A South Australian registered nurse has designed a new planner diary to assist people with Endometriosis manage their condition.
Jessica Todd, 26, who has been living with symptoms of the condition since she was 13, said she created the Endometriosis Warrior Planner initially for herself as way to “get a little control” of the “symptoms and pain” she was dealing with.
“It covers pretty much all of your body systems, so everything’s involved with ‘endo’… [there’s] multiple healthcare teams involved with your care, which is why it’s so handy not only to take your appointments with you to show your team but just anyone in general really that doesn’t understand the disease: Your family, your friends,” Jessica explained.
The Australian government’s HealthDirect guide, defines Endometriosis as a chronic condition that occurs when tissue (known as endometrium), grows outside a woman’s uterus.
Symptoms that can result from the illness include heavy or irregular periods, bleeding between periods, abdominal and pelvic pain, feelings of bloat and exhaustion. It is estimated that around one in ten women suffer from the illness.
Given the broad range of symptoms, Jessica’s planner aims to encompass the entirety of the patient’s experience: Mood, bowel movement, diet, exercise, medical records, pain, fatigue and sleep are among the many different elements covered by the book.
It is something that Jessica said, by choosing to record her body’s function day-to-day in detail, drew on her professional knowledge.
“It all just basically relates back to my nursing assessments,” she said.
However, after using the tool within her own life, a conversation with Jessica’s husband pushed her to create something that could be used by the wider community.
“[He] was the one who actually said that it was selfish of me not to share it around.”
Unable to work in nursing since November 2018 due to her condition, Jessica has had her fair share of challenges: the successful pregnancy with her now 10 month old child aggravated conditions related to the illness, and a difficult financial situation forced her to drop her private cover for the public system’s longer waiting lists.
However, despite this, Ms Todd is hopeful her planner can help a community of “Endometriosis Warriors” by providing a resource that can act as a valuable resource for a patient group whose symptoms are misunderstood by some elements of the healthcare sector.
With sales starting in April this year, the planner has attracted interest from abroad, while a private gynaecology clinic in Adelaide has also started stocking 20 copies of the book, Jessica’s first bulk order.
Jessica is also investigating the possibility of further education into endometriosis, as well as potentially speaking in schools about the disease.
However, as she looks forward, it’s her community of fellow Endometriosis warriors that she continues to draw upon for inspiration.
“The one thing that’s kept pushing me was the support from all the other girls in the support groups, all over the world,” she said.
“I’m getting messages everyday, whether it’s girls buying it [the planner], or girls just reading and thanking me for making something like this.”
The Endometriosis Warrior Planner is available for order online, in multiple publication formats, including a three and 12-month version for A4, and a three, six and 12-month version for A5. There are also social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.