From the time she was a teenager, personal trainer and fitness coach Carly-Ann Dell knew that something was wrong with her health — but she didn’t know what.
“I couldn’t figure out why I was in pain all of the time, why my cycles caused me to get physically ill, why my stomach would stick out like I was pregnant, why I was constantly exhausted for no reason, why it hurt to have sex, and why I felt like I had zero control over the body I was living in,” she explains.
It took two and a half years of misdiagnoses for her to finally get some answers, and at 19-years-old, she finally got one.
It was really just the beginning of her journey.
“Once diagnosed, I was on and off a number of birth controls, prescribed laxatives as a treatment, told pregnancy would help, and constantly reminded that there isn’t a cure for this disease, only treatments such as the ones I mentioned,” she explained.
Despite all of the ups-and-downs, Dell is committed to not to allowing Endo to control her entire life.
“I let this disease define me for so long,” she said. “I let it put my life on the fast track because I felt like I had to have it all figured out in order to still have my life unfold the way I had planned. Since the disease can lead to infertility I did anything and everything I could do to get my ‘adult’ life moving forward… It was as if I was living in a tunnel and was allowing this disease to dictate my every move.”
Finally, she decided enough was enough. “I woke up one day and decided to no longer let this disease define me. I dropped out of grad school, started traveling, met my husband and started living,” she explained.
“I am no longer the victim in my own story which I think was my biggest battle I struggled with when it came to my own thoughts and feelings towards my diagnosis. I felt so bad for myself and didn’t know how to live with this disease and the pain that was associated with it. I also didn’t know how I was going to handle the potential future struggles of trying to have kiddos. I was so focused on “why me?” that I was unable to live my life.” — Carly-Ann Dell
Today, Dell is transparent about her Endo journey, sharing her life on social media, and building a supportive community of people also dealing with their own health issues. Of this, Dell says that she’s found tremendous relief in being able to be transparent with others who truly understand her.
“I think a lot of people, those who do not suffer from Endo, have a misconception of truly how brutal the side effects are sometimes,” she said. “I remember days where I was physically unable to lift myself off the bathroom floor from being so sick. I also think people are not aware of how symptoms can shift from month to month and it can be so unpredictable. It effects 1 in 10 women yet still seems so under researched and lacking many answers.”
Going forward, Dell says she’d love to see her platform and community grow as her life does.
“I definitely am someone who shows the struggle and appreciates when life is somewhat of a hot mess! I think it is important to show my community that I do not have it all figured out and each season of life is new and it’s okay to not have a full grasp on it,” she shares.
“If my transparency can help even one person on their journey or help them through their own struggles and knowing they are not alone, then it is all worth it.”