Endometriosis: “It’s tough, but we made it this far.”
Meet Ariana (she/they), the elementary school teacher navigating life with endometriosis.
“I began teaching when I saw how lots of kids have potential, but get told too often that “won’t make it” in certain classes – just because they don’t learn the same way as others.
I wanted to give them a space where they could learn without being put down.”
How does menstruation exist in your life?
“Menstruation exists in my life as a spawn of hell.
But also a reminder that, even in pain, I am able to get through tough challenges (like having to work when it feels like your ovaries are trying to literally rip their way out of your body… ever seen Alien?).
And don’t get me started on Retrograde Menstruation. Just go out the normal way, ya damn period residue.”
Do you have a memorable period story?
“Recently, I had a terrible week with my period. I was in so much pain that I almost called in for work.
To make it worse, it lasted ten loooong days. But, I chose to go to work anyway.
I unfortunately had a bit of a breakdown where I tried to hide my face with a closet door so my students wouldn’t see me cry. Didn’t work much, because they all came over asking what was wrong.
It was a tough moment for me – I hate when people see me cry – especially my kiddos. But the kids tried so hard to make me feel better. Hugs, dance routines, puppet shows… what I can only describe as their best impressions of the three stooges. The whole nine yards was pulled out, all to make me feel better.
It was heartwarming, and it honestly did kind of help. Maybe it was the dopamine they were giving me (or the Advil from earlier… no, definitely the dopamine).
My students saved my day, honestly. Couldn’t ask for a better class. Love them to pieces.”
What was your experience getting diagnosed with Endo?
“I talked to my friends about stuff happening during my menstrual cycle, and realized that they didn’t have the same symptoms as me.
One of them suggested that I ask my mom if endometriosis was in our family. Turns out it was. And she had it.
But, unfortunately I didn’t do anything for quite some time. I was uninsured, and had no money to give to a doctor for a checkup. So a few years passed, and I was still unsure.
After getting a job with insurance, I started discussing it with my doctor. We scheduled an MRI and Ultrasound to check things out before jumping straight into a surgery.
Sure enough, they felt like there was definitely something worth checking out, so I went in for a Biopsy. And there she was, the pain-bringer herself: Endometriosis.
I decided I didn’t want to go in for another surgery, mainly because they said I’d need to take more time off at work, and I couldn’t afford that at the time. So instead, I took oral contraceptives to balance my hormones and boooooy did that NOT work; a period for over a month, with those “bad day” cramps happening every damn day.
Hormonal changes and pain make me depressed enough to have those thoughts more often; crying a lot more; mood swings (god bless my family and friends for dealing with me during this time btw) – everything. So, I stopped.
Honestly, since then I’ve been raw-dogging it. Yes, there’s plenty of pain and weird happenings down there, but I’ve kinda gotten used to it.
It’s kind of like that one coworker you don’t really like, but it feels weird when they’re not there.”
How does endometriosis affect your day-to-day routine?
“It makes it hard to focus sometimes.
Like, yes, I’m super interested in this conversation, BUT, my body parts are yelling at me to get the heating pad and just curl up into the fetal position in bed.”
Who taught you about periods?
“My mom, mainly. We had the talk wayyyy before I even had my first period.
My family has always been open, so those things weren’t really a shock. In fact, the first time I had my period, I was at school. I went home, took off the pad and showed my mom because for some reason I was super excited 😆 no cramps back then (lucky me haha).
Even if my mom hadn’t taught me, my school was on it. They taught us in third grade all about that stuff. Really proud of them for that (especially being in a Red State).”
Advice to younger menstruators out there?
“It can be scary, exciting, weird, interesting and, well, just about anything, really. But don’t shy away from having a period. It’s cool.
Lots of people will never have the absolute 🤘🏼metal🤘🏼 experience of blood (and other weird stuff) pouring out of their body on a monthly basis. It’s like, we kinda have superpowers or somethin’.
So, take that thought with you. You’re a damn superhero. You’ll succeed in anything and everything as long as you do what needs to be done to get through obstacles.”
What do you hope to see for the next Generation of menstruators?
“More education, not only for menstruators, but for everyone else, too.
We would be able to break down the stigmas more if we got EVERYONE on board for learning about the human body on both ends of the spectrum.
I’d also love a non-evasive version of surgery for endo, and for there to be more products for OUR kind of struggle. Period brands cater to a general audience, and I get that, but it would be nice for our issues to be seen, heard, and learned from.”
How did you discover August?
“I found y’all on IG, actually.
Ended up following solely for the environmental friendly efforts y'all were doing (see our Traceability page HERE). Not only were y’all making periods a bit cleaner (hey super absorbent pad – ily boo), but y’all also were helping the environment?
Sold. Marriage material. Stunning.
Keep it up, babes 🖤”
“God, I love this brand. And I’m sending all the love to everyone with a period, but extra love to those with endo. It’s tough, but we made it this far – might as well keep going 🖤”