A 24-year-old teaching assistant from East Lancashire unveiled her experience with endometriosis.
Emily Bradshaw, from Clitheroe, was only 14 when she began to experience excruciating pain in her abdomen which was equated with period pain and irritable bowel syndrome.
After a series of misdiagnoses, Emily learned in 2018 that she had endometriosis, a condition that causes uterine tissue to grow all over the body, forming itchy scars, merging organs and causing immeasurable pain. .
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In May 2021, doctors informed Emily that the disease had reached stage four, spreading to her pelvis, ovaries and bladder, she now requires major surgery which could make her infertile.
She told LancsLive that endometriosis took her life.
“It’s so bad that I have nerve damage in my back and have to use crutches,” Emily said.
“The pain got so bad in November of last year that I had to take time off work and haven’t been back since.
“I want to go back to work and I really don’t want to lose my job, I love it. I can’t go to my friends or go back to horseback riding.
“The pain means I can’t drive right now and I feel like I don’t have any freedom left.”
Emily underwent surgery in July 2018, days before her 22nd birthday, as part of treatment to alleviate the lingering effects of her endometriosis.
Sadly, the pain in Emily’s stomach, back and legs came back in force in 2020, forcing her to take time off from work.
Emily said: “Not many people know that endometriosis is a disease of the whole body, it hurts all over, I have pain in my back, shoulder, stomach, leg.
“I have contraction pains where it feels like my whole body is tensing and excruciating back pain that goes down to the left side of my body.
“If I put my foot too hard while walking, I have stabbing pains in my legs, which is why I wear crutches.”
After several consultations with various NHS doctors, Emily decided to go private with a specialist surgeon in May this year.
Despite her operation in 2020, the doctor told Emily that her endometriosis had spread and was now in stage four.
“It covers my bladder, my pelvic nerves, my ovaries, making one fuse with my uterus and all the front and back of my pelvis,” said the teaching assistant.
“I have it in my diaphragm too and it puts pressure on my dying pelvic nerve.
“I need surgery to keep the situation from getting worse, otherwise I might consider a full hysterectomy in a few years.”
The most bizarre and, at times, uncomfortable symptom of Emily’s condition is a sharp, sudden swelling in her stomach.
Emily’s generally flat stomach can dilate in a matter of minutes, making her look very pregnant.
“On a bad push day, he’ll increase 9 to 10 inches,” said the 24-year-old.
“It’s hard to sit up or get up, it’s painful to the touch, so I usually have to stay in bed.
“Going out to meet someone is very embarrassing because I look very pregnant and sometimes I can’t even find clothes that fit.”
Emily is in desperate need of surgical excision by an endometriosis specialist, an operation that may restore her ability to work, drive and drive.
However, the wait time for such a procedure on the NHS is two years in total.
During this time, the disease is likely to spread, causing Emily’s organ loss and infertility.
She is currently raising funds to finance her surgery privately. You can donate to his GoFundMe campaign here.
Emily said: “I want people to be more aware of the disease, it is underfunded and not very well known.
“The average time to diagnose endometriosis is eight years because it is so misdiagnosed.
“The doctors told me the excruciating pain is normal, it’s just heavy periods; one of them even told me it was just in my head and for therapy.
“You should trust your own body, you know if it’s too painful you shouldn’t tell girls that pain is normal.”
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