Visanne

EndoActive features in Latte magazine by Business Chicks, July 2015

Although this article in Latte was from July 2015 – it was a great awareness piece on endometriosis.  A huge thanks to Business Chicks for featuring EndoActive and providing important health information about endo.
Click through to read the full article.

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My beliefs, my dreams & the story of EndoActive.

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Hey guys. Today I want to share with you my beliefs, my dreams for EndoActive and our story – why we’re here. It really is an incredible one and it involves all of you, so please, please read to the bottom. <3

My name is Syl Freedman, I’m 25 and I have Endometriosis. We call it Endo.

My Mum, Lesley, and I started EndoActive in August 2014 after campaigning to have a medication used to treat Endo available here in Australia. We got 75,000 signatures on our online petition (thanks to many of you for signing!!) and amazingly, we were successful. Visanne was released in Australia in March 2015.

It has helped many women, myself included, to finally live a life free of pain and most importantly, provided another treatment option for Endo.

After achieving the impossible, we had a fire in our bellies and felt determined to keep going.

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Endo flare-up and Random bruising

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Hey gang. So right now what’s happening is that I’ve had 3 or 4 days of Endo pain in the past 2 weeks and I’ve noticed a whole bunch of reasonably gnarly bruises that seem to randomly appear in various places on my body without previous injury. That’s been happening for about 3 or 4 weeks. I’m not linking these 2 things together. But it’s not unusual for my body to fall apart in multiple places from seemingly unrelated things simultaneously.
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First Endo pain since March

IMG_5113Oh god I’m wearing the same thing as I wore in my last post. How lame. But cbf taking another photo because endo. SOZ! Yesterday was the first time I’ve been in pain from Endo since March. It caught me completely off guard. I woke up feeling fine.. then at about 12pm while I was walking to the shops for brunch I started to get those first few twinges. Ooh.. that felt strange… Then a dragging sort of feeling in my lower abdomen kind of like period pain. But it couldn’t be surely… Then all of a sudden, really sharp achey pains in my hips. I used to massage around my hips constantly because that pain was always always there. But I haven’t needed to in so long… Then that crushing weight on my lower back where you suddenly can’t stand up.. the kind that instantly makes you want to collapse into bed with a hottie under a blanket. (hot water bottle hottie… not human hottie.)

Even though every one of those sensations felt so familiar, I found myself saying in my head things like: “Maybe I’m just really hungry. It must be a stomach ache. Maybe I haven’t been stretching enough while I’ve been hunched over my laptop. Maybe I’m dehydrated…” Ridiculous reasons the lot of them. There’s nothing else that feels like endo pain. Even when it’s mild – you know exactly what it is because you’ve felt it a thousand times before. It has an order that it comes in and despite your brain trying to convince you it could be a simple hunger pain or muscle cramp, you know very well it’s not. But you appreciate your brain coming up with some silly ideas to try and distract you.

All in all it wasn’t so bad. I’m glad I left the house for supplies when I did because the rest of the day I couldn’t move from the couch – wheattie on the back, hottie on the front. The pain wasn’t the major problem but more so the fatigue. I snoozed till 6:30 then quickly got in the car to get to babysitting. If it wasn’t for my 3 little cousins being so cute and cuddly I probably would’ve felt rubbish all night but they’re so funny and sweet that by the time I put them to bed I realised I was feeling way better.

Today I’m left with a giant pain hangover which I’m sure many of you are familiar with. The day after I’ve been in pain I feel so tired I can hardly see, my head is like a bowling ball and my breathing is so shallow, sometimes I wonder if I might actually be almost dead… If I were dead though I probably wouldn’t still have all this uni work to do… dammit! I’m now in that battle with yourself where you can’t decide if you should push through with the things you were meant to do today or give yourself a break and just rest. But you know if you rest today, the mountain of things to do will be bigger and scarier tomorrow and you’ll have way less time to climb it! But sleep would feel so good… I just want to sleeeeeeep !

My Sundays for the past 5 weeks have been ridiculously productive. Sine I started my new degree I use Sundays to exercise, grocery shop, plan my week and do homework all on the same day. Today I feel incapable of any of that. I’m surprised I’m actually typing write now. Even my fingers and wrists are tired. They’re lying down flush with the keyboard while I type cause they’re just too heavy to flutter over the keys like they normally do.

It sucks that I had a flare up yesterday. I’m not entirely sure why it happened. I do know that this week has been one of the most stressful weeks I’ve had in a long time. Lack of sleep. A breakup. Uni work which has been pouring down on me relentlessly. I haven’t been confronted purely by the amount but also the level of difficulty. Have you ever read a sentence where 100% of the words were ones you couldn’t understand? Try 30 pages of sentences like that. Then times that by 5. Then times that by 3. It’s pure hell. It couldn’t be diet or exercise cause I’ve been good with those… Visanne has been fine for the last 2 months (just started month 3). No other changes I can think of. So maybe it was stress… I have cried a lot this week.

Whatever it was, I hope it doesn’t come back but looking at the positives – I’ve had an amazing run of good health this year. A couple of sinus infections and the flu but virtually no endo pain. And for that I feel really lucky. I wouldn’t say that this flare up has been a good ‘reminder’ of what endo feels like because I can never forget that. Being well and active has not made me forget. But it has reminded me of when I felt so awful every day that I was barely able to lift a finger. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t think. Even reading an email seemed so overwhelming to me then that I’d burst into tears just thinking it. After a while, when the pain and fog became chronic my brain would play tricks on me. I sometimes wondered if I was actually in pain and couldn’t move in that moment or if I was just lazy. I couldn’t even feel pain in the way that I used to but rather would just feel the weight of exhaustion. My experience of pain became different and what used to feel acute suddenly felt numb. I started to not be able to tell the difference between pain at a 7 to pain at a 10 to pain at a 4. It all felt the same and I couldn’t tell if I was in agony just ok. I became very hard on myself and very unforgiving.

But feeling the pain yesterday and the fatigue today for the first time in so long has reminded me how real those feelings are. They’re so real and so strong that you are not always able to ignore them and keep going because your body simply can’t. I want to do my workout. I want to get all the grocery shopping done. I NEED to do uni work. But today I feel different. I don’t feel myself and I know I’m not up to the things I’m normally able to do. So I will try to prioritise, try not to get frustrated that I haven’t exercised since thursday, try not to throw in the towel and crawl into bed just yet, try really hard to get some work done and THEN flop on the couch so I can reward myself.

Hopefully a one-off and things go back to normal tomorrow. Man just thinking about doing uni work right now is making me want to give up and go back to bed… gahhhhhh!! zzzzzzzzz

Syl   x

 

 

Visanne Day 40

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I AM GROWING MY HAIR OUT PEOPLE! Look how long it’s getting! I can actually tuck my hair behind my ears again. All seven strands of hair. And it’s wild. However I have of course captured myself at the best possible angle in this photo and 99% of the time my head actually looks so stupid. Underneath those thin strands of hair is a whole lot of mousey fuzz. I knew this time would come, however the awkwardness of growing out an undercut was not something I contemplated until the day after my birthday last year once I’d sobered up and realised that I had indeed shaved off most of my hair. Good times.

So I have now been taking Visanne for 40 days. This is month 2. I have to say that overall the transition has been really smooth! Looking back on my previous post where I diarised where my health was at on Day 1, the two issues I was having were predominantly SLEEP & ALLERGIES.

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Visanne Day 1

image2-1Side note: I wrote this post on July 3rd but it mysteriously got deleted. I started again. Now it finally makes it’s way back onto my blog. However I am back-dating it so it is clear which date I started taking Visanne.

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So today is Day 1 on Visanne. I’ve had my box of Visanne sitting in my bathroom draw since it was released on March the 3rd this year. Since our wildly successful campaign on change.org to have it released here in Australia, so many people have asked me how I’m going on it – assuming that I’d be taking it as soon as was made available. However, the campaign to have Visanne released in Australia & NZ (unfortunately it was not released in NZ sorry Kiwis!) was not just about me, nor was it ever designed to only benefit me. It was based on the principle of equal opportunity and that if there was a treatment option for Endo available overseas, we all deserve the opportunity to try it if we want. All of us. And that is what we achieved.

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Chattin’ with boys about period pain. At the pub.

FYI not the boys from the pub in this story but they still get to hear me bang on about Endo

It was just your average Friday night. I ventured out to a pub in Chippendale to have a coupla with me mates after a mental week at EndoActive HQ. It was there that I wound up talking to a bunch of dudes about periods. Oh yes.

The days surrounding the official launch of Visanne were frantic with media and publicity stuff going on while Mum and I tried to juggle conference organising with writing articles and prepping ourselves to talk to camera. Funnily enough, we were not prepared in slightest for the public reaction to the release of Visanne. For us, the news that Bayer had said yes came months ago and we didn’t wake up to the fact that March 3rd would be so significant. Being the total rookies that we are, we didn’t prepare anything and it wasn’t until the day before that we realised what a big deal it would be.

We spent all day Tuesday co-writing an article for the Guardian. Then, they told us they wanted to film us reading our article to camera instead. We stayed up till midnight re-working our article into a script and sticky-taping our lines onto cue cards for the morning. It was such a mad rush but 2 days later, this video was released online.

You can watch the awareness piece Mum & I did for The Guardian here.

(I can’t help cringing the whole way through that thing. I look like a baby boy deer caught in a headlight. But vanity and hypercriticism aside, I’m proud of the overall message.) So as I was walking through the pub courtyard, this guy stopped me and said, “Hey aren’t you the girl from that video on the net? It was about En…..do….metriosis?” I was excruciatingly embarrassed.

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