March is awareness month for Endometriosis
This March we are encouraged to wear yellow and to talk about the debilitating condition that affects 1 in 9 women to help end the silence. The team at Curvy Swimwear want to splash as much yellow on women across Australia as they can so, for the month of March our yellow sarongs will be on sale for $30 and $15 of each purchase will be donated to Endometriosis Australia to help fund research, currently there is no cure for Endometriosis.
Our PR Manager and Spokesperson Mel Greig is a Stage 4 Endometriosis sufferer, and this is her journey with Endo:
“I just got home from seeing my obstetrician/gynaecologist and I still have his words ringing through my ears: “The endometriosis is everywhere; it even took over your appendix. You’re in trouble.”
For people who are not aware of endometriosis, it’s to do with endometrial tissue that resides outside the womb. To put it simply, it is basically big round balls and small dots that cause a hell of a lot of pain for women, often crippling them. Endometriosis causes inflammation and can lead to valuable baby-making parts and other organs fusing together, making it almost impossible for eggs to fertilise naturally, rendering many women infertile.
I am one of those women. I have been told that I will not be able to fall pregnant naturally.
I have Stage 4 endo and my patches are everywhere.
Endometriosis has been with me since I was 17; it sadly runs in my family. I have kept it at bay for 10 years by being on the pill.
I went off the pill recently to try for babies. And now, just like when I was first diagnosed at 17, I feel every ounce of pain my endo brings every month. I go into self-lockdown for 24 hours at the start of each cycle; I cannot move, every step I take I am in severe pain. Ironically the pain feels what I envisage childbirth to be: absolutely horrific.
Since going off the pill, what I have learned is that while the pill took away the pain, it did not take away the endo. The endo grew for 10 years while I was on the pill and completely took over my bowel and uterus; I had major surgery in March 2013 to detach my ovary from my bowel, which had become joined from the sticky Endometriosis patches.
I was lucky the doctor could save my bowel and ovaries after doing a small resection. The doctor cleaned me out and said I had six months until it would all grow back. One year later I am getting ready for more major surgery after it did grow back (and decided to bring its army with it.)
My next surgery will be my worse and it could see me lose my ovaries. To say I am devastated would be an understatement. It makes me feel like I am not a real woman. I know I should not feel that way, but when you think about how children come into this world? It is hard to believe that I can't make that process happen.
An ex-boyfriend once told me, “Just take a Panadol and eat chocolate like every other woman does... You’re being a drama queen.”
To partners, employers and non-sufferers: endometriosis is a real disease. When a woman with endo complains of period pain, shit is real. If she calls in sick, you better bloody believe she is sick enough not to come in. She cannot walk. Radio is a male-dominated industry, and for a female, it is hard to turn to a team of six men and say, "My period pain is unbearable, I can't work today" – using the word PERIOD is forbidden in a man's world. The more aware people are of endometriosis, the easier it will be to talk about.
Endometriosis is a horrible disease. There are different levels of pain and damage, but all endo sufferers feel the same in the sense that we just want some understanding. It is real and we need your support. Sound it out with me: E-N-D-O-M-E-T-R-I-O-S-I-S. Learn it and remember it.
Please remember that bad period pain is not normal, get checked.”
For more information about Endometriosis please visit www.endometriosisaustralia.org