A teenager who was forced to wheel herself around Pinderfields Hospital looking for specialist to diagnose a debilitating illness that has plagued her for years now wants to prevent other girls suffering in silence.
Chloe-Elizabeth Elliott from Carleton in Pontefract has endured years of misery caused by endometriosis, a debilitating and painful condition affecting the female reproductive system.
But it took nearly a decade to correctly diagnose her and has ended up in hospital on countless occasions. Bizarrely, some doctors have even suggested it may have been psychological.
After being admitted to hospital last year in agony, she refused to leave until she was seen by a specialist whom she tracked down herself at Pinderfields.
Chloe, who is 16 and recently sat her GCSEs at St Wilfrid’s in Featherstone, explained: “I ended up in A&E because they thought it was my appendix. But then they asked me if I was doing it for attention, or if everything was okay at home or stressed about exams.
“They tried to discharge me but I refused to leave so they put me on a ward.
“I was in absolutely agony, so my mum put me in a wheelchair and said we were going to go and find the lead endometriosis guy, which we did.
“He came to see me and was a God-send, he said he believed me when I said I was in pain and just bawled my heart out.
“Within two weeks he had me in surgery and had me all diagnosed.”
Endometriosis causes tissue, similar to the lining of the womb, to start growing in other areas such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
It can not be cured, but can be eased through treatment.
The problem comes with diagnosing the illness, with the main symptoms often dismissed as simply ‘period pains’.
Chloe began puberty at around eight years-old and described it as ‘super painful’ and led to her taking time off school.
Despite the relief at her diagnosis, it forms only part of her battle.
Having undergone operations, the pain is still not yet under control.
“If you’re having time off work or school or it’s interrupting your day-to-day life, you need to go to the doctors and see what’s going on,” she warned.
“If I had gone all those years ago, if it was not such a taboo subject, then I would have known I had endometriosis sooner.
“Periods are spoken about and it’s ‘just period pain’ when you’re in agony and can’t get out of bed.”
To help spread the word she has even set up her own YouTube channel, ‘Chloe-Elizabeth Endometriosis Sisters’, sharing her experiences and thoughts which has had more than 2,200 visitors so far. She has now also entered the Miss South Yorkshire pageant, and has made it through to the final.
Chloe added: “The reason I entered was to get a platform to raise awareness of endometriosis, I believe if I win I would get an even bigger platform as I would go further in the competition and this means more awareness of endometriosis would be spread so of course I would love to win but it is an honour to have got this far.
“I have never done a pageant before so I am super nervous but excited.” Expecting her exam results this summer, Chloe is uncertain where her future lies because of endometriosis but harbours high hopes of a career on the big screen.
“I’m unsure what my plans are for next year because of my pain not been under control, however my ultimate goal is to become a film and TV actress.”