HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Anna Bush doesn't run to be graceful or exercise; she runs to get rid of the pain.
Bush, 28, of Hattiesburg said that running isn't just a way for her to stay in shape, but it has become the only way to take back control of her life after being diagnosed with a painful disease when she was 15 years old.
"What my doctor has explained to me has been happening for the last 15 years is that I have been having contractions," Bush said.
Bush said she has Endometriosis, a condition that causes the endometrial cells from her uterus to grow incorrectly. This disease is normally found in a woman's pelvic area, but in Bush's case, it has spread to other areas of her body.
"I've got it on my bladder and on my intestines, so as food is moving through my system [and] as my bladder fills, things are rupturing, things are tearing," Bush said.
Bush said doctors treated her with birth control, hormone replacement therapies, and invasive procedures for years, but nothing worked. Now, she is running in a desperate attempt to manage the symptoms and chronic pain.
"Regular cardio activity would probably be a good addition to my lifestyle," Bush said.
Bush explained that the more she runs the better she feels, and that's why she's lacing up for Hattiesburg Clinic's 4th Annual Rise and Shine Half-marathon and 5k.
"The pain can be pretty significant depending on what day it is that I run, but it also, to me, has given me a sense of control over my life where Endometriosis has taken a lot of that way," Bush said.
Chronic pain isn't the only symptom of Endometriosis Bush and her husband had to face.
"We have been diagnosed with infertility and have been struggling with that for the last two years," Bush said.
Bush will have a major surgery in Atlanta in April to allow her to carry a baby, and then begin her IVF treatments in June.
"It is the gold standard of Endometriosis care," Bush said. "It is excision surgery."
Bush said her family and friends help her battle and cope with this disease, but she couldn't have asked for better doctors.
"I think it is important that you find medical professionals that are going to work with you and treat your case specifically and not treat you like a number," Bush said.
The Hattiesburg Clinic Rise and Shine Half-marathon and 5k is April 4 at 7 a.m. at the main location in Hattiesburg. Registration information can be found at hattiesburgclinic.com/halfmarathon.
Participants are also able to register the morning of the race at 6 a.m. All the race's proceeds benefit the ARC of Southeast Mississippi.