very bad cramps, a few days before my periods that would last 12 hrs. I suffered this almost every month.
3. Does every woman with endometriosis experience the same symptoms?
No, not really, It varies with an individual.
4. How has the condition affected your professional life?
Most times I am not at work when the cramps start. They have no warning label, so as long as I know I am about to get my period on a certain day, I would take a day off. I would rather suffer through the pain while at home than in the office, with everyone staring at me with questioning eyes. I have to make sure I tell the HR about my condition and so that he/she understands why some days in the month, I can’t make it to work either because I am on my bathroom floor curled up in a ball or lying in bed with a hot water bottle crying and because of that, I can’t make to it work.
5. How has it affected your personal life?
This actually sad, because I love sports like swimming, running and walking. Endo messes up with your body so much that you find yourself so tired ( not knowing why). My feet always swell up when I walk or stand in one position for more than 10 mins.
Sex is a huge problem because of where the endo tissues are located (cervical area), so sex is painful..actually very painful and I usually have to make sure this is mentioned earlier in the relationship. My husband was very patient with me on this, which really helped me relax a lot.
The saddest part of how my life is affected by Endo is I have always wanted to be a mother but that has been a huge challenge. Endo has a way of causing one to have issues conceiving and for years and years, this has been my battle.
6. Is there a cure for endometriosis?
Sadly, there isn’t a cure for Endo. We are all praying for a miracle one day, all 176 Million of us. (Approximately 176 Million women live with Endometriosis globally)
7. What are five things that people can do to support women and young girls with endometriosis?
- Acknowledge our pain and not letting us feel like we are freaks.
- Encourage us( I use us because I need these too) to speak about the issues we face without the fear of stigma, especially on the infertility area and painful intercourse. To be able to discuss these with our Gynecologists and family members as well.
- Help in raising awareness about endometriosis to younger girls in schools and campuses.
- Be understanding and also always be ready to help when we are having flare-ups and always be flexible when we need you.
8. Are there support systems for women living with endometriosis?
Yes, we have support groups of Endo-warriors where we share our challenges and provide moral support for each other.
Lina can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org