The battle of Endometriosis
Mel Greig: “I’ve been told that I will not be able to fall pregnant naturally.”
1 in 10 women are affected by the same disease. READ MORE
I just got home from seeing my Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and I still have his words ringing through my ears: “The Endometriosis is everywhere; it even took over your appendix. You’re in trouble”
For people who aren’t aware of Endometriosis, it’s to do with endometrial tissue that resides outside the womb. To put it simply, it’s basically big round balls and small dots that cause a s**tload of pain for women, often crippling them. Endometriosis causes inflammation and can lead to valuable baby-making parts and other organs fusing together, making it almost impossible for eggs to fertilise naturally, rendering many women infertile.
I am one of those women. I have been told that I will not be able to fall pregnant naturally.
I have Stage 4 edno and my patches are everywhere.
Endometriosis has been with me since I was 17; it sadly runs in my family. I have kept my Endometriosis at bay for 10 years by being on the pill.
I went off the pill recently to try for babies. And now, just like when I was fist diagnosed at 17, I feel every ounce of pain my Endo brings every month. I go into self-lockdown for 24 hours at the start of each cycle; I can’t move, every step I take I’m in severe pain. Ironically the pain feels what I envisage childbirth to be: absolutely horrific.
Since going off the pill, what I’ve learned is that while the pill took away the pain, it didn’t take away the endo. The endo grew for 10 years while I was on the pill and completely took over my bowel and uterus; I had major surgery in March 2013 to detach my ovary from my bowel, which had become joined from the sticky Endometriosis patches.
I was lucky the doctor could save my bowel and ovaries after doing a small resection. The doctor cleaned me out and said I had six months until it would all grow back. One year later I’m getting ready for more major surgery after it did grow back (and decided to bring its army with it.)
My next surgery will be my worst and it could see me lose my ovaries. To say I’m devastated would be an understatement. It makes me feel like I’m a not a real woman. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but when you think about how children come into this world? It’s hard to believe that I can’t make that process happen. But that’s okay – it doesn’t change the way I will love my children or how I will be as a mother.
An ex-boyfriend once told me, “Just take a Panadol and eat chocolate like every other woman does … You’re being a drama queen.”
My husband now understands what Endometriosis is and he is prepared every month to go into battle. His helmet is on and sword drawn ready for battle – he must find immediate sources of chocolate, he must reach hot water to fill my water bottle, and he must be on his best behaviour to avoid igniting an all-out war.
To partners, employers and non-sufferers: Endometriosis is a real disease. When a woman with endo complains of period pain, s**t is real. If she calls in sick, you better bloody believe she is sick enough not to come in. She can’t walk. Radio is a male-dominated industry, and for a female, it’s hard to turn to a team of six men and say, “My period pain is unbearable, I can’t work today” – using the word PERIOD is forbidden in a man’s world. The more aware people are of Endometriosis, the easier it will be to talk about.
Partners, it hurts like hell to have sexytime with Endometriosis. You need to be gentle and you need to make love to us on our backs – it’s a medical fact. I’m pretty sure we can get a medical certificate advising the best love-making is done the way. We want it.
Endometriosis is a horrible disease. There are different levels of pain and damage, but all Endo sufferers feel the same in the sense that we just want some understanding. It’s real and we need your support. Sound it out with me: E-N-D-O-M-E-T-R-I-O-S-I-S. Learn it and remember it.
I am thrilled to have been appointed an Ambassador for Endometriosis Australia – this is now a lifelong mission for me to raise awareness of this horrible disease and especially in young women who might not understand the symptoms until it’s too late. We all normally get some level of pain during our cycle, but if yours is unbearable that’s not normal. Get checked.
The breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. READ MORE
Last month, Mel filled us in on her crippling experience with endometriosis. So many of you could relate to it that we asked her to tell us more – and pass on the good news about a breakthough in treatment. Mel writes:
Yesterday I posted a photo of my belly looking round and like that of a six-month pregnant lady. It was met with a few comments of “congratulations” because it looked like I was pregnant. And it often feels like what I envisage pregnancy to feel like . . . but there is no baby.
That, my friends, is “endo belly”. How ironic that endometriosis often makes you feel that you are going through the stages of prolonged labour and childbirth but without the reward at the end.
One in 10 women go through this horrendous pain on a daily or monthly basis. The chronic inflammation can often take over our lives and makes it impossible to live a happy and healthy life.
Until now, all we’ve had for this incurable disease is a hot water bottle and some Nurofen or Naprogesic . . . and chocolate. We can’t rule out the importance of chocolate – and yes, one block a day is acceptable for endo sufferers.
But now, in Australia, we have been given the chance to regain our strength and control. Our magic beans have arrived in the form of Visanne. This medication is going to help thousands of women manage and live through their endo, it’s not going to cure endometriosis but it’s going to help control it. The doctors tells us that taking one Visanne tablet everyday leads to the shrinking of the endometrial tissue and reduces associated complaints, such as pelvic pain.
Today I am thinking of all my endo sisters, but none more than Jasmine. She is only 16 and has horrific endometriosis and had her first surgery at 12 years old.
While other teenagers are playing with Barbie dolls and sticking up One Direction posters, Jasmine is lying on the floor in agony. They think Jasmine’s endo has spread to her diaphragm, so every breath Jasmine takes she can often feel a sharp stabbing pain which serves as a constant reminder.
We desperately need a cure for endometriosis but until then, all we ask for is more tools to use along the way. Visanne is a big step forward into bettering the lives of endometriosis sufferers. No, it won’t be for everyone and yes, it does have side effects but for the endo sufferers that are in constant pain, this could be a way for them to live the life they deserve.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. I’m stage 4 endo and I am proud to be an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia. We need to raise awareness and we need to raise funds for more research so we can find a cure.
On Friday March 6th we are encouraging you to wear yellow to work to show your support. Get your family, friends and work mates involved and get them talking, because I can guarantee you that there are people you know who have someone close to them that are affected by this horrible disease.
Want to know more about Visanne?
What is Visanne?
Visanne is a new medication aimed to reduce the pain associated with endometriosis. It contains a progesterone component which mimics the hormone naturally produced by the female body. Progesterone, along with other hormones such as oestrogen, are necessary for reproduction and regulation of menstrual cycles. The progesterone in Visanne acts to reduce the effects of oestrogen on the uterus lining which in tern can reduce pelvic inflammation and pain associated with endometriosis.
How is the drug taken?
Available via prescription only, the drug needs to be taken once daily, at the same time of day. Women using the treatment are required to keep taking the medication regardless of where they may be in their menstrual cycle and unlike a contraceptive (which Visanne is not) patients are not to cease dosage during their period.
Do you or someone you know suffer from Endometriosis? What are you planning to do during this month of awareness?
Read more at http://www.theglow.com.au/health/mel-greig-endometriosis-update/#UO3rsKjFSplSfm7K.99