Motherhood Untold: Endometriosis Month

*You are not alone. Our blog series, Motherhood Untold, tells the stories of real moms navigating motherhood's struggles, triumphs, and challenges.

In this installment of 'Motherhood Untold', we're honored to share the story of Kaitlyn Zolli, the owner of FIT4MOM Cedar Park / Leander, whose journey through endometriosis highlights the importance of awareness and self-advocation when it comes to women's health.

“That’s just part of being a woman.”

The first time I heard of Endometriosis was in 2016. I was sitting in my OBGYN’s office for the umpteenth appointment, hoping to finally find the cause of my increasingly debilitating pain.

It had now been two years of my abdominal pain growing more and more constant. It didn’t come and go throughout the month anymore, like it did at the beginning. It was always there. It spread from my lower abdomen through my entire core. I was bloated, uncomfortable, and tired all the time. Sometimes the pain would increase to a severity of nausea. Sometimes I couldn’t stand up straight. Sometimes I couldn’t even get out of bed. To say the pain was impacting my quality life is a vast understatement.

There is one specific instance, at the peak of pain, that my mind will never forget. It was May of 2016. Three of my cousins, my sister, and my sister’s boyfriend all came down from New Jersey to visit me in Texas. I was ecstatic to have them all here . . . and I was miserable for their entire trip. Day after day I woke up wanting to enjoy adventures with my loved ones, and instead would suffer through every moment with gritted teeth, until finally ending up excusing myself to go lay down in my room in the middle of the day, sobbing as I writhed in pain. I can feel the sadness so intensely that it feels like yesterday. All I wanted was joy and all I felt was pain.


For as long as I can remember, I had pretty intense pain during certain times of the month. But that’s just part of being a woman, right? Well, at least that’s what I thought. We’re taught about all the things that come along with our cycles as women, but we aren’t taught how to know when something isn’t right, when the symptoms you’re experiencing aren’t something you should have to live with as “just part of being a woman.” It wasn’t until my pain reached a point where it was impacting my daily functioning so severely that anything was done to change it.

As I listened to my OBGYN explain Endometriosis to me that day in 2016, I remember the wave of emotion that overtook me. My gut immediately told me that this was it, this was our explanation. But why wasn’t my OBGYN sure? I could hear the hesitation in her voice as she brought up this possibility; as she told me about the laparoscopic surgery I would need in order to even diagnose it; as she explained the chance that we go in for surgery, find nothing, and are back at square one. I left her office that day with a new term in my brain, a little more information, a lot more emotion, and what felt like a very big decision.

I had my first surgery in June of 2016. My OBGYN found lesions growing in 3 different places around my abdomen and lasered them off. I had relief!

But, unfortunately, that is not the end of my story.

After a brief period of time, my pain returned. It grew worse with each of my two pregnancies, leading me to seek out a specialist less than a year after the birth of my youngest daughter. At our first appointment, we discussed reoccurrence rates and why I found myself again in pain. He then performed my most recent surgery in May of 2022; where more endometrial lesions were removed- this time excised (or cut) from my left ovary and behind the left side of my uterus.

I am well aware {now} of the likelihood that was not my last surgery.

There is no cure for endometriosis.

And there is not nearly enough awareness.

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women, yet it can be upwards of 7-10 years for someone to receive an accurate Endometriosis diagnosis, let alone get any kind of treatment. I am 1 in 10 and I had never even heard of Endometriosis until the weeks prior to my first surgery. How is that even possible?! How is this disease that affects so many not spoken about more?!

If you’re experiencing any level of abdominal pain, please speak up, advocate for yourself, seek out a specialist, and do not accept “that’s just part of being a woman” as an answer.

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