Is there a cure for endometriosis? Emma Kemsley puts us straight

Our endometriosis columnist Emma Kemsley’s had a shocking few weeks – but she’s still standing. Content warning: endometriosis, pregnancy loss and serious illness.

I’ve found a cure for endometriosis. Shock. Pure and utter shock.

I recently received the kind of news that ricochets through your body, sending shock waves so strong you can’t breathe or think. It was the type of news that will change my life forever. It has shattered my world as I know it and will shape the landscape of my future.

It has nothing to do with endometriosis or fertility, but the health of one of the people I love most in the world, my mum.

My period was imminent. I anxiously threw clothes into a bag along with multiple prescription painkillers planning for terrible pain days on top of hospital trips back and forth to visit my mum. I thought I would dose myself to the max so I could be there to support her, regardless of the pain. However, the pain never arrived. There was no bleeding from my bowel. No cramps. No bloating. No sickness. No fatigue. I waited for it to hit, but the period came and went. I had experienced what I like to call a ‘normal person period’. My first in over 15 years.

I believe the news we recently received has hit me so hard my body couldn’t cope with both shock and pain, so my uterus thankfully cut me some slack. Choosing to silently and calmly lose the embryo from our recent failed IVF.

Within two days our seventh IVF failed, and my mum was diagnosed with cancer. How’s that for a bad week?

Endometriosis means everything can change in a moment

At the start of the year, I announced in my column that I was taking a new approach to life. Hope, positivity and manifesting good fertility vibes only. I vowed to appreciate and love my complex ovaries and uterus. I have applied every manifestation technique and mindset practice to exist. I have implemented positive changes to my behaviour, language and lifestyle. But I must be doing it wrong because the sh*t keeps on coming!

Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on the universe here, and letting the negativity seep in, but can you blame me? Last year I lost my baby at 20 weeks with a TFMR, then I almost died from sepsis. The year before I had surgery and three failed IVFs, including a very early miscarriage. In 2018 my wonderful mother-in-law passed away, I had surgery and two failed IVFs. When will it stop? Every year gets worse. Maybe I am being tested to see if I can handle a euro millions lottery win, my dream job and triplets. I’ve paid my dues, I deserve it.

I’m not ruling out a positive mindset though. My endometriosis symptoms have improved over the last few months. Pain has been manageable. If the last period is anything to go by it seems to have packed up and moved out completely. Though I genuinely do believe my brain didn’t have time to allow the pain to happen. Bodies are funny things, aren’t they?

Our seventh IVF – the lowdown

At the beginning of the year multiple IVF clinics told me I was too high risk for IVF. I needed a major endometriosis surgery. Endo specialists were disagreeing about what I should do. It was stressful and complicated. So, I chose to ignore everyone. I began my own in-depth research and with a helping hand from a fertility pro, I found an amazing IVF doctor specialising in severe endometriosis.

He was willing to take on the challenge, however he would only proceed in an NHS hospital. This was for my own safety due to possible complications during egg collection. Unfortunately, lockdown postponed the IVF by four months, but it didn’t faze my husband and me. We were happy to wait. Well, we didn’t really have a choice. Practically every clinic in the UK and Spain had told us no.

Miraculously, against all the odds, my latest IVF equated to the most eggs I have ever retrieved – a grand total of nine, not bad for a girl with an AMH of less than one. We got four beautiful blastocyst embryos. My left ovary came out of retirement and it produced an egg for the very first time.

We chose to freeze all to allow my endo to calm down for a couple of months as IVF meds tend to make it rather angry. Unfortunately, our recent frozen embryo transfer failed. However, there are three more in the freezer and we are waiting for our follow up appointment. At the moment, my main priority is my mum and IVF will take a backseat.

Endometriosis isn’t the end. You can do it

This column isn’t a sob story. I’m simply telling the truth. This is what’s happening in my life right now. Social media shows my life, and like so many of us, through rose-tinted glasses. I don’t look like a woman whose heart is breaking on the ‘gram. But this is real life. It’s not all sunshine and smiles. Life can be brutal. Life doesn’t stop for endometriosis, IVF and fertility. You have to learn to handle those things on top of other problems.

Am I ready to give up? Absolutely not. Despite everything I push forward. Remain positive. Keep smiling. Pick myself up, dust myself off and take on whatever comes my way.

You can do it too. Whether you’re experiencing an endo flare up, a laparoscopy, IVF, miscarriage, TFMR…you will be OK. No matter how hard things get, you will survive, I promise. My mum will be ok because she has to be. The next IVF will work. You’ve just got to keep believing it!

Want to read more Emma Kemsley columns? Click here for Emma Vs Endo