Hey Herd, Forest here.
As you know by following our social media, March is Endometriosis awareness month. This month holds a very special place in my heart as I have suffered from this horrible illness for more than half my life. I started HofZ initially as a personal blog using the analogy, I am a zebra in a herd of horses. I look kind of like a horse, I act a bit like a horse, but I am not a horse. I am different and I need so desperately to find other zebras out there like me.
As I struggled through this journey, I could not find anyone who had a similar experience as me. Young, without children, who wanted them, but would not be able to carry children of her own. My goal with the blog was to share my journey and be a support system for others who were trying to navigate their way through this crazy Endo journey. That vision grew more than I ever expected, turning a personal blog into a lifestyle brand built on creating a community of other individuals that at some point in their lives felt alone in their personal struggles. HofZ is not just about Endo. It is about everyone who felt like they didn’t fit into this mold of what we were taught since childhood of what a normal, happy, healthy, life should look like.
Writing about my Endo experience is really hard for me. So hard that I have not sat down and really dove into my story. I am fine sharing it when people ask or commenting when I think I can help someone by sharing. But it is a lot to sit down and put my emotions on paper. That being said, my first blog on Endo is simply me making a list of what I lost from having Endo and what I gained by being an Endo Warrior. I hope this list will help you learn a little more about my story as I work on writing about my experiences in future blogs.
As always, thank you for being a part of the Herd.
Herd of Zebras Founder
HofZ Endo Warrior Tee
What I lost because of Endo
- My uterus
- The life I thought I would have - happy marriage, kids by 30, the white picket fence many of us imagined as a kid
- Feeling feminine - without a uterus am I still a woman? It is crazy how one organ can make you question who you are.
- Countless missed days of school and work
- An insane amount of canceled plans
- Time with friends and family
- Sleep... A lot of sleep
- The ability to carry children and all the experiences that go along with being pregnant
- Knowing what it feels like having a child move inside me
- Being able to announce to the world I AM PREGNANT with one of those annoying reveals on Facebook that make every woman who is trying to have kids or can’t feel like total and complete shit
- Normalcy - never knowing when I would feel sick or not
- So many lost hours with my horses
- Many friends who didn’t understand how to be around me
- Tons of bloodstained underwear - gross, but there was just no saving those when you are bleeding at an ungodly rate for extended periods of time
- My figure - Endo belly is real
- The ability to relate to the majority of women my age
- The excitement of telling my mom and dad I’m pregnant and being able to have them experience the journey with me
- A stomach without tons of scars that are daily reminders of surgeries which then remind me of everything I went through which is a buzz kill to say the least
- A stomach that didn’t hate so many things I use to love to eat/ drink
- A normal looking belly button
Photo by Copper Arrow Photography
What I have gained from Endo
- A Herd of new friends who also identify as Zebras
- A new appreciation for other silent illnesses
- Strength that I didn’t know I had
- Clarity of who is really there for me during difficult times
- Becoming my own advocate for my health
- Ability to say NO and not accept answers I received or lack there of from doctors and getting that second, third, or fourth opinion
- A team of medical professionals who specialize in Endo and are dedicated to keeping me healthy and happy
- Knowledge of how my body works ... amazing how little I knew about the female body
- A renewed sense of who I am... after a LOT of self-reflection and discovery
- A sense of community with all the other amazing Endo warriors I have met
- Clarity on what really matters to me and how I want to spend my life
- The courage to share my story, even though it hurts, makes me emotional and sad at times... in the hopes that my experience can help someone else going through their own Endo journey
- I am now braver than I ever thought possible
Forest and her riding partner, Bindi