Ioana’s Story

Growing up, I thought that being in pain during your menstrual cycle was normal. „It is part of being a woman”, I was told over and over by relatives and doctors alike. I never questioned it until the age of seventeen, when during a morning of excruciating pain in my stomach, I passed out. The only thing I remember was my parents catching me in time not to hit my head.

That moment marked the beginning of a relentless quest to discover what was going on with my body. At such a young age, it’s hard to grasp what’s happening to you. I often wondered, „Is this my forever?” I visited numerous gynecologists who simply shrugged and said, „You have cysts. You might be infertile.” Every time I would leave a doctor’s office, I was crying. I was sick and tired of not being believed, of not being understood. If even the experts dismissed my pain, why would anyone else believe me?

It took me four years to get a diagnosis. Some might say I was lucky—it usually takes seven. But let me tell you, no one should have to wait that long for answers. The lack of information messes with your head, leading you down dark paths of doubt.

The moment I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, marked the beginning of my salvation. I was put on medication by a compassionate doctor who believed in my pain, which helped me function again. Two years later though, I felt that I was not doing enough for my disease. This is when I found Asociatia Eu si Endometrioza and, finally, I stopped feeling alone. I received help and directions on what to do, which doctors to see, what to eat.

A huge turning point for me was beginning the Endo diet. In retrospect, I would have done it differently. From a life of eating mainly dairy, lots of gluten, and a lot of sugar, I decided to have a clean cut right before Christmas. It was the worst Christmas of my life, I had no idea what to eat. I still remember eating raw vegetables while everyone else was feasting on delicious meals. I started crying at the table thinking once again „Will this be my life?”. By cutting all the food out at once, I sent my body into shock. At 1.80 meters tall, I weighed a mere 48 kilos. I was teetering on the edge of anorexia. And that wasn’t even the worst part. I developed Orthorexia Nervosa, an eating disorder fixated on eating only healthy foods. A bite of cake would trigger instant vomiting and panic attacks. „Why me?” I thought. At not even 24 years old, I felt like a victim of my own life—a sad sight indeed.

However, the Universe had other plans for me. In the lowest moments of my life, it sent me an angel to pull me out of despair. I had interactions before with Asociatia Eu si Endometrioza, but I never had personal encounters for more than 10 minutes. Out of despair, I contacted Clarisa Iordache, the founder of the Association, because I saw she was also a therapist. I told her my story and asked her if she was willing to work with me. I still remember her first questions during our first discussions: „What are you gaining from this disease?” and „How badly do you want to overcome your problems?”. I remember answering the second question with „Anything”. Then, I looked at the first question and got angry. What could I possibly earn from such a horrible disease that ruined my life? However, I had faith in her, so I stood silent and let my mind understand the question. The answers came faster than I expected: love and attention. I was shocked.

I won’t keep you busy with the details but I can tell you this: the following three years have been the most life-changing years of my life. Through therapy, empathy, and understanding towards my body and my mind, I managed to get out of my victim mentality. Instead of questioning why I was cursed with Endometriosis, I asked myself, „What lesson is this disease trying to teach me?” I also managed to shrink my cysts from 12 cm to just 2 cm in a year through therapy, a gentler diet, and natural supplements. I was on cloud nine, thinking I’d finally conquered Endometriosis.

Well, as I am writing this, I know now that my Endometriosis grew back. I once again have five large cysts in my abdomen. You may think now, „Was all that struggle for nothing?” I’ll tell you, no, it wasn’t. Despite the large cysts, I have no pain in my body. I realized only now that all this time, I was fighting Endometriosis. Clarisa told me a couple of years ago „What you fight with, that will persist”. It didn’t make sense then, but it does now. I stopped fighting my Endometriosis. I know now that if it came back, I still have a lesson to learn. I will learn it gladly, with empathy and patience towards me.
I look at my life and realize that I have no reason not to appreciate it. Perhaps this disease was a blessing in disguise because it pushed me to make positive changes for myself and my soul.

I believe that we choose our path before we are born. And now, I believe I chose Endometriosis to learn from it—to grow stronger and wiser. It’s no longer my enemy; it was the trigger to put in motion all my growth. I’m thankful for it and for the beautiful changes and opportunities it’s brought into my life. You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Through Endometriosis, I got to meet amazing human beings who would become more than therapists, they would become mentors. I have formed bonds with other amazing women who would make me feel understood and less alone. I got to have my family being more open to therapy and traumas. We are communicating better and are much closer than before.

Most importantly, I get to help other women. I started an Instagram food account specializing in Endometriosis recipes called „endorecipes”. And here’s a little secret, this website is created by me, with all the love, empathy, and understanding I have for this disease and the women going through it. This is my gift back to all the amazing people who helped me get to this point. I only hope my story brings hope to other people as well.

Endometriosis can shape you, for better or worse. It’s a journey of acceptance, gratitude, and occasional frustration. But here’s the kicker – there’s beauty in the struggle. And in a world where perfection is an illusion, our battles make us who we are.

So, whether you’re seeking a cure or simply learning to coexist with endometriosis, know this – you’re not alone.

Ioana Constantinescu, 27 years
Bucharest, Romania

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