‘I Wish I’d Been Diagnosed Earlier’
In crippling pain and unable to conceive naturally, Thessy Kouzoukas, 28, is determined to fight the endo stigma
‘I’ll never forget bleeding out during a wedding. It felt like a poison was releasing into my body – it was the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. I had to race to the hospital and miss out on witnessing my friends marry each other because a cyst on my ovary had unexpectedly ruptured. But that wasn’t the irst time endometriosis stole precious moments from my life, and it won’t be the last.
‘Despite battling extreme period pain for 10 years, it wasn’t until the pain began to last all month that I knew I had to do something about it. Initially my GP refused to refer me to a gynaecologist because she didn’t think anything was wrong; but I persisted and, reluctantly, she agreed. The specialist found an 8cm cyst on my right ovary almost straight away and scheduled me for surgery, which revealed that I have endometriosis. At the time I didn’t even know what it was, but I was happy to inally have a diagnosis and a cause for all my pain. I felt like I had a point to prove. I wanted to say to everyone, “Hey, I’m not crazy. I’m not a drama queen.”
‘Endo has impacted my life in a huge way but it has also aected things I didn’t even imagine, such as my relationships and my sex life. My iancé Georgio knows all about it. He’s had to deal with the daily struggles of my pain both mentally and physically – but also with our sex life being put on the back burner. Thankfully, he’s been very supportive, from bringing me painkillers and heat packs to saying positive words in my ear when I’m doubled over in pain.
‘It can be diicult to be positive with endo because it takes away things you look forward to. Perhaps the worst thing it’s taken is my ability to have children naturally.
‘ When a second 8cm cyst on my left ovary ruptured, it changed everything. After I woke up from surgery, I was told my left ovary and my Fallopian tubes had been removed because endo had damaged them too badly. To say I was devastated is an understatement. After much processing, research and talking to specialists, I’ve successfully completed a round of IVF, and frozen embryos. With only one ovary that was an amazing result; hopefully, one day, I’ll have them implanted.
‘My sister-in-law Yiota also has endo and had diiculties conceiving. When she got pregnant it was such a relief. I’ve loved seeing her belly grow; it’s given me faith that anything is possible.
‘But what hurts most in my journey isn’t missing out on holidays, milestones or even my fertility – it’s that I wasn’t diagnosed sooner and wasn’t able to get on top of my condition earlier.
‘Endo is a silent condition because no- one talks about it. You can feel so alone, which is why I’m speaking up. If you feel that something is wrong, please say something. Raising awareness through one little conversation such as this one can hopefully change another girl’s future.’
THESSY AFTER A RUPTURED CYST AND ON MEDICATION
RECOVERING FROM SURGERY WITH HER FIANCÉ