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Amy (33) lives in the Swansea Valley with her husband and two children. She was a totally carefree young girl, but Amy now lives with the incurable condition of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a chronic condition that impacts around 1.5 million women. Endometriosis can affect women of any age, including teenagers. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, such as painful periods, nausea, painful intercourse, and fertility challenges. These symptoms relate also to other illnesses, making it incredibly difficult for doctors to diagnose the condition. With symptoms starting at the early age of 13, it took 8 long years for Amy to finally receive the diagnosis of endometriosis.

Seeing her friends enjoying and carrying on with life during their menstruation, Amy felt saddened and alone. She describes how isolating it can be with the feeling that she is the only person in the world who has this condition. Following her diagnosis, Amy described her emotional response to the diagnosis as one of relief. She now understood why she was suffering all those symptoms and why she had been feeling so isolated and constantly debilitated (physically and emotionally) from feeling so ill and in such severe pain. Having had so many operations for the condition, Amy still often feels very anxious because of the ongoing uncertainty about whether the surgery or the condition will damage other organs. Amy is now awaiting her 5th operation.

At times when Amy gets fearful that the pain will become unbearable, she uses practical solutions and distractions, such as listening to podcasts, reading books, or talking with friends and family. However, she is continually caught in a never-ending cycle. By the time Amy has recovered from one episode and built up her energy levels and her emotional strength, then it happens all over again with the next cycle. This is exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Amy feels fortunate to have found health forums such as Health Unlocked, which has allowed her to feel understood finally. When she feels alone, Amy makes sure she talks with others with the same condition, and this provides her with essential support and restores her emotional resilience.