A fluffy sizzling water bottle isn’t a typical image of power, however for Anita Nneka Jones, having the arrogance to take hers to work and even share images of it on Instagram was a serious breakthrough.
The 30-year-old Premier League presenter is a vocal ambassador for Endometriosis UK, spreading the phrase in regards to the debilitating condition that impacts one in 10 women, causes severe ache and may end up in infertility.
Anita has it, the recent water bottle helps – and he or she’s now not embarrassed to say so.
It’s been an extended, robust journey to get thus far.
Like most women with endometriosis, a condition the place tissue much like the liner of the womb grows in different locations, Anita was pressured to attend far too lengthy to get a prognosis.
The common wait is seven-and-a-half years, however Anita endured 14 earlier than being advised the month-to-month agony she’d been struggling was not, as many docs had advised her, simply exhausting luck.
Problems started when she was 14.
“It felt like a wire hanger was being scraped across my inside, like someone was stabbing me repeatedly,” she recollects. Often despatched residence or unable to go to class, she missed round 60 days of faculty.
Despite indications that one thing was severely unsuitable – together with a visit to A&E with suspected appendicitis – Anita was advised by docs that “some women get worse periods that others”.
As a teenage woman, she felt embarrassed, didn’t perceive that her ache wasn’t regular or know vocabulary like “pelvic pain” and “clots” to precise what was taking place.
While associates may point out they had been on their intervals, that was so far as conversations went.
At 18, docs prompt she take the Pill however that didn’t assist both and her psychological well being suffered.
“It impacted on my social life a lot. I couldn’t plan anything when my period was coming. There was this feeling of dread in the run-up to it.”
Despite textbook signs, no physician ever talked about endometriosis and Anita by no means heard a black or combined race lady speak about it.
In her late 20s, she stumbled on a social media publish from a good friend of a good friend who’d been recognized with a condition with an odd identify.
“I think I cried when I read all her symptoms. I identified with each and every one. At that stage, I was in pain for two weeks of every month, taking strong painkillers and not knowing what was wrong,” she says.
“I didn’t know women who looked like me could get it, that’s one of the reasons I’m so open about it now.”
Anita insisted on seeing a specialist. Endometriosis can’t be detected on scans and in June 2019, she had surgical procedure. She got here spherical from the anaesthetic to be advised that, sure, she had the condition.
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While it’s information no person desires to listen to, having a prognosis felt revolutionary.
“It’s given me the confidence to talk about it. It’s empowering. But there are so many women who don’t have that and the fear is that people will think you’re exaggerating.
“You don’t have the words to tell the doctor what’s going on.”
The surgical procedure included a process to repair a coil, which brought on bruising to Anita’s cervix and left her in ache for six months.
Eventually the discomfort subsided and signs did enhance, though she just lately felt so ailing once more she needed to take break day work.
She follows the “no CRAP” food plan – no caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol or processed meals – which has helped many women.
Playing tennis and protecting match offers her a way of management and has a optimistic impression on psychological well being, though Anita says she’s additionally realized to hearken to her physique, be versatile and settle for adjustments to her routine.
She additionally needed to course of the information that there’s no treatment and endometriosis may cause fertility issues.
“It is a very emotionally challenging time – I have to think about my career and ask myself some serious questions like, do I want to go into egg preservation?”
Anita’s followers on social media have been supportive, together with the lads, who’ve shared their very own companions’ struggles.
Now when she’s requested at work why she’s bought a sizzling water bottle clamped to her stomach, she has no drawback explaining precisely why.
“Before my diagnosis, a male colleague asked why I had it – if I was cold. I was dying inside. How do you explain it feels like a bomb’s gone off? Now I can tell them why. That’s the power that comes with a diagnosis.”
- March is Endometriosis Awareness month. Go to endometriosis-uk.org for assist