Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Endometriosis - Rechelle's Story

Throughout my own Endometriosis journey, I have been blessed to meet other ladies who are experiencing what I live with. One of these ladies is Rechelle Heldsinger. 

Rechelle heads up a number of Facebook Groups specifically for South African Endo Warriors, and also arranged this year's Endo March, of which the main one will happen at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 28 March 2015. She is an inspiration and role model for so many women. 

Listening to her story breaks my heart; she displays such strength in the face of such terrible adversity. Below is part of her story, taken with her permission from her blog

On her diagnosis:

I started my period at age 12. (1996) I remember that day so well. It was the day that I became a woman. I remember how excited my mom was and how she told me about the birds and the bee’s.
Mom did warn me that it could be painful., but that I just have to hang in there, because it’s part of being a woman. Mom also battled with excruciating painful periods, so she thought it was normal.
1998 - (14 years old) the year all my problems began.
I had such bad periods.  It felt like someone was ripping my uterus and ovaries apart while pulling barbed wire around them.
We finally went to a Gynaecologist.  He suspected Endometriosis but played it down as a hormonal imbalance because I was too young to have endo and I was not even sexually active then.  He put me on a birth control pill. Yes, someone who was not sexually active was put on a birth control pill. The side effects were horrific but I tried to hold out.
2001 (17 years old) – after being on birth control pills for 3 years, you would think that it was going better with me. Nope. Not the case at all. It was only after I collapsed for the 4th time in one week, with my mom fighting and demanding further investigation that the gynaecologist agreed to do a laparoscopy.   Well low and behold, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I remember the Dr. saying that I might have trouble conceiving one day. But hell., I was only 17 years old and I did not even think about having kids then. I was still a virgin, and did not even have a boyfriend.
On infertility:
I had many boyfriends who walked out on me as soon as they found out I had Endometriosis and that I might not be able to have kids one day.  As soon as I was in such bad pain that I couldn’t do anything or did not want to go anywhere, they turned their backs on me. I got so used to being disappointed, that when I met my husband, I thought he was going to do the exact same thing.
I met my hubby in 2009, and I played open cards with him from day one, of course waiting for him to walk away.  He didn’t, he stayed and he has been there every step of the way. He has been with me through every surgery from 2009 till now, he is the one person I need with me before I go into theatre, and he is the first person I want to see when I wake up.

It has not been an easy road for us, the emotional turmoil we have been trough, the countless doctors we have seen, and the countless disappointments every month when that damn witch shows up, and just breaks our hearts in two. I cannot explain the hurt you feel when this is the road that was chosen for you.
I got to a point that with being in excruciating pain the whole time because of the Endometriosis, and the fact that I am not falling pregnant, I climbed into my own little black hole. I was crying constantly, I was so badly depressed, that I had to use anti-depression drugs just to make it through the day. I did not like those pills at all, it made me feel so numb and dead inside. I eventually managed to pick myself up again, and move forward. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own, I had wonderful support.
It has been 5 years of trying for a baby, and so many Dr. visits. My hubby kind of made sense, when he one day said to me that all these doctors are like mechanics, they all find something wrong, and all end up blaming the other doctors.
On why she fights:
I am 30 years old. I have had 8 operations for Endo.  My last one was 25th June 2014, a laparotomy (open surgery).  My bowel was stuck to the left pelvic wall. I had endo on the colon that had to be excised.
This disease is the reason why we don’t have kids yet. The emotional trauma it puts you through is so hard to explain to anyone who has not walked this road.
This is just me sharing my story. But keep an eye on this page. We are trying to raise awareness in South Africa.
And I will not stop fighting until we have done that.

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