July 1st marked my one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with endometriosis.

After struggling for years, I finally fought to get a laparoscopic excision surgery and find out what was really causing my pain, since my doctors at the time kept dismissing my complaints. They found endometriosis on my bladder, rectum, left ovary, right uterosacral ligament, and uterus.

I was terrified that they weren’t going to find anything. This is a common fear in the endometriosis community. I was mentally preparing to hear that they had found nothing during surgery and that I needed to try something else for pain relief.


As I have written here on Medium before, I have endometriosis and vaginismus, two painful conditions that dramatically alter my daily life and functioning. Over the years, I have tried numerous products and therapies to manage my daily pain — laparoscopic excision surgery and physical therapy have been the most helpful in lowering my chronic pain. Not many over-the-counter products aimed at reducing period pain have helped, unfortunately. …


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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited various gynecologists over the past few years.

My first visit with one was quite painful, physically and mentally. I started having pelvic pain in 2018, and I went to “the best gynecologist in my city” so that she could help me with it.

She spent only four or five minutes with me to prescribe me birth control pills. I also had a pap smear that was rough and painful. It caused me to bleed for a few hours afterward.

The pain didn’t get better, and I spent the next few years…


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No one prepared me for how hard healing would be.

I keep thinking to myself, “is it over? Is my pain really gone? Am I finally done with this journey?” Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad that my doctor removed my endo and that my pain has improved a lot. But I can’t stop thinking about all the nonsense I have been through to get to this point. Countless pelvic exams. Colonoscopies. Surgery after surgery. Endless specialist visits. Depression and anxiety.

People do not realize how absurdly difficult it is to live with this disease. They think that…


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*TW: SEXUAL ASSAULT*

Does disability studies address sexual assault?

Disability studies scholar Stephanie R. Lawson (2018), as well as feminist writer and critic Roxane Gay (2017), comment on the lived embodied experiences of surviving sexual abuse. Gay, writing about the physical and psychological realities of surviving trauma in her memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, states that “I’m living with what happened, moving forward without forgetting, moving forward without pretending I am unscarred” (21). …


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Sweetie,

I know things have always been hard. I know that right now, you are dancing inside me like a feral child. I know that you are probably confused, terrified, and angry. For what reason, I cannot say.

You began making waves in my life when I was nine years old, when I had my first period. That day, I thought I soiled myself because no one had taught me what a period was. When I went to the bathroom that morning at school, and a red-brown stain appeared on my underwear, I went about my day in extreme pain…


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I first went to you in the summer of 2018.

I wanted to try a different method of birth control because my cycles were irregular and painful. I thought this would have been a simple request.

You spent five minutes with me, rushed through my pap smear, and didn’t explain anything to me. When you reached inside me, you were not gentle, which would cause me to have vaginismus. This was my first real gynecological appointment. You knew about my bipolar diagnosis. I was treated like a child, typical of someone with a disability.

The pain did not stop. In…

Maria Rovito

PhD candidate at Penn State University, specializing in disability studies and American literature.

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