This is the founder of Visana, Joe. When I explain what I’m working on at Visana, I often get asked the question.
It’s an easy answer: I saw my mother struggle with endometriosis for 25 years. My entire life, I watched her suffer for 3-4 days out of every single month, with pain so bad she would be unable to get out of bad. I watched her vomit because her pain was so bad.
And yet, as a naïve child, I assumed periods are just painful. My mother was the only woman in my immediate family, and so her experience was simply the perception I had of menstruation.
“Everyone’s period hurts. Take some ibuprofen.”
Like so many other women who suffer from endometriosis, she sought care from medical professionals. She would go to her general practitioner and OBGYN, who would dismiss her and say things like, “Everyone’s period hurts. Just take some ibuprofen and go home.”
She was persistent in seeking care because she knew her pain was not normal, but for 25 years she was unable to get answers. Eventually, her doctor called in sick the day she had an appointment, so she was seen by another physician in the practice. Finally, at 45 years old, after suffering for decades, the doctor said to her, “I think you might have endometriosis.” His wife had suffered form the disease.
This was the first time she’d even heard that word. She promptly received surgical treatment and was, essentially, cured. Her diagnosis & treatment should have happened decades earlier.
My mom lost YEARS of her life due to endometriosis. A quick calculation: 25 years, 12 cycles per year, 3 days of agony per cycle, means she lost 900 days, or nearly 3 years of her life, to excruciating pain. Those years should have been spent with her family and loved ones, not being bed-bound.
She’s not alone with her struggle. The nearly 200 million women who have endometriosis worldwide experience the same issues: a 10-year diagnostic delay is common. Physicians and loved ones downplay menstrual pain & other symptoms because it's an invisible disease. Many women receive inappropriate surgical treatments by unskilled surgeons.
I’ve always been passionate about making a difference by improving medical care: my undergraduate and graduate degrees were both in biomedical engineering, and I measure myself by how many lives I'm improving. I spent 6 years working at a medical device company working on new cardiovascular and cancer devices.
Having seen my mother's experience with endometriosis, I decided to use my professional skills to change the way endometriosis treated. I believe that, as a community, we can make a huge difference in the lives of millions of women. We need awareness. We need research. We need progress.
Visana is dedicated to improving the lives of people who suffer from underserved women’s health conditions, beginning with endometriosis & closely related menstrual pain conditions like adenomyosis. We believe in empowering patients with the best medical research so they can make the most informed decisions. We aim to shorten the diagnostic delay and reduce ineffective surgeries. We’ll do whatever it takes to achieve those goals.
After talking with hundreds of women about their experience with endometriosis, we know that women want to change the paradigm of how endometriosis is treated. But, we know we need to move science forward to achieve that goal. There’s too much unscientific content out there – it’s hard to discern fact from fiction.
Visana will only deliver science-backed content. We’ve recruited a great team of scientists, including gynecologists, pelvic floor physical therapists, dietitians, clinical psychologists, and biomedical engineers. We’ve meticulously combed through all the scientific literature to make sure you’ll get only the highest-quality, science-backed information.
No more guessing.
If you’d like to help or have questions, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – I always love hearing from people in the endometriosis community and those passionate about women's health.
If you’d like to learn more science-based content, you can join our mailing list and follow us on Instagram (@VisanaHealth), Twitter (@VisanaHealth), or Facebook (/VisanaHealth).