I am raising a paw for the Endometriosis Association. There are so many excellent charities out there, that it was hard to decide who to raise a paw for. As most of you know, my dad is an officer in the Canadian Forces, and there are many excellent charities that support Canadian Forces members, veterans, and families. There are also many wonderful animal charities out there, such as the many rescue groups and no-kill shelters. Then there are all the health-related charities. My mom, for example, suffers from four chronic, incurable diseases. Fortunately, they are all controlled (more-or-less) with medication. Then there are the charities who have helped our extended family. My mom's dad is a prostate cancer survivor, my dad's mom is a breast cancer survivor, and my dad's dad died of an inoperable brain tumour.
In the end, I decided to support the Endometriosis Association, because they have helped my mom out the most. My mom suffers from endometriosis, which can be a very painful disease. She has already had two operations for it in the past, and will likely need to have surgery again at some point in the future, since, unless a surgeon can remove every tiny little last bit of the endometrial lesions, they regrow, and cause pain and problems again.
What is endometriosis? According to the Endometriosis Association:
The Endometriosis Association does a lot to help women with this disease. They provide educational literature and materials, have support groups and chapters throughout the world, support research into the causes and treatment of endometriosis, publish books on endometriosis, and have a crisis line available for women who need someone to talk to in times of crisis. So I am raising a paw for the Endometriosis Association.
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects 5 1/2 million women and girls in the USA and Canada, and millions more worldwide. It occurs when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue called the endometrium) is found outside the uterus -- usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, and other locations.
This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation -- and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.