By Bridget Hustwaite
After suffering period and abdominal pain for over 6 years, I was totally stoked to receive my diagnosis of stage four Endometriosis last August. Sounds weird I know, like who would be happy to have a chronic illness? But for me, it was the confirmation and validation I needed. I needed an answer for the heavy bleeding, clots, nausea, pain during sex, fatigue, cramping, the pain and frequency of my bowel/bladder movements. Now that I have one, I want to help others.
I’m lucky that my voice already reaches young Australians every weeknight, as current host of Good Nights on triple j. I’m lucky that my employer has embraced my condition and has allowed me to share my Endometriosis experience with our audience. Following my diagnosis, I received hundreds of messages from fellow endometriosis sufferers, girls who think they may have it, and guys who know someone with endometriosis. This experience made me realise just how privileged I am to already have such a large platform, so it would be selfish of me not to continue utilising it for good.
In May 2019, I launched endogram, an Instagram account entirely dedicated to raising awareness, sharing information and encouraging conversation on Endometriosis in a colourful and visual manner. My main goal for this account is to help normalise the discussion surrounding periods and help young people identify Endometriosis symptoms they may be experiencing. If I knew about Endometriosis in high school, I genuinely feel that my diagnostic time could have been greatly reduced, so I want to use my voice to help speed up that process for others. Running this account has been a huge learning curve, particularly with recognising that Endometriosis is not exclusive to just women. It’s important to acknowledge that this condition can also affect non-binary and transgender people, so I hope moving forward that we can represent everyone in the fight to end Endo.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about the future. I really want to have children one day and whilst I currently do not present any fertility issues, it could change. The Endometriosis could grow back, I may need another surgery, who knows. But right now I’m taking it one day at a time and exploring different methods to help maintain my health. I’m so excited to be joining in the fight to raising awareness for this chronic condition.