ENDO WARRIORS: REBEKAH

Sunday 26 March 2017

Tell me a little bit about yourself….where you’re from, what you do…

 

I’m a 24 year old Adelaide girl, raised by my grandmother, now living with my amazing partner, Owen, and our black and white cat Charlie. Up until this year I was working full time, but decided now would be an awesome time to go to university, so I’m studying towards a Bachelor of Business in property and absolutely loving it so far.

 

How old were you when you were diagnosed with endometriosis?

 

My doctor first suggested I had endo when I was 12 years old. I started getting my period at 11, and they never settled into any cycle or routine, and were really painful. I was officially diagnosed when I had my first operation at 13.

 

What were your symptoms?

 

Oh my gosh! I remember all through my teens the pain and bleeding! I was in and out of hospital a lot with pain, uncontrollable random bleeding and cysts (I also have PCOS). On top of - that, fatigue, nausea and migraines. It was horrible!

 

How long did your diagnosis take?

 

Luckily, only about a year. I know there are women out there who don’t get properly diagnosed for up to a decade! This is ridiculous.

 

How did you feel when you found out you had endometriosis?

 

Because I was so young, I didn’t think too much of it. When I got older though, I started really thinking about my future and fertility. It’s weird, I never really wanted children until I was told that I may not be able to have them. It’s surreal the changes you go through emotionally.

 

How do you manage your symptoms now?

 

Honestly, through diet and lifestyle choices. I know it sounds cliché but it’s what works for me. I don’t drink, smoke or go out partying every weekend. I try and avoid “junk” food and eat as clean/healthily as I can. It really does make a difference. Having said that, I do still have days where I have a horrible migraine or pain and that’s unavoidable. My only cure for that is going back to bed!

 

When it comes to your health and well-being what’s your biggest fear?

 

I have two. The first is definitely not being able to have children. This isn’t as big a fear as it used to be as we are going through fertility treatment now and all my medications are doing their job – just crossing our fingers for our “lucky” month. But the fear of it never working still lingers. The second is the fear of missing out. Missing out on family events, holidays, exams, whatever it is. You never know when you’ll have a bad day with pain or nausea or a migraine and physically can’t do anything.

 

What’s the most frustrating thing about living with endometriosis?

 

Definitely the lack of understanding in the world. Every time I went to a new doctor they seemed to think endo wasn’t a thing and had to re-diagnose me, only to come to the same conclusion. It’s the same with work or friends/family who have never heard of endo, they just don’t understand how you can be sick but not show any obvious signs.

 

What have you learnt about yourself by enduring this condition?

 

I’ve learnt that I am allowed to say no and not feel bad about it. If I’m feeling terrible, then it is okay to take the day off work or not go to that catch up. You need to look after yourself first.

 

Does it impact your relationships with friends/family members/partner?

 

Yes! I missed quite a lot of high school because of my health. That made it really hard when I was new there because I hadn’t really made any close friends. My family are all super supportive and so is my partner Owen. Now that he understands what I have and how it affects me, he’s absolutely fantastic, he comes with me to most of my appointments.

 

What advice do you have for people living with similar health conditions?

 

If you think what you’ve been told by one doctor is a bit weird then get a second opinion! Always. Also, make all your little achievements count for more than the big, negative things in your life.

 

What made you start your blog? 

 

Through all my own research and googling, I found a huge gap in the “under 30’s suffering with Endo/PCOS but trying to conceive” category. I wanted to help fill this gap with support and a voice out there on what seems to be a pretty silent journey.

 

Why do you think we need to be talking about endometriosis?

 

Because there is still a massive lack of understanding in the medical world and the general community. It’s amazing how something that effects so many women can be so swept under the rug!

 

What are your health/fitness goals at the moment?

 

Health – keep up my healthy eating and my wonderful routine of medications.

Fitness – like everyone else, I’d love to lose some weight but my theory for now is as long as I’m fit and healthy, I’ll focus on the weight loss after I have our first bub.

 

Any last words?

 

Just stay positive!

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Follow Rebekah on social media:

 

https://www.facebook.com/rebekahzoeblog/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://www.instagram.com/rebekahzoe_blog/