I don’t look sick right? The typical thought for somebody who doesn’t understand what an invisible illness is. My names Sinead Smythe and I am 1 in 10 who suffers with endometriosis! It affects almost every aspect of my life!
Working, my social life, relationships and eating habits.
Most ch1ldren I knew growing up were worried about acne, sex and what they looked like when they hit puberty.
My worry was reaching the time of the month when my period came!
I was only 11 when I started my monthly cycle.
I was such a y0ung girl going through unbearable pain, having absolutely no idea what was going on.
I can’t even put into words how painful it was and still is now!
IT IS SO CRIPPLING you cannot move from the same position, I’d be suck rolled up in a ball for hours on end. Just waiting for it to stop.
My attendance at growing up at school was awful. I passed hardly any GCSE’s and I had to leave college due to attendance and the affect it had on my mental health.
Throughout years and years of never ending pain and COUNTLESS trips to the doctors and a&e with no help in the slightest,
I decided to take myself to a sexual health clinic (aged 18).
At first I was diagnosed with PID (pelvic inflammation disease).
After finishing the medication they gave me for pelvic inflammatory disease, nothing had changed, I was still in the same boat as I was before! I then went on for more & more test’s for STI’s/IBS and bladder infections which just kept coming back clear.
So what did they do next?
They gave me EVEN MORE PID medication…
2 at a time, 2 weeks worth... in total I had 16weeks worth of antibiotics.
I can still remember how drained and poorly they made me feel.
I know there is only so much A&E can do but it's your only option when you can't walk, as well as almost pass out, as well as throwing up due to how bad the pain can get.
We get given Morphine, IV paracetamol, Tramadol, Codeine (the list goes on)
And believe it or not this given sometimes does even touch the sides of the pain of what endometriosis is causing you.
Aged 19 - I was referred to have a laparoscopy (which is keyhole surgery through your belly button and they make little incisions either side to have a look at whats going on inside.
Well that’s when I was diagnosed with something called ‘endometriosis’
I never knew the ins and outs of endometriosis. I automatically thought yay no more pain, I'm better!
3+ months went on and little did I know, endometriosis is a recurring illness.
I’ve sadly lost 2 jobs due to endometriosis as I became unreliable. Even now I struggle to hold down a job because of how physically, mentally & emotionally exhausted I am.
My employer’s didn't understand. They thought I was lying because I didn't physically look unwell, they called it 'a bad period’ or me being dramatic.
One doctor actually told me to have a baby as that's the only way it will cure me.
At age 19, in no relationship, telling me my only option is having a ch1ld, although having ch1ldren may never be an option for me due to endometriosis causing infertility.
Another doctor told me a hysterectomy is also another option for women when the endometriosis grows back more aggressively and that is another cure?
WELL that hit me like a rock.
I can sure tell you they are WRONG!
ENDOMETRIOSIS HAS NO CURE.
We have to go through hormone treatments which puts our bodies into ‘fake’ early menopause, pain relief and COUNTLESS surgeries to try keep us tame.
Depression and anxiety took over my mindset. I began I feel suicidal. I felt so awful within myself to the point I didn’t even want to leave the house even if I felt half normal.
Imagine being told one day you may no be able to have a family?
Imagine having to explain this to a man or female you m33t or the man/female you already are with??
IVF - yes it's possible but still heart aching
Hysterectomies? - Women are actually made to feel like this is there only next option.
A sex life? A LOT of women who suffer with endometriosis do not even get to have sex. I didn’t for 12+ months back in 2016 because the pain was unbearable to the point I’d be in tears almost throwing up. Even the thought of it made me feel sick.
Being able to feel good during sex is what makes us feel amazing, it's what makes us women. Imagine having that pleasure taken away from you.
That affection and emotion you feel, you can no longer feel.
Imagine the impact on their relationships?
The pain I feel almost every day guaranteed at some point is like a knife thats literally on fire trying to work its way out, carving my insides out like a pumpkin, fireworks exploding on repeat for hours in your lower abdominal area and lower back.
I spend hours, to days, to almost weeks in bed because I physically cannot walk.
I have had it removed twice now.
My first laparoscopy was in January 2016 and second laparoscopy was in May 2017.
I am currently waiting on my third.
We go through these surgeries and the recovery process for endometriosis to only grow back in time!
I am now 24 and this is something myself and all suffers will go through for the rest of our lives.