THE STRUGGLE OF ENDOMETRIOSIS | Shannon Hadrups' Story
March is Endometriosis Awareness month in New Zealand. Pokekohe resident Shannon Hadrup knew the pain of endometriosis and she came on the Mina Amso Show to share her story.
“For me the pain was right up there. It would be to the point at times where it was so bad, I’d feel like I did want to pass out or I did want to faint. Or I ‘d kind of come over with a cold sweat with the shakes and things because the pain was so great.”
Endometriosis symptoms began during Hadrups’ late teens. Now a mother of three, she tells Mina how the journey began.
It started with the usual symptoms of period pain, which Hadrup says needed extra pain relief. A lot of her symptoms she suffered were bowel and intestine-related.
“There’s a lot of bloating, diarrhoea, constipation and bowel movement, which led me to go and see a GP. Then I went through various procedures to try and get to the bottom of it and find out I was having those sorts of symptoms on my bowel.”
The tests couldn’t find anything conclusive for endometriosis. Doctors diagnosed Hadrup with irritable bowel syndrome [IBS].
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the tissue lining the pelvis and the intestines.
The endometriosis symptoms, which she thought was IBS, still progressed and Hadrup felt that there was more to it than the IBS diagnosis she was given by the doctors. They gave her medications that treated the diarrhoea and constipation and it helped a bit, but Hadrup felt like these symptoms would go on for months on end with no relief in sight. She felt something hadn’t yet been discovered.
“I was eating really well and I was following a really healthy diet and I didn’t I feel like I should be still getting these symptoms because I was trying to adhere to the irritable bowel syndrome guidelines.
“It was more than just pain. It was a feeling of awful discomfort that you just did not feel right in your stomach and abdomen area it’s a feeling that many women with endometriosis attest to.”
The pain and discomfort kept going for the now 41-year-old. She says the doctor she was seeing told her that they did all the tests they could possibly do and there was nothing more to find out. It was then when she changed doctors and things started to change.
“The [new doctor] has just been doing some reading on endometriosis which has been really timely for me.” Having read all her medical notes, the new doctor decided to try referring Hadrup to Fertility Associates at Ascot hospital.
The doctors over there told her the only way a diagnosis would have been made was to have a laparoscopic surgery, a procedure where the surgeon gains access to the stomach via the belly button, without having to create a large incision to the skin.
The doctors also told her that she may wake up after surgery having had endometriosis [if any] removed. A long awaited good news for Hadrup.
“That was quite a lot of information to take in. That it’s not just about going and investigating but they could do what they need to do, so you had to give consent for all these things to happen. I really just had enough of struggling with what I felt was something else, so yeah let’s do it lets sign up for the surgery,” said Hadrup.
She knew the surgery was a success because when she woke up after the anaesthesia wore off, she felt bandages on her body and immediately knew. She thought ‘whatever the cause of discomfort and bother has finally been removed’. She knew they found something and that her recovery has begun.
“Most people might be thinking ‘oh no this is what it means’. But I had a strange feeling of like finally we’ve got there and now we can move on,” she said.
Her journey of suffering, enduring and overcoming this debilitating condition led Hadrup to pursue further studies in naturopathic medicine, in the hope of helping other women going through the same situation.
Shannon Hadrup now studies part time, works part time, and homeschools her kids.