In our second blog this Endometriosis Awareness Month, Trustee Robyn Challinor writes a letter to her 14 year old self, giving her some words of advice she has learnt over the last 13 years of living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and suspected Endometriosis.
This past year has given everyone time at home to reflect. Like everyone my year has been the strangest one, but health wise it’s been hard. It’s led me to think about my journey to this point right now and that’s been hard to think of the tough times. I’ve learnt a lot in the past 13 years of having PCOS and now with suspected Endometriosis the journey continues.
Speaking with Laura, my fellow trustee and now friend about her experience, has made me realise how important being an advocate of your own health really is. This year I will be focusing on my health and trying to navigate the minefield that is women’s health. This blog is a dedicated letter to my 14-year-old self.
I wish I could tell you that this won’t last long but it will be a long journey. It will bring you experiences you can’t imagine and some of the toughest ones.
A few things that I wish I’d known back then:
Tell your friends how you feel and normalise period talk, you’ll be surprised but a lot of girls experience what you do. You’ll save yourself falling out with friends, if you tell them about how you feel and why you don’t want to go out, they will understand. Having people to talk to will be really important.
No matter how embarrassing it may feel, talk to your GP and Doctors, they won’t know what you feel, or what’s normal or not for you, only you do. There will be times in your mind were you question are you really feeling this, don’t doubt yourself, there’ll be a doctor who listens.
You can’t let this hold you back. Having a condition or illness doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. You’ll learn not only to live with a chronic condition but also to not let it define you. It’s okay to have days where you do nothing but there’ll be days where you feel normal and achieve everything you wanted to do.
Start looking after yourself, find an exercise you like – it will make you feel better. You’ll begin to learn what helps your symptoms whether this is a healthy diet or making sure you have some rest days.
Keep being you, not everyone is going to like you but the people you will meet on your way will help you get through some of your tough times.
You will continue to power on from the days you don’t want to get out of bed, crippled in pain to achieve a degree, a master’s degree, a Chartership and an apprenticeship to be a Charted Surveyor.
Believe in yourself a bit more and learn to enjoy every opportunity that comes your way! Be proud of how much you have achieved and are going to achieve!
Love Robyn, Age 27 x
P.S. Don’t get the red highlights in your hair, that wasn’t a great hair choice for us!