Like most teenage girls, Chloe Christos, a Perth, Australia native, also daydreamed of the new and exciting adventures that awaited her once she entered high school. But she would soon have an experience that changed her life forever, in the unlikeliest of ways.
The Turning Point
Soon after turning 14, Chloe experienced her first period like any young girl. But after her period persisted longer than a week she began to question if this was normal. One week turned into months and months turned into five years. While the average woman loses 2-3 ounces of blood during her period, Chloe was losing roughly a pint every four days.
During those five years, Chloe told Daily Mail Australia she couldn’t do much of anything, she was fainting often, had very low blood pressure, and she wasn’t allowed to drive or go out. She also mentioned the most frustrating part was that she wasn’t able to be physically active, which she truly enjoyed.
Chloe knew that periods were a taboo subject to talk about in general, and were typically a private matter. She explained to ABC News, “I knew it wasn’t quite right, but I was also embarrassed to talk about it. I felt very different and pretty alone.”
After five years of suffering, Chloe finally found the courage to seek help.
Finding the Answer
Even after attempting to seek help, Chloe often felt belittled and many doctors waved her issues off as being “women troubles.”
She stated she found it very difficult at times because doctors wouldn’t treat her as equal as men when she went to the emergency room with her issue and was often refused treatment altogether because she is either a female or not taken seriously.
She eventually found a doctor who was willing to take her seriously and was able to diagnose her persisting issue.
Along with Von Willebrand’s disease, Chloe’s blood showed low levels of a protein often associated with hemophilia.
Together, these inherited bleeding disorders make it extremely difficult for blood to clot properly.
Find the answer to her problem was just the beginning. Chloe continued to suffer from her disease while doctors struggled to give her relief.
In the beginning, she started on a synthetic drug that was made to target the low levels of protein factor VIII in her body. Even though this drug had terrible side effects, Chloe continued to use it for seven years. The inconsistent success of the drug and the fact that she had to take it on a consistent basis left Chloe searching for other options.
After one doctor told her removing her uterus was her only option, she turned away from doctors and reached out to the Hemophilia Center in Adelaide, Australia. The Hemophilia Center gave her the relief she had been seeking by prescribing her an experimental synthetic drug, which had previously been only been given to male patients.
“It’s the difference between being hospitalized for two weeks of the month and taking two paracetamol and having a heat pack for one day,” Christos said.
With this once a month injection, Chloe reported that her periods have become normal and only last 4 to 5 days.
While Chloe will continue to fight her battle, she has dedicated her life to advocating for equal rights for other women with a similar issue to hers. She is striving to help others reach a proper diagnosis and treatments that will work for them.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article previously misnamed the medication Christos was given. She was given an experimental synthetic drug by the Hemophilia Center.