Over the past two years, Lena Dunham has brought a lot of light and support to an all-too-common condition affecting women around the world: endometriosis. But her latest health update offers a note of hope for her fellow sufferers — you, too, might one day find relief from the pain, because after one final surgery, Dunham says she has finally found just that.
In Wednesday's Lenny Letter intro, Dunham shared how she's been working with her doctors for months to find a nonsurgical way to relieve her chronic pain. She's had four surgeries in one year to try and alleviate it, and, while her docs said one more might help, more surgery seemed "pretty excessive" to her.
But still, the constant agony was interfering with her life.
"Nobody likes pain... My pain — physical — distracted from my deeper pain — emotional, spiritual — and became the ultimate excuse. I had two modes: working and hurting," she wrote.
Dunham went on to explain that she normally deals with her endometriosis misery with yoga, therapy, and a holistic meal plan. These are normally effective enough to let the actress/writer/director/producer get back to doing what she does best — dominate.
But last weekend something felt different for the 30-year-old "Girls" creator and her "pain could no longer be denied," she wrote. On Sunday, she underwent a fifth surgical procedure to move her ovaries away from her rectal wall, which "went off without a hitch," she explained.
"When I emerged, cotton-mouthed, Randy [Harris, her doctor] told me something I hadn't expected to hear, maybe ever: there was no endometriosis left," she continued, "Between my surgeries and hormonal intervention, I was disease-free. That doesn't mean it can never return, but for now, once my sutures have been removed and my bruises have changed from blue to yellow to green to gone, I will be healthy."
We are so glad that Dunham is feeling better post-surgery. But it's also important to pay extra attention to one part of her statement: "that doesn't mean it can never return." Because while there are treatments and management techniques, endometriosis is a chronic condition with no real cure.
The symptoms of the condition can temporarily halt during pregnancy or menopause or with hormonal or surgical treatment — which is considered the "gold standard" and is the only surefire way to diagnose the condition in the first place — but there is no definitive cure and it never "goes away" completely, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
That said, endo can go into remission for years, if not decades — which we're hoping will be the case for Dunham as well as the millions of women around the world who also have the condition.