FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Endometriosis, it’s a debilitating disease that affects one in ten women in the United Sates, including Amanda Dawdy.
On Saturday, Dawdy heads to the country’s capital to raise awareness and march with other women from around the world as part of Worldwide EndoMarch.
Endometriosis affects the female reproductive system when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus and grows on other areas of the body where it doesn’t belong, according to womenshealth.gov.
“It’s a really big issue that isn’t really talked about because it’s something you can’t see. So anyone walking by you would think ‘you’re just a normal looking healthy girl.’”
For Dawdy, she knew that there was nothing normal about how she felt.
Her story starts when she was 15-years old. “I just had terrible, incapacitating pain, similar to morning sickness. I had nausea and vomiting every day,” she said. Dawdy wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until she was in her early 20s. She’s had 28 surgeries, including a hysterectomy, but she still suffers from the disease.
Her reason for heading to Washington D.C. is to support other women who have this disease.
“I’m here to help women find their voice,” she said. “It’s not in [your] head. If you think there is something wrong then there probably is something wrong. Cramps that make you drop to your knees and sob and last for weeks—that’s not normal. It’s not normal. Don’t wait any longer.”
Dawdy said the disease gets worse if it’s not treated or it’s not under control. While the disease mainly affects the reproductive organs, it can spread and cause failure with liver, kidney, colon, intestine, central nervous systems, lungs and even to the brain.
“Any chronic illness, including endometriosis, it gets very lonely feeling like you are the only one trying to go about everyday life pretending that you’re normal and you’re not.”
She encourages anyone who thinks they have this disease or if they know they have it to get support.
“I can’t imagine going through this without someone’s support and love,” she said.
To learn more about endometriosis, visit the Endometriosis Association’s website.