Home And Away star’s hidden pain after three surgeries
Like any good actor, Sophie Dillman is good at hiding her pain.
The Home And Away actor has undergone three operations for Endometriosis since being diagnosed seven years ago.
"I am still working out the best way to manage my condition and I am certainly not great at it yet," the actor said. "I have really bad pain days where I have to take a lot of medication and can't do a lot and have to walk around with a hot water bottle in my costume. Day by day and month by month I am working with the team of specialists that I have, that includes a gynaecologist, a physio, a naturopath and the rest, to be able to manage my condition as best as possible."
Dillman, who plays Ziggy on the hit TV soap, believes the best way to help others is to share her personal story of battling the disease that affects one in 10 women.
Last year when she was going through one of her toughest times, Dillman became an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia and is taking part in events throughout March as it is Endo Awareness Month.
"I contacted them in a really dark time of my life when I was in a lot of pain most days," the 27-year-old explained. "I felt like surely I can do something with this, surely I can help people and surely this pain can do something positive. It makes me feel not only that I am giving something back but it makes me feel less alone. Anyone who has experienced this illness or those feelings is a superhero for continuing to get up and live their life on even their toughest days."
Dillman and fellow Home And Away actor Patrick O'Connor are partners on screen and in real life.
With endometriosis impacting women's fertility, it is something Dillman has thought about but is not in a rush to deal with.
"When or if the day comes that I am looking into having children, I will have to take more steps then," she said. "Honestly it hasn't really been something I have thought about too seriously. The first time I suppose was this last surgery that I started to think about it because my gynaecologist spoke about it. I will deal with that when I am looking at having children, whenever that may be."
For now, Dillman will continue being vocal on the issue and has previously called out paparazzi for taking unflattering photographs of her on location at Sydney's Palm Beach.
"Because of the nature of our work, we are running around in little clothes or bikinis or togs and you can't control 'endo belly'," she said. "It is a really common thing where you can wake up feeling 10 out of 10 and for no reason you become really bloated and it is to the point that the bloating is so hard that I can't put my costume on properly or things don't fit."
She continued: "On top of that you are on camera and doubly on top of that there are people potentially taking photos of you that you are not happy with and that can really suck because those sorts of things you don't get to defend. It can make you feel really helpless. Luckily the whole cast and crew are so incredibly supportive of each other that whether I'm in pain or not, coming to work is still a dream. Hopefully bringing awareness to this illness will result in better understanding and treatment for so many women moving forward."