What are your endometriosis symptoms like? During my period it feels like my pelvis is being ripped apart inside by sharp knives. I can’t move because the pain is so intense. Having a bowel movement on my period makes me almost faint due to the intense pain. 

What was your journey to diagnosis like? I went to my family doctor around 15 years old and explained my periods were very painful but was told this was normal and put on birth control. I went away to university and the pain got worse so I attended the campus health clinic where I had a IUD placed which helped the pain for a few years. A few years are university I had a 10 cm cyst which had to be surgically removed which is when I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis – it was found on my bowel and bladder. 

What was your experience with treatment for endometriosis been? Before I was diagnosed I was treated with various birth controls which never made 100 percent of the pain go away. After I was diagnosed with endometriosis I was treated with Zoladex. This medication puts your body into menopause. It helped reduce the pain and gave me my quality of life back. However, it caused several side effects one being osteopenia.

How does endometriosis affect your day-to-day life? I am fortunate that I am still able to work with endometriosis. I have had to adapt my exercise regime as running makes my abdomen hurt. Two to three days a month I do stay in bed in pain, which affects my social life. 

How does endometriosis affect your emotional well-being? I get anxiety about doctors’ appointments as I worry they won’t take my concerns seriously. I also get anxious about uncontrolled pain, as doctors will only prescribe Advil and Tylenol for endometriosis. 

How have you found hope and support in your endometriosis journey? The Ottawa Endometriosis Support group has been a great resource in my journey. It led me to ask for a referral to a doctor who is going to be doing surgery to remove endometriosis. A supportive boyfriend, friends, and family also help make the endo journey easier.

What do you think healthcare for endometriosis in Canada should look like? 1. Educate family doctors on early signs of endometriosis. 2. More public awareness of endometriosis. 3. More specialists that are able to do excision surgery.  4. Shorter wait times to see a specialist and for surgery. 5. Discover better diagnostic test.