Mamamia Cares: Women’s problems, hey?

Alex Corbett
Alex Corbett

 

 

 

 

By ALEX CORBETT

Women’s problems hey… Periods, cramps, pain, tampons – all that jazz. It’s not comfortable to even think about. And it’s definitely not something that we look forward to. I was 12 when my periods began, and I was in immense pain from the get-go, and was missing school and work… but was told by everyone that it was normal, and I would have to “get used to it”.

However, I never got used to it. If anything, it got worse, but the doctors wouldn’t listen to me. It’s funny that even though I was 12 and had never dealt with this before, I knew something was wrong, really wrong – I was way ahead of all of the doctors, and subsequently it would take another 5 years until they would actually diagnose me with something… Endometriosis.

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When I was diagnosed it was the best moment ever. Of course I didn’t have IBS or celiac disease and I wasn’t crazy and the pain wasn’t in my head! (Something that a couple of doctors actually suggested.) It was in my pelvis!! Because every test for every other condition came back clear, and the treatments they would put me through for anything else, hadn’t helped me.

So, I have Endometriosis, now what? I didn’t know what it was when I was diagnosed, I hadn’t even heard of it before. But apparently, there is no cause or cure. So even though I could name what was wrong with me, I was still a long way from fixing it. It had come and gone for years.  For months at a time I would be lead into a false sense of security with no pain – then the next day, life kicks me in the ovary, just to keep me on my toes. It had been 3 years since my diagnosis, totalling 8 years now that I’ve been sick, and I’ve finally had enough.

Not ‘breaking point’ enough, but, ‘I’m going to grab this thing and show it what I’m made of’ enough.

For years I saw every doctor I could, doing the rounds without a thought, just assuming that eventually, they would give me a pill or make me undergo a procedure to make it all better. And don’t get me wrong, they have put me through every treatment possible in this time, but nothing has been able to keep my chronic pain at bay for longer than 6 months. I have had three laparoscopies and am now on the medication, Zoladex, which has put me in a temporary state of menopause to postpone yet another surgery.

Patient On Hospital BedYou assume that doctors will fix you, that’s what they’re there for. But when there actually isn’t a cure for what you have, it makes you reassess how you perceive the medical world, and teaches you that at the end of the day, you really only have yourself. That’s when I began a blog, to vent my pain and frustration to others that understood my feelings. And in my search for answers and support I have discovered that I am actually able to help others with this blog too…  www.the-endo-diaries.com

These thoughts lead me to having an epiphany that would change everything; that I have this condition and because I want to be fixed and I want there to be a cure, I am going to make it my life’s work to help others suffering with these same frustrations. I have got to the point where I’ve realised, doctors aren’t going to help me, it’s not the doctors that hold fundraisers and create awareness for conditions like Endo, it’s the poor people that have suffered for years and finally have enough and take a stand that create change.

My first mission to raise awareness is actually coming up coming up soon! The Jean Hailes Foundation, which is the only real support for those with Endo in Australia, is encouraging women all over Australia to focus on their health and make it a priority in the first week of September. The week is allowing anyone who wants to, to hold a free women’s health event to raise awareness for whatever they are passionate about, the whole aim of the week is to focus on Wellness, Ourselves, Movement, Eating and Networking… The entire week standing for W.O.M.E.N.

Without foundations like Jean Hailes, women crippled with Endometriosis are suffering in silence. They are told that it’s ‘normal’ and are palmed off to every doctor around, eventually meaning it takes up to a decade to get accurately diagnosed. There needs to be more support, more awareness and definitely more discussion about this disease. I want to see change. Do you?

Alex Corbett is a 20 year old girl from Victoria, who until she becomes qualified as an Endometriosis Counsellor, is trying to provide as much information and support to others suffering with Endometriosis as possible with her pages titled, The Endo Diaries.

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