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Eight months after revealing she'd undergone a hysterectomy due to her ongoing battle with endometriosis, Lena Dunham has opened up to her fans once more about undergoing another surgery.
The 32-year-old actress and writer wrote Wednesday on Instagram that she had an ovary removed the day before, sharing a postoperative pic and an important message about it all.
"Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp," she wrote. "Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human."
Her caption accompanied a photo of the "Girls" creator stretched out in a hospital bed with her abdomen exposed, showing multiple surgical sites.
"My mother took this picture after I spent 9 hours in the post op recovery area with v low blood pressure, the nurses were diligently monitoring," she continued. "I was so out of it that I thought I looked sensually moody a la Charlotte Rampling (turns out it was more of a constipation vibe.)"
She went on to note that not everyone understands the struggle she's continued to endure while in pursuit of less pain and improved health.
"A lot of people commented on my last post about being too sick to finish promoting my show by saying my hysterectomy should have fixed it (I mean *should* is a weird one)," she said of her suffering. (HBO's "Camping," which Dunham produces and writes, premiered Sunday.) "That I should get acupuncture and take supplements (I do). That I should see a therapist because it’s clearly psychological (year 25, y’all. These are the fruits!)"
The hysterectomy that Dunham had involved the removal of her uterus and cervix, leaving her ovaries in place. But a hysterectomy does not guarantee a cure for endometriosis.
The disorder occurs when cells that line the uterus spread to other places in the body, creating implants or adhesions and causing severe pain.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America estimates at least 200 million women worldwide have endometriosis, including 7 million in the United States alone.
Still, as Dunham explained, she faces doubters, and it's because of their reactions on social media that she continues to open up about her personal journey.
"A big lesson I’ve learned in all this is that health, like most things, isn’t linear- things improve and things falter," she wrote.
"I feel blessed creatively and tickled by my new and improved bellybutton and so so so lucky to have health insurance as well as money for care that is off my plan. But I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well."
She called that reality "humiliating." But her biggest takeaway — one wants most to share with other women — is that "our pain is our gain."
"My health not being a given has paid spiritual dividends I could never have predicted and it’s opened me up in wild ways and it’s given me a mission: to advocate for those of us who live at the cross section of physical and physic pain, to remind women that our stories don’t have to look one way, our pain is our gain and oh sh-- scars and mesh 'panties' are the f---ing jam. Join me, won’t you?"