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is a collection of poems about endometriosis, a debilitating condition affecting one in ten women, with an average diagnosis time of seven years from onset of symptoms.

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining the uterus, the endometrium, grows in other areas of the body, typically over ovaries, fallopian tubes and in pelvic tissue. During menstruation, the endometrium in the uterus is shed. The endometrial cells that have grown outside the uterus can’t be shed, causing pain, infertility and adhesions.

It’s a chronic condition with no known cause or cure. Diagnosis is by laparoscopy. Treatment is with medication, surgery or both. I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis at 31, which had been masked by the contraceptive pill I was prescribed for heavy painful periods. After laparoscopies, removal of recurring endometriomas and finding the right combination of medication, mine is currently manageable.

And so these 19 poems, thanks to Brenda and Stephen Matthews of Ginninderra Press, explore different aspects of endometriosis, mixing my own experience with those of others, which I hope will help to raise awareness of the condition, albeit a little.

Wordgathering is an online journal of disability poetry, literature and art published quarterly, in which I’m thrilled to have a poem this quarter.

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Founded in March 2007 by members of the Inglis House Poetry Workshop, the journal promotes the work of writers with disability and aims to develop a rich source for those interested in disability literature.  And Michael Northern, editor in chief, has done an amazing job of producing another enthralling read.

I have endometriosis and mild scoliosis, therefore pain management for both is paramount, which is what attracted me to Daniel Sluman’s Poetry of Pain Workshop hosted through The Poetry School.  This is where my poem ‘Extramarital bliss’ originated, and was developed following an online feedback session facilitated by Daniel, a fantastic poet who also signposted this journal.

Disability literature is growing, and writing about its impact and associated pain can be extremely cathartic, because the challenge is being able to express something in words that takes your breath away.

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