Are you familiar with the game ‘spotto’? I now consider myself an expert.
My expertise was forged in the depths of car trip boredom, over many hours travelling between the Hunter Valley and Sydney during a school holiday visit by my nephew and nieces a few years back. The aim of the game is to keep a keen eye out for yellow vehicles, and upon spotting one, be the first to yell out ‘spotto!’. The person with the most ‘spottos’ wins.
At first they seem like a rare find, the odd yellow mini, a bus here and there, a taxi, a construction worker’s line marker… and then all of sudden, they seem to be everywhere and you find yourself and your fellow passengers blurting out ‘Spotto!’ almost constantly. It’s always the way isn’t it? Until you’re really looking for something you could be forgiven for not noticing when its right in front of your eyes.
Endometriosis is like that. It seems that unless it’s affected your life directly or that of someone close to you it remains unheard of and unspoken, unyielding and incurable, and yet one in ten women experience it’s chronic and debilitating pain.
For me, endometriosis, is an old foe from my childhood. I had multiple surgeries to remove it before I had even turned 21. Staying on the pill suppressed the symptoms for many years, until I took an 8 week break in late 2016 on the advice of a local GP. This break resulted in the development of an 6.7cm ovarian cyst (endometrioma) that ruptured and caused over 12 months of extraordinary pain, constant hospitalisation, mis-diagnosis and mis-management, until I found Dr Jason Chow at The Women’s Health and Research Institute in Sydney. The surgery he performed and the rehabilitation plan he created has given me my life back.
I am still coming to grips with how ill I was and how much I missed out on during last year. Grappling with the emotional and physical instability and the long term damage to my health is often overwhelming, but I take solace in knowing I’m not alone. In fact, many of my friends, my family, my colleagues, have been struck down with endometriosis at some point, yet we’d never really spoken about it with each other, until my ill health became public.
As a nation we are only just waking up to the implications of endometriosis, but it gives me hope that the government are finally putting some funding towards researching and understanding this disease that affects so many women.
We are the workers, the executives, the carers, the mothers, the sisters, and the singers, and we can’t fulfil our life’s work with a crippling disease holding us back.
So…keep your eyes open for the yellow cars, and every time you see one think about the many women fighting their own silent battle with endometriosis, the battle to be noticed, to be counted, and to be helped.