It has been exactly one year since I was diagnosed with endometriosis. After 10 plus years of monthly pain and it being dismissed for normal period pains, I finally got an answer and a conversation with somebody who understood my body nearly as well as I did!
Life has changed so much in the past year. Once I had my diagnosis, I started to change my habits and adapt my life to compliment my endometriosis. I cut down on dairy products, I realised that milk was the devil, and I learned how better to manage my pain, not to push through it when it got worse, to take breaks, rely on pain relief, walking and hula hooping when the pain wasn’t there, and when the pain was there, to cuddle up with a hot water bottle and stay hydrated.
I had surgery…!
I went into the operating theatre 8 months after my diagnosis, so that they could ‘formally diagnose’ and remove any accessible endometriosis through a laparoscopy. During this surgery I also had the Mirena coil inserted, to try and stop my heavy bleeding and pain.
In my post-op, I was told that they removed a significant amount of endometriosis from both of my ovaries, one of which was totally covered, and the other had some hiding underneath. The endometriosis had fused one of my ovaries to my small intestines, but they managed to fix this during surgery.
I was also told that my endometriosis was at stage 2, that I would probably need another surgery in a couple of years time, and that the chances of me conceiving are slim.
Now, a year on from diagnosis, I know my body better than ever before. I know what foods to avoid, I know that even though I don’t get a period I still get PMS and cravings, and I know that even though the surgery was successful I still get cramps and the endometriosis is growing back again.
(Side note: the Mirena coil has been an absolute God-send too! I had a month of light bleeding daily, then one heavy bleed, then that was it (fingers crossed, touch wood etc. etc.)!)
I am so grateful for my diagnosis, I firmly believe it took too long for me to get it, but education is key to this and so is sharing my story.
I am also heavily grateful for the staff at Birmingham Women’s Hospital who cared for me before and after my surgery, and operated on me.
Endometriosis has no cure, it is a chronic illness and I will have this for the rest of my life, but learning to live with it, surgery, pain relief and little tricks make day to day life that little bit better!
The future of my endometriosis is unsure and there is no predicting where this will take me next, but all I know is to have a positive outlook and not to take my current state of health for granted! I am in an amazing position at the moment to focus on my life, career, university and loved ones.
The pains started when I was 11, I got my diagnosis at 21, and had surgery just before my 22nd birthday. So if you are struggling, don’t stop fighting for a diagnosis and the help that your body deserves, because speaking from over ten years experience, it is so worth it!!!