When the stars of the hit drama show Home and Away finished up shooting at the end of last year it was just a case of going for the long-awaited R&R to their favorite holiday destinations.
Not so, however, for one of the most famous actors on the series, Sophie Dillman, who plays Ziggy Astoni. “But they can be very critical operations which take hours and require several disciplinary teams. “My last operation has been very lengthy,” she says.
“I had a lot of tissue removed from all over the place in my liver, stomach, all over my belly. My doctor also said that if he were to remove all the [scar] tissue in my uterus, I wouldn’t have any organs left, so he couldn’t do that, but he removed a small amount. This time, it had been a good recovery process.
Before beginning her acting career, Sophie, who was a registered nurse, was 20 when she first underwent laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis.
“I was really fortunate to have had five years since my first surgery when I was fairly painless,” she says. “It was when I began getting the pain back about 18 months ago–so that’s when things got really difficult.” But the series–as they say–will proceed.
“Going to work every day where you have to wear makeup, you have to be on the beach, you have to stand up a lot of time running lines or in a movie, when you’re in agony, it’s always hard to do it. To counter it, it’s hard to keep on top without trying to take medicine for it–you don’t want to take drugs that would impair your ability to function, but it’s the only thing that helps sometimes. You have to bring buckets of hot water all the time… just trying to control the pressure and bloating.
“Work was really accommodating when I wanted time off but you feel terrible. You sound like you are failing people if you don’t go to work and don’t put a confident face on. So it’s a really intense, long fight. “Sophie’s Summer Bay love interest through it all, and real-life boyfriend Patrick O’Connor was at her side.
“He’s an angel really,” it reflects. “These past 12 months I couldn’t have functioned without him.
“He had no knowledge about endometriosis and what it was, so he read it all and studied it. Through my surgery, he has given me all these ideas and has been such a big help to me. “Sophie feels it is time to put endometriosis to the fore.
“The disease itself can be so profoundly isolating,” she says. “This can also be a sensitive subject-learning about the wellbeing of women. And you feel isolated. “That’s why she hasn’t declined to lend support to Endometriosis Australia, marking Worldwide EndoMarch this month.
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“I’m the spokesperson for the Big Teas of Endometriosis Australia that is happening all over the world on March 28,” she says. “As well as my dad, I am speaking at the Brisbane function. We are trying to raise much-needed awareness and support for the disease. “Sophie is moderately hopeful about her prognosis.
“It is great,” she says of her town. “But I still am not out of the jungle. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to deal with that for the rest of my existence. I definitely had some relaxation, and we would hope with all this–to do the best we can.”But a big change is occurring. All of a sudden, people with these problems find their voice. And it is incredible to feel the electricity.