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Tegan’s endometriosis story

Tegan was just diagnosed with endo after showing symptoms for 14 years. Now she's trying to conceive.

Transcript

My name's Tegan, I'm 28 years old, I'm a teacher, and I was recently diagnosed with endometriosis.

My earliest memory is probably when I was about 15 years old, my monthly routine basically was, I was waking up very early in the morning, anywhere between 1am and 4am and it was like clockwork every single month. I'd wake up, I'd feel little bits of pains, pains would start getting more sharp and intense. When I was in that pain I knew that the pain couldn't really get much worse and it was stopping me from doing things, it was stopping me from walking, it was really uncomfortable. But as soon as you passed that cycle and you stop feeling that pain, you start to second guess yourself and think, was I really in as much pain as I thought, was I being dramatic, was I hormonal, was I bunging it on? And you would start to second guess yourself even though it happened to me for probably around 14 years. I still second guess myself, and even now, I'm starting to second guess myself, even though I know I've got endometriosis, I know there's a chance that it's grown back, I still second guess myself as soon as the pain has passed.

So for about 14 years, I've been feeling this way, having the same symptoms every single month. When I was younger, the doctors would kind of say, it's normal, and when you're so young, and you're so fragile-looking as well, because I was such a petite person, Mum always said, they just thought I had no pain threshold, even though Mum thought my pain threshold was through the roof.

So it wasn't 'til I was about 27 that I mentioned it to a doctor and they said, oh well let's just try one more painkiller, and then we'll go from there. I also had two ultrasounds to see if I had cysts, because my mum has polycystic ovaries, so I had two ultrasounds in two years before I got the referral to go and see a gynaecologist suspecting of endometriosis.

Two years ago, it started to affect my work, so at lunch time, because I would be holding the pain in the best I could, and while I was feeling lightheaded and just really struggling with the pain, I would get through the morning session of teaching, and then at lunch time I would walk into my communal kind of staffroom. We have PLT rooms, so it's just the people in our year level that's sitting there, and I would lie on the floor with a heat pack, have my pain killers, and I would just curl up and I would sit there and I wouldn't always cry because sometimes when you're in so much pain you can't cry. And then there was one day which was probably the worst day ever, as soon as that lunch bell rang, and my kids were out of the classroom I burst out into tears and I went straight over to the office and I said, "I can barely walk, I am in severe pain." And they got me to sit down in the office and they were all looking at me like I was dying basically. They hadn't seen it that bad before. And we actually had to call my mum to come and get me, because my legs were shaking so much from pain that I could not drive, could not walk.

So then I, you know, went and saw the gynaecologist and I gave her all my symptoms, and she said she would be more stunned if when they did laparoscopy they didn't find endometriosis. So, then she booked me in for my surgery only a couple weeks later and I remember lying on the... on the bed, they were about to wheel me in for my surgery and I started crying and I thought it was because I don't like needles and I don't like things like that. But when I really thought about it deeper, I was crying because I was so scared they weren't going to find anything and there'd be no reason whatsoever for me to be in that much amount of pain and maybe I'm not as tough as I think I am when it comes to pain, and I was second guessing myself that whole time that I was lying there. And then my gynaecologist came in and she said to me, it was really bad, it was everywhere.

We don't say we would like to have children, because we know the reality is quite low for that to happen. But we would like to have a child and I'd like to have that option. After having a year with the Mirena, knowing that I didn't have to be in excruciating pain every month, I have said to myself, I'm not going to do this for a long time, I'm not going to wait two, three, five years. It's already hard enough for people to fall pregnant these days, let alone falling pregnant with endometriosis.

So knowing all of that and knowing my family history with struggling to fall pregnant, I'm not going to give myself very long, I've given myself, you know, a set window time frame, and then I'll be going to the doctor and looking at deciding to have some intervention and if that doesn't work, going to the more extreme types of intervention. Because I don't know how long I can put up with this for, and especially if the pain's going to keep coming back as quickly as it has, I don't want to.