Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Looking back now, I can see I was absolutely doing the right thing by listening to my body. But at the time, I felt like giving up. Although I felt I had made some small some break throughs, I was always expecting the next doctor to fob me off again. There were so many ups and downs, that most of the time it felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I even started to become defensive when my parents asked me for updates on what was going on. I had started to question whether it was all in my head. Was I being overly dramatic? Was I just too sensitive? I felt like maybe I was worrying my family for no reason. The truth was I hadn’t even shared all of my symptoms with them. Some just felt too personal to talk about. That is the difficult part, it’s not exactly common when talking to friends and family to go into graphic details about your period, sex life or bathroom habits. It’s pretty uncomfortable to bring up that you are concerned that things aren’t right when it comes to such personal subjects.

When my appointment with the consultant came around, I went in with pretty low expectations. When I was told on arrival that I would be seeing someone that was filling in for the usual consultant I felt like turning around and leaving! I had waited all this time and I wasn’t even going to get to see the person I was meant to? I was so annoyed. Well it turns out that fate is a funny thing… I had prepared a written list of my symptoms so I wouldn’t forget to mention anything. I had been asked the same questions so many times at this point but I ended up getting quite emotional explaining how I was feeling. I think it was the frustration from all the other appointments and tests bubbling up and I felt like this was my last chance to be taken seriously. Much to my surprise the doctor completely agreed that something was not right. Unlike the GPs I had seen up to this point, he believed all my symptoms were connected. It turns out he usually works in a private hospital as an Endometriosis specialist! You guessed it, He believed that I was suffering from Endometriosis and after an examination told me he was 99% sure. Those are pretty strong odds. I was in shock.

During my appointment, I was told that the only way to get a formal diagnosis is to have a surgical procedure called a Laparoscopy. This is where they perform a keyhole surgery and use a small camera to look inside your abdomen. He explained that during the operation if they find any Endometriosis, that they use lasers to burn the tissue and this can potentially help with the pain and can also improve your chances of having a baby. I received so much information in this appointment that I felt totally overwhelmed! I felt very aware that I didn’t have anyone there with me and was worried I hadn’t taken it all in. I didn’t feel ready to make a decision about going ahead with surgery after just one 15 minute appointment. I decided to go away and think it all through once I had spoken to my boyfriend and family. He suggested tricycling my pill in the meantime (where you take three packets back to back) to see if it helped. I made an appointment to come back and see him in three months time, before he went back to his usual hospital post.

When I told my family and my boyfriend about the option of surgery I think they were a bit shocked. I was forced to address how bad things had become and be open about all my symptoms and how they were affecting me. I was guilty of often downplaying things, especially to my boyfriend, because I didn’t want him to be put off me. I know that may sound silly but it is hard to admit to your partner that being intimate can be painful. I know he would never in a million years want to hurt me and I was fearful that reality would push him away. I’m in my twenties, this should be the prime of our relationship… I was scared. I am really lucky that I received unfaltering support and he has been my rock through all of this. I didn’t take the decision of the Laparoscopy lightly because no matter how routine an operation it is, it comes with risks. I kept thinking, what if I go through this and they don’t find anything? I will have put myself through an unnecessary surgery just be back to square one. As a model I don’t get paid sick leave or holidays so taking time off and the loss of earnings while recovering was also a factor to consider. The thought of them finding something is pretty scary too so it felt like a lose/lose situation!

I went through every possible scenario in my head, trust me I’m an over thinker! There were two things I couldn’t get out of my head. Firstly If I don’t go ahead with the surgery, can I cope with not knowing? I will never have a definitive answer and continue to find it difficult to find any suitable treatment. Secondly the fact that I do want a family one day. I am the type of person that coos over women’s baby bumps and points out cute babies in prams! If I don’t have surgery I won’t know if I may need help one day getting pregnant or if I will need to prepare myself for the possibility of infertility. I came to the decision that I needed to know one way or the other. If surgery was the only way to get answers then that is what I had to do…

Until next time…

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