Mum can relate to daughter's pain
Jessica Pearce knows endometriosis might rob her of having children and cause her crippling pain for the rest of her life.
But a silver lining for the 20-year-old nursing student from Palmerston North was catching the condition early after her mother pushed for answers.
Wendy Pearce was given a hysterectomy aged 40 after "being totally riddled" with lesions on her womb and bowel - something she wants to prevent her daughter going through.
"There was always something holding over our heads, that she might have it because of me," she said.
"I'm sad she has had to go through so much pain."
The mother and daughter have chosen to speak out about their diagnoses for endometriosis awareness month in March.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that lines the uterus is found growing in places it shouldn't, including the pelvic region, ovaries, bowel and ligaments.
There is no cure for the condition, which can cause chronic pain, bowel problems, abnormal periods and infertility.
According to Endometriosis NZ, about 130,000 girls and women have the condition in New Zealand.
Less than a week after laparoscopic surgery to check and treat Miss Pearce, the news of her diagnosis still hasn't sunk in.
"Every three months I would end up in bed for about two days with serious stomach pains although I would be taking the contraceptive pill to control the pain and my periods," she said.
"I was doing that for four years, since I started up with my specialist.
"Before then I just sucked it up and took painkillers - when I worked it was an issue because it was too painful to move so I would be calling in sick."
Miss Pearce said the contraceptive pill and skipping her period was supposed to help with the pain but didn't in her case.
"I'd had enough and asked for the surgery," she said.
"Mum thought, ‘I hope they don't find it', but I thought, ‘I hope they find something so it will explain how I'm feeling'."
Endometriosis that had not attached itself to vital organs was found and burned away on the right side of Miss Pearce's abdomen. On the left side side, scar tissue from previous endometriosis was cleared out.
Miss Pearce said it was a waiting game following her surgery to see how her body would react, and what level of pain she would be in.
"It upsets me to know I might have trouble having kids," she said.
"But what was quite good was that mum rang the Endometriosis NZ support group and they arranged someone who is the same age as me to talk with when I get out of hospital."
Mrs Pearce said her daughter would always live with endometriosis, "you have to adjust your life to enjoy the good days and when there are bad days you work around them".
Visit nzendo.co.nz for more information and support.