• Emily Cashel

It is worth having an answer.

I'm from Australia, age 26 and had treatment at age 23.

An elite athlete in swimming, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease mid 2012 after 6-9 months of testing and mis-diagnosing. With the onset of my symptoms for Hashi's I noticed significant change in my menstrual cycle and with my pelvic area in general. I thought because I was not as active and not exercising as much, as my training schedule had pretty much stopped, that was why my periods were very heavy and painful. I finally got to a point where I needed more than my GP's advise and to know if there was an actual problem or if this was normal ( just a lucky lady that has shit periods). My mother had experienced the same and it was just always put down to family genes. Not having a grandmother on either side it was hard to know if anything was genetic or if they had problems themselves and any treatments.

I had the joys of the ultrasound tests external and internal before I saw my Gynecologist. Nothing showed up on the results of the ultrasounds. No sign of Endometriosis or any bleeding. I was always going to have an IUD implanted to help ease with the heaviness of my bleeding which, for comfort reasons and advised by my Gyno, was done under General Anesthetic.

I then put forward that while under, I would like a laparoscopy done to rule out if there is or isn't endometriosis and for it to be cut out if there was any. (It seemed logical rather than having to go through surgery again later on).

I woke up from the surgery being told that they had found a significant amount of endometriosis present, they had cut it all out and it was not near any of my organs or my tubes. Obviously as much of a win this was, it was certainly not expected waking up from what I thought was just a short procedure.

Being a keyhole procedure there was no major abdominal discomfort or major stitching. I had a smooth recovery, barely any pain and no dirty bandages, just a slight inconvenience of one of the scars being right on the undies line so wearing shorts was hard for a week. Being an athlete, I worried about my muscles and core being disturbed and having issues but there were none.

There was no real adjustment needed for the IUD either. Pains were not as severe and subsided very quickly and I have been fortunate that bleeding is at minimum for me now.

I still get symptoms each month of my period and I've noticed some are more pronounced than what they use to be; like my moods or bloating but I wouldn't change my decision to get the surgery. I believe it has helped me with my Hashimoto's and the hormonal balance as well as with my Endometriosis. Obviously there is never a solution to Endo, as every now and again I still feel a pain in my pelvic area, but it is not as severe nor does it last as long.

After discussing this with my gyno, the plan of attack is to change the IUD earlier than needed as more surgery means more scar tissue, however it is not impacting my day to day life like it was previously. I have been back training and competing and my scars are almost nonexistent.

It is worth having an answer. It might not be a cure but knowing it can be relieved or that you can make things easier for yourself helps you deal with the chronic disease that we feel we have to suffer with in silence.

My disease does not define me x

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