It all started when at 12 years of age I experienced excruciating pain and heavy periods making it difficult to participate in PE on occasions at school for fear of flooding and being ridiculed in my white PE gear. My mother was fairly understanding and wrote me a note but was also from the ‘Old School’ where pain was just something you put up with. And so I did. Until at 18 my symptoms worsened to include bleeding between periods which became unbearable as I had a partner at this stage, fortunately, he was also fairly understanding but trips to doctors and the gynecologist gave no answers at all.
Six pain and blood-filled years later my partner, who was now my husband, read an article on endometriosis and we both felt sure I had this disease. I went straight to the doctor only to be told by a woman GP: “Who did I think I was that I was important enough to have such a disease”! I cried for days after that.
A couple of years later after returning to live in my hometown, I went to my old family GP who had by this stage heard of endometriosis and sent me to see a gynecologist at Waikato hospital. It took 6 months to get an appointment. I then went on a waiting list for a laparoscopy. Eighteen months later I was lucky enough to secure medical insurance with existing conditions covered. Two weeks later I had my laparoscopy and my endometriosis was confirmed.
I was nearly 29 by this stage and had been trying for a baby for nearly two years. After the laparoscopy, we started fertility treatment. After six years, six IUI treatments, six IVF treatments, and a miscarriage, we finally had a baby girl. We were lucky enough two years later to have another little girl. I was 35 when I completed my family and did so reluctantly as we had wanted four children, but the first two were now lost to us and we had to accept that as we felt exquisitely happy to have our two babies.
I continued to suffer from pain during my periods, heavy bleeding, and a number of other endometriosis symptoms, and at one point was accepting of it all and thought "that this is my lot". Things took a turn for the better after having the Mirena IUD fitted. It took nearly a year to get used to it, but after that adjustment, I now have no pain at all, no periods, no mood swings (well hardly any!), and very little brain fog. I am possibly carrying a smidge more weight but it’s a good incentive for me to exercise more and watch what I eat. My husband and my girls are all so much happier with the new me. Long may it last? My eldest baby is now 21 and youngest 19. We were ready for both of them when their periods started and knew what was normal and what was not normal.