Photo of AntonellaWhat are your endometriosis symptoms like? Constant pelvic pain, lower back pain, heavy bleeding for 14 days, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, headaches, tender breasts, heavy discharge, very moody, and sadness for no reason.

What was your journey to diagnosis like? Ever since I was a young woman (I just turned 40 years old), I’ve always had a heavy menstrual cycle. At the time, my gynecologist prescribed me birth control pills. They seemed to have worked well for about 6 years. When I went to see him again, he mentioned that I should change brand and I did but nothing seemed to work. I eventually stopped taking them and decided to cleanse my body and not take anything. Life moved on and I managed to live with my symptoms. I had my son at 31. Luckily and thankfully I was able to get pregnant with no issues. About 2 years after my son was born, I started to develop heavier symptoms. Extreme fatigue and my periods were heavier than usual with heavier cramps. I went back to see my gynecologist and he prescribed me other hormone treatments such as the IUD, birth control patch and progesterone pill – none of them worked. All of this took about 4 years. About 2 years ago, my symptoms worsened – I never stopped bleeding, I began to have digestive issues, I now have anemia and I began vomiting. I finally decided to be transferred to another gynecologist and I’ve been sent for pelvic ultrasounds. I recently got diagnosed several months ago with both stage 4 endometriosis and adenomyosis. It’s been a nightmare – nobody seems to understand the unbearable pain both emotionally and physically with this chronic disease. To add to this, knowing I cannot have children is killing me. I’m scheduled for a laparoscopic surgery and the removal of my Fallopian tubes in the months that follow. I’ve also been diagnosed with IBS.

What has your experience with treatment for endometriosis been? No medical treatments have helped me. The only thing that helps me, mildly, are acupuncture and essential oils. I exercise regularly and try my best to keep positive. 

How does endometriosis affect your day-to-day life? Reading, the beach, heat and going for long walks! 

How does endometriosis affect your emotional well-being? This has led me to being depressed and has impacted my relationships due to the moodiness. However, I’m not shy to express myself and explain the issue I’m dealing with. I try to educate people. 

How have you found hope and support in your endometriosis journey? I try to educate people about my condition as much as I can and as I’m doing now. 

What do you think healthcare for endometriosis in Canada should look like? I think it’s lacking big time. It doesn’t make sense that most doctors tend to prescribe hormones thinking it will solve the issue and they don’t. Canada is lacking research on this chronic disease and we are lacking knowledgeable Endo doctors that truly understand the disease and methods of coping with it.