A reason to smile
A local entrepreneur finally finds relief from endometriosis When Sam Cook-Bateman greets customers with a cheery hello at her new homewares store, she appears like any other proud business owner. But Sam’s smile comes from more than the thrill of opening 2 Mad Sisters, her store at Sandgate.
For the first time in her adult life, the 42-year-old is almost pain free. An endometriosis diagnosis about 20 years ago meant Sam grappled daily with overwhelming pain until recent surgery to fit a neuromodulation unit. The device is used to manage the chronic pain caused when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows elsewhere in the abdomen.
“I would say my pain has improved 90 per cent,” Sam says. “It’s incredible to think about how much pain I could have saved myself if I had known about this surgery
earlier. I’ve had 10 laparoscopies over 20 years. I’ve had three surgeries to repair a bowel perforation, one ovary removed, about 10cm of my large intestine is missing, and I’ve had seven miscarriages and no children,” she says.
“I’ve been pretty close to death.”
Sam and her husband, Geraint Bateman, donate a portion of the profits from 2 Mad Sisters to QENDO (Endometriosis Association Qld). “I love shopping and I love people,” Sam says. “When we found this shop, everything just fell into sync.”
Sam and Geraint met online about five years ago, built a house together in Canberra, then moved to Brisbane to take 2 Mad Sisters from its original online
business to a bricks and mortar operation.
“I was one of those kids who used to play shop, so it made sense to have one of my own,” Sam says. “People like to see and touch, and having the storefront allows that. When you lie in hospital for days and weeks … it makes it easier to just get on and do the things you want.”
Geraint runs the shop Monday to Friday and Sam is there on Saturdays, after working as a project manager for UnitingCare Queensland and Lifeline on weekdays.
Now the store is open, Sam aims to boost awareness she launched an #itdontdefine campaign. “The campaign is about helping women understand that what they are experiencing does not need to define who they are, and that they can recover and live a full and happy life with the disease,” she says.
Sam asks women to share their health-related stories on the #itdontdefine Facebook page to encourage other women to take up the fight and live life to the full. “Don’t feel ashamed; don’t feel it’s women’s business and you shouldn’t tell people,” she says. “Be proud. You are part of a group of women who wake up every day with a disease that has no cure, and you get up and carry on. You should be proud to be part of such an amazing group of women. I am.”
2 Mad Sisters, 37 Brighton Rd, Sandgate. 2madsisters.com.au
BRISBANE NEWS WELLBEING