fela's fight, my fearless sister
By: Autumn Smith
Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to have a life changing surgery. I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia and met with one of the best surgeons in the nation and he was confident he could make me feel fantastic for the first time since I was young. I also met with an amazing thoracic surgeon who talked about exploring parts of my body no doctor has cared about. I had nurses and nurse practitioners finally ask me questions about my disease with full confidence that I knew what I was talking about. Together, they had plans to take every bit of endometriosis out of my body. I've had ten surgeries now, and that's never happened before. Excision surgery is considered the "gold standard" of treatment for excision surgery, and rightly so. But you guys, my fellow sufferers, know very well that for some people, it's the only form of treatment that will ever help them. If you have thoracic endometriosis, you're not going to get better until it's excised out of your chest cavity. And lucky me, I finally had the opportunity to have it done.
Sitting in my hotel room after all of my appointments, overwhelmed with hope, I started to not feel so lucky anymore. Don't get me wrong, I am endlessly grateful for what has been given to me because it's another chance at a real life. My father has worked harder than ever to be able to give me that gift, and I will never be able to repay him for that. But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to remember: it wasn't luck that got me here. I am very privileged, and the vast majority of women are not. Every ounce of happiness in my mind was counteracted by sadness for every woman who will never have this opportunity. Of course, the face I see when I have these thoughts belongs to none other than my partner in pain, Fela.
Fela has had numerous surgeries over the past few years and has very literally never felt relief from any of them. She's lost her ability to work, she has to rely on others daily for help, she can't function without medication, and she somehow still keeps fighting every single day. Her thoracic endometriosis is so much worse than mine ever was. It has effected her diaphragm so terribly that her right arm can barely function, even though she's an incredibly talented right-handed artist and writer. Not to mention, agonizing pain daily that no doctor has been able to help her with surgically or with any other form of treatment. On top of all that, she is not one of the privileged ones. The price of this surgery costs far too much for her family to handle, even though they help her endlessly in every way they can.
Fela started a GoFundMe recently and has been receiving donations from so many great friends and kind strangers over the past couple of months, and every dollar makes her squeal with joy. Every dollar closer to her goal is a step closer to a real life, finally.
Anyone who can help, please do. If you can't, share this with your friends and relatives if you want to keep seeing Fela do her thing each week here for EndoTwins. I've seen the amazing power the Endo Community holds and so many women have had amazing luck getting their surgeries funded. Until there is finally a change in the Endo Community medically and we can get more doctors capable of performing the "gold standard" of treatment while still accepting insurance, let's continue to help each other. I wouldn't have survived without Fela. She works endless painful hours to help others everyday, so let's help her.