As fans of TV series The Block well know, renovation queens Sasha Wright-Neville and Julia Treuel are used to rising to challenges – but lately the couple have had to fight to stay upbeat after Sasha received some crushing health news.
One moment, the two were clinking glasses, celebrating becoming runners-up – and the first lesbian couple – on the hit Channel Nine renovation show, and getting ready for a US holiday.
The next, Sasha was in hospital, in agony with crippling stomach cramps.
Late last year, Sasha, 43, was diagnosed with a severe case of endometriosis, the condition in which tissue normally grown in the uterus spreads elsewhere in the body.
‘I’d been in so much pain, it was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. The gynaecologist said it was the worst case they’d seen in decades,’ Sasha says from the Melbourne home she shares with Julia, 32, her partner of five years.
Surgery was planned for February this year, soon after the big holiday. But on Christmas Day, Sasha again found herself in such pain, Julia had to race her to hospital.
‘She’s normally such a stoic person, never complains about pain, but she was moaning in agony, so I bundled her into the car and off we went,’ Julia recalls.
For a week, doctors worked to control the pain, and later removed her appendix, damaged by the endometriosis.
‘It wasn’t the most wonderful time. Julia was at my side from dawn to dusk in the hospital each day, but I wasn’t good company. Even the morphine didn’t seem to work,’ recalls Sasha, who has had to return to hospital several times since then.
It soon became clear that there was no way that Sasha would be well enough for the couple’s dream trip – which has been postponed indefinitely.
‘They later removed an ovary too, and now I’ve been told my uterus will need to be removed,’ says Sasha.
‘It wasn’t great news that I need a hysterectomy, but realistically, I wasn’t about to carry a baby so I’ve come to terms with this.’
She and Julia haven’t ruled out becoming parents together – ‘but obviously if that happens, Julia would carry the baby.’
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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