Home Gist Female artist, 26, diagnosed with Endometriosis paints out the Excruciating Pain 

Female artist, 26, diagnosed with Endometriosis paints out the Excruciating Pain 

When Ellie Kammer was diagnosed with endometriosis, she suddenly felt isolated in a body that she could no longer understand.
So the artist did what she knows best. She began to paint.

Endometriosis
The 26-year-old has since created a series of paintings that show the reality of living with endometriosis, and all the blood and pain that can come with it.

They are polarising paintings that Ellie admits people ‘love or hate’, but they have also finally given her a way to understand the condition – and help others to as well.

Endometriosis
Adelaide artist Ellie Kammer, 26, has since created a series of paintings that show the reality of living with endometriosis, and all the blood and pain that can come with it 

Endometriosis

Ellie first began experiencing symptoms of the condition when she was around 17. 

There was regular and severe abdominal pain, painful sex and urination, month-long periods, and large blood clots. 

Ellie was diagnosed with stage 2 endometriosis in 2015 through a laparoscopy, in which a tube is inserted through a cut in a woman’s belly to look at abdominal or female pelvic organs.Ellie first began experiencing symptoms of the condition when she was around 17. 

Endometriosis
There was regular and severe abdominal pain, painful sex and urination, month-long periods, and large blood clots. 

Ellie was diagnosed with stage 2 endometriosis in 2015 through a laparoscopy, in which a tube is inserted through a cut in a woman’s belly to look at abdominal or female pelvic organs.It was a ‘traumatic experience’ for the Adelaide artist. 

I remember having to be woken up by a family member every four hours at night for weeks, because if they didn’t I’d wake up in the morning in absolute agony,’ she said. 

‘It took me about six weeks to be able to comfortably walk. Then there’s the first period after surgery, which is notoriously painful.’ 

You think,”Okay, I’ve just had surgery to cut out the disease, so periods should be a breeze now”. But it was an excruciating experience.’ 

Endometriosis

Doctors didn’t tell Ellie much after they confirmed her diagnosis, merely saying it was a ‘gynaecological condition treated with surgery and contraception’.Ellie had been experiencing painful symptoms, including severe abdominal pain, painful sex and urination, and month-long periods, since she was 17 She was ‘very disheartened’ after receiving her diagnosis, with doctors telling her the condition was incurable and may affect her ability to have children  They added that endometriosis was incurable, and could affect her ability to have children.

Ellie Kammer
‘I was very disheartened,’ she said. ‘After that you go home and Google the condition and things only get scarier. For awhile it was a really difficult thing to accept.’ 

I felt overwhelmed by all of the alterations I needed to make in my life just to be comfortable.’
It’s a multifaceted disease that requires a multifaceted approach to managing it. It’s costly in both money and time just to keep things under control.’ 

Ellie Kammer
Endometriosis is a ‘consuming and demanding condition’ that requires Ellie to make ‘considered choices’ every single day, she explained. 

That includes avoiding dairy, soy, red meat, gluten and sugar, which can leave her with a ‘swollen, uncomfortable belly’ all day when consumed.

Ellie also can’t lift anything heavier than 10 kilos for the rest of her life because of the type of surgeries that will be required for the condition. Endometriosis is a ‘consuming and demanding condition’ that requires Ellie to make ‘considered choices’ every single day, from what she eats to how much energy she can expend Ellie wanted to communicate endometriosis’ effects in a visual way, and found it to be an incredible emotional release as well  ‘I started painting bloodied women because, after my diagnosis, I felt completely isolated,’ Ellie said ‘I’m not a very vocal person, I tend to just let things fester inside me rather than talk about them. Painting has helped me stay emotionally balanced,’ Ellie added

Endometriosis

‘I’m not a very vocal person, I tend to just let things fester inside me rather than talk about them. Painting has helped me stay emotionally balanced,’ Ellie added And endometriosis has wreaked havoc on her energy levels, forcing Ellie to constantly reevaluate what she can handle and what deserves her attention. 

‘It’s like having no money in your account and your car is sitting just above empty,’ she said.

‘You have 10 places you need to go but you know your supply will only take you to three places.’ 

‘It’s a given that you have to make sacrifices when you have endometriosis because you’re constantly running on empty. It’s stressful to have that in your mind all the time.’  

Ellie Kammer

 ‘I regularly have little breakdowns because of financial strain or my frustration with doctors or the disease is running rampant and robbing me of control,’ she added

After her endometriosis surgeries Ellie began to paint women’s bodies, including her own, to illustrate the toll of the condition.Ellie has received a mixed reaction to the paintings, with some telling her that they are ‘confronting’ or ‘uncomfortable’ ‘I started painting bloodied women because, after my diagnosis, I felt completely isolated,’ she said. 

‘No one had ever spoken to me openly about endometriosis. I didn’t understand what was going on inside my body and I felt people struggled to relate to what I was going through.’ 

Ellie wanted to communicate endometriosis’ effects in a visual way, and found it to be an incredible emotional release as well. 

‘Taking the pain and transforming it into beautiful colours and textures has taken a weight out of me that was really bringing me to the ground,’ she said. 

‘I’m not a very vocal person, I tend to just let things fester inside me rather than talk about them. Painting has helped me stay emotionally balanced.’ 

Ellie has received mixed reactions to the paintings, with some telling her that they are ‘confronting’ or ‘uncomfortable’. 

But she has also met people who ‘adore’ how the work reaches out to those who are trying to understand their changing bodies.But Ellie has also met people who adore how the work reaches out to those who are trying to understand a change in their own bodies and gives a voice to endometriosis sufferrers The paintings can speak to all kinds of people and provide comfort for those that have maybe lost control of their bodies at some point or are dealing with anything disabling in life,’ she said.

Ellie Kammer

‘I hope that people have their own story with my paintings, and relate to them in a unique and private way.’  

And Ellie has seen how the paintings have motivated those around her to ask questions about endometriosis and learn more about the condition. 

‘Before I did the paintings, everyone around me was rather closed-mouthed about the disease,’ she said. 

‘But now that I have opened up about it people feel invited to speak with me about it which is, I think, how it should be.’ 

Now Ellie, who is an ‘Endo Champion’ for non-profit Endometriosis Australia, hopes to inspire other women with the condition to not suffer in silence. 

It is only by speaking out about it, she said, that the pain will become easier to bear. 

‘I believe in the power of communication through imagery,’ she said. 

‘It was important to me to make myself and other women like me be better heard and understood by those around us.’ 

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