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Meet Zoe

For as long as I can remember I’ve had really bad periods. I first realised something was wrong when I was in my early 20s. I’d get my period and I’d end up curled over in agony. I was constantly being sent home from work and the Dr’s put it down to, yep you guessed, ‘bad periods’.

My Story

I went on to try for a baby but after a long time of trying, nothing happened, so after visiting the GP numerous times, in June 2014, aged 21, I was sent for a scan where I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. I was also referred to a fertility clinic where I learned I wasn't eligible for funding, but they were willing to test me anyway.

 

The following year I saw an endometriosis specialist who after carrying out several tests, agreed to perform a laparoscopy. I went ahead with the surgery, but before he started, he told me the only reason he wouldn't operate was if the endometriosis was severe.

 

A few hours later, my surgeon came around to share with me both good news and bad news. The good news was he did a dye test on my fallopian tubes and although my ovaries were twisted, the test was a success. The bad news was he couldn't carry out the procedure as the endometriosis was too severe.

When I first heard the word endometriosis, I was relieved to know there was a reason for the way I had felt, to have clarity that it wasn't just a bad period like I was told. But as I learnt more and more about it, and with all the tests I had, it devastated me to learn how I may never be able to have children of my own. 

In March 2016, I went into surgery again, which took a total of 11 hours. After coming around, my surgeon told me I had endometriosis everywhere and he managed to remove all of it. He also planned to see me again for a 6 monthly follow up and advised me during that time I should try to fall pregnant naturally otherwise I’d likely need IVF.

But just one month later, the crucifying pain was back. I was struggling to go the toilet and I couldn’t have sexual intercourse, despite the fact I’d been given a time scale of 6 months to get pregnant. I was also bleeding for weeks on end, so I went back to my GP who tried to perform a smear test which she was unable to do as I was in too much pain. She referred me to have a colposcopy, a type of procedure used to look at the cervix.

My appointment came through all I can remember is being in agony when the nurse was trying to perform the test. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital. I had collapsed due to the pain. 

 

In April 2018, I had another surgery which again showed endometriosis. Following this, my gynaecologist told me how I’d require more surgery, only this time with a bowel surgeon present. 

 

A few months later, I went back into surgery which took over 12 hours in total where I later come back having an ileostomy (stoma), as well as a c-section type scar incision. When my surgeon came to see me, he explained how the endometriosis was all over my small intestine and how it had infiltrated deep into my back passage. 

 

I had a long and difficult recovery, I'm now 3 years on and I'm still unable to eat a lot of the foods I used to which can make things quite difficult, and I can feel it has an effect on me. The online support group has helped me so much with just being able to speak to people that are in the same situation. It can sometimes be mentally and physically destroying, but being able to connect with people who understand has been a huge help

My advice to others would be, you know your body better than anyone and if you feel something isn’t right it probably isn’t!