A WOMAN who suffers from a debilitating health condition that has left her feeling so low she contemplated taking her own life, has called for education on her disease to be on the national curriculum.
Theresa Cuttress, from Sompting, was diagnosed with endometriosis around eight years ago, which is a serious gynaecological condition affecting one in five women. It can cause a range of symptoms including severe pelvic, back and leg pain, and so far remains without an overall cure.
As the 42-year-old, of Peveril Close, revealed, her symptoms have caused so much agony that she has often been bed-ridden and has been forced to give up her care work. She has now been prescribed a complex cocktail of drugs including anti-depressants, and anti-epilepsy medication.
But despite her situation, which has seen her battle for disability allowance and undergo a hysterectomy operation, she felt her faith and family support had helped her through. She is determined to help others through raising awareness of the disease during March’s endometriosis month.
She has previously raised the issue with East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, who offered her reassurance the Government would attempt to place funding into research on endometriosis.
Mrs Cuttress said: “Before I was diagnosed with this disease, I hadn’t even heard of it. I felt relieved, confused and frustrated all at the same time, as there wasn’t much information about it back in around 2005.
“My condition got worse by 2008, when I had to stop doing my care work for a nursing home in Worthing.
“They were quite understanding as the wife of my manager had the same condition, but after I had surgery I was in hospital for six weeks. My husband Peter and my son Carey have been so good, they’ve been like saints in caring for me and being patient with me.
“There’s no real support available locally in Sompting, though there was a group at Worthing Hospital that I did look into, but am not sure is running any more. When I am able to, I have tried to give support to other women through the Endometriosis in the UK website. I can assist just through giving a little time and advice.
“I’ve been greatly moved by some of the horror stories that I’ve heard about on the website, with women finding they may not have been treated well by employers who have not understood their condition.
“This month is awareness month for the disease and I do think there should be more awareness about it and think girls should be taught about it as it can take over 10 years to be diagnosed due to the fact it is something that can mimic other conditions.”
She believed she had some strong support from her GP, though she feared there may be little more that can be achieved until a cure is found for her condition.