Sophie Dillman, a star of Home and Away, has spoken out about her ‘excruciating’ chronic health condition, calling the struggle “exhausting”.
In an open interview with 7Life, a woman who has endometriosis described the pain, symptoms, lack of knowledge, and frequent misdiagnoses of her condition as “frustrating.”
The 30-year-old described endometriosis in her own words, stating that although one in nine people (most often women) may have the condition, it can range in intensity from being “incredibly painful” to a person “not knowing” they have it.
Speaking of her own experience, Sophie acknowledged that at the age of 21, she had been incredibly fortunate to get a prompt diagnosis.
Many other patients, according to Sophie, battle for years with “possibly excruciating pain, uncertainty, and all sorts of symptoms.”
Australian women who are concerned about having the condition must wait an alarming six and a half years on average to receive a diagnosis.
Sophie told 7Life, “I had incredibly painful periods and erratic periods throughout my entire teenage years.”
When she finally received them, she said, “It was really irregular, but when I got them, they were really heavy, really painful,” adding that she would “faint and vomit continuously.”
But Sophie’s suffering and confusion didn’t end there. She also had “incredible bloating” that made it impossible for her to fit into her clothes and caused her to experience “incredibly bad leg pain and swelling.”
When Sophie decided enough was enough, she went to a doctor and then a gynaecologist, who eventually persuaded her to have a laparoscopy, in which a tiny camera is inserted through a tiny incision into the pelvic area to examine and remove any tissue that is causing pain.
After a “frustrating” wait, Sophie was given her diagnosis following a successful surgery.
It was a relief to know that I wasn’t going crazy, Sophie says.
But three surgeries since, and Sophie is still nowhere closer to a cure.
Because it is a part of the lining of many of my organs, Sophie says she has a lot of tissue that doctors are unable to remove.
”It’s exhausting and painful and…. sometimes awkward and it sucks,” she says, adding that the procedures don’t address the situation for her.
Therefore, it appears that I will continue to do it throughout my life.
According to Sophie, the outcomes of surgery were unpredictable because of a lack of research.
Because there hasn’t been enough research done on this subject, she claims that there is no rhyme or reason.
There are some people who need surgery more than once a year simply to get by. “I don’t think this helped,” they say when they return to their doctor.
And when you’re like that, it’s very expensive, very stressful, and very labor-intensive. It’s difficult.
Despite this depressing outcome, Sophie has turned her endometriosis experience into something positive by accepting a position as an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia.
Speaking of the group, Sophie urged anyone receiving an endometriosis diagnosis to connect with others who share their interests and experiences by posting on Facebook and Instagram.
They’re such a wonderful community, she says, and they help you feel less alone.
She continues, “But we need to keep campaigning for additional money,” stressing that with more knowledge, diagnoses can be made early and others’ suffering can be alleviated.
You may read more about Endometriosis Australia here.