top of page

The Full Story

The Beginning

I began gymnastics at the age of 4 years old. For 6 years, I did artistic gymnastics before moving to trampoline & tumbling, a sport which I fell in love with. Less than a year later, I had my first experience with chronic pain.

When I was 11, it was like a flip switched in my body. I started experiencing migraines & cluster headaches. After a year of this I began to get debilitating cramps and muscle aches. I was told what every teenage girl is told; "it's just period related, you will grow out of it". So I did what every gymnast in pain does... I pushed through. Through years of dysmenorrhea, headaches, and various other symptoms I continued trampoline, competing at a National & International level. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Scheuermanns Disease, a spinal condition that causes pain & fatigue. I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis but there was still so much left unanswered. 

When I was 16 I was awoken in the middle of the night, to intense stomach pain. I thought my appendix had ruptured. I was rushed to hospital, and after a 6 hour wait I was given painkillers and told I would never experience it again. I would hear those same words every time I went to hospital until I was 21 years old.

The Diagnosis

After leaving high school I began studying a BSc in Exercise Science. During this time my symptoms become more severe and frequent. Eventually consistent training became too difficult and I quit the sport, continuing on with coaching & judging. After years of being brushed off by doctors & specialists, I finally found a GP that listened to me. He arranged an ultrasound which revealed cysts on my ovaries and advocated for my heath when specialist didn't want to proceed with treatment.  During this time I began studying a PGDip in Clinical Exercise Physiology while working at North Harbour Gymnastics. 


In 2020, at the age of 22, I was placed on a waitlist for a diagnostic laparoscopy. Due to covid, this surgery was pushed back multiple times. By 2021, my symptoms had reached their peak and I spent most of my covid-lockdowns bedridden.  In June 2021, my surgery was pushed back again and in a moment of desperation I booked an appointment with a private gynaecologist. It took him one ultrasound to diagnosis me with Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis. I had lesions throughout my pelvic organs, my ovaries were stuck together, and my rectum & bladder had fused to the uterus wall. My pelvis was completely frozen in place. When I heard this my first thought was "I'm not crazy, it's not in my head".

My surgery had to be postponed again as there was only two surgeons in New Zealand who could treat it and I needed specialists to separate my organs without causing permanent damage. In September 2021, I underwent a 6 hour surgery in which surgeons removed as much lesion as they could and unfused my  frozen pelvis. 


The New Normal

I would love to say that my story ended here. Unfortunately 4 months after surgery, I relapsed. My endometriosis returned and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I could no longer do my job or continue with my studies. My whole life changed within a few months. I was diagnosed with severe depression and I lost all hope the surgery had given me. I believed that the surgery would be the end, and reality hit me hard. 


In August 2022, I was accepted into a chronic pain clinic. I had a pain specialist, physiotherapist, gynaecologist, and psychologist. Over the next 7 months I learnt more about my conditions. I revaluated my medications and looked for alternative treatments. With the help of my team I made a treatment plan and reassessed my goals. My outlook changed from "how do I fix myself" to "how do I manage my condition the best I can". I accepted that I would likely never be considered "healthy" again, but that didn't mean I couldn't get better. I focused on maintaining a positive mindset, building healthy habits, and making lifestyle changes that benefited my physical & mental health.

In February 2023, I founded 'Athlete For Life' to help myself & others train the mental side of sport. It was created from my education, research, and experiences as a sport professional with chronic illness. My goal is to provide athletes & coaches with the resources they need to perform their best, without compromising physical & mental health. 

bottom of page