Rachel's anxiety is linked to her recent diagnosis of endometriosis. Find out what she's doing to reduce her symptoms.
My name's Rachel and I'm 22 years old, and this is my journey with endometriosis. When I was a teenager and had sex for the first time it was excruciating, really painful. But I had always heard, you know, in the Dolly magazines and everything, that that's what it's like and it's meant to be painful and you're probably going to bleed and it's totally normal and it's totally fine.
It wasn't until I actually in the past couple of years sort of started focusing more on my health a bit more, because I suffer with anxiety a lot, that I was actually seeing a psychiatrist to get my medications all balanced out. And being a doctor he asked me a series of questions because obviously sex was effecting my mental state quite significantly, which is something a lot of people don't talk about. I didn't realise that with endo, anxiety is really quite common. That was probably one of the hallmarks that my doctor recognised and put the correlation together when I saw him in the consult.
Once the psychiatrist had written out the referral I went and I saw my gynaecologist and that was only a few months ago. He was like okay, so what we'll do is we'll send you for some screening bloods, we'll get your pap smear updated, and then it was like the words, just time like went so slow, and then he was like and then we need to get you in for surgery. And I was like oh, but why. Why do I need to get surgery done? And he was just like in such in no uncertain terms, because you have endometriosis.
I was actually quite excited to finally be able to get some answers. And they had found endometriosis, moderate endometriosis, sitting all in my pouch of Douglas. And so I had a lot of gastrointestinal issues, which probably explains the link with the pouch of Douglas 'cause that's within such close proximity. Luckily I'd caught it early enough because it hadn't reached my ovaries or fallopian tubes. I was really fortunate that I was able to have a doctor that saw me so quickly, was so confident, went straight in and removed it, and was always open to the idea that the surgery is not the cure and it's such a multidisciplinary approach that you have to have.
What's so unique about endo is my pain is not the same as other women. So my pain is all, it's not front centred in like what you would imagine. You'd think when you have endo that it's the uterus that hurts. For me it's like everywhere else starts hurting. I'm sure a lot of other women may relate to this. You actually don't know that you have the disease until it's gone. Like until it's all removed you don't know that it's actually a part of you. So something that's been a part of you for such a long period of time, emotionally, that you've been carrying along and you don't actually really get a chance to own it, so that was the hard part for me.
With endo you get so tired, and that's like one of my biggest problems. I just get so tired. And so at the end of a really long day to come home and have to do exercises and all of these things, sometimes you can't help but think like why me. I'm sick and tired of feeling not great. So it's a bit challenging in that sense but I am really very optimistic that I will get a proper full recovery.