Sometimes our worlds collide. Endometriosis and photography!
It's no secret that for the majority of my life I struggled with what 1 in 10 women have been diagnosed with - endometriosis. For some it's a minor blip, it might cause some discomfort or come up during fertility treatments. For others, like me, it caused life changing pain and organ disruption. It took over in more than one sense. As a child I had horrible side and abdominal pains all month even prior to menstruation. When I did start my cycle at age 11 it became so unbearable I couldn't keep up with academics, nor anything active or social. This pain only became worse as I aged. In high school I missed so much school and couldn't concentrate. I was hurt emotionally and mentally because I was told I was going to be held back, I wouldn't amount to anything and that I was making up my pain. Being sent to the nurses office and being given a Tylenol is honestly still angering to me looking back. I barely got into college and had difficulties keeping up.
After graduation I lost job after job due to needing surgeries I didn't have the leave time for - ovarian cysts rupturing, suspected appendicitis (surprise - that was actually endometriosis). It took me a decade of pain and laparoscopic surgeries every 6 months to remove new growths until I found an excision surgeon who specialized in cutting the endometriosis out rather than burning the top layer off. My husband was with me throughout all of it, the pain effected him too especially when we wanted to grow our family. We had our baby girl (pictured above, now 11) and years later had a missed ectopic that went late, causing one of my tubes and ovaries to go necrotic and need removal. I also suffered a leg injury during surgery, my femoral nerve being pinched too hard for hours while I was on the table. I needed help walking for 6 months due to loss of sensation of my right leg and suffer nerve pain still on a daily basis. I also suffered sepsis due to the infection, I'm thankful to have survived but that was my last straw.
I haven't needed surgery since finally having had a thorough expert operate in 2016 but I had also experienced so many terrible employers by this point. I'm healthy but I also have a healthy dose of mistrust now! In 2016 I started Sarah Aprea Photography. I figured - self employed doing something that makes me happy - why not give it a try?!
I struggled like any small business does getting on my feet and learning the ropes. I studied photography in college but it had been years before. I invested in education, learned from peers and did things the right way. In 2022 my husband shot his first wedding with me and from there we re-branded to Aprea Media to encompass that it's not just myself and we hope to add video eventually.
In 2017 or 2018 I met some amazing women doing fantastic endometriosis advocacy work, I volunteered photography for two marches and that led to work at MIT for their department of gynecological research. I photographed the Boston Premier of "Below the Belt" - the second installment film after "Endo What." This led me to the opportunity to be an official MIT vendor and to work on more corporate events!
I'm thankful today to be a parent to a child who won't have to suffer like I did and so many girls do. I'm also thankful for the community I've met because of endometriosis and for the push to just go for it with self employment. If you have any questions about endometriosis please feel free to reach out to me!