Blue Fox Founder & CEO, Chantal Sheehan Shares Her Personal Story to Raise Awareness for Endometriosis Month and Women's History Month
I'm risking here.
I want to share a story with you, and I hope it will help you or someone you love one day.
Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable, chronic inflammatory condition called endometriosis.
If you've never heard of endometriosis (or endo for short), I'm not surprised.
Most people haven't.
I really didn't understand what it was until I was diagnosed with it and forced to consult the interwebs. Those who suffer from endo experience a broad range of symptoms. That's part of what makes diagnosis tough.
Yet, "tough" is no excuse for how this disease rages on with little medical research or attention.
Endometriosis affects at least 1 in 10 women. (At least = probably more because it's not diagnosed correctly.) To put that in perspective:
There are few known therapies for treating endo. Its effects can be (and often are) debilitating.
Even more disturbing: On average a woman must see 8-10 DIFFERENT doctors/medical professionals before she is properly diagnosed with endo.
For me, that meant misdiagnoses started as a teenager and continued for two decades.
For me, that meant hearing (over and over and over) from doctors that my issues were simply "abnormal."
Or even worse, that my condition was just my own "bad luck."
But the truth is: I'm one of the lucky ones.
Many women die from endo complications.
Many women struggle with infertility due to endo.
Many women suffer with more pain than I ever had.
And many - SO many, TOO many - women don't have access to quality, unbiased healthcare.
The result: needless suffering.
In December 2021, I went for surgery so that my doctor could remove a life-threatening endometrial cyst from one of my ovaries in addition to performing other endo treatment. By all accounts, the surgery was successful, and I'm feeling better than I have in 10 years. The journey ahead is uncertain, but I'm optimistic about my physical health for the first time in a very long time.
Why am I sharing all of this with you now?
A few of you know how scary this past year has been for me, both as a woman and as a business leader. I was terrified. From July to December last year, the reality of my situation sank in...
Was surgery really the best option? Or would our broken medical system fail me again?
How would I manage if I had to be out of the office for 4-8 weeks afterwards?
How would this disease affect my life and my relationships, both business and personal?
It was an incredibly stressful time. But less so because of many of you - my fellow Blue Fox friends, family, and teammates.
Our team and clients lifted me up, carried me and each other, and gave me the time I needed to heal.
What a gift. What a privilege.
Words cannot convey my gratitude, to my family and team especially.
I'm sharing this all with you because, as strong and as fierce as I'd like to think I am, this experience challenged me deeply on every level. I felt small, powerless, and uncertain throughout. And if I hadn't had any one of the support mechanisms I've mentioned, I might not have come out on the other side of this as well as I have.
Women often put their own care last.
Welcome to the Blue Fox Blog! A fairly entertaining source of info and news related to our company, nonprofits, social sector trends, and, of course, accounting. Enjoy!
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