I met this absolute QUEEN when I very first started Queens of Eve. My Aussie babe who has been battling endometriosis and PCOS for years.
This is her story:
Kellie was 19 when she experienced agonising pain that resulted in her waking up screaming, feeling as though her stomach was being stabbed with a knife and set on fire at the same time. The pain was so intense it prevented her from being able to stand up properly, and led to her vomiting and passing out from the severity of the pain. Understandably an incredibly scary experience when you have never had this sort of sensation before, and at this point it was exactly that. A first for Kellie.
It breaks my heart to say that this was just the beginning of what was soon to become a very regular occurrence for her, and that this traumatic experience was not going to be her last.
Kellie obviously sought the help from professionals, and found it incredibly disheartening to hear the same comments time and time again from doctors telling her that ‘it was just a bad period’ and that it was ‘nothing to worry about’. Bizarrely, even one doctor told her that it must be arthritis in her back from her years of dancing! Kellie was already aware that she had a few cysts on her ovaries, however when she raised this was told that they shouldn’t be of any concern.
As she got older, the pain got worse. She was reduced to passing out in public places, throwing up as she was behind the wheel driving, crying on the toilet floors at work and spending most nights on the floor of her shower because running the boiling water on her skin until it burnt was the only thing to give her any sense of relief. Doctors consistently gave poor advice to the point Kellie had no option but to try and believe it. That it was just a bad period, and that she was ‘fine’.
It took 9 years for Kellie to find a specialist who changed her life and took her more seriously. On top of Kellie’s PCOS, she finally had a logical explanation behind her pain, and was diagnosed with Endometriosis. The specialist explained that similar tissue to what lines the womb, was spreading outside of the womb and growing in other parts of her body causing unthinkable and unbearable pain. It was a terrifying and upsetting ordeal for Kellie to then learn that there was limited treatment for Endometriosis, and even worse that there is no current known cure. The diagnosis provided her with comfort in that she finally knew what was wrong with her, and felt relieved that she had finally met someone after 9 years who believed and listened to her.
Endometriosis also started to affect Kellie’s mental health; with concerns that friends and relationships would find her a burden, or that her pain levels would get in the way of a social life, or even how to manage at work. She pushed herself to do a lot of things that she may have been better doing without, but didn’t want to let Endometriosis defeat her, she’s a true warrior.
A huge area of Endometriosis/PCOS is that it can lead to infertility, and is incredibly hard for Kellie to accept that she may not be able to have kids. I don’t think doctors understand how much certain conditions can really affect your lifestyle and the impact within your day to day life. This is a huge thing to get your head around and insensitive/unhelpful comments just make it ten times worse for people. Kellie tries to just take it one day at a time and keep as positive as she can do, alongside the help from a very supportive partner and friends/family.
A huge area that we can all help out with is learning to understand. Kellie feels as though she is constantly having to justify to others that she IS truly sick. Thoughtless comments such as ‘but you don’t look sick?’ or ‘just get a hysterectomy’. Endometriosis is a chronic condition, that means no matter what you do it isn’t going to go away. Comments like ‘why don’t you just try X’ can come across insensitive as chronic illness sufferers will be trying everything they can to feel as best as they possibly can. I always think asking things like ‘is there anything I can do to help?’ or ‘do you need anything?’ or even ‘I want to understand more, can we talk about this?’ is a lot more helpful and will probably be appreciated more so.
Kellie started blogging about her condition, and you can follow her journey at @thatendogoddess on Instagram. She is an absolute hero and a very dear friend of mine.