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Bonnie's Story

"The financial stress is something you can’t comprehend until you are in the thick of it"

This is Bonnie's story.

It’s 2019 and I’ve secured my dream job after redundancy and feel on top of the world, only to later discover that it wasn’t meant to be. Fast forward two years and I found myself in the position of poor health and unemployment.

Summer 2020 changed my life as I knew it, I was experiencing excruciating pelvic pain, and was getting no support from my GP. I tried all the medication they would throw at me, hoping somehow it would make a difference. I had always experienced painful periods but this was next level.

My poor health was impacting my job, having regularly long periods of time off work. This was disruptive to not only my employer but also to my financial state and mental well-being.

I was getting nowhere with my GP and so, in Spring 2022 I paid for a private consultation with an endometriosis specialist after a nurse mentioned the condition to me during one of my many visits for tests. I didn’t know what to expect but the specialist read my notes and agreed exploratory surgery was the best option.

Prior to surgery I found myself off work (Again!) and was in a bad way. I could hardly move I was in that much pain and was pleading with the GP for stronger painkillers. Between March and my surgery in May I tried everything I could, nothing took the pain away. I was bed-ridden most days and I had no quality of life.

My surgery day came and I was glad to get some answers. I received my diagnosis of endometriosis and finally felt like I had an explanation for the worst two years of my health to date. However, I found little relief post-surgery and was still off sick from work.

The financial stress is something you can’t comprehend until you are in the thick of it, you don’t plan to be sick. Yet, here I was running out of statutory sick pay and heading towards signing on for benefits. I was suddenly reliant on my partners income, and we struggled to make ends meet. I’m the type of person who likes their finances in order but having to call multiple companies to make payment plans, choosing between fueling your car for some freedom from your own front room or eating the food you want certainly changes your gratitude for the small things in life.

After 7 months off sick, I recognised the need to decide what’s best for me with health in mind. Sadly, I left the job of my dreams in pursuit of something more manageable for my over all well-being.

In January 2023, I started a new job in youth work. If it wasn’t for Endometriosis UK last year would have been more of a struggle than it already was. Through my local support group, I have met some incredibly wonderful, strong, determined people who made me realise that all is not lost. I owe a lot to the group and the group leader Vicky for their support over the past year. While I still navigate the stormy seas of this condition, I am much more optimistic about whatever happens next as I am not doing it alone.

Bonnie Smiling