Hello, My Name is ... Endometriosis
By Bel Connolly
Hello, my name is Bel. I am a wife, mother, nurse and I have endometriosis!
At the age of fourteen I experienced the onset of menstruation. What was supposed to be my time of becoming a woman and understanding my body turned into something more sinister, when five years later I was diagnosed with mild endometriosis. It was already a hard pill to swallow at a mere nineteen-years old, when the news was delivered that in addition to the endometriosis diagnosis, I had PCOS, a blocked right fallopian tube, a bicornuate uterus, a tilted cervix and was branded infertile.
At the age of twenty-three I met my husband, and two years later we commenced the emotional, physical, mental and financial IVF roller coaster. We had two heartbreaking unsuccessful attempts and I was starting to feel the burden of the diagnosis. Despite the odds working against us we were determined and the third time was a charm in 2011 when we were blessed with our little miracle, Marlie. Our IVF specialist advised us to contact him when we were planning on conceiving again as we “would not be able to conceive naturally”. Thankfully we had one stored embryo… or so we thought because in 2013 the odds were in our favour and we welcomed our second daughter Matilda in to the world through natural conception.
As the years passed my monthly pain developed into daily chronic pelvic pain and I started to question if I would ever know anything different. In 2016, I underwent my fourth laparoscopy that included the insertion of the mirena and the outcome of stage three endometriosis. This was supposed to assist with the management of the disease but unfortunately, my daily pain returned with a vengeance.
In 2017, after fifteen years of GP hopping, endless attempts of western, eastern, natural as well as complementary medicine I found an amazing GP. My GP manages my pain, referred me to a highly recommended gynaecologist and a persistent pelvic pain clinic.
Early this year my gynaecologist commenced me on a six-month course of zoladex implants that suppress the ovaries and mimic menopause symptoms. The side effects I experienced included nausea, hot flushes as well as weight gain and unfortunately, once again had minimal effect on improving my pain. The effects had progressed from my physical to my social and mental states and it was getting harder to don the rose-coloured glasses I had been wearing to remain optimistic, despite the constant decelerations with this disease.
While on my zoladex course I started under the care of the persistent pelvic pain clinic that includes a gynaecologist, pain specialist, psychologist, physiotherapist and dietician (finally a holistic approach). It has been almost six-months with the clinic and only some improvement in pain.
Regardless of everything I have experienced during this time, on the horizon is hope and a better quality of life. Next month I will undergo a procedure that involves a pudendal nerve block with botox into my pelvic muscles. With intense pelvic physiotherapy post-procedure, the aim is to relax and retrain the muscles, whilst simultaneously taking back the parts of my life I have lost to endometriosis. I look forward to sharing this journey with you soon.
I am 1 in 10 and you are not alone.
You can follow more of Bel's story on her Instagram
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