By Jill Eckersley & Dr Zara Aziz

The first thing that stood out to me reading this book is the exceptional balance between scientific knowledge as well as empathetic approach for women with endometriosis. I think the combination of authors has worked extremely well, amalgamating their expertise in a concise and friendly manner. Speaking of friendly – as quotes by Dame Hilary Mantel in the foreword when dealing with endometriosis, ‘what she needs is a friend: a well-informed, plain- speaking guide, who can suggest what she should do next and assure her that

she is not alone. This book, I believe is that friend and guide.’ I think it also sums up my opinion on the tone of this ‘hand-book’ for anyone going through this journey.

What stood out to me, and what I can relate to most is the practical self-help tools in the book, for example, the very simple concept of keeping a pain diary. Most commonly misdiagnosed for painful periods, I feel this tool in itself can help many women actually get themselves diagnosed and ‘heard’ much earlier on. The personal, friend touch, comes from all the real life quotes of actual patients and medical experts alike.

Many parts of the book are in the words of actual women going through an experience, or their wisdom on having gone through it already. It feels like a night in with your girlfriends sharing intimate details freely and without judgment. It was truly liberating.

As far as the medical explanations are concerned, I believe it is like sitting down with your doctor for hours at a go, and asking them every detail that you need clarified. Because doctors do not tend to have that much time, or when you are faced with asking them things you go blank. It covers everything in simple and understandable terms.

I like that it supports what you can do in your life other than just focus or worry on treatment. It discusses relaxation techniques, diet advice, as well as the simple benefit of mindfulness and complementary medicine options. It goes on to complete the journey, offering tender advice after the effects of endometriosis have ruled out fertility. Adoption advice is given positively and post-menopause advice makes you feel as if the support is everlasting.

The final chapter on support and help really ties it in for me. You feel able and motivated to get support from people that maybe you were too scared to approach. It is that big hug, from that old friend, that makes you feel like it is going to be alright.