Louise has severe endometriosis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Read about her inspirational achievement and how she managed to overcome both conditions to run the London Marathon for Endometriosis UK and Action for M.E.
“I think it’s important to remember that you are in control, not the endometriosis.”
My experience of endometriosis
I was first diagnosed in December 2007. I had always had very painful, heavy periods but the pain became constant and so bad that it would make me physically sick or pass out.
I have endometriosis on my uterus, ovaries and bladder. Pain can spread down my legs and into my back also. I have been told that there is no point in any more surgical intervention as this could cause more damage than good.
There does not seem to be a pattern to my pain and it does not correlate with my cycle in anyway. When I was first diagnosed I became extremely tired, even having a shower would leave me in bed for the rest of the day. I was later diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Having both CFS and endometriosis means I am tired most of the time and get light headed, as well as having severe pain. However, my medication has made the pain has go from being constant to intermittent.
I’ve always been really sporty, so when I couldn’t do any sport because I was too exhausted, it was really difficult for me. It took me a while to build up to doing any exercise. I started off gently doing yoga in my room, then joined a gym in 2010 and slowly built it up from there. A year later I joined my local running club. I really enjoyed it and soon moved up from the slowest group. I actually found that running made me less tired and helped me manage the pain more. I managed to do a half marathon in the autumn of 2012.
Running the London Marathon
After seeing my boyfriend complete the London Marathon last year, I decided that I would enter for 2014. Endometriosis and CFS have turned my life upside down. I wanted to raise awareness of them as well as raise money to help other people like me. I was so confused and frustrated when I was first diagnosed – it was through one of the Endometriosis UK support groups that I was able to learn more about endometriosis and feel like I wasn’t so alone.
It took a lot of hard work and discipline to train for the London Marathon. I started training for it nearly a year in advance. I increased my training really slowly. This was really important as with both endometriosis and CFS it’s about pacing and not overdoing it. I made a point of still doing my yoga, which I think really helped. There were many hard days, and there were days when I had to write off running all together.
Throughout the training the thought of actually completing the marathon kept me going. I had tears in my eyes when I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t believe I actually had done it. Completing the marathon was a massive challenge and the biggest achievement I have made in terms of a personal goal and overcoming these conditions. I think it’s important to remember that you are in control, not the endometriosis.
Louise completed the London Marathon in just 4 hours 2 minutes and 38 seconds and was the first female Endo UK runner to cross the finish line.