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Cartoon Artist and Period Powerhouse living with Chronic Illness

By Isabella Šuta (she/her), Interviewed by Ruby Moon (she/her) from Team August | 3.9.2023

Have you been looking for an artist who perfectly illustrates the Chronic Illness experience? Look no further.

Isabella Šuta (she/her) – aka @uhjeeze – is an artist who illustrates cartoons about her experience being chronically ill!

We’re so honored to present her as a Period Powerhouse this month, in celebration of Endometriosis Awareness Month!

Introduce yourself.

“My name is Isabella (she/her), and in 2022 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and after years of dealing with shitty doctors and being misdiagnosed, I decided to start making cartoons based on my experience being chronically ill!”

How does menstruation exist in your life?

“As a child I was diagnosed with severe Crohn's disease, which meant I weighed 31 kg at age 16. My period, therefore, could not naturally come on its own. This meant that my doctors had to bring it on using medication.

I felt left behind as all my friends were getting their period and starting to develop. Once mine finally came, I was shocked at how painful each month was. I was repeatedly told it was normal, so I didn't speak up.

Years went by, and a friend of mine was diagnosed with Endo. That was the first time I thought “shit, this might actually be affecting me too”.

I was misdiagnosed in 2020, and believed it was all in my head. In 2022, I found an Endo specialist, who examined my pelvis and said “well, it’s pretty much a done deal”.

I had my first laparoscopy later that month and was diagnosed with stage 3 Endo. I cried and cried, thinking “thank god I finally know now”.

Do you have a memorable period story?

“My most memorable period would definitely have to be my first one.

I spent months on medications trying to get my first period. I was actually in hospital at the time; I went to the bathroom and saw blood and it was so powerful to know that I was finally menstruating.

I even showed my mum and said “fuck yeah!!!”. I felt on top of the world.”

What was your experience getting diagnosed with Endo?

“My first symptom was probably painful sex. I remember asking all my friends, “is it normal for sex to feel like knives penetrating your body?”.

My friends assumed that it was because of my shitty boyfriend at the time, claiming it would change once I found someone who treated me right. When I finally found that person, nothing changed. I thought I was the problem.

I also experienced nerve pain, painful bowel movements, severe bloating and the most painful cramps ever. I chalked all those things down to Crohn’s disease until I met someone who had Endo. That’s when it all clicked.

It took me almost 3 years to get a diagnosis once I had an inkling that Endo was causing all of this!”

How does Endometriosis affect your day-to-day routine?

“Endo affects me day to day with on and off bloating, cramps and painful sex. It’s hard having a partner and wanting so badly to be intimate, but knowing the pain that comes with that.

I also always know I'm ovulating when I get terrible pains midway through my cycle.”

Who taught you about periods?

“My healthcare team and my friends taught me about periods!

I was a 16 year old girl who hadn’t gotten one yet.I didn't know getting a period was an important step in my development, so when we decided to bring it on via medication I was pumped!

I was NOT prepared for the pain that came along with it. I thought having a period meant lightly spotting into a pad for 24 hours LOL.

I always have, and will always only use pads – tampons are too painful for me!”

Advice to younger menstruators out there?

“If you believe something is wrong, advocate for yourself and fight to get proper care! You know your body better than anyone else.

No matter how long it takes, listen to your gut!”

What do you hope to see for the next Generation of menstruators?

“I hope to see more awareness surrounding Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS and overall reproductive health.

Endo affects 1 in 10 people who menstruate – you would think research is heavy but it’s not at all.”

Stay connected!

You can find Isabella’s art on @uhjeeze on Insta, and @isabellasuta on Tik Tok where she shares her journey surrounding Endo and Crohn's disease.

My life is dedicated to breaking the stigmas with both diseases.

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