WHEELCHAIR bound and battling suspected PTSD - endometriosis has left Lyndsey Bissell in complete physical and mental turmoil.
The 32-year-old, from Birmingham, has been struggling with the agonising condition for two decades - and it has left her severely underweight and unable to leave the house.
And Lyndsey is in so much pain she is now desperately trying to raise money so she can have hysterectomy and monitored treatment.
The emergency services worker said: "I have no independence and spend my days staring at the walls or googling ways to help myself in desperation to get better.
"I feel like my body is shutting down."
Endometriosis, which affects one in ten women, is caused when tissue from the womb starts to grow on other pelvic organs.
As well as extremely heavy periods, endometriosis can cause debilitating pain and sometimes infertility.
Lyndsey first started displaying symptoms of the condition at the age of 12 - when she begun menstruating.
She would bleed heavily for eight to 12 weeks at a time - and needed to change her sanitary pad every half an hour.
At first, doctors said her symptoms could be be a result of menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea - abnormally heavy periods and menstrual cramps.
And at one point Lyndsey claims she was "fobbed off" by her GP - who told her she needed to "man up".
She told Mail Online: "Apparently I was the 'wrong build' for endo, 'the wrong ethnicity' and one GP even told me that I should 'man up and deal with my periods like any normal woman would'."
Later in her twenties, Lyndsey's symptoms continued to escalate and she developed severe abdominal cramps, extreme bloating, ten-day long periods and back pain.
The pain was like being seared in half from the inside, leaving me silently screaming out in painLyndsey Bissell
"The pain was like being seared in half from the inside, leaving me silently screaming out in pain, tears down my face and gently rocking from side to side," she added.
Medics suggested the heavy bleeding was down to large fibroids and she was trialled on various medications including steroids and the pill.
However, none of the treatments worked and Lyndsey's pain continued to worsen.
After five desperate years of searching for a diagnosis, Lyndsey finally had a laparoscopy in February 2012 which revealed she had endometriosis.
Despite this, things took a turn for the worst while she was undergoing a routine treatment for the condition in August 2017.
She collapsed outside the clinic and went into anaphylactic shock.
Lyndsey recalled: "I had a rash on my body, sickness, diarrhea, fever, a swollen throat, a racing heart and the inability to swallow."
Doctors determined that she had suffered a rare yet severe allergic reaction to the drugs.
Writing on her GoFundMe page, Lyndsey said: "I had an anaphylactic reaction to routine endometriosis treatment resulting in heart problems, liver failure and leaving me with chronic vomiting and suspected PTSD.
"I was unable to tolerate foods for four months and it took nearly nine to eat a small toddler meal."
Following this, Lyndsey's weight plummeted from 11 stone to just under seven stone in eight weeks due to chronic vomiting.
Lyndsey, who speaks three languages, had been keen to pursue a career in the military as an intelligence officer, but despite managing to get herself military fit, her illness prevented her from seeing it through.
"I went from 11 stone and going in the armed forces to six stone unable to stand", she added.
Doctors then decided to place Lyndsey on a chemotherapy drug known as Prostap to accelerate the reaction out of her system - which resulted in her having to leave her job.
Then, just two years later, Lyndsey suffered another episode in May 2019 which left her "bed bound and unable to walk with severe balance disturbance and vertigo".
Lyndsey said: "I cannot eat much, walk or stand, go outside unsupervised or even sleep for more than a few hours due to the severity of the symptoms."
In complete agony, Lyndsey is now wheelchair-bound and desperate for a hysterectomy - which he believes will give her back her "quality of life".
And she thinks that without urgent surgery, she could suffer another anaphylaxis episode - which could be life-threatening.
Lyndsey said: "I need a hysterectomy urgently to stop the hormones from causing what appears to be cyclical allergic reactions.
"No hormones means nothing to react to which translates as I get better again."
Symptoms of endometriosis
Endometriosis is where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month, these cells react in the same way to those in the womb - building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
That can lead to infertility, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, as well as really heavy, painful periods.
It affects one in ten women in the UK.
- Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Chronic pain
- Painful bowel movements
The cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure.
According to Endometriosis UK, it takes over seven years on average for women to finally receive a diagnosis.
It's estimated that up to 50 per cent of infertile women has the condition.
Source: Endometriosis UK
More on endometriosis
Lyndsey claims the BSGE Endo clinic in the Midlands could perform the operation within two weeks, and has so far raised £300 of her £12,000 target.
She added: "All I want to do is to be well enough to live independently again and have a quality of life."
To donate to her cause, visit her GoFundMe page here.