UPDATE: Health Care Debate Boosts Discussion of Endometriosis; Kirsten Storms Fans Continue to Share, Pray, Wait

Improbably, Congress and Rush Limbaugh have recently joined beloved GENERAL HOSPITAL (and DIRTY SOAP) star Kirsten Storms in generating headlines about woman’s health in general and, specifically, endometriosis.

On Sunday, October 16, We Love Soaps confirmed that during that night's episode of DIRTY SOAP, it was revealed that Kirsten Storms was suffering with endometriosis. Storms was recast as Maxie on GENERAL HOSPITAL, but for months, it looked as though she would eventually return—possibly in February — with Storms herself tweeting (on December 12, 2011), "I hope everyone is having a great holiday season w/the ones they love... fingers crossed you'll see more of me after the New Year!! ;)"

Sadly, in January, a rep for GH instead confirmed that "Jen Lilley will continue to play Maxie Jones for the foreseeable future."

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus.  The Mayo Clinic states that there is no known cure, but there are treatments which can help relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life. One such treatment involves the use of prescription birth control medication.

According to the Clinic, “Supplemental hormones are sometimes effective in reducing or eliminating the pain of endometriosis. That's because the rise and fall of hormones during a woman's menstrual cycle causes endometrial implants to thicken, break down and bleed. Hormonal contraceptives — birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings — help control the hormones responsible for the buildup of endometrial tissue each month.”

Which brings us, in a sense, to Rush Limbaugh et al. Endometriosis has been cited repeatedly in the past few days as a condition for which drugs usually prescribed optionally, for birth control, can be medically necessary — thus mooting much of the discussion about provider choice. We Love Soaps has seen an increase this week in the number of readers looking for information on Storms and her condition.

All in all, since October, hundreds of thousands of fans have visited in order to share their affection, advice, and prayers. Many offer emotional endometriosis stories of their own, helping us to better understand Kirsten's situation.

“I feel so bad for Kirsten, I also suffer from Endometriosis. I had a full hysterectomy three years ago at the age of 29 and I still had pain and issues from my endo. It is a terrible disease I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. My thoughts and prayers are with Kirsten,” reads a typical message.

One fan recognized the symptoms immediately, writing, “When I saw Kirsten walking around, slightly hunched, somewhat zombie-like and clutching a heating pad, my first thought was that she has endometriosis. I was not at ALL surprised when Tiffany said that is what she has. I have it, and before I was diagnosed I acted almost the exact same way. Stay strong Kirsten, after treatment, I feel better than I have in years.”

Some messages speak specifically to the issue of hormonal treatments. One young woman writes, “to all the people who are condemning her for taking a leave of absence because 'it's not that serious,' endometriosis can be mild or severe. My case is mild and can be treated with a special form of birth control. Before I started taking the birth control, I would have to take a couple of days off work every month, because the pain was so severe, I couldn't stand up. I've been lucky, so far, that it can be treated so easily, and I no longer have to miss work. Kirsten may have had to have a hysterectomy, either partial or full, which is a 6-8 week recovery, which would explain her longer absence.”

Some of the more personal accounts are undeniably frightening, in addition to being supportive and informative. One brave woman writes, “I had a laparoscopy nine years ago and it was a battle then, for me, even though my endometriosis was stage two. I could barely walk before my surgery. Six years later, on my birthday, I collapsed and the doctors found a giant mass in my colon. They thought I was a goner; thankfully, it wasn't cancer. But, turns out the endometriosis was metastatic.

“Yes, people, it can spread like a cancer to other organs beyond the reproductive ones. I had to have a laparotomy and it was so painful. The doctors predicted a long recovery and while it was tough... I prayed and willed myself to not take a huge leave of absence. But, that came at a great physical cost. Good for Kirsten for taking time off. It's needed. I am now in remission, so to speak. By the grace of God, I still have all my vital and reproductive organs (well, they did have to cut into my colon and small intestine, then reattach).

If it weren't for my faith in Christ... it probably would have been worse. I believe the way we think, dictates the course of our lives. Therefore, I am believing for total healing for Kirsten.”

Kirsten posted the self-portrait, above, in January.  About a week ago, she tweeted, “When it rains it pours! Don't forget, even when I feel like ? I still luv you guys!! Thanks for all the sweet messages." It's hard for us to know what that means, exactly. For now, all we can do is wait, hope and pray.

Please get well, Kirsten. We miss you!

RELATED:
- DIRTY SOAP REVELATION: Kirsten Storms is Sick, Illness is Called "Endometriosis" (Recasting as Maxie on GENERAL HOSPITAL Explained)
- Kirsten Storms: 'Fingers crossed you'll see more of me after the New Year!'
- Kirsten Storms On Her Way Back To GENERAL HOSPITAL; On Air Late February
- GENERAL HOSPITAL's Jen Lilley: Because of unforeseen circumstances, I am staying as Maxie
- Most Fascinating People of 2011 (Kirsten Storms makes the list)
- NOMINATIONS: 3rd Annual Indie Soap Awards (Bradford Anderson nominated)

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the informative info. Great explanation of the condition & fantastic article.

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  2. I mentioned this in another discussion. While certain elected officials are playing politics, perhaps most are not aware that Contraceptives are often prescribed for medical reasons other than pregnancy prevention, just ask anyone who suffers from ovarian cysts or has certain types of hormonal imbalances due to biological reasons. Why is the health care debate being sexualized?

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  3. And thanks We Love Soaps for continuing to inform us about the links between some of our favorite daytime talent and real life issues.

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  4. I'm in the medical field, and while it's true that contraceptives are prescribed for other medical conditions, other than just birth control, WE ALL know that this argument with Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, et. al, is all about college students being able to afford birth control overall, and you know this particular argument has nothing to do with critical medical conditions which warrant birth control pills for treatment. This is all political and this Sandra Fluke is a political pawn for the Democratic party to enhance their argument for free contraception, which is really an argument for population control, and all about the destruction of Catholicism and Christianity. Georgetown is a Jesuit University and it is against their internal policy to not offer birth control, and it is their every right!

    And by the way, if birth control is a medical necessity, such as for endometriosis or uterine fibroids, then most insurance companies WILL cover it! I repeat, they will cover it. Insurance companies and religious organizations have every right to NOT cover for mere birth control! Let them have their freedoms just like all of you have your freedoms to express your discontent over Rush Limbaugh's comments and Georgetown's policies!

    I just wish that BEFORE people step into the populist bandwagon of trashing others because you don't agree with them, you better have all the facts, which most of you don't seem to have.

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  5. My sympathies for Ms Storms. As a fellow sufferer of endometriosis, I do want to add that BCPs are only a *temporary* solution to the pain of endometriosis. BCPs do NOTHING for anatomic distortion (meaning major organs can start sticking together), BCPs do not halt the progression of the disease, nor they improve fertility. The best bet women and girls have is to go see a specialist who only does excision surgery (not an OB/GYN who focuses on delivering babies, and does endomtriosis care on the side). There are a handful of specialists in the US who *only* treat women and girls with endometriosis and they focus on removing the disease. To learn more, see Endometriosis Foundation of America or Endometriosis Research Center.

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  6. Although I appreciate the stand-in actress for Kirsten, I really miss her on GH ! I have followed her since she appeared on Days of Our Lives as Belle Black. As Maxie, she makes you almost despise her, then she shows her heart and are lost again. She and Spinelli are a great pair ! Kirsten, I am praying for your recovery ! Look forward to seeing you on GH soon !

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  7. Angela, you are a complete moron. This issue is being politicized alright, by the republican party. Once again you people are trying to force your religious beliefs on the rest of us, despite the fact that the U.S. was founded on the idea that the government absolutely does NOT endorse any religion, that is why you will not find the word god or creator in the CONSTITUTION of the U.S. idiot. Oh, and those bumper stickers you right wing lunatics drive around with that say "One Nation Under God" make me laugh, the "under god" part wasn't part of the original pledge, it was only added in 1954. Almost all women have or will use birth control in their life. If you have a problem with it and you're part of the Catholic Church (aka the Child Fu**ers of the Universe), then you really need to shut up. What a scumbag hypocrite you are. Conservatives hate welfare yet they don't want women to have easier access to birth control or have abortions. Yeah, you dirtbags love the fetus, but you don't give 2 sh**s about the actual child. If you did you wouldn't want welfare abolished and the department of education gutted in order to give more tax breaks to the super rich. Speaking of which, since Obama never repealed the Bush era tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the super rich and also raised the exemption level on the estate tax which also benefits the rich I have a question for you? WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE JOBS? It couldn't be that the super rich are just POCKETING all that extra cash could it? Nice try Angela, but you lose. Keep watching Fox News, or as the those with functioning brains refer to it, News For Dumb Fox.

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  8. "Thetruthisthetruth" - REALLY? Your chosen screen name is as much an oxymoron as your version of the "truth" is selective, at best. The fact that you choose to paint conservatives, those big bad republicans and let me just say it - everyone with whom you disagree with such a broad and hateful brush is beyond sad. I'm not part of the big bad wolf of the so-called "right wing conspiracy" either. Perhaps you should take a step back and analyze how hateful and out of context your rant really is. The discussion here is about a painful medical condition, Endometriosis, which affects young women in the prime of life and because of Kristen Storms' fame, hopefully, more attention and resources will paid to this condition to help those suffering with it manage the disease and one day see a cure! That is something we ALL should be able to agree on. Instead of spewing hateful rhetoric and hurling insults, we need to find common ground where we can. Otherwise, nothing will ever get done in this country.

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  9. i feel her pain i have endo and for anyone looking to take birthcontrol from any one its wrong first off some of us need it medically as i and most endo sufferers do but people have the right to take birthcontrol for its normal intended purpose of preventing pregnancy freedom of choice is suposed to be allowed in the world

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  10. I could barely walk before my surgery. Six years later, on my birthday, I collapsed and the doctors found a giant mass in my colon. They thought I was a goner; thankfully, it wasn't cancer. But, turns out the endometriosis was metastatic. view the original news

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