‘Horrific’ condition that took 25 years to diagnose
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Kirsty will move her endometriosis support meetings online. You can reach her via email@example.com
EARLIER: A NORTHERN Rivers woman who lived in crippling pain for 25 years without a diagnosis is reaching out to other women in need of support.
After decades of being dismissed by doctors, Kirsty Elks, 38, cried tears of relief when a gynaecologist confirmed she had stage four endometriosis, the most serious stage of the condition.
"I just burst into tears," she said.
"The previous doctor said, 'Go and see a psychologist, there is nothing more I can do.'
"They were tears of relief and they were also tears of anger, why did it take 25 years for someone to listen to me? It's wrong."
The agony started with her first period at 12, and by 2016 endometriosis was impacting her entire body.
"It wasn't until 2016 when my health got really bad, I had bowel issues, bladder issues, back pain, migraines, my whole body was in pain," she said.
She said public surgery in Ballina with a local surgeon in May 2018 was not performed properly. Her health deteriorated further, and in July 2019 she travelled to Gold Coast Private Hospital for a second surgery with a more advanced surgeon.
It cost $20,000, and was worth every cent.
Six months later, and Mrs Elks is feeling healthy for the first time since childhood.
She is thankful to have a strong support network, including a caring husband and two kids in their teens.
She soldiered on, working in Lismore through the pain, but was often unable to carry out basic duties at home.
"Sitting at a dance concert was agony, so I wouldn't go," she said.
"The kids missed out on a lot of me.
"I would go to work and go home, I had no social life."
She said the condition can be isolating, and there is a lot of misinformation in the community about treatment - warning against ablation surgery which can do more harm than good.
March is endometriosis awareness month, and Mrs Elks would like to invite women who would benefit from support to the group she has started in Ballina on March 28.
For more information visit the QENDO website.