Imagine being in so much pain that you can’t do the things you love – like running, surfing and going for long swims. Imagine what it feels like to be known at work for always being ‘off sick’, rather than for being good at your job.
For Geelong K rock 95.5 FM radio presenter and comedian Sarah Maree Cameron, this was the reality of life with endometriosis, the ‘invisible disease’. Every day she would put on a brave face to the world, masking the crippling pain she was feeling as a result of endometriosis. Now, as an ambassador with Endometriosis Australia, Sarah Maree is raising awareness of this debilitating disease and the need for research.
Sarah Maree was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2010, after experiencing symptoms for a number of years. At the time, she didn’t know much about the disease, so she didn’t immediately seek treatment, but it got to the point where she was in immense pain every single day.
“You don’t notice when something slowly takes hold, which is why I wasn’t initially as proactive with managing it, as I am now.”
Multiple surgeries were required, as the endometriosis spread to different areas of Sarah Maree’s body. As Sarah Maree also had adenomyosis, a painful condition in which the endometrium breaks through into the muscle wall of the uterus, doctors eventually recommended a hysterectomy.
Sarah Maree says the decision to have a hysterectomy was made slightly easier in her circumstance because she didn’t want to have children.
“While I completely understand that a hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis, it cured my adenomyosis and has improved my quality of life to a point that I couldn’t have even imagined,” said Sarah Maree.
These days, living with endometriosis is manageable because Sarah Maree has explored and found other options that help.
“I use acupuncture, yoga, exercise and a low FODMAP diet to control my endo. The benefits they bring have been vital to my management. I truly believe it has contributed to why I haven’t had an operation in two years.
“It has taken an entire community of people and specialists to give me the knowledge I needed to manage my treatment plan and I’m eternally thankful to have met each person along the way of my journey.”
Sarah Maree says there is a need for a non-invasive early diagnostic test for endometriosis, so that this debilitating disease can be picked up and managed earlier. She also wishes there was better awareness of the condition – among medical practitioners and the general population.
Help us find new solutions for women with endometriosis
“It’s everyone’s problem when we have this many women suffering. Earlier diagnosis would really help – but funding is needed to progress research and new treatments.” SARAH MAREE CAMERON
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