“Erynn’s” Story

Whose endometriosis story will unfold across this page? 

  

“Erynn’s” Story

I remember the first day I got my period, I was only ten and half years of age. My parents were Maltese immigrants that worked the land as market gardeners. Our father sprayed a lot of chemicals around the market garden to control pests. The smell of the spray was awfully strong. I remember my mother and sister vaguely telling me about what periods were but when they did arrive I was in a state of shock. My mum wasn’t home on the day and I was too embarrassed to tell my older sister, so I carefully rolled some toilet paper into my underwear and fled for the day to the back of the farm and walked the back of the property where the great grey gum trees grew. Somehow I felt at ease there. Returning home at the end of the day I told my mum about the blood I had discovered that day. She quickly gave me a pad and ran through what would be happening to me each month. I was a little terrified but again too embarrassed to share my emotions. It was the way with my family, they dismissed any emotions towards pain and ongoing health issues with me – this made me feel sad and isolated.

Throughout my teenage years I had regular periods with the normal symptoms, a bit of cramping and good bleeding. Until I reached my mid twenties nothing really happened regarding my periods.

During my early twenties I studied Visual Art and majored in print making. I was exposed to a lot of harmful chemicals that I believe was another part of my suffering. Slowly my periods became irregular, slowly they became more painful, I felt tired easily and always felt weak and very vulnerable around the time my period was due.

It really changed at the age of thirty two. I was out bush walking with two dear friends out at Ben Bullen (Gardens of Stone National Park) one glorious but cool spring day. We had never been to this place before, keen bushwalkers we set off the day to discover a new place. I had been feeling a little stressed (from work and personal issues) and tired on this day. Getting out would be good for me, some fresh air and to be in good company – wonderful I thought. We found a beautiful ridge line that we scrambled up and then walked into a deep gully – very beautiful and I was feeling much better being outdoors. We had been walking for a while and got to a point where we could either climb up a rock face to head back the car or turn around and take the same route we came. I decided to begin climbing, I climbed about 6 -7 meters high and all of a sudden without any warning I felt my life energy being zapped out of me (just like when I ovulated). I started to fall, I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breath (as a trained meditator, I thought that was the only thing I could do because I thought I was going to die). On my way down, I hit a branch with my left arm and then my pelvis hit the ground. I couldn’t move and I had broken half of my body. None of us had mobile phones and so my friend left me with my other friend while he went for help.  Two and half hours later a helicopter was flown in and a paramedic was airlifted down into the wilderness, where I was injured. The helicopter was running out of fuel and was not able to airlift me out until the next morning. I was carefully placed into a skidoo and left overnight in the wilderness with my two dear friends, a paramedic and two ambulance officers. It snowed that night and it was recorded that the morphine that was being injected into me had frozen. I had broken my pelvis in two places, three ribs and a wrist. It took four months to recover. The pain of this accident was unforgettable.

Six months after my awful accident my periods changed rapidly. After ovulation without any warning I would experience the most excruciating pain in my abdomen. I could be sleeping, walking my dog, driving my car, whatever I did I couldn’t control the pain. I doubled over and rolled on the ground screaming for help. This went on for a year and half until I experienced my first laparoscopy with an emotionally inept gynaecologist. After my first laparoscopy I was in the same amount of intense pain. I was told by this gynaecologist, in a belittling voice that everything was fine, I was not fine I was in large amounts of pain and needed help. Immediately when I was not supported by this doctor, I hurriedly got onto the internet and found an endometriosis group in Australia. On this website I found a leading surgeon in Australia who specialized in endometriosis (who has been throughout the past six years an incredibly professional and supportive doctor). I had another laparoscopy but the pain had only dissipated from a level 10 to about a level 8. (10 being the roll on the ground scream for help.) The surgeon then helped me further and got me use an IUD which helped immensely with pain management.

Last year my husband and I were married and we decided to start trying immediately to have a baby. After ten months of trying we were not successful. I began to experience a lot of pain again and soon became very unwell. I turned to naturopathy, which after six months has helped somewhat with pain management.  After some tests we have found that my husband also has problems. We are now in the midst of IVF and infertility seems likely.

My husband is the most supportive, loving and caring man I know. Without him and my little dog, I  would have been left on my own to deal with this awful disease. Life is hard but I never imagined it would be this difficult. We take one day at a time and if I need to rest, I rest. I have small goals and I challenge myself to keep moving when I can.  Being positive and turning the pain around so it does not overpower me has taken a lot of work. Taking care of myself is my first priority.

– Erynn

 

Week 1: Leaf Lady   

 
 
 
 

Photograph 1: Leaf Lady

 “Erynn’s” Reflection:

Red, amber, yellow, orange and gold. 

Change, adjustment, replace and transformation.

Pain, pressure, heat and agony, body, ouch and then rest.

 

 

Week 2: ?     

 
 
 

Photograph 2: ?

  Please click here to view a larger copy of image: ?

 

Week 3 i): The Innards

Warning: Some people may find this image confronting   

 
 
 
 
 
 

Photograph 3: The Innards

  Please click here to view a larger copy of image: The Innards
  

“Erynn’s” Reflection:

As the pain increases I look inwards to see what is happening.

Deep breath, tight throat, spasm.

What is happening inside – internal bleeding, gross pain, lightening bolt spasm.

Deep fear, deep breath, try to let go continously.

Compassion for oneself, compassion for the disease within and compassion for those who are suffering the same and more. 

Concentrate, deep breath and keep letting it go.

 

 

Week 3 ii):  A Resting Place    

 
 
 
 
 

Photograph 4: A Resting Place

 Please click here to view a larger copy of image:  A Resting Place

 

Week 4: Grief

 

Photograph 5: Grief

 Please click here to view a larger copy of image: Grief

 

Week 5: Peony 

 

Photograph 6: Peony

 

Week 6: Boat

 

Photograph 7: Boat

 

Week 7: Scribbly Bark

Photograph 8: Scribbly Bark

 

Week 8: Letting Go 

Photograph 9: Letting Go

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Privacy Statement:    

All artwork/written material that appears on this page has been used with written permission from the project participant. A pseudonym has been used for the purpose of respecting privacy and maintaining anonymity.
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13 Responses to ““Erynn’s” Story”

  1. Dear Erynn
    Thankyou for inviting me to join your blog. Even though I have heard this story, it still brought tears to my eyes. Life is full of good and challenging events. Each day find 3 things to be thankful for and especially be kind to yourself. Much Love M

  2. Thankyou M, you truly are wonderful!
    3 things I am grateful for today are the colourful falling autumn leaves, supportive friends and hugs from my husband.
    love and care Erynn

  3. Dear Erynn
    Just as the leaves, autumn is a time for finality and then new growth- maybe with a quiet time of reflection in the middle. Some people mistake this for winter where not much survives. Hope always survives even though we can’t often see it.Keep the faith. Meta- M.

  4. Dear M,
    I hold my hands together with the strength of hope, love and quiet meditation. To heal, look after one self and regain the courage that was. With hands held together, inner strength is rebuilt and the ever changing journey continues to unfold with wisdom and great faith.
    Love and care Erynn

  5. Dear Erynn
    No it’s not confronting. It just is what it is. A bit like life at the moment – no judging – just is what it is. Our’s is not to reason why. Moving forward one step at a time – bit by bit. That’s how we progress. It seems like a blockage and then – suddenly everything moves forward quite unexpectedly fast. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Keep the faith. Love M.

  6. Dear M,
    As you say it is what it is but for some they may not be ready to see it as it is. As it is I hold faith, courage and hope deep in my heart. With goodwill, may tomorrow bring serenity and kindness to all who are suffering.
    Love and care Erynn

  7. Dear Erynn
    I am getting so much more understanding of what you’re dealing with through seeing these images and reading your process. I deeply appreciate the courage and openness with which you’ve shared. Thank you. I look forward to the next work …

  8. Dear Jill,
    Thank you for your support, kindness and encouragement. I hope through my artwork to create a space of openess and understanding for those like myself, who suffer from endometriosis. I really felt alone and isolated for many years but now I can share, be open and help make people understand what women with endometriosis go through.
    Love and care Erynn

  9. Dear “Erynn”,

    I have been looking at your and “Betty’s” artwork this week – in close detail – and I have found it really amazing that in Week 1 of your art journeys, both of you have chosen to work with nature and her images, or more specifically, a form that has a relationship to trees.

    In your artwork, it is leaves…

    Tricia

  10. Dear “Erynn”
    As I sit here in pain, a fellow endometriosis sufferer, observing your work for the first time (particularly Week 2 Photograph 2) I can’t help but cry. As much as our experiences are our own, unique to each of us, you have encapsulated the common properties that need to be understood and heard. Thank you for your artwork. It is truly moving.

  11. Dear Jodie,
    As I unfold my visual images of what is happening inside my body I understand that this is not just about me but all who suffer the pain of endometriosis. May we all hold hands together to share our despair and be there for one another so the journey may be a little easier.
    with care
    Erynn

  12. Dear Erynn,
    How courageous of you to undertake this project. I am in awe of how you are able to convey your experiences of living with this disease through your artwork. Being an endo sufferer too, I am sorry that you have to go through the pain and suffering of this disease but it is good to know we are not alone and sharing is so very important. Thank you for sharing your powerful artwork and healing process. I am so glad that you have your loving husband and dog in your life to ease the pain. much love and care, clare

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