Ash Webb shares her story of living with endometriosis
BY CLARE STANDFAST
‘‘ Once every two months I’d call in sick, because I’d be up all night throwing up because I was in so much pain.
RISING AGAINST ALL CHALLENGES, GOWRIE JUNCTION LOCAL ASH WEBB SHARES HER COMPELLING STORY OF LIVING WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS
IT WAS always Ash Webb’s dream to have a child.
On August 1, 2017, Ash and her husband, Andrew, welcomed baby Fletcher into the world — a baby they thought might never come. “He’s the best,” Ash grins, laughing. “He’s my little miracle man, despite all odds, despite the endo(metriosis), he’s here. “I’m so very thankful for him. “Everything I could’ve wanted in a baby, a child, a family, he’s it.
“After everything that has happened, he is the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Raised in Gowrie Junction from the age of eight, Ash has suffered with endometriosis since she was in high school.
The Mayo Clinic describes endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus.
“I couldn’t do any school work, I couldn’t focus, I was sick … there were days were I would call up Mum and I’d say, I need you to come and take me home,” Ash remembers.
“Most of the time she would say, ‘I can’t, I’m too busy,’ and Dad worked out of town, so I couldn’t ring him either.
“A lot of the time we just thought, you’re a girl, you’re fine, it’s just ‘women’s stuff ’.”
Ash graduated high school and gained a full-time business administration traineeship and she loved it.
“Mum and Dad were getting crankier and crankier, because they thought it was something I was eating,” she says.
“We did the coeliac diet – no gluten and no lactose — none of it helped.
“We were at emergency probably once a month but all they could do was give you morphine and send you home.”
When Ash was 20, she saw a gynaecologist and after doing an internal ultrasound they found a cyst the size of a 20-cent piece.
This is what had been causing all of Ash’s pain and the gynaecologist then discovered her endometriosis.
The gynaecologist removed all of that but within a year Ash had more pain and sickness and needed another surgery.
He did the procedure and found more endometriosis.
Two years later, Ash found herself on the floor, crippled in pain.
“I just thought, I can’t do this any more — take it all out, I don’t care,” she says.
“Luckily enough, Mum convinced me not to and I saw a different OBGYN — Dr Zakia Sharif is amazing, so within two weeks of having an appointment with her, she had me in for surgery and she’d found a benign tumour had wrapped itself around my fallopian tube ... and more endometriosis.
“She removed the tube and said,
‘Your chances of conceiving naturally upon your endo, upon your cysts, upon your adhesions, upon your scar tissue, is very limited.’ She said, ‘It’s going to be tricky for you.’ ”
In March the following year, Ash and then-boyfriend Andrew became engaged.
“He’s known all along that I’ve had problems,” Ash says.
“He was up at the hospital every day that I was up there. He always knew about problems having a baby, so we were always conscious of that, so when we decided we’ll try, we just thought we’d see how we go.”
Ash then started to get terrible cramps and pains — this was their window to conceive.
While they tried for six months on various health kicks, no alcohol and taking great care of themselves, the couple could not conceive.
In April 2016 at Preston Peak, Andrew and Ash got married. They were yet to fall pregnant. On their honeymoon, the couple decided to live their lives with no stress, worries or diets and simply see what happened.
In November 2016, Ash fell pregnant with Fletcher.
In her journey with endometriosis, Ash believes her support network has been key.
“The support network is the main thing that you need, because no matter if you’re having a bad day, you can just ring them and say ‘today really sucks’ and they can change the subject and rant on about their day or dads can tell a bad dad joke,” she smiles.
“I got to this mental place with the support of everyone saying ‘you’ve got this’ and people offering to help.
“The kind of people that say ‘you’ll be right, get over it’ is different to ‘you’ve got this, you can fight this’.
“You need more of the ‘yes Ash, you take those painkillers’ rather than the ‘take a teaspoon of cement and harden up’ kind of people.”
For those who don’t have a support network, Ash recommends Qendo, a 24-hour support line where people phone up, leave a message and volunteers on a rostering system return their call for as long as they need. Ash is a volunteer.
“We don’t offer any medical advice, we just ask what do you normally do, for example, do you have a wheat pack, do you take Panadol … we go through stages like that,” Ash says.
On March 10, Qendo is hosting an Endomeet Toowoomba event for Endometriosis Awareness Month at the City Golf Club, Toowoomba.
The event will host an exercise physiologist, psychologist, massage therapist and yoga instructor, all to help with endometriosis.
“I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through,” Ash says.
“Do the right thing by your body and hope that it does the right thing back.”