At 26, I’m having a hysterectomy.

I’m Danielle, I am 26 years old and I am going to have a hysterectomy.

The word hysterectomy isn’t something that many women in their 20’s talk about, understand, or even consider in their lifetime. It’s not a topic you bring up over a couple of margaritas with your friends. It is a topic that people avoid. I am still avoiding it to be honest. No one knows how to react to such a conversation. People want to comfort you, to support you, but how do you do that exactly?

I have always been the type of person to underplay things. I don’t like to make a big deal of anything to do with myself. I have booked in three days of sick leave for my operation. I know I will end up taking off more time, but I just can’t bring myself to have it in writing. My motto has always been, “she’ll be right”.

I have spoken about my struggles regarding my reproductive health for years. I haven’t hidden it, nor have I tried to sugar-coat it. It is real, it is heartbreaking, it drains you, infuriates you and it makes you question life. But what endometriosis and PCOS have done to me is more than just that; these diseases have made me become a different person.

stomach pain
"These diseases have made me become a different person." Image via iStock.

In the beginning I didn't like the person I had become. I was depressed, I was angry and above all I felt alone. I felt as though no one understood what I was going through. I knew I had to change. My perspective shifted. I had to be strong, to be brave and I had to try so very hard to be positive. I knew I had to tackle this bullshit head on.

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I have jumped through many hoops, but for some reason, I will never become a Wii Fit hula hoop champion. I have tried every pain killer on the market. Every birth control medication. I've tried natural therapies. I've changed my lifestyle. You name it, I've done it. Some has helped and some have made it much worse.

But for some reason telling my boss, a woman who has no children, who is incredibly successful, that I admire, that I am about to undergo a major operation, brought me to tears. Telling her made me realise that this is a big deal. That this is either going to make or break me.

I have been mentally preparing myself for this day to come for quite some time now. I didn't wake up one morning and decide "today is the day I have a hysterectomy".  It has been in the pipeline for years - I have just been prolonging the inevitable. I've had many conversations about it, with many doctors - but for some reason, once it is set is stone, my emotions have begun to run wild.

"I have been mentally preparing myself for this day to come for quite some time now." Image via iStock.

For a long time, I use to think "why me?", "what did I do to deserve this?”, “I just want this to be over”.  But I have finally come to the realisation that the hand I have been dealt is what I needed.

It is hard to understand or even try to comprehend what a woman goes through dealing with these diseases. On the outside I look fine, but on the inside I feel like I am dying a slow and painful death.

There is no cure for endometriosis, I know that a hysterectomy won't "fix" me - but it can't make it much worse. Let me paint you a picture. In the last two months I have had my "period" for more than a month. Now let's make this clear, I'm not talking about a little bit of spotting and a panty liner. I'm talking about, needing to get shares in Libra! Losing so much blood that you fear you may actually die, ok, maybe not die but if you weren't anaemic, you would be now.

Being paranoid constantly that your dress is going to be covered in blood. That dark clothing is the only option you'll ever have. Being in so much pain you have to mentally prepare yourself to get out of bed, because you know it's only going to go downhill from there.

Syl Freedman and her mother Lesley have done incredible things for women suffering with endometriosis. They have created a space for women to unite, to share their struggles, their journeys and to help each other. They have fought long and hard to have Visanne available in Australia, they have held talks to educate women - they are amazing people doing amazing things. I take my hat off to everyone who is involved with EndoActive, you are changing lives.

What is endometriosis? Post continues below. 

But unfortunately, I have been placed in a category where I have now tried everything and I no longer have any more options. Things that should have worked, haven’t. Medication that has worked for others, doesn’t. I am special.

It's heartbreaking for my doctors. They have witnessed me crying, screaming, yelling, complaining about this absolute ass of a situation and there isn't anything left for them to do. My doctors have known me for over eight years, we all thought we would be able to make my life much easier. It obviously didn't pan out that way.

It is heartbreaking to think, that as daughters grow up, they too may suffer from these horrendous diseases also.

pain paracetamol
"They have witnessed me crying, screaming, yelling..." Image via iStock.

But what I find even worse; is that I suffered for so long and no one could help me. Everyone thought I was making it up. That nothing was wrong with me. How do you think that makes a young girl feel? Others can't feel your pain. How do they know that it doesn't exist if they don't investigate it?! They don't. I had to move 10 hours away, to a major city to get help, to have someone finally believe me.

I've told a few people personally about my operation and I feel like I need to justify myself to people. Like I need to justify what I need to do with my body so I can live a little bit easier. I'm over justifying myself, I just want a little bit of relief! The way I look at it is I could not have this operation. I can endure this for another 20 odd years until menopause or when it may be an acceptable age for people to come to terms with my choice. But doesn’t that sound horrible? Why would I put this off when I have already put up with this for so long? What is the point?

Now people may be thinking, why am I sharing this? Well, the answer is simple - I don’t want young girls, women, mothers, daughters, ANYONE to go through what I have. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I wish, I hope, I pray that one day in the not too distant future there is a cure for these conditions. That women can live “normal” lives, that we have options and that there is more research being undertaken. We shouldn’t have to worry that we may not be able to children, or that having fertility treatments makes us less of a woman.

I can do this. September here I come.

For more from Danielle Bortolussi, you can follow her on Facebook, here

And on Instagram, here

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