I always wanted lots of children, but at 33, my body made the decision for me.
This is my story.
I woke in my hospital room, very dazed, not really knowing where I was or what had just happened. I woke to the news that my one-and-a-half-hour operation for my endometriosis had turned into a five-hour operation.
The illness had spread through my body like cancer, attaching itself to other major organs, which had to be removed—including parts of my bowel and my appendix.
Surgeons also had to remove one of my ovaries. They were hoping I could keep both so that I didn't get thrown into menopause at the age of 37, but both were mangled so they took the worst one out.
I always wanted children at an early age. I have the best relationship with my mum and I wanted to have that relationship with my children; I didn’t want to be an older mum, I wanted to be a young mum—just like my mother was.
Rewinding to my early 20s, where I met the man of my dreams and knew we would spend this life together. I had a vision and had planned out what I wanted in regards to children. Thankfully, his vision was the same. He was 11 years older than me, so having children was already on his radar, he just needed the right life partner to start with. Hello!
I was 23 when I had my first child and 26 when I had my second. Up until this point, my periods were perfect. They came every 28 days, like clockwork, and lasted five days, but it wasn't long after my second child that this all changed.
I noticed a change in my monthly friend, who slowly became my worst enemy due to the intruder lurking in the shadows, whose voice could only be heard when my friend popped over for her monthly visit.
This intruder in the shadows had a name but kept its identity hidden for many years, and it wasn’t through lack of trying to find out, it just knew how to mask itself really well.
The situation was this: Each month I knew I was about to get my period because I started contracting massive pains in my pelvic region. It was like my own personal body alarm, knocking on my door.
For the first three days of my period I would be in excruciating pain; crippling, bent over in agony, knock you right off your feet pain.
As a woman, mums, business owners… we tend to always put ourselves last.
How often have we heard these words come out of our mouths: “I don’t have time; I’ve got too much to do; I’ll do it once I finish; I'm too busy right now; I’ll deal with it later”?
I put up with this pain for years, visiting countless doctors over those years in tears. They ran tests, did x-rays and ultrasounds but would always come back saying, “there is nothing wrong, we can’t find anything”.
The pain medication would wipe me out for days, leaving me bedridden or like a walking zombie. It affected my mental wellbeing and was crippling physically and emotionally.
I experienced this each and every month for six years until, at 33, I visited the gynaecologist, who sent me for a CT Scan.
It was there that my shadow, my enemy, appeared. Say hello to endometriosis.
My gyno broke the news to me that I had endo and at the age of 33, being still so young and with the possibility of wanting more children.
I was asked to think about my options, and I did for a few months, then a few months turned into a few years and, at 36, my body had had enough. It made the decision for me.
I’d had the conversation with my husband about more children, and although he would have loved an entire cricket team, I was happy with the two I had (have).
I was advised that it was a simple one and half hour surgery and I’d be out in no time. For me, that wasn’t the case.
I previously thought the operation was fairly routine, yet it was nothing of the sort. I was hospitalised for seven days and released on the provision I would rest at home in bed. But a week later, I didn’t feel like I was getting better, in fact, I was going downhill fast.
I remember getting up and looking in the mirror and was horrified at the skeletal face looking back at me. I felt really unwell and had excruciating pain shooting up my body, so I called the doctor who diagnosed me with peritonitis.
Left untreated, it can rapidly spread into the blood and to other organs, resulting in multiple organ failure and death. I was rushed by ambulance to hospital where I spent another seven days being drained of the infection and slowly going insane listening to people snore in the beds beside me.
The lesson and moral to my journey?
Make yourself a priority and get things checked out. Listen to your body and always get multiple opinions if you aren’t happy with the one you received—and don’t procrastinate in making decisions when it comes to your health.
Apparently, it only gets worse, take it from me, I’m living proof.
For more information or support visit Endometriosis Australia.