Endometriosis is a common disease that affects approximately 1 in 10 women in New Zealand. Southern Cross member, Michelle Hohepa, endured endometriosis for many years and thought she’d never be able to have children. Fast forward 10 years and after three laparoscopic surgeries, Michelle’s dreams of having children have come true.
Imagine cramping at its worst. For days on end.
“When I was younger, I had unbelievable tummy pain. Everyone said, ‘you’re just cramping, take a pain-killer and harden up.’ But I definitely knew something was wrong.”
Endometriosis is very real, affecting over 120,000 women in New Zealand. It occurs when abnormal tissue grows outside the uterus, which can cause pelvic pain, nausea and infertility.
“My parents put me on Southern Cross when I was a kid, so I was able to see a specialist pretty quickly. I had a laparoscopy and they confirmed I had endometriosis. For the first time I felt like I wasn’t going crazy, it was such a relief.”
Michelle had three laparoscopies over ten years which were all covered by Southern Cross* “You don’t know if the first one’s going to work. You just have to hope that it works and if it doesn’t you have to have another one and continue that cycle.”
By then Michelle was in her late 20s and starting to think about having a family. “I was concerned that I might find it difficult to have children, so I went to see a fertility specialist, and after some tests they confirmed that I would be fine. That was great to hear.”
Children need health cover too
Michelle indeed went on to have children, she is now the proud mum of two boys, aged 6 and 3. “I never thought I’d be able to have a family of my own and I’m lucky that I have.”
“They’re both really creative and clever and … they’re healthy.”
Michelle takes comfort in knowing that the next generation of the Hohepa family is in good hands. “When I was pregnant with Grayson, the best advice someone gave me was, ‘Make sure you get health insurance for your children.’ I’m so thankful I did because Grayson needed his grommets done and he had a tonsillectomy as well as adenoids. I had that peace of mind that I could get the boys sorted straight away, they didn’t have to suffer.”
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*Michelle Hohepa and her family are on the Wellbeing Two plan with Southern Cross.