Ten Questions with A Bajan Endo Warrior- Krystle Carew.

As we begin Endometriosis Awareness Month 2019 in Barbados, we’re going to get to know a few local endowarriors in Barbados with this blog series: “Ten Questions with A Bajan Endo Warrior”. Today, the 1st of March 2019, we will start off our 10 Question Series with Krystle: mother, partner, sister, daughter, friend, entrepreneur and a bajan endowarrior.

(Disclaimer: The discussion which follows is that of a personal experience and does not constitute provision of any medical advice. The experience outlined in not indicative of a typical experience. If you have any questions about your health, always seek the advice of a medical professional.)

Q1 . Tell us a little about Krystle, her history, her foundation:
A. Growing up I was really shy and kept to myself. I loved reading books or
spending time watching television with my brother. My family have always
motivated me and this has carried throughout the years. My mother and her mom (my grand- mother) sculpted my character, they raised me to be independent and to think outside the box. My favorite food has always been my grandmother’s sweet potato pie, which she taught me to make (although I’m still a huge fan of hers). My favorite colour is blue and I’ve always loved reading and cooking.

Q2. When were you diagnosed with endometriosis? Do you know the stage?
A. I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis on November 16th 2007. It was a lot to take in at first since the endometriosis was just taking over my uterus, left ovary and pelvic wall.

Q3. You also have polycystic ovarian syndrome too right? When were you diagnosed with PCOS? What symptoms/signs did you have?
I was diagnosed with PCOS in June 2016 via ultra-sound, after suffering from a ruptured cyst. My PCOS didn’t show many symptoms, besides the polycystic ovaries, I only have little facial hair.

Q4. That’s a lot to take in and deal with, isn’t it? What were your initial thoughts/reactions when you heard about these conditions?
When anyone gets diagnosed with a disease the first thing you think of is that it’s life threatening, and my thoughts weren’t any different. I knew about ovarian cysts, as I had them from a teenager, but hearing the word endometriosis was very scary. I did my research and all I could think of after that was infertility and not being able to conceive naturally. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I wasn’t too taken aback as I had heard about it before.

Q5. Ok, so we know you’re big on family- really big, lol. What role has your family played as it pertained to management and support?
My family is my life and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them over the past 3 years. My mom and my son’s aunt would look after him when I’m down and in loads of pain. My grandmothers would both cook or make me oats. My boyfriend would, take me to all my appointments and during my stay in the hospital he was there by my side (not sleep over, but he was there at every visiting time).

Q6. That’s wonderful to have such strong family support. Is there any other support mechanism out there that has helped you on your journey?
Besides my family, my endometriosis sisters on Facebook and the ladies of
BAEP have helped me through my journey. Emotional support was necessary and the ladies made sure that they checked up on me, either social media or in person and I can’t thank them enough.

Q7. You had surgery within the last year to address your endometriosis. Do you mind sharing what your personal surgical experience was like?
My surgical experience was a rollercoaster to say the least. I was hospitalized once and been to two different doctors before I found my doctor of preference. He laid out everything for me; what type of surgery it’ll be, the proposed length of the surgery, the cost since I was going private and what I needed to do to prepare myself. The day of the surgery I was a little nervous, because I knew what they would find, but there was a possibility that I would lose an ovary. The surgery lasted 7 1⁄2 hours, 2 more hours than it was scheduled for. Coming out of surgery I was briefed. The left ovary was so badly affected it had to be taken out, the scar tissue and the adhesions were covering everything and fusing the ovaries together, the endometioma was as big as over 8cm and the right ovary had cysts that were removed. This was so much for me, I didn’t know how to process it, so I didn’t tell much people that I lost an ovary as I’m still processing. Because losing an ovary means that conception is more difficult. After a few weeks in recovery I caught an infection in my navel, but that was short lived
because I was better in a few days.

Q8. Wow. That was a lot, we appreciate you sharing that journey with us and understand the need to take time to process. What else have you been doing since the surgery to maintain your health?
Since the surgery, I’ve gone back to exercising regularly and eating healthy
foods. I started my 10-minute walk in my neighborhood, and then I increased it to a brisk walk and now 7 months later I’m back to jogging. I’ve also being detoxing at least once a month to help my body get back to its normal balance. I’ve even started the keto diet and between eating healthy and exercising I’m losing weight and feeling great.

Q9. Lovely! We’re happy you’re feeling great! So, what do you think should be done in Barbados to better support women with Endometriosis and/or PCOS? Not enough is being done to help charities like BAEP that offer support groups for women with both endometriosis and PCOS. But we need to start advocating more for these charities; host seminars, have more programs on CBC and articles in the newspaper to help raise awareness. When the women see that awareness is done it will give them the peace of mind that they need.

Q10. Hmm. Food for thought. Ok, what advice would you have for any young girl who may have painful periods?
My advice to any woman who is having painful periods is to get to a gynaecologist as soon as possible. Tell a friend, a family member (someone you trust) about the problems you are having and have them go with you to the doctor. You don’t have to suffer alone, there are support groups that can help.

Bonus! Thanks so much for your time. Finally, you have your business venture, The Craft Studio. Do you mind telling us more about it?
The Craft Studio was created because I saw the need for more variety of craft supplies in Barbados. Both my grandmothers are into craft and they would usually send overseas for supplies, this prompted the business idea.
In 5 to 10 years The Craft Store will have a store front and maybe a wholesale shop as well. We aim to meet the demand of schools, crafters, artists and hobbyist (The Craft Studio contact: +1 246-258-5241; email: thecraftstudio101@gmail.com )

Are you or do you know any Bajan Endo Warriors who’d like to share more about their journey? Send us an email at endoassociationofbdos@gmail.com!