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Amy Vreeke was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2016, and has now taken to the stage in her autobiographical piece ‘The Year My Vagina Tried To Kill Me,’ to share her experiences through a combination of blunt jokes and gifted storytelling.
Endometriosis causes the tissue that usually grows inside the uterus to grow in other parts of the body, often meaning disruption to everyday life caused by many painful symptoms.
Amy created an immediately welcoming atmosphere as the audience entered, with her curled up on the sofa in her pyjamas and watching TV, allowing us to feel more connected with her.
The beginning of her story, told from the comfort of her sofa, was something we could all relate to – passing notes between friends in school because one of them has a crush on the other. She started as a regular teenage girl but soon had to learn to hide the pain her condition caused her, whether it be during a period, sex, or in a toilet cubicle in a bar in Zante.
Amy would switch between the sofa and her microphone, allowing us to be taken away from the more emotional side of the Endometriosis and given an interesting insight into her views on jogging. As well as the harsh realities of living with a chronic illness, delivered in a way that made the audience chuckle and grin. She calculated that over ten years, she spent £7,500 on period products (the cost of a used Volvo) – a price which would have been much less had she not had misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis. One doctor told her to sit up more because the fat on her stomach was folding in, putting pressure on her organs.
Due to Endometriosis, Amy had very heavy periods and also bled after sex. One guy had the nerve to ask her “Did I just **** you so hard you started your period?” Yes, that’s exactly what just happened.
Of course, Amy loved pretending to be ill, sitting in waiting rooms for hours on end. The trips to the hospital. The judgement cast by doctors and nurses who asked her how many sexual partners she had had. The doctors told Amy there were many reasons she could be experiencing painful sex – most commonly blaming STIs.
Eventually, Amy self-diagnosed herself with Endometriosis, having read a book by a woman who had the same condition. But the only way to officially diagnose the disease is to have cameras sent into the body through the mouth and… well, another hole. This was of little bother to Amy, who compared this to her average Friday night. The doctors were able to diagnose Endometriosis and removed the cells, causing the problem, meaning she was cured.
And she did feel cured for a while, insisting on living like one of those women on the tampon adverts. But then it came back. And the people over the phone were still insisting that she was cured.
Having begged for it, Amy did eventually get a second operation to remove the cells again, but part of her bowel was removed too.
Amy Vreeke’s story of her chronic illness was simultaneously moving and hilarious. Her combination of compelling storytelling and blasé jokes was educational and truly inspiring. She drew attention to the struggles faced by women who are ignored or not believed, and her message will surely be spread by all those that hear it: no, you did not f*ck me so hard that my period started.