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Bindi Irwin’s health struggle

By Christie D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times
Published: March 14, 2023, 6:00am

Bindi Irwin has posted an encouraging personal message about her journey to an endometriosis diagnosis and her bliss after pain-relieving surgery. “There’s stigma around this awful disease,” the “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” star said, and she wants other women in the same situation to have hope — something she didn’t have in the middle of her path to a diagnosis.

“For 10yrs I’ve struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain & nausea. Trying to remain a positive person & hide the pain has been a very long road. These last 10yrs have included many tests, doctors visit, scans, etc.,” the conservationist, zookeeper and daughter of the late Steve Irwin wrote Tuesday on social media, posting a photo of herself in a hospital bed with a smile on her face.

Endometriosis is a painful condition caused by endometrial tissue — the uterine lining — growing outside of the uterus, where it thickens and bleeds during menstrual cycles.

“A doctor told me it was simply something you deal with as a woman & I gave up entirely,” the 24-year-old said, “trying to function through the pain.”

Then she got a hand from friend, fan, singer and pug lover Leslie Mosier that helped set her “on a path of regaining my life.” Soon Irwin was on the road to relief.

“Going in for surgery was scary but I knew I couldn’t live like I was. Every part of my life was getting torn apart because of the pain,” Irwin wrote. “To cut a long story short, they found 37 lesions, some very deep & difficult to remove, & a chocolate cyst.” Chocolate cysts, a sign of endometriosis, are cysts filled with menstrual blood.

Her doctor’s first words after Irwin came to: “How did you live with this much pain?”

The Season 21 “Dancing With the Stars” winner said that experiencing validation after her years of pain was “indescribable,” and she thanked her friends and family for their support. She also apologized to friends she hadn’t kept up with over the years.

“I’m on the road to recovery & the gratitude I feel is overwhelming,” Irwin wrote. “To those questioning the cancelled plans, unanswered messages & absence — I had been pouring every ounce of the energy i had left into our daughter and family.”

Irwin’s father, Aussie zookeeper and “Crocodile Hunter” host Steve Irwin, died in 2006 after being pierced through the heart by a stingray while filming an underwater documentary. Bindi was just 8 years old when her dad died at age 44.

She married professional wakeboarder Chandler Powell in 2020; the couple welcomed daughter Grace the next year.

“You are my inspiration to be as strong as I can be in every aspect of life,” Powell posted Tuesday on Instagram. “Seeing how you pushed through the pain to take care of our family and continue our conservation work while being absolutely riddled with endometriosis is something that will inspire me forever.

“The greatest gift of all is knowing that you’re out the other side of surgery totally free of endometriosis,” he continued. “I cannot wait to embark on this new chapter of life with you.”

Friend Mosier responded to Powell’s post, writing in the comments, “Bindi is so lucky to have a rock like you supporting her through the pain. I truly can’t wait to see how everything blossoms into a new World for both of you! Can’t wait to celebrate at the zoo one day.”