Lena Dunham is finally "disease free" and the healthiest she's been in some time, but she's conflicted on how to feel emotionally.
The "Girls" actress has struggled with endometriosis for years, a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. She's gone through five surgeries and tried other non-surgical things to cure her.
In this week's edition of her Lenny Letter, she writes, "My [final] surgery went off without a hitch. When I emerged, cotton-mouthed, [Dr. Randy Harris] told me something I hadn't expected to hear, maybe ever: there was no endometriosis left. Between my surgeries and hormonal intervention, I was disease-free. That doesn't mean it can never return, but for now, once my sutures have been removed and my bruises have changed from blue to yellow to green to gone, I will be healthy. All that will remain is my long-term relationship with pain, and it's time to get real about that."
This all may sound like good news (and it is), but she feels like part of her is gone.
"My pain—physical—distracted from my deeper pain—emotional, spiritual—and became the ultimate excuse," she wrote. "I had two modes: working and hurting. I was convinced there was nobility in it. There was certainly routine."
She continued, "Now, because of the unbelievable privilege of having thoughtful doctors, my body has been granted a reprieve. And I'm embarrassed to say that the excitement is mixed with loss. Pain and illness defined a time in my life."
Now, she's hoping to use her experience to help others.
"If we've learned anything from the past year, it's that complacency has no business here," she wrote. "So many people who suffer will never have the resources I've had. My job is to educate people, to try to change the pathetic lack of resources for endometriosis, but it's also to seize this gift. I'll be more useful that way. We all would be if we unloaded an old ache."
"Love you. Thank you," Lena finished the newsletter. "I'm not wishing you only freedom from pain, but rather the wisdom to know when it's time to let her walk alone."