Ash Webb shares her story of liv­ing with en­dometrio­sis

BY CLARE STAND­FAST

Highfields' Own - - Contents -

‘‘ 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.”

PHOTO: FRANK HURRELL

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