I recently attended the first ever Cysters Chat Meeting held in Birmingham on the 2nd September 2017. It was a confidential meeting nothing will be shared about their names. I wasn’t too sure on what to expect, but I went in with an open mind. It was a real eye opener and to this day I still think about the women.
The Founder Neelam Heera has set this charity up on her own and most of all with no financial help. Neelam’s goal was always to just help women who are going through the same medical issues she was. I’m in awe of her. There aren’t many women out there who are willing to help other women; there is always an agenda or possibly something else they will gain from it. Neelam isn’t one of those people. I have watched Neelam work so damn hard to make sure these women are supported. I have seen her take some of these women in her own time to the hospital for their appointments as she knows what it feels like when no one is there to help her and she doesn’t want anyone else to go through that either. Cysters is just a brilliant name for the charity a sisterhood.
When I was sat in the room where the meeting was, I remember thinking how brave are these women are. The pain and struggle they endure everyday is just heartbreaking. It isn’t always about the physical but the mental and emotional trauma they face also. But even talking about these medical issues they get judged on. Due to the fact it is a taboo subject. But why is it? It’s a medical condition and this is what a lot of people just cannot understand. I did a lot of research before and after the Cysters Chat Meeting was shocked to find the lack of awareness and also support for these women.
1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer from endometriosis. Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. On average it takes 7 years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis
Meeting these women was an experience for me, I don’t suffer with the issues that they do. But it made me feel grateful that they allowed me to sit and listen to them. But whilst they were talking I felt their pain. Listening to their stories and one part stuck out for me on what I heard.
Every time I menstruated I would be incapacitated in total agony for days, as well around ovulation. After numerous visits to my GP I was told that what I was experiencing what was ‘a normal part of being a woman’ and that I was just ‘unlucky’.
That was coming from a GP diagnosing their patient! I mean how is that showing any empathy to the situation. How is that providing help to the patient? I mean it’s being part of woman? How sexist is that? It really angers me that these women get judged by the authorities that they need to help them. I believe this is why the diagnosis takes so long.
There were 7 women in that room all telling their stories of their journeys. I looked to my left and I looked over to my right, and I was blown away they were just powerful insights into their lives. These women are so strong and such role models. All have normal jobs. But no matter how hard life gets them down they get up and carry on. One of the women who I won’t name her story really hit home and opened my eyes on her life, having numerous miscarriages; no support from her work or her own GP/Hospital it was just so upsetting. It broke down her confidence and lack of trust by the authorities. This poor woman had to go through such terrible losses. Even now she is still standing.
Cysters Chat in my opinion is something that is so valuable and very much needed. This is an outlet for women to come together and talk about their experiences that possibly their friends or family just cannot comprehend. So they come to this meeting and if, they really want to vent, cry or talk they can because no one in that room judges. They sit and talk and try find solutions to go forward.
I remember speaking to Neelam and I said to her she is a credit to these women. She is helping them and she isn’t doing it for herself but for the women who need someone to talk too. It’s not about publicity to her. All of these women I respect and really admire not because of what they continue to go through but the fact they just carry on. But they also support one another.
I am very thankful and grateful for Neelam for allowing me to write about this and letting me attend the meeting and meet these incredible women. I attended this Cysters Chat and have found it so beneficial and empowering to meet other women in similar situations to each other and it’s a really supportive environment. Due to the help, support and friendships that are made in the groups they all continue to support each other. Meeting other women with endometriosis is vital to coping with the illness by sharing stories. The support and empathy they can provide is a wonderful thing. Cysters in my opinion is incredible and it’s tackling taboo opinions of gynae issues. My hat goes off to Neelam Heera for being strong, brave and unstoppable to make sure these women all around the world are cared and supported for. Her vision just makes me speechless because she is driven and passionate for what she believes in. I recently wrote a blog about her because she is a role model to women everywhere.
If you have any issues regarding gynae issues please contact Neelam Heera.
Suneeta Kaur Seera