Anouska out to raise awareness of endometriosis
If you’re in and around Lurgan Park tomorrow (Saturday, March 27) and see a young woman dressed in yellow walking there with determined stride don’t be afraid to say hello.
Dollingstown woman Anouska Black will be there to champion a cause she is so clearly passionate about - raising awareness of endometriosis.
Anouska, a 31-year-old mother of one, was diagnosed with the condition when she was 19 (an early diagnosis) and is all too familiar with its debilitating effects.
Endometriosis (Endo for short) is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can affect women of any age between puberty and menopause. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life.
Symptoms can include heavy periods, irregular periods, cramps, painful urination, painful bowel movements, fatigue, pain during or after intercourse and infertility.
It can also bring on problems with anxiety and depression.
There is no known cure and diagnosis of the condition can take up to 10 years.
For Anouska it has affected every aspect of her life - she’s had to give up her place at university due to its impact.
She said: “I could be up all night in agony and could not function the next day.”
She said: “There is also the pain of not knowing when it will hit you. I was walking down the street in Lurgan one day with my mum and I just collapsed from the pain.
“It’s affected my worklife and schooling - I had to give up my place at Queen’s as a result and am now doing an Open University course. It also hits your social life, you just can’t make plans.”
Indeed with one of the symptoms known as ‘Endo Belly’, Anouska cannot be sure of what dress size she will be on any given day - ‘Endo Belly’ can see her tummy swell to a size where she will appear six months pregnant and again it can come on without warning.
She went on: “It hasn’t just impacted my life but the lives of all those around me. My son is so much more independent than he should be because he’s had to look after me.
“It’s not just a woman’s problem, it’s a societal problem. It affects everything, a pandemic in itself. It costs the NHS millions and businesses millions in lost days etc and there is still no cure.
“There’s not enough funding going in to research, five times more goes into researching erectile disfunction. I’m not taking away from the seriousness of that but there is a gender gap.”
The month of March each year is designated as Endometriosis Awareness Month and this weekend would usually see a march to raise awareness of the condition. Due to coronavirus restrictions the march cannot take place in its usual format (it was also cancelled last year).
However, Anouska is determined to raise awareness and she will be donning her yellow hoodie (yellow being the Endo awareness colour) and will be taking to Lurgan Park to walk there and get the conversation started,
But even that could have its price for her, she took a day’s rest before the walk but could be laid up for two or three days after if her condition flares up, or if she’s lucky will feel no ill effects from her effort.
So, if you spot Anouska in her yellow hoodie tomorrow, don’t be afraid to say hello!
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