Fanny is 20, a dancer in professional training and suffers fromendometriosis. She tells us about the arrival of her periods at college, the pain that prevented her from going to class, the painkillers she took, and her encounter with several health professionals. Zoom in on Fanny's portrait!
Why did you decide to take part in an Elia shoot?
"I've always wanted to take part in a photoshoot or a shoot. I've done a lot of theater, so it's something that m'interested me. When I saw that Elia was offering the opportunity to take part in a shoot I thought it was a good idea to take part and seize the opportunity in relation to this brand with which I share the same values."
You have endometriosis. Can you tell us about your journey through the disease?
"I had my first periods in secondary school, which was immediately quite painful. It hurt everywhere, and I couldn't go to class because it hurt so much. I was m'told right from the start that it was normal to have pain during periods. That it was normal and commonplace. They m'just prescribed painkillers. I spent my school years like that, on painkillers. It went away for a while, but in high school it came back stronger. I was really sore all over, in addition to nausea and hot flashes, aches and pains... Once again I couldn't go to school. I had to miss days of classes. It was a friend who m'told me about a midwife, whom I went to see, who m'gave me excellent advice and support. She was the one who m'told me that I must have endometriosis. She m'said that a priori my disease was not yet too advanced. So at that stage, there wasn't much I could do other than stop the disease by taking the continuous pill, which she m'prescribed. So for a long time, I didn't have my periods and so I didn't feel any pain. After a year and a half, I got fed up with taking hormones, so I decided to stop taking the pill, but the pain returned. Following this, I decided to have an MRI, at the endometriosis center in Paris. And there, they m'gave the same answer as the midwife. They m'said that my disease wasn't very advanced, and that there was nothing to do but take hormones to slow it down. So at that stage, I was quite disappointed that they weren't offering me any other valid and effective solutions. After that, I stopped taking the hormones anyway, and the pain came back... stronger. In relation to that, my dance practice which became my studies, it was complicated to reconcile the two, but I had no choice. So on the days when I had my periods, I was in pain, but I still went to class. I couldn't help but force myself to stand and dance all day, even if I was in pain. A few months ago, by chance or not, I met an osteopath who is also an acupuncturist. I told him about my problem and he msuggested a treatment, a follow-up over several months with several acupuncture sessions. Which I did, and since then there's been a clear improvement in the pain. It hurts much less than before. I can live normally again. Everything has calmed down. I'll have to see in the long term whether this solution works, but for the past few months I've had no more pain during my periods and I no longer have any pain due to endometriosis."
How long have you been using menstrual panties? What do you think of them?
"I've been using menstrual panties for about 1 year now. Before, I used conventional sanitary pads, towels and tampons when I played sport or went to the seaside. For me, it's really a revolution. It's changed my life. It's very useful for me. For one thing, you don't have to s worry about when to change them, or if they're overflowing or what. For me, it really saves time and money in the long run. I also think it's very interesting from an ecological point of view, because it reduces the waste associated with conventional sanitary pads. "
Can you tell us about your vision of ecology?
"The ecological issues facing our society today are very close to my heart. I'm lucky to have parents who are committed and concerned about the environment. I thank them for that, for m'passing on their values, for being sensitive to the environment and the human cause. I think it's very important for our generation to pay attention to everything we consume, because the actions we take today determine the world we'll live in tomorrow. The one we're going to live in. That's why we need to be aware right now of everything we do and everything we can do for the environment and for our generation in the days to come."
Do you have any books, podcasts or people to follow that you'd recommend for s'informing yourself on this subject?
"I think it's important to keep up with the times, to be aware of the issues facing society. There's a film called "Demain" (Tomorrow), which follows the careers of many farmers and people who are committed to the environment. There's also the documentary "Nos enfants nous accuseront" (Our children will accuse us), which talks about the whole consumer society, and food chains that are polluting, etc. Hugo Clément is a committed journalist who is worth following, and whom I recommend. And the company Avaaz, which offers petitions for humanist and environmental causes."
Do you have a piece of advice or a mantra you'd like to share?
"What I'd like to share is that our only limit is ourselves. The limits we s'impose are our own. For fear of failing, for fear of disappointing others, for fear of hurting ourselves. We s'impose things that restrict us in everything we do. And I think that's a shame. I've come to realize that the only thing that determines us is ourselves. And if we live in fear of anything, of the actions we're going to take, we're only half-living. So my advice is to live without fear and dare to do whatever you feel like doing."
If you had to sum up your portrait or your struggle in one word?
"I'll say determination. That's what speaks to me when I think about my journey. When someone m'told me there was no solution to my problem, when someone m'told me "you just have to wait it out" and try to restrict the thing, instead of curing it. I've tried to look for other solutions, to see other alternatives, which, for the moment, are working. My advice is not to stop when someone just says: "No, it's possible. There are no other solutions".
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