Wednesday is International Women's Day, and March is Endometriosis Awareness Month—both of which made a personal reveal by Steve and Terri Irwin's 24-year-old daughter especially relevant. People reports that the Australian celebrity conservationist posted a picture of herself on social media, recuperating post-surgery in a hospital bed, and said she'd just had 37 lesions removed, as well as a "chocolate cyst," and that it came after a decade of pain as a result of endometriosis, a condition when tissue similar to the tissue lining the inside of the uterus grows outside of it.
"For 10yrs I've struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain & nausea," Irwin wrote. "Trying to remain a positive person & hide the pain has been a very long road." Irwin noted that she's spent those 10 years making doctor's appointments and undergoing tests, and that at one point a doctor told her "it was simply something you deal with as a woman." She added that "I gave up entirely, trying to function through the pain." She said her current surgeon's first words to her when she came out of the surgery and they'd seen how the disease had affected her were: "How did you live with this much pain?" CNN notes that endometriosis can cause not only pelvic pain, but also heavy periods and possible fertility issues, and that other celebrities, including Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Padma Lakshmi, have also been stricken by it.
While Irwin said that the "validation" she feels that someone is finally recognizing what she's been enduring is "indescribable," she acknowledged all the other women who are suffering, and requested one favor from her fans. "Please be gentle & pause before asking me (or any woman) when we'll be having more children," Irwin wrote, referring to her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Grace Warrior, with husband Chandler Powell. "After all that my body has gone through, I feel tremendously grateful that we have our gorgeous daughter. She feels like our family's miracle."
In his own post, Powell calls his wife his "inspiration." "Seeing how you pushed through the pain to take care of our family and continue our conservation work while being absolutely riddled with endometriosis is something that will inspire me forever," he wrote, calling her surgery to remedy the issue "the greatest gift." Irwin's 19-year-old brother, Robert Irwin, also gave big sis an encouraging shoutout, adding, "You never know who's suffering in silence, let's make this a topic that we all freely talk about." (Read more Bindi Irwin stories.)