I came cross this video of Dr. Tamer Seckin — co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America with Padma Lakshmi, who is also an endo survivor — talking about Type E personality. It’s a short but powerful discussion of how women live their lives with endometriosis pain. And while having endo doesn’t always equate pain, nor does lots of endo equal lots of pain, he talks about the mask and strength we don to get through our day — a pride without vanity that weighs heavy on our shoulders until we just can’t take it any more.
To quote Dr. Seckin:
“I have come to convince myself there is a Type E — Endometriosis — personality. Here is why: I have been treating women in New York City from all origins. They are high achievers — PhDs, lawyers. They would not accept any sign of pain on their faces; they won’t show it to you. … These women — pain they can suffer, but they cannot show their pain. For years they live the same thing over and over, every month. However one day comes, they close the door, they sit in front of you and say ‘I can’t take it any more. I need something to be done.’ …”
He goes on to say that there is no cure but, with good surgery, even women who have tried everything — many doctors, birth control, diet, nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, etc. — can find relief, even if it’s only for a while, and that when endo returns, just knowing what it is and what they can do makes them better prepared to deal with it.
I am definitely a Type E. I won’t tell you I’m in pain unless I have to. Too many days have been spent at work with a heating pad strapped around me, lips and hands numb from codeine, because I must persevere. To do anything else is an admission of defeat.
Then a horrific day will hit me, or my mind and emotions give way for a while, and the whole damn thing collapses. It does nothing for our self-esteem, or our state of health — mental or physical.
Are you a Type E?