An endometriosis sufferer from Gorebridge is highlighting her condition so women suffering from chronic pains like her don’t feel alone.
Sales rep Hollie McConnell (27) has had endometriosis since she was 17, but was only diagnosed with the illness last year.
She said: “I have been in hospital a lot over the years. The first time, I collapsed at work and was taken in to hospital.
“The same situation happens time and time again. It starts off as cramps then after two days the pain is like you are in labour. It’s horrific pain. I have to get gas and air.
“The main symptoms for me are mind bending amounts of pain. We people with endometriosis call them ‘flares’.
“It just makes normal day to day functioning almost impossible.
“It’s also a pain on your mental health as well as physically. It’s a ticking time bomb.
“I have a two-year-old girl and I’m always worried it comes up when I’m out and about with her.
“I have had good years and bad years. But now it is every two weeks. It can last for one to four days. I have to take morphine to relieve the pain.
“It’s much harder for my husband and my parents to watch me go through this than actually me going through it.
“My husband and I always laugh what with me being a working mum. We say its like the Hunger Games, we just don’t know when it’s coming.
“It’s a constant struggle. I went through a mad period of packing bags from my daughter when she was young in case something happened to me. And my husband Colin said this has to stop.
“But you constantly ask yourself. Am I ready for it? Are my loved ones ready for it?
“You always know you are only one pain away from ending up in the hospital.”
Hollie runs a Facebook page called ‘Positively Endo’, a support page for people in Midlothian with endometriosis. She is passionate about spreading the word about the condition.
She said: “I really feel like if I can help one other person to recognise this story, it makes a difference.
“I have spent so many years getting people to realise this is what I have. If when I was 21 I had read this story, I would know what I had was real, that I wasn’t going crazy.
“There has never been real research into endometriosis to see if it’s genetic.
“My mum suffered with pain but endometriosis wasn’t a thing then so she has never been diagnosed with it.
“I just want to share this experience because I want people in my condition to stop feeling crazy.
“It’s not life-threatening, but it’s life-altering. And I think it’s important for people to know about it. So employers and friends and family can be more understanding and know what’s going on.
“A lot of young girls are going through this, who don’t know what it is they have.”