Lara Parker has taken her endometriosis by its stabby horns, documenting her pain through her own blog, Twitter, and Instagram. Growing up in a small town in Indiana, she now lives in Los Angeles and works for BuzzFeed, a site that delivers news and entertainment to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
We asked her about her endo story and welcomed her to the Vajayjay diaries to share her journey…
Doctors were slow to diagnose Lara. Let’s be honest, we’re not surprised. Currently endometriosis can only be clinically diagnosed following a laparoscopy. So, while you may show all the symptoms, unless you and you’re doctor are willing for you to go under the knife, you remain in a state of limbo with western doctors not often treating a condition they can’t ‘technically’ diagnose.
For 10 years Lara was on the merry-go-round of excruciating periods; from vomiting during school anthems to passing out during basketball.
To the point that in her early 20’s she was experiencing daily pain, even while taking birth control – do we need any more proof that birth control is not the magic pill for endo symptoms?
Keen to find out why her uterus felt like Conor McGregor’s punching bag, Lara turned to Google. She had a hundred questions, the internet the only one with answers. Finally in 2012, a gynaecologist performed a diagnostic laparoscopy and there it was. Endo. Can’t say she was surprised…Lara and her uterus breathed a little sigh of relief to know they finally knew what the heck was up, and how to start handling it.
Years on and the endo remains a constant factor in her life, the pain is both emotional and physical. Constant exhaustion, and an inability to have vaginal sex of any kind (insert extreme sad face here) clearly having an impact on her daily life.
“I think it’s important to understand that if one part of your body is inflamed, the rest of your body will follow suit.”
Image supplied with permission from Sophie Filomena, see her Instagram here.
YT: Have you found treatment that works for you?
LP: I use medical marijuana as a pain reliever, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I rub cannabis balm on my abdomen almost daily. It eases my pain like nothing else ever has before. I also try to take a lot of walks and go to physical therapy regularly. And when all else fails, I just grab my heating pad and turn on Bravo.
What would we do without Bravo & Netflix? Seriously.
YT: If Endo was a movie title what would it be and why?
LP: “This Isn’t All You Are” … because I think this illness can be so, so debilitating and painful and make us forget who we are.
YT: What is the worst thing about having endometriosis?
LP: The effect it has on your mental health. After a while, it’s almost like you can adjust to the physical pain you feel. But it’s nearly impossible to stay positive and in a good mental state when you’re at war with your own body.
YT: What is the best thing about having endometriosis?
LP: The community of people who have it who lift each other up… and the reminder that you really are a fuckin’ badass who can get through some shit.
Lara speaks very openly about her struggles with endo, both physically and mentally. It’s a condition that effects up to 1 in 10 women, so the reality is we all know someone with endo. It’s something that should be on all of our radars.
YT: How does endo impact your day to day life?
LP: It is with me in every single moment, of every single day. I have to miss a lot of social activities so I worry a lot that my friends will misinterpret my illness as anti-social. And in terms of relationship… my boyfriend is dating me AND my illness, and sometimes it’s difficult to have a relationship with three people.
YT: What’s your advice to women who are suffering or who suspect they have it?
LP: Biggest advice: If you do not have a doctor who is taking your pain seriously, GET A NEW ONE. IMMEDIATELY.
My next advice: Know that you are not alone in this. We are all with you.
YT: Any of your own stories, or just stories about being a woman, that have made you laugh (because if you don’t laugh you just cry!)?
LP: The stories of all the doctors who, for years, told me I was being dramatic makes me both laugh and cry. I’m 26, I was a C-student, I’ve never been to med school…and yet I know 100x time more about endometriosis than any doctor I’ve ever met. It’d be funnier if it wasn’t so damn sad.