Art of Woman

Life with Endometriosis



Endometriosis? What is THAT!!

Watch a YouTube video invitation to joint me and become part of “Life with Endometriosis”:
'Life with Endometriosis' invitation by Margaret Kalms (YouTube)

Life with Endometriosis - invitation YouTube by Margaret Kalms

Endometriosis is a debilitating and painful women’s reproductive disease. It is surprisingly common. It affects 10 - 15% of menstruating women. This rate is similar to women with breast cancer. While many people have heard about breast cancer, few have heard about endometriosis, even fewer understand the impact of endometriosis on women's lives.

There is still prejudice in talking about pelvic pain. Many people believe that menstrual pain is somehow normal! This results in delays in diagnosis that can extend pain and suffering unnecessarily. I decided to use my art, my photographic skills to challenge these ideas and prejudices, and to raise awareness of this insidious disease.

I’m dedicating an exhibition and an accompanying art book to this cause. "Life with Endometriosis", I call it. I imagine a gallery filled with art - several photos about each story from a dozen or so women and possibly including art created by some of the women. The accompanying book will be a lasting record of “Life with Endometriosis”.

Since August 2014, I have been meeting with women who live with endometriosis and have made recordings of their experiences. Progress with photography has been slower than I hoped because of delays and postponements due to ill health - which is all part of the endometriosis story. I am committed to this project. This will be a journey over many months, maybe years, as we visually explore the impacts of endometriosis on women’s lives.

I’m excited about the visual and photographic challenges this project will bring. It is a privilege to learn about other women’s lives and tell their stories.

Contact me: lifewithendo@artofwoman.com.au

Follow and Like - Facebook.com/lifewithendometriosis

Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Information Night

Melissa Parker speaking about endometriosis. She used my photographs to engage the audience.
Melissa Parker speaking about endometriosis

On 30May I was invited to display some of my exhibition quality photographs at an endometriosis information evening. The evening was hosted by the Canberra Endometriosis Centre which is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and management of endometriosis. Many women, from teens to mature women, suffer terribly from endometriosis. Symptoms include severe pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, fertility problems and general ill health. These symptoms disrupt girls’ schooling and cause affected women to take time off work. As a result of these symptoms, endometriosis can put immense stress on relationships; both personal and work relationships. It is a poorly understood disorder and many women suffer for years before diagnosis and effective treatment is implemented.

Guest speaker was Dr Susan Evans from Adelaide. She is a Gynaecologist and Advanced Laporoscope Surgeon who specialises in managing endometriosis and pelvic pain. She has authored several books including Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain (which was available to buy), the e-book Pelvic Pain and The Pelvic Pain Report.

I have a deep compassion for this often hidden suffering and I use my art to promote awareness and to fundraise. Modern medical techniques have progressed and many endometriosis sufferers can be treated. There is no reason for women to suffer for years without treatment.

Endometriosis night was well attended with standing room only in the auditorium. Many aspects of endometriosis were discussed. Melissa Parker (RN RM MNurs, endometriosis coordinator and researcher) from Canberra Endometriosis Centre, used some of my photos, with my permission, in her presentation. They were a contrast to the usual laparoscopy images and clinical diagrams.

It is exciting to see that my photos communicate so effectively. My display in the lobby slowed attendees down. Before and after the formal presentations, the attendees enjoyed looking at my photos and many spoke to me about aspects of women’s intimate health. Many people asked about the ideas I express in my photography. These discussions opened up discussion about support for women sufferers and gave the support group an opportunity to engage with attendees.

Topics and Speakers on the night:
  • Management of Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis: Dr Susan Evans
  • Endometriosis and Fertility: Dr Felicity Brims
  • Living with Endometriosis and Activities of the Canberra Endometriosis Centre: Melissa Parker

Margaret Kalms with some of her photographs from her solo exhibition, “Period Piece”
Margaret Kalms with some of her photographs from her solo exhibition

Buying Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain by Dr Susan Evans
Woman buying the book Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain