Mum-of-two Lucy Parsons has won the EveryWoman Day Award 2018 after sharing her inspirational story about having two miracle sons.
Lucy, 28, has battled with chronic pelvic pain since she was a teenager, and it seemed that every doctor that she saw came up with a different diagnosis – everything from period pain to polycystic ovaries, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, being overweight, endometriosis and finally psoriatic arthritis.
Her dream of motherhood was shattered aged 18 when she was told that she had polycystic ovaries.
I was told the chance of having children was slim to none. Having grown up as one of eight children in our family, I had always wanted kids so this was really upsetting.
Despite her constant pain and desire to be a mum, doctors wouldn’t investigate her problems since she had the diagnosis of polycystic ovaries.
Then shortly after she met her husband Ben, a construction site manager who’s now 28, it seemed like a dream had come true in 2014, when Lucy found out she was pregnant. Sadly, they lost the baby in April, when she was nine weeks pregnant, due to a tear in the womb which caused bleeding.
Ben and I were devastated. It was even more of a blow after being told we couldn't have children, but at the same time, it also gave us hope for the future. And finally, doctors started to listen to my constant pain.
We decided not to pin our hopes and dreams on pregnancy, always being told that we should stop trying and it would happen. So, we focused on us. We got engaged and started planning our wedding for June 2015.
Lucy continued to have lower back and stomach pain so doctors referred her for a laparoscopy – an exploratory operation in which a tiny camera is inserted to the abdomen.
They didn't think they would find anything. But lo and behold, I was told when I woke up that I had endometriosis and the surgeon had used laser treatment.
He told me it was completely cured and I did not have polycystic ovaries. I was confused, as I had seen scans proving I had, but I let it go as I thought maybe I was through the tunnel, into the light at the other end.
No such luck. Shortly after that, Lucy was rushed to hospital with a ruptured ovarian cyst, proving that she did indeed have that condition.
Yet another consultant gave her more conflicting information – that there was no way all the endometriosis had been treated and the only way to keep it at bay was to go on the contraceptive mini pill.
Lucy refused because she was so desperate to be a mum.
And in January 2015, Lucy discovered she was pregnant again – she and Ben went through a whole range of emotions from happiness to anxiety and fear.
Having booked and paid for our wedding we went ahead, by which point I was six months pregnant.
My pregnancy was awful, I had morning sickness day and night from start to finish, constant worry and increased pain which I was told was pelvic girdle pain. I was reduced to crutches as I could barely walk.
I spent every day scared rather than excited that I would lose yet another child.
But my rainbow baby Frankie arrived and he’s now three years old.
Although Lucy continued to suffer terrible pain, life was about to get even better for the young family, from Bagshot, Surrey – in January 2017, she found out another baby was on the way.
Throughout the pregnancy I was just as fearful and in agony all over again. Doctors were useless but I had a very good midwife who was very understanding and had helped me through all three pregnancies.
Edward was born safe and well in September, and since then Lucy has had yet another diagnosis, this time her pain was put down as psoriatic arthritis.
The full-time mum says:
My health still isn't great but I wouldn't change everything that has happened, because I now have two beautiful boys who are my world.
I would eventually love more children however my health just wouldn't allow for it right now. I still have pain, and it’s all over my body, but mostly in the pelvic area. I still have endometriosis and PCOS but they are just monitored.
Also, Frankie is in the process of being diagnosed with autism, so we are trying to concentrate on our boys we have.
Ben has been my rock throughout, there isn't anyone else I would have wanted to share this experience with.
Lucy’s story was chosen for the EveryWoman Day Award because it captures the heartache and frustration that many women endure with difficult-to-diagnose women’s health conditions.
She is the living proof that more research and development is needed for this area of medicine – and an inspiration to every woman who is currently in pain without knowing why.
About EveryWoman Day
EveryWoman Day is an annual event to raise awareness and funds for poorly understood women’s health conditions. Women can share their stories along with a “belly selfie” – a photo of their abdomen with their chosen message on it. Whilst on the website, you can also donate to relevant charities.
Dr Karen Gardiner, founder of EveryWoman Day, says:
EveryWoman Day is a project created to raise awareness and share experiences about women’s health, so that other women can benefit. We care about your health, your emotions, your life story, because every woman matters. Because ordinary women do extraordinary things every day. Because we are you.
Research funds tend to be spent on killer health conditions, so many women’s health problems are poorly understood, even when they are severely life limiting. We women are inspiring, resourceful, strong and wonderful, but they don’t always want to talk openly about problems with lady parts.
That’s why this project is illustrated with belly pics which don’t show faces but can show what women are up against, and how they cope. Join in! Whether you are a patient, a nurse, a parent or a friend, you something to share.
If there isn’t a story section about your condition, start one. Choose whatever word or phrase sums it up for you, and write it on your belly then take a selfie or get someone to snap it. Share your experience with others, for others.
Share & inspire
Belly selfies are designed to be anonymous so you can inspire other women even if you are embarrassed.
The more of us share our stories about how we cope with our conditions, the more women will learn how to cope with theirs.
Let’s raise awareness together.