I am a big Top Chef fan. It is one of the things that my son Spencer and I do together. Right now we are routing for Kevin to win. I had heard that the host, Padma Lakshmi had suffered with endometriosis, and that she is now pregnant. So I wasn’t completely surprised when she stepped forward to raise awareness about endometriosis, which can be a very painful illness that can cause infertility.
Padma revealed that she has had a two-decade struggle with the disorder, in which tissue that normally lines the uterus migrates to other parts of the body, causing pain and swelling.
“I remember school dances that I didn’t go to, mid-terms I failed and family occasions that I missed,” she said. “Only now do I realize how much of my life was mangled and distorted by this illness.”
According to press coverage, Lakshmi has put her star power behind the Endometriosis Foundation of America, which together with researchers at MIT, is pushing to develop new treatments for the illness.
Linda Griffith, professor of biochemical engineering at MIT and former recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” has raised $10 million in public and private grants for the new Center for Gynepathology Research to study the illness that affects up to 90 million women world wide. Women who suffer with Endometriosis often have to go through surgery to remove scar tissue that can attach itself to the ovaries, bowels and lining of the abdominal cavity.
“It’s like roots in a garden, with the womb being the garden,” Lakshmi said. “Endometriosis attaches itself like weeds. You have to clean under the rocks and behind the fence and through the trees and get every last bit of it out.”
Padma suffered through multiple surgeries for the Endometriosis and is due to give birth in early in 2010.
“I guard my privacy closely, and it seems contradictory when I’m standing here, talking about my period,” she said. “But you always have to remember the greater goal. What’s more important — my privacy, or the lives of women? I chose the latter.”
I have always liked Padma.