Originally published on Billie.co.nz
Written by Fleur Mealing
Fifteen year old Kiwi girl, Mackenzie Winfield, shares her recent endometriosis journey with Billie.
In April of 2021, when I was fourteen years old, I started to experience intense chronic pain, so bad I couldn’t do anything, not even the simplest of things like getting out of bed or sitting on a chair. This was pain so bad that it wound me up in A&E multiple times for suspected appendicitis. Unfortunately after months of off and on pain, countless doctor appointments, doctors, scans, tests, they still couldn’t find out what was wrong.
At the start of August last year, the excruciating pain came back. My mum took me to see a GP and after seeing that all the tests and scans were coming back fine and clear, suggested that it could be endometriosis. I was given a number of medications all of which didn’t help and I ended up back in A&E a few days later. Unfortunately I was once again tested for appendicitis and because it came back negative I was sent home a few hours later with panadol.
Later that week we met with a gynaecologist, who said she thought my pain was because of endometriosis as well. After that my pain went away for a few days. I was so glad, I thought I would have some pain-free time for a while like I previously did.
But that all changed. When the bad pain first started it was off and on for about four months but by the beginning of September, the pain came back after not being there for a week or so.
Unlike times before the pain didn’t go away like it usually did, and I have been in constant pain since then. After 5 months of the 24/7 constant chronic pain, I fought hard and finally convinced my gynaecologist to do a diagnostic excision laparoscopy, which is a key hole surgery.
During the surgery the doctor created a small, surgical incision in my abdomen to see if there was any endometriosis. They both diagnosed and removed all of the endometriosis they could see.
Thankfully she agreed, and I had my surgery about six weeks later, just before Christmas last year, which then confirmed that I had endometriosis. After this I came to realise that I had actually been having a lot of the symptoms like an extremely heavy and painful period for the past few years as well. Thankfully for me I was in the lucky position of having medical insurance, helping to get the laparoscopy a lot quicker.
I am now three months post-op. Unfortunately I still have pain most days but it is a lot more manageable since my laparoscopy.I cope with the pain by using a heat pack and medication.
Managing endometriosis as well as my education can be difficult. I am still figuring out ways to deal with school and my endometriosis. I made sure to use medication if my day starts off with quite a bit of pain and I always keep medication in my school bag.
I am and always will be very grateful that I could be diagnosed at a young age as many people don’t get diagnosed till a lot later on in life. Endometriosis not only affects your physical health, but mental health as well. That is why I personally think more people should know more about it so we can stop the stigma about it being “just a bad period.”
It is so much more than that and having people who don’t know what it is tell you that it’s just anxiety, that it’s all in your head or that you’re too young to have it and be in that much pain, has to change.
Endo has affected my life hugely. I have lost so many friendships and it has affected my schooling, everyday life and mental health so much. But I will forever be grateful for my family and friends who stuck by me the whole time supporting me through it all.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and I wanted to take on an Endo Challenge to raise money and awareness for Endometriosis New Zealand.
On the 19th of March I completed my Endo Challenge. I challenged myself to face my fears and bungy jump from the Auckland Harbour Bridge to raise money and awareness for Endometriosis New Zealand. Throughout the month I raised $2,400 for Endometriosis New Zealand. I wanted to raise money for this organisation to help them with all that they do to help and support the community. The bungy jump was an awesome experience and I am so thankful to everyone who donated and supported me throughout the month.
My future with endo looks like endo management. I want to find tools that help me make my endo as manageable as possible. I want to be able to do basic things without being in a lot of pain and live my life to fullest despite endo.