Monday, 18 September 2017

Introducing 'Endometriosis, My Life With You', a column by Shireen Hand

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2FcFDsz
So, I've been keeping something a little quiet from you all (not so quiet if you follow me on Instagram!), but I was contacted by an editor over at Endometriosis News last month and asked if I would be interested in some writing work with them and of course, I jumped at the chance! After submitting some of my work to them, I got the job and I now have my very own weekly column with them!... I'm absolutely over the moon!

My first column has gone live today so you can have a read of it below.

I'll pop the links up here on a weekly basis so you can have a read of the posts. I'm aiming for them to be a little different to the very personal posts I write over here at EMLWY and have a more generalised feel to them.

Endometriosis News is just one of many disease specific publications run by BioNews Services, a leading online health, science and research publication company, delivering daily, targeted news, information resources and social media content.

The Endometriosis News site is an excellent resource with news stories, social clips, information on endometriosis and other columns run by fellow bloggers and those who have experience with endometriosis, so please go on over and have a look and check out the other columnists and their sites.

I've linked everything in the Endometriosis Library at the top of the page, but will pop the links below also...

:: BioNews Services
:: Endometriosis News
:: Endometriosis, My life With You - a Column by Shireen Hand
:: Living with Endo - a Column by Jessica Duffin
:: Jessica Duffin's website: This EndoLife
:: Hot Mess - a Column by Serena Lawrence
:: Serena Lawrence's website: Worship and Tribute
:: Dachshunds & Duvets - a Column by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher
:: In This Together - a Column by Chris Robson
:: Spoons and Sunflowers - a Column by Kimberli Davino
:: The Pursuit of Healing - a Column by Rebecca Dimyan


:: This column was originally posted on Endometriosis News ::


This might be a little heavy for my very first post but I want to give you some sort of overview of where my experiences with endometriosis come from...

I started my periods when I was 12 years old, back in 1995. They were awful right from the start and I would have terrible tummy aches and would flood without warning because they were so heavy. I always thought it was normal though because that's what friends and family told me.

When I was 21, sex became painful. The doctor sent me for a variety of blood tests along with STD/STI checks but when everything came back clear, I was sent for a laparoscopy and was subsequently diagnosed with endometriosis.

In 2005, at diagnosis, endometriosis was found on my left ovary and on the Douglas pouch behind my womb. At my last surgery in 2013, it was found on my Douglas pouch, both ovaries, bladder, pelvic brim and diaphragm, my left fallopian tube and left ovary were attached to my pelvic wall and then all of that then attached to my bowels. Oh, and my left fallopian tube is also blocked and it’s all stopped me from ovulating... Basically, I’m riddled with it!

I’ve gone from having a painful few days while on my period, to suffering with pain on a daily basis, pain when I go the toilet, pain in not only my abdomen, but also across my back, down my legs and in my shoulder, neck and chest, incontinence, constipation, upset stomachs, fatigue, insomnia, mental health issues, hot flushes and mood swings. When they say endometriosis is so much more than a ‘bad period’, they sure as heck aren’t joking!

Over the years, I’ve tried every treatment option suggested to me and have had all manner of scans, surgeries and medications to help with the pain.

I’ve had 2 laparoscopies, 2 lots of laser surgery and adesiology, tried Zolodex (twice - once with and once without HRT), Decapeptyl with HRT, 3 different types of contraceptive pill, the Mirena coil, the Mirena coil and pill at the same time, the implant and a whole list of pain relief including, Tramadol, Paracetamol, Diclofenac, Naproxen, Nefopam, Ibuprofen, Dihydrocodeine and a TENS machine.

I’ve been to a pain management clinic and have seen a physiotherapist and a pelvic pain psychologist. I’ve also been put forward for experimental treatments usually only given to women with breast cancer, but unfortunately my bones couldn’t take the treatment.

Along the way, I’ve also been diagnosed with endometriosis related pain, borderline osteoporosis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, trochanteric bursitis in my left hip, anxiety and depression.

In 2012, after years of flitting around from one job to another, when I was really starting to make some headway with a career path, I was made redundant. It came at the worst possible time as I was on a period of long term sickness and with my health stopping me from being able to attend job interviews, I had to take some much needed time out, which, unfortunately, I never returned from. 

Endometriosis gave me the joyous gift of infertility too - like it hadn’t already robbed me of a life already. We were overjoyed to be granted one round of IVF and I fell pregnant in March 2014. After a very rocky pregnancy which included a lot of hospital trips and stays, an induction and an emergency c-section, our precious boy was born.

Pregnancy didn’t cure my endometriosis. I know, shocker, right!? I mean, I was told to get pregnant at 21 because it would cure me!... But, sadly, my story is very much ongoing.

So, here I am...

I started writing about my health back in 2011 over on my blog Endometriosis: my life with you. My goal has always been the same - to get that word ‘endometriosis’ out there, for people to see that word and question what it is, to spread awareness wherever I can. And along the way I found that I was supporting other women who were just as lost as me and who, in turn, supported me.

You can follow my Endometriosis News column here.

S.
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