HOW I ENDO: Fashion Designer Kate Anderson
Fashion designer Kate Anderson knew something wasn’t right when laying on her cold bathroom floor was the only way she could feel any kind of reprieve from her period pain. When her periods started to get so excruciating and every other avenue she’d tried to manage the pain wasn’t working, she demanded her GP refer her to a gynaecologist to get more answers. It was then that she was diagnosed with endometriosis.
Now, five surgeries later and an amazing team of experts on hand to help her manage her pain, Kate shares some of her top tips for others suffering with endo.
I’m originally from Adelaide but have been in Sydney for about 7 years. I’ve worked in fashion most of my life and now freelance / consult across multiple brands, which I love.
I was SO excited. When I was in my early teens I was painfully thin and my hormones wouldn’t kick start. When it finally came, I high-fived my mum like it was the greatest achievement…be careful what you wish for I guess…
I was diagnosed in 2009. I had just come back from three months in Europe and the last month was excruciating. Previously I had tried every pill named after every middle-aged white woman known to man with no avail to my pain. I was tired, mentally and physically. I used to lie on the cold bathroom floor as that was the most comfortable place. My GP said I needed to see a gastroenterologist, but my mum marched me into her room and demanded to see a gynaecologist instead. She just knew.
Pain is such a hard thing to describe: it used to feel like my uterus was melting and I was being stabbed with a hot poker. The nausea was overwhelming – I still get extreme nausea to this day. It’s such a sneaky disease, I’ve had it grow in a surgery scar in between my muscle and skin… seems superficial but it was SO painful. It’s also grown on my diaphragm and the ligaments in my hip. Mostly my pain is managed through the use of The Implanon, which I’ve been using since 2012. Everyone is different, however, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.
I’ve had 5 surgeries so I think they have been monumental in my diagnosis and explain a lot of my pain. They have all been quite spread out but I feel like I know the routine back to front and the process seems way too familiar. I have the utmost trust in my gynaecologist, which I guess is why I also feel so comfortable/confident before going into a surgery.
I’ve tried various diets and supplements, most of which are unsustainable but NAC is a vitamin I swear by.
Take your own pillow, I cannot stress this enough. Bring your laptop and chargers in case you are in there for a while. When you drive home from the hospital, make sure you put the pillow on your tummy, as going over bumps/speed humps hurts and this absorbs some of the movement.
You will most likely be in hospital for a few days after. Expect that movement will be limited and painful; also, don’t try and do too much as even though the pain killers may be working your body is healing on the inside still. Be gentle with yourself.
100%, but only in the last year. After my last surgery in 2022 my gynecologist in Adelaide said I should seriously consider freezing my eggs. I had a cancelled round in November 2022 and then two more rounds in early 2023 and I have 11 eggs frozen. There is not enough information on egg freezing on the internet, so I went into this very unprepared and uninformed.
I’m so lucky that I work for myself from home, but in the past this has been tricky. Fashion is terribly unforgiving so I’ve definitely worked through the pain when I shouldn't have.
If you feel up for it, a walk in the sun - even when I'm feeling terrible, my partner still tries to get me outside for a small amount of time. Fresh air is a beautiful thing. Oh, and a good TV show.
How amazing the human body is but also get a second opinion if you aren’t happy… you know you own body better than anyone!