Lena Dunham Talks Gratitude On The 9-Month Anniversary Of Her Hysterectomy

"The purest glint of who we are and know we can be is always available to us."

August 15, 2018 marks the 9-month anniversary of Lena Dunham's hysterectomy operation. The producer and actress previously opened up about undergoing the procedure in an emotional Vogue essay after living with endometriosis pain for a decade and already undergoing eight other procedures to try to relieve it.

Endometriosis is a disease linked to menstruation where tissue from the uterus migrates outside the womb. The tissue can cause inflammation, painful cramps, infertility, bowel and urinary disorders, and chronic fatigue. The Endometriosis Foundation of America, reports that the condition affects 1 in 10 women in the United States alone and 200 million worldwide. Treatment can involve, hormonal intrauterine device (UD), low-dose oral contraceptives, acupuncture and surgeries including laparoscopic excision surgery and hysterectomy, as in Dunham's case.

Nine months after her hysterectomy, Dunham is opening up about her recovery journey on Instagram and what she has learned.

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"Today is National Leathercraft Day, National Relaxation Day and National Lemon Meringue Pie Day," she begins. "It's also the 9 month anniversary of my hysterectomy."

The significance of the number isn't lost on her. "I've never celebrated the 9 month anniversary of anything and I realized last night why that number feels so funny — I won't ever do it the way I planned to."

She reflects back on her journey and how it has impacted all aspects of her. "My body is mostly healed and every day I find a new bruise on my heart, but today I offer myself gratitude: from the most pained place, I somehow knew to choose myself," she states.

"The purest glint of who we are and know we can be is always available to us, calm and true at our center."

Dunham continues that her friend Paul had named her uterus Judy and "when she was being uppity we called her out." 

She concludes, "Today I give thanks for Judy, for her graceful exit and for this body, which is stronger than I've ever given it credit for. Happy Giving Birth To Myself Day."

People are thanking Dunham for her honesty and showing a real, vulnerable side of herself. Other women who have had hysterectomies are discussing their experiences, too.

"I celebrate my hysterectomy. It was a liberation from pain for me," revealed one Instagrammer.

"I had mine at 34, eight years ago and I got my life back," stated another woman.

"Thank you for sharing this. It's hard to explain to people your feelings and emotions after having a hysterectomy," one woman, who had a radical hysterectomy at age 23 due to cancer, stated. "When I woke up and found out I had lost my uterus and ovaries, I felt like a part of me was gone and dead. I felt like my future was going to be destroyed because I couldn't have children of my own ... After celebrating one year of remission I realized I found a whole new me; I was stronger, I was courageous and I had an insatiable need for adventure. I just celebrated 9 years of remission/uterus and ovary-free. I am truly thankful for what happened because it opened my eyes to how precious life is."

One person wrote,

"I love hearing such a positive response and attitude to your hysterectomy. Inspiring and life affirming as ever. Thank you."

Another commented elaborated, "This is beautiful, LD. Giving birth to yourself. That line is a revelation and salvation is the deepest sense. So many never do and yet you did and still do. Thank you for sharing your birth story."

Cover image via  Krista Kennell I Shutterstock

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