"It’s been a few months now," she wrote. "Despite some small complications (please remember to drink lots of water; that’s my only advice) I am healing like a champ. I have a limp, the result of a pinched nerve in my pelvis, but I rock it like the new Balenciaga boots I bought myself as a push present. My mind, my spirit, are another story. Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye. I made a choice that never was a choice for me, yet mourning feels like a luxury I don’t have."
Dunham shared that the operation came at the end of a 12-day hospital stay that she entered in chronic pain and, after one unsuccessful surgery and seven hours spent in simulated labor to provoke uterine contractions, culminated in her choice to have a hysterectomy.
In an excerpt shared on the Endometriosis Foundation of America website, the 31-year-old actress discussed the full scope of the damage that endometriosis caused her body before her hysterectomy, following “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits."
"In addition to endometrial disease, an odd hump-like protrusion and a septum running down the middle," she wrote. "I have retrograde bleeding, a.k.a. my period running in reverse so that my stomach is full of blood. My ovary has settled in on the muscles around the sacral nerves in my back that allow us to walk. Let’s please not even talk about my uterine lining. The only beautiful detail is that the organ — which is meant to be shaped like a light bulb — was shaped like a heart.”
Dunham has battled endometriosis for the past several years, a disorder in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus rather than inside, causing chronic pain and fertility complications, among other symptoms.
In 2016, complications from endometriosis kept Dunham from participating in the press tour for the fifth season of her HBO show Girls, including an emergency hospital visit for a ruptured ovarian cyst.
In the Vogue story, Dunham also wrote that she still intends to have children and is exploring her options, including the possibility of adoption.
“I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now,” she wrote. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs. Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”