My name is Shadae Boylan, I am 32 and am currently a Student Helicopter Pilot with The Australian Helicopter Academy based at Helispirit in Kununurra, Western Australia.
I have been working as a Station hand in the Beef Cattle Industry from the age of 16, I have been fortunate enough to work on properties in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley’s, Pilbara & Gascoyne areas of Western Australia.
We are a culture of hard workers in these areas and we don’t have time to be sick or injured, now in most circumstances I still think that this is a great mentality and it is very productive. However it was this mind set that led me to the position I am in now, which is recently being diagnosed with severe Stage 4 Endometriosis in May 2018, discovered only after having a right ovarian cyst burst and completely incapacitate me at the time.
Endometriosis was found covering my bladder, bowel, both ovaries-sticking them to the rectum and side wall with frank tissue, both uterosacral ligaments, ovarian fossa’s and a nodule on the rectum-sigmoid.
Everything had been stuck together and pushed upwards, tilting my uterus.
Having not known anything about this condition and having the mindsets of the ‘suffer in silence’ stigma and ‘pain is normal’, ‘that’s women’s business, keep it to yourself’ social conditioning,
it turns out I have had this condition since I first started cycling in my teens. Had I been aware,
I believe my life would have been a bit easier in the process but I ignored all the signs, all the time.
This recent cyst luckily burst while I was in the shower getting ready for flight training, the pain was something I have never experienced before and I have had some pretty significant injuries in my sporting & working career, including a fractured pelvis from a horse kick and this pain was right up there with that. I spent 20 mins in the fetal position on the floor & it took me an hour to get dressed because the pain had me doubled over so badly. I panicked at that stage because I have been able to handle every injury like fractured bones & wounds with class and little fuss but this was past my control and I knew I was in serious trouble.
I managed to recover, cancel flight training for the day & book a Doctor’s appointment at the medical Centre, where unfortunately I was misdiagnosed with gastro. Because of my stubbornness I didn’t report to A&E for a week even though I had spent three days unable to move.
Luckily that day the Doctor suspected a burst cyst and I was given more pain medication and an ultrasound request - however the next appointment was not for another 28 days. With my flight training schedule being set back I was pretty unimpressed by this, rang around and opted to drive myself the 10 hour round trip to Katherine for one the next day and found out that I indeed had a ruptured right ovarian cyst & fluid in the abdomen.
My new Doctor referred me to the Gynecologist, who only comes to town every four weeks. I was able to get in to see him within 2 ½ weeks but not a surgery for another couple, making it 5 ½ weeks from when the cyst first burst. During those weeks not understanding the situation properly I went back to station work because I was not able to fly, and generally didn’t take it easy and I paid for it later.
After the first surgery the debrief with the surgeon was not what I expected & though they successfully drained the cyst on my ovary, they found another one the size of both my fists on my bladder and that I was riddled with Endometriosis - I asked where it was and he just said its everywhere. In the proceeding weeks of trying to get healthy enough to get back in the air, the bloat, the pain, the frustration was overwhelming and I now know that mental health is such a huge factor in this process & it’s something that I struggle with daily.
- Shadae Boylan, Endo Champion
Don't miss Shadae's astonishing Endometriosis story on SBS INSIGHT this Tuesday at 8:30pm
We are grateful for the incredible courage of our Endo Champion, Shadae Boylan, for showing such resilience in the face of adversity and for sharing her confronting experiences break the stigma and social conditioning so we can finally #endthesilenceonendo !
The program will air at 8:30pm AEDT Tuesday 20th November 2018 and you can:
• Watch the SBS Insight episode live on National Australian Telivision
• Join the international live stream from anywhere: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/tvepisode/endometriosis
• Watch at a later date on SBS On Demand: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/insight