I have two younger siblings which meant, like all good big sisters, I had to share. The sleep-out was no different. After a year of having it as my bedroom, it was my sisters turn. I wasn’t too happy about this but the weekend came around and with it moving day. I woke up feeling horrible, I had my period which I had a couple of times before so nothing odd there. I went inside to tell mum, while at first I wasn’t believed with everyone thinking it was a ploy to get out of moving rooms, they were quickly convinced when walking down the hallway I fainted. Despite this moving when ahead around me cuddle up on the couch – little did we know that this would be a day that changed my life.
With every period that came so did the fainting, vomiting, cramps, headaches, bowel issues and confusion. Each trip to the Doctor I came away with a new diagnosis of infection or virus and told my period was just a coincidence but all I could think was surely bugs aren’t that smart? Surely, they couldn’t arrive the same time as my period! After some convincing and lack of any other leads my Doctor succumbed, he agreed to test my theory that these symptoms were period related- this would be the start of another chapter to my journey.
I was given ‘the pill’ to try help regulate my periods, this took away some symptoms but I gained many side effects. With each pill I tried my symptoms came and went, as did the side effects, although nothing was even close to helping. But with no other ideas on what to do I kept quiet and carried on with life as I could, cuddled up in bed on those days I couldn’t hide the effects of my period.
Having fainted in PE class as a result of one period, school was a nerve racking time worrying that something would happen and I would have to explain to everyone why. It was at high school that endometriosis would first be mentioned through the ‘me’ (menstrual health and endometriosis) programme run by ENZ. However, once I plucked up the courage to voice this idea to the Doctor I was told it wouldn’t be this and the idea was dismissed. Although this talk would stick in the back of my mind for years to come.
By my second year at university I was unable to cope with the multiple symptoms and side effects any longer I made an appointment at the university health clinic, with a Doctor I had never met before but I had already decided enough was enough! I went into the appointment all guns blazing, I was fed up and not taking no for an answer. I demanded a referral through to a gynaecologist, I would pay anything to get some answers. The poor Doctor after having listened to my outburst, turned out to be the most lovely and understanding women, who had considerable knowledge about endometriosis. I was given a referral to one of the top endometriosis specialists in NZ – this would be the start of the next chapter.
After the referral, thanks to health insurance, everything moved along at such speed and before I knew it I was walking into hospital for surgery. I also opted to have the Mirena inserted during surgery, a last-ditch attempt to find a contraceptive to help manage my numerous symptoms. Thankfully, I have had 3 sold years with little interruption from my endo.
Over the past year, I have slowly gained new and old symptoms – this looks like this is going to the my next chapter in my life long story with endo.