“I tried to make the conversation as easy on her as possible.”
One of the reasons April Christina became an advocate for women with endometriosis is that she knows firsthand how difficult it can be to talk about living with a chronic illness. “There are very vulnerable and transparent [and] intimate details that at times [are] very embarrassing to share with other people,” she says.
Like many women with endometriosis, April suffered from endo symptoms for nearly a decade before getting an accurate diagnosis. After initially struggling to accept the news and deal with the condition, she decided to embrace her illness. Today, she’s an endometriosis advocate and blogger who lives her life with optimism and purpose.
One of the things April encourages other people with chronic illnesses to do is to open up about their symptoms and not suffer quietly. She had to put this to the test when meeting her now husband, Greg.
“I met Greg when I was well into my journey with endometriosis,” April recalls. “Every time we had a date or [were] supposed to go out, I was in the emergency room. I would tell Greg either that I was working late, I was tired, I didn’t feel good, and we had to reschedule our date.”
But April clarifies that she wasn’t afraid or ashamed of telling Greg about her endometriosis. She just understood the gravity of that information, and was waiting for the right time to let him know. After all, talking about endometriosis would mean talking about cramps, periods, and fertility—not exactly a conversation for a first date.
Supporting a Partner: How Greg Made It Easier
Little did she know, Greg already knew about her endometriosis. “I kind of saw on her Facebook page something about it,” he admits. But instead of confronting her, he waited, so she could tell him when she was ready.
In the meantime, Greg dove into research, learning the facts and myths about endometriosis. He even created a “cheat sheet” about endometriosis on his phone. “By the time we actually had a conversation about it, I already felt myself as an expert in the field,” jokes Greg. “When we talked, I would seem knowledgeable about it, and I tried to make the conversation as easy on her as possible.”
Greg may have had the advantage of knowing about April’s diagnosis ahead of time (thanks, social media), but no matter when you find out about a loved one’s diagnosis, learning about what they’re going through is always a good idea. Knowing the basics of your loved one’s condition can help them feel more understood, and it can help you provide better and more effective support.
For more tips on supporting someone with a chronic condition, find out why Greg and April prioritize mental health as a couple.
00:00:00,596 --> 00:00:02,476
00:00:02,476 --> 00:00:06,600
It is hard to talk about symptoms
related to endometriosis.
00:00:06,600 --> 00:00:11,741
There are very vulnerable and
transparent, intimate details
00:00:11,741 --> 00:00:16,890
that at times is very embarrassing
to share with other people.
00:00:16,890 --> 00:00:22,242
00:00:22,242 --> 00:00:26,300
I met Greg when I was well into
my journey with endometriosis.
00:00:26,300 --> 00:00:28,580
Every single time we had a date or
00:00:28,580 --> 00:00:31,520
was supposed to go out I
was in the emergency room.
00:00:31,520 --> 00:00:36,700
I would tell Greg that either I
was working late, I was tired,
00:00:36,700 --> 00:00:39,620
I didn't feel good and
we had to reschedule our date.
00:00:39,620 --> 00:00:44,150
I wasn't afraid or ashamed of my condition
but I just wanted the right time to be
00:00:44,150 --> 00:00:47,700
able to express to him what my
condition was and what it meant for me.
00:00:47,700 --> 00:00:50,830
I thought that she might have been
making a lot of money with all these
00:00:50,830 --> 00:00:54,630
overtimes, so it was either that
she was working really hard or
00:00:54,630 --> 00:00:55,910
something else was happening.
00:00:55,910 --> 00:00:59,610
I kind of saw on her Facebook
page something about it and
00:00:59,610 --> 00:01:03,230
I didn't want to confront her and
make it confrontational.
00:01:03,230 --> 00:01:04,470
I looked everything up.
00:01:04,470 --> 00:01:08,120
I doubled back,
went over all the negatives,
00:01:08,120 --> 00:01:12,710
the positives, myths about endo, even had
like a little cheat sheet on my phone.
00:01:12,710 --> 00:01:16,370
By the time,
we actually had a conversation about it I
00:01:16,370 --> 00:01:18,720
already felt myself as
an expert in the field.
00:01:18,720 --> 00:01:21,440
When we talk,
I would seem knowledgeable about it and
00:01:21,440 --> 00:01:25,730
tried to make the conversation this
easy on her as possible to have.
00:01:25,730 --> 00:01:29,460
You just have to make decisions about
how your gonna operate with it and
00:01:29,460 --> 00:01:33,530
come to some sort of consensus about
what you're gonna allow it to do and
00:01:33,530 --> 00:01:34,670
what you're not gonna allow it to do.
Endometriosis. Washington, DC: Office on Women’s Health. (Accessed on October 7, 2019 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis.)