‘They Thought I Was Gluten-Intolerant’
Caitlin, 23, endured countless tests and doctors’ visits before she was diagnosed with a condition that changed her life
‘It’s a Friday night and instead of partying with my friends, like most girls in their early 20s, I’m curled up on the couch battling crippling period pain. To pass the time I scroll through Facebook, and an article about endo pops up. Clicking on it, I quickly read through the symptoms and ind that all of them – painful sex, terrible period pain, diarrhoea, headaches and nausea – are things I’ve been experiencing for the past eight years. After years of doctors doing test after test and incorrectly diagnosing me as glutenintolerant, this could be it.
‘I went to my GP and explained the article I’d read. I was sent for an ultrasound – but nothing showed up. I endured another 12 months of pain before my mom put me in contact with a family friend who is a gynaecologist. I explained my symptoms and was referred for laparoscopic surgery with a specialist in December 2015. It con irmed that I had endometriosis.
‘ When I irst got the diagnosis, I felt so many emotions: relief at inally knowing what was wrong; anger that I hadn’t stuck to my guns and pushed for a test earlier; and sadness at hearing it can a ect fertility, that there’s no cure and that I’ll have to live with this condition for the rest of my life. That’s a lot for a 21-year- old to process.
‘I’m a teacher. I love working with children and I’ve always wanted children of my own, so the fertility factor was a big blow for me. I went home and spoke to my partner, letting him know that because of my condition I needed to have kids much earlier than expected – and if that was too much for him, then we needed to end things. He told me he was in for the long haul, which was such an incredible relief.
‘Despite it all, I feel like I’m one of the luckier ones. I caught it early, so I have the chance to try to start a family sooner rather than later.’
CAITLIN BEFORE AND AFTER THE SURGERY THAT REVEALED HER ENDOMETRIOSIS