Teen Who Went Through Menopause At 15 Now Helping Mum Go Through It
Ellie Waters, 19, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, went through the menopause in September 2017 after completing 18 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for a rare form of cancer - alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
The teen started experiencing hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, low mood and itchy skin whilst she was studying for her a-levels and was shocked to discover these were the symptoms of premature menopause.
But Ellie is trying to look on the positive side, as she revealed her mum, Samantha Waters-Long, 46, hasn't been through menopause yet, but is being helped to know what signs to look out for thanks to tips from her daughter.
Mum Samantha has her very own "expert" to help her through menopause when the time does come, as Ellie has released her own booklet detailing the symptoms and how she dealt with them.
Ellie, who is starting medical school this year, explained: "When I finished cancer treatment and did my own research, I realised that menopause was going to be a possibility.
"When my periods didn't return after treatment, I accepted it but because I was only young, I just thought that it meant no periods and that was fine by me.
"Now I'm older, the realisation that I am completely infertile and will not be able to have children of my own has really sank in but I try to remain as positive as I can.
"Adoption is definitely something I will do in the future; I was given a 20% chance of surviving cancer and I managed that so I try to be grateful for what I have.
"I have got the odd comment from school friends here and there who would say they wished they could be me because I never have to have a period again but they don't understand the side effects.
"I'm on oestrogen patches and hormone replacement therapy but I had to take a gap year to get the symptoms under control because I was really struggling in the beginning.
"I was pronounced clear of the cancer in March 2017 and since then, I've been trying to handle the menopause".
Ellie and Samantha fought to get her medication changed after the side effects of menopause were affecting her day-to-day life.
Ellie explained: "In the beginning, I kept a lot of it to myself because I like to deal with things in private but when I opened up to my mum about how hard it was, she really tried to get me the support I needed and helped with getting me into a private doctors.
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"I was still in school and the side effects were really affecting my studying so I went on a much stronger medication which definitely eased the symptoms.
"I have had a lot of time to accept it; it was difficult to open up and talk about because not a lot of people understand how bad the symptoms can be".
Ellie finished sixth form in March 2020 and received the grades needed to get into medical school at Keel University.
The teen decided to take a year out to focus on her health and work at a nursing home to get first hand patient experience.
She added: "I had to repeat a year at school and that was the best decision I've ever made because I was really behind.
"Going to medical school had never even crossed my mind until I was in hospital but I was in awe of my doctors and I knew I wanted to be like them and help people like me.
"I'm on a much higher dosage of oestrogen now which has really helped to control my menopause symptoms.
"I work 60 hours a week so it was important for me to control them.
"I love the fact that my mum will be able to come to me for advice in the future".
Mum Samantha said: "A lot still isn't known about menopause and Ellie wants to advocate for more understanding and knowledge for young girls like her.
"I think it will hit her when she's older and realises she can't have children of her own but there are lots of children who need homes and she only looks on the positive side of things.
"When she first went through menopause, she asked me to get a book from the shop for her which was all about menopause and she wanted me to go because she thought they would just think it was for me!
"My friend has just started menopause and I've told her to always get a second opinion; it's the number one thing Ellie has taught me.
"I actually offered to be a surrogate for her but she said I would be too old!
"She uses humour to get through it but I think there will be an element of sadness when she meets someone and realises she's unable to have her own children.
"She's doing an amazing job at helping people like her and I'm glad I have her to go to in the future".
Ellie and a menopause specialist have created a booklet for young women going through menopause which is available to download here
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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