#itdontdefine

Sam’s Journey

Meet the founder – Samantha Cook-Bateman

Since 1997 I have had 16 surgeries to treat my endometriosis and the result of complications from laparoscopic surgeries, including a bowel perforation in 2015.

Despite this I have lived a full life, built a house, married a wonderfully supportive man, succeeded in my career and started my own business. This is my story so far…

My official diagnosis was around age 28. 

  • Total of 16 surgeries to manage it.
    • I’ve had 10 laparoscopes since 1997.
    • A perforated bowel after my 10th laparoscope resulting in a colostomy bag and the removal of about 10cm of my large intestine requiring a 6-hour emergency surgery starting at about 2 am in the morning.
    • A second surgery 7 months later to repair the damage, remove the colostomy and put in an ileostomy.
    • A visit to the emergency a few weeks later on my 40th birthday – I had an infection, my kidneys were failing, and I weighed 39kg.
    • A third surgery 4 months later to reverse the ileostomy and “put me back together”.
    • Two more surgeries to have a neuromodulation unit placed in my backside and 4 wires in my spine to help control the pain.
    • One more surgery for a hysterectomy which involved a rectal surgeon, a gynecological surgeon, and a robot.
  • I’ve lost count of the emergency room visits.
  • Around 40 days in the hospital, that’s about a month and a half.
  • Approximately a day and a half, maybe 2 give or take, of anesthetic in total.
  • A disastrous round of IVF ended in my first case of renal failure.
  • Seven miscarriages and zero children.

All of this has left me with physical and emotional scars and yet I have managed to carve out a successful career, designed and built my own house, and started and grown my own business.

How have I done it?  It is not an easy question to answer but one thing I do know is it is because I made the decision to do it.  I made the decision to not let my illness define who I am or what I can do.  I admit that some days are harder than others, but I must keep making the decision, every day, to wake up, get out of bed and get on with it.

I have never let my illness define who I am or limit what I can do.