I am very lucky that I have an amazing support network in my family, in particular my younger brother Cormac has been a crutch that has kept me standing on more occasions than I can actually count. Despite being my younger brother he always shows more empathy and understanding than men twice his age.
Cormac has been right with me every step of the way; he has been there to encourage me on, to dry my tears, to carry me though some dark days. When Chris isn't with me he is confident passing the baton to Cormac; he knows Cormac will look out for me.
During some of my darkest moments, during some of the worst flares of pain I have always been able to call Cormac; he has always listened, he never trivialised my pain, he never said it could be worse, he never compared my suffering to anyone else, he never says mind over matter, he never responds with any of the cliches, or quick fix quips..he listens, agrees that it sucks and tells me that a lot can change in a day and a month can make a huge difference, it won't always suck. These words have brought so much comfort. These words have carried me when I thought I couldn't go any further, for this I am very grateful.
But beyond this, beyond his patience, encouragement and support, he has done something that continually amazes me. Most men shy away from female problems, especially when its their sister's female problems but not Cormac, not my brother.
Since my official Endometriosis diagnosis back in July '14 Cormac has actively seeked to educate himself about the disease, what it's like to live with Endometrosis - both physically and mentally, what treatments are available, how they affect the person and their success rates. He has learnt the terms, the anatomy and the pathology of a disease that has consumed his sister.
An Endometriosis diagnosis is a scary thing for any woman to deal with, in a moment you get thrust into a lonely, scary, isolating world.; you have to learn a new language of medical and pharmaceutical jargon, often other woman are even shy talking about their experience. It can be a lonely and overwhelming experience, but not for me, never for me. I could always (and continue to) pick up the phone and call Cormac because he understood, he knew this new language that was thrust upon me. Not only did he understand but he showed an interest, he asked questions, he listened to the answers...when no one else seemed to understand the world me and Chris found ourselves in, Cormac did. Cormac has never shied away from any of it, even the gory ovary related details. Words simply cannot do justice what this has meant to me, Cormac has given me far beyond what any sister deserves - he has given me hope, faith, inspiration and solace during some of the worst day of my adult life.
Not content to help just his sister, he has gone a step further and will be competing in the 2016 Virgin Media London Triathalon to raise funds for Endometriosis UK. He is hoping to raise awareness about a disease that many have never heard of, he is hoping to educate people about that this disease is and what it means to over 176 million women worldwide.
To say I am proud is an colossal understatement. I am honoured, privilaged and eternally grateful to be your sister and I can only hope that someday I can make you even half as proud of me, as I am of you.