Recipe for Success: Padma Lakshmi
The Top Chef host dishes on food, fame, and her struggles with endometriosis -- plus she shares two delectable recipes.
Getting to an Endometriosis Diagnosis continued...
"She said to me, 'Why am I being diagnosed this late?' She'd gone from
doctor to doctor at some of the best hospitals in the United States. She
rewound her history and realized she could have been diagnosed much earlier."
And had her condition been identified more promptly, says Seckin, she would
have been spared years of agony. Not to mention major surgery.
The longer endometriosis goes unchecked, the harder it can be to treat and
the more it can damage the body. Lakshmi's first surgery in 2006 to remove the
wayward tissue took four and a half hours.
"I had stitches in three major organs and was bedridden from Thanksgiving to
February 1," she says.
Lakshmi has had three additional surgeries since and is now better able to
control the pain with over-the-counter medication.
"Endometriosis is the single most delayed diagnosis in reproductive health
today, taking an average of a decade," explains Seckin. "And it is the most
misdiagnosed, mishandled disease."
Lakshmi knew she wanted to help prevent others from going through what she
experienced. So when Seckin asked her to serve as co-founder of the
Endometriosis Foundation of America, a nonprofit group focused on increasing
awareness, education, research, and advocacy, signing on was a no-brainer, she
says. "Dr. Seckin literally changed my life," Lakshmi says. The respect
is mutual, says Seckin. Lakshmi
"needs to be given great credit for her sense of social responsibility." (For
more information about the foundation, visit www.endofound.org.)
Her work doesn't stop there. In addition to helping raise awareness about
this painful condition, Lakshmi volunteers with Keep a Child Alive, which helps
children with AIDS in Africa and India.
The meal over, Lakshmi orders a finely filtered coffee -- Americano style --
then bids a warm goodbye as she heads back out to the New York City streets.
Ahead of her are dozens more memorable meals. A new season's worth of
designed-to-dazzle Top Chef fare will be served by contestants for
Lakshmi and her fellow judges -- as millions of hungry viewers join in
vicariously tasting every morsel.