For Anna Cobbs — known to her followers as Fleurdille — an Endometriosis diagnosis wasn’t hard to come by. After she had chronic pain in her lower abdominal area to the point that she’d find herself immobilized by the end of the day, a visit to her OB confirmed that she had Endo, and it was quickly determined that she was a candidate for laparoscopic surgery.
That was the fall of 2008. By the time she went in for her second surgery in 2012, her doctor told her that given the severity of the progression of her Endo, she might not be able to have kids. For six months, she didn’t get her period, and ended up getting progesterone shots to assist in her fertility. The day she was going to start an IVF procedure, she took a test and discovered she was pregnant.
Anna now has two beautiful daughters, Emma, 5, and Abby, 3. In between giving birth, she didn’t get back on her medication because she did want to try to have another child. Though she miscarried in between the two babies, she is ultimately thrilled that she was able to carry her own children.
However, her Endo journey was far from over. Due to the scar tissue, pain and ongoing bleeding that followed the delivery of her daughters, Anna describes her situation as really “touch-and-go.” She explained: “My quality of life was so low. My relationship was suffering. It does affect your intimacy, and that’s a fact. It wears on you, you bicker more, and that was hard. It’s also hard to describe the pain, because it’s not always consistent. Sometimes it would be fine, and sometimes, I would have to lay on the floor because I was in so much pain.
At that point, Anna and her doctors determined it wouldn’t even be worth it to continue to salvage her uterus, and she ended up getting a partial hysterectomy at only 30-years-old. Though the doctors were able to keep her ovaries intact in order to regulate her hormones, she did lose her uterus.
Though it seems like a stunningly difficult thing to go through at such a young age, Anna says it was the right choice, and for other women struggling with Endo, she wants them to know it’s not as scary as it sounds. “I want women to know that what they’re feeling is not normal, and I want them to not believe they have to just get through it. Everyone should be transparent with their OB.” Anna advocates that all women continue to educate themselves, and understand that if you’re having ongoing, disruptive pain, or trouble getting pregnant, it’s worth investigating.
“The most obvious sign for women to pay attention to is excessive bleeding,” Anna explained of Endo. “And lower abdominal cramps, too. It’s not cramps, though, it’s much worse than a cramp. Go to a doctor if you’re having what you’d consider to be excessive for your body. That’s not being weak.”
Today, Anna is a wildly successful lifestyle and parenthood blogger who shares the story of her diagnosis and hysterectomy with women around the world. After recovering from her surgery, Anna is pain-free today, and wants to be a role model for anyone going through the same thing.
“I’ve gotten some very positive responses to [talking about the hysterectomy],” she explained. “People are reaching out and asking: ‘Does it hurt?’” Anna also believes that her journey didn’t come without purpose. “This brought me my platform, and now I can help others get diagnosed and prep, and not feel alone if they have to get a hysterectomy at a young age. “It’s about seeing that someone else is going through it,” she said. “And knowing it’s going to be okay.”