Ever since my first period when I was 12 I had really painful periods. It was so bad I’d have unbearable cramps, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. People told me periods are painful so I just assumed this was the pain that every woman experienced so I carried on and never really complained too much about it to anyone. At 14 I tried using a tampon for the first time and it was extremely painful. I also passed an abnormally large blood clot that made me pass out and that was my turning point to realising that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. As I was getting older my symptoms were only increasing. I went to my doctor and they said it was just because I was young and maybe I was exaggerating the size of the blood clot. I kept going to the doctor telling them about my pain and not being able to use a tampon but they again said it was because I was young. Finally at 19 I found a gp who genuinely cared about finding answers. I had my first laparoscopy and I got told they didn’t find endo but did find adhesions and they left the adhesions there. My gp never doubted my pain and I had 100s of tests to try get to the bottom of my pain but they all came back normal. I gave up on finding what out was wrong with me and even started to doubt myself if I’m just weak or if my pain is real. It wasn’t until I was in a very serious relationship until I said to my doctor if I cant insert a tampon how am i going to have sex. She transferred me to a pelvic floor physio. I ended up being diagnosed with vaginismus, vulvodynia and pelvic floor dysfunction all of the muscles in my pelvis were as hard as rocks. Which answered some of my pain but definitely not all of it.The physio then referred me to the dhb to get botox to force my muscles to relax as she otherwise was unable to work with me. My gynaecologist looked through my medical history and was shocked at how many gynaecologists I had seen and right before my botox surgery she discussed with me about me having endo as she’d looked at the photos from my first lap. I was terrified going into that second laparoscopy surgery because I couldn’t take another test coming back normal. Finally 4 years after my first laparoscopy I got my endometriosis diagnosis. All up it took 12 years, 2 laparoscopies, countless doctors and gynaecologists to finally get my diagnosis. I will be forever grateful to my gynaecologist because doing a simple procedure like botox I know she didn’t have to read my medical notes but she went the extra mile.