Even though it has been termed the invisible disease, the celebrities that will be mentioned in this article are bringing it to everyone’s consciousness.
Some of these celebs have lived through the worst of it, some are living through the worst of the painful condition, some have gone on to get their BFPs and have babies, and some are still grappling to get their period (and the pain that comes with it) under control. Some don’t even have the experience, they have merely chosen to identify with the cause for varied reasons.
However, they all have one thing in common. They have all chosen to share their experience, talk about the condition, and bring more awareness to the invisible condition.
Starting from our turf, there’s Nike Oshinowo.
Long before I realised the full impact of endometrosis on a woman’s fertility and her general lifestyle, I knew about Nike Oshinowo, and her struggle with the condition.
However, when the full import of the condition dawned on me, it changed my perspective of the former beauty queen. No longer was she the Lagos socialite seen at every society event. She became the woman who symbolised the meaning of overcoming pain and living your life.
Narrating her ordeal with the ailment that has plagued her since her boarding school days in England, the mother of two said, ‘I have lived with endometriosis since the age of 13. I was sent to boarding school in England when I was seven years old. It was during the first few days in secondary school that I began my (menstrual) periods.
They called the ambulance and I was hospitalized for 10 days because the pain started and wouldn’t stop. I thought I was going to die. I’m telling the story because it happened in England and, supposedly, the white people, who knew best, yet had no idea what was wrong with me. Every female student they had dealt with, had a normal period and coped with it, so they could not understand why I was dramatizing. They thought I just wanted attention. The pain was so intense I passed out. They called the ambulance and I was hospitalized. The challenge was now to get me to stop bleeding.
Living with endometriosis is a challenge. When you see your doctor, your doctor just tries to treat the symptoms and assumes the pain resolves around your menstrual cycle. But this is not so. The pain affects every single aspect of your life.
I, as Nike Oshinowo, have never had an examination without my period, I have never travelled without my period. There are so many things I have never done without my period. When I’m very happy, my period comes. When I’m depressed, my period is there. I learned just to cope with it. I love the quote that women wear their pain like stilettos. That’s what I have been doing.
Until I turned 40, Nigerians didn’t know I suffered from endometriosis. When I turned 40, I granted an interview and Nigerians understood why I never drank alcohol. You cannot be on medication and take alcohol. It was finally understood why I was so clean cut and into healthy living.
I have lost count of the number of surgeries that I have had but I sure know that it’s more that 17 times.”
Nike has gone on to have a set of twins, via surrogacy.