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Bree Tomasel reveals her heartbreaking medical condition

'I may never have a baby'

By Sebastian van der Zwan
As the hilarious host of Celebrity Treasure Island, you can always count on Bree Tomasel's well-timed jokes to break the tension as the castaways do battle on the beach. But in an episode that airs this week, the ZM radio presenter gets uncharacteristically serious as she opens up about an agonising medical condition.
Speaking to Candy Lane about her daughter's endometriosis, the Aussie-born, Auckland-based star, 31, emotionally reveals she also suffers from the painful disorder, where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
The star was in severe pain while filming Treasure Island
"It was a really special moment for me and I wasn't even thinking about the cameras when I broke down," Bree tells Woman's Day. "Candy's daughter has really struggled with it for a long time, but she's finally at the end of her journey and had a baby. It really hit home for me as a woman who has suffered from endometriosis for the majority of my life.
"It's something that affects one in 10 Kiwi women, but we don't talk about it enough and if you don't catch it early, you can have problems later when you're trying to have kids. It can be a real burden."
Throughout most of her teens, Bree had never suffered from acne, but as she approached 20, she started having problems with her skin and experiencied severe pain even when she wasn't having her period.
Because her older sister has polycystic ovary syndrome, Bree had a test and found she also had the disorder. "But the road to being diagnosed with endometriosis was quite a struggle and I started getting even more severe pains, like someone was stabbing me around my pelvis. It stopped me from playing sport and doing work – and I'm a workaholic, so I knew something was wrong!"
Bree and Matt have shed tears together
Upon seeing a specialist, Bree was told the only way to find out if she had the condition was an invasive procedure where doctors "put a camera up you", which she agreed to after learning endometriosis can lead to infertility.
"That was pretty daunting for a 20-year-old," recalls Bree. "So they did the operation, found out I had it growing on the left side of my uterus and in my Fallopian tubes, then they scraped it all out, which was a massive operation. I only realised they'd done it when I wokeup and discovered I had a catheter. It's like having a Caesarean because they cut through all your muscles and you can't sit up."
Unfortunately, the tissue eventually grew back and Bree had to go under the knife again at 27. "Being 31 now, I'm about due for another operation," she sighs. "I've been having quite severe pains in the past 12 months, especially during Treasure Island. There were some full-on days of filming where I just had to push through.
"And I don't even have a really horrible version of it. Some women have really debilitating cases where they can't work at all, while some people grit their teeth and bear this pain, thinking it's just something they have to put up with as a woman. But it's not normal and they shouldn't have to."
Matt's now got his own mini-Bree!
Upon seeing a specialist, Bree was told the only way to find out if she had the condition was an invasive procedure where doctors "put a camera up you", which she agreed to after learning endometriosis can lead to infertility.
"That was pretty daunting for a 20-year-old," recalls Bree. "So they did the operation, found out I had it growing on the left side of my uterus and in my Fallopian tubes, then they scraped it all out, which was a massive operation. I only realised they'd done it when I wokeup and discovered I had a catheter. It's like having a Caesarean because they cut through all your muscles and you can't sit up."
Unfortunately, the tissue eventually grew back and Bree had to go under the knife again at 27. "Being 31 now, I'm about due for another operation," she sighs. "I've been having quite severe pains in the past 12 months, especially during Treasure Island. There were some full-on days of filming where I just had to push through.
"And I don't even have a really horrible version of it. Some women have really debilitating cases where they can't work at all, while some people grit their teeth and bear this pain, thinking it's just something they have to put up with as a woman. But it's not normal and they shouldn't have to."
While Bree wasn't too fussed about her fertility in her twenties, she admits, "Now it worries me a whole lot more. I'm not planning it tomorrow, but I do want to have kids in the next five years and I don't know how hard that's going to be. The fact my sister was able to get pregnant with polycystic ovaries gives me a bit of hope, but I've got that and endometriosis, so maybe it won't happen for me. It's a big mental struggle."
Despite this, Bree is absolutely delighted for her close friend and Treasure Island co-host Matt Chisholm, who has recently welcomed his third child, a daughter he and his wife Elle have named… Bree!
"We were actually on the island when Matt told me Elle was pregnant again and I was so excited for him," she recalls. "After two boys, they both really wanted a little girl and a week later, he found out he was having a daughter and we both teared up.
"Then he told me he was going to call her Bree, so I was like, 'You're taking the piss!' But he said it was a name they'd always liked and I hadn't turned them off it, which is the greatest compliment ever. We both had a big cry.
"She's the cutest baby ever and she's going to grow up a country kid down on the farm, just like me. I've told Matt that I feel like part of my spirit is going to be in her – look out for farts, comedy and just a reckless human being!"
HELP IS HERE
For more info on Candy's charity Endometriosis New Zealand or to donate, please visit nzendo.org.nz

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