After a long battle for answers, Kimberli was finally diagnosed with Endometriosis at 27 years old. Four years later, she’s forging ahead with the disease, spreading awareness, raising hopes and spirits, and supporting EndoWarriors everywhere!
I remember getting my period at age 11, one of the first out of my group of friends. Besides heavy bleeding, I didn’t think too much about anything being ‘wrong’. I was athletic, I played all sorts of sports, ate fairly healthy for a kid and was always playing outside or doing things with my friends. My immune system was pretty crappy though, I got sick a lot. Just your typical strep throat and flu type sicknesses. It wasn’t until high school, where I really started to notice some more symptoms. Bowel issues, severe headaches, horrible cramps.
My mom finally decided to take me to the GYNO at 15/16 years old. They told me I was fine, until they did an ultra sound and found some cysts. They quickly put me on birth control and set me on my way, telling me I would be fine once I started the pill. I am sure you can guess, I wasn’t fine. All through high school I found myself in and out of the ER due to strong pains in my stomach. Each time they assumed 1) I was pregnant or 2) It was my appendix, neither of the two ever being the case. So they would send me home with the diagnosis of “it’s just gas”. As frustrating as it was, I was beginning to think maybe nothing was wrong. I was in high school, maybe it was just stress. But the bowel issues progressed so my parents took me to the GI doctor where they decided to give me a colonoscopy. Only to find, nothing was wrong. And labeled my symptoms as IBS. I ended up in the ER a few more times during high school for pain but nothing ever did come out of it.
Throughout college my stomach issues got worse. My periods were heavy and cramps started to become more painful. But, I was still able to live a life, even if I was uncomfortable. I worked, I hung out with friends, I wore jeans, went dancing and ate what I want. Another severe pain did end up landing me back in the ER, but they still couldn’t figure out what it was. This time they sent me home saying it was just a kidney stone.
After that I gave up with doctors. I went to my yearly appointments, made sure that was ok and just went on with my life. No matter how hard it seemed or was. It wasn’t until 2016, it could have been even sooner than that, where I started to see some serious symptoms. That were concerning to me and starting to now interfere with my everyday life. Throwing up daily, nausea, constipation and diarrhea, unexplained weight gain, dizzy spells, shortness of breath, pain in my stomach, hips, legs and back. Non stop bleeding for months, painful sex, irritability, hot flashes. Just to name a few symptoms! I started with my primary care doctor who ran blood work, nothing much showed up besides a few deficiencies. They then sent me to the heart doctor, which showed nothing besides a leaky heart valve, which is normal I guess? Then I wen to the lung doctor, another GI doctor, numerous Gynecologists. Nobody could give me an answer as to what the heck was causing my symptoms.
I finally found a GYN I thought was going to be helpful, but instead, he sat there telling me in front of my husband that I needed therapy. Thay everything was all in my head and that even though I had just recently found out endometriosis ran in the family, there was NO way I had it.
I felt broken, I felt alone and I felt so lost. What else could I do?
I took a break for a little while and my husband helped me do some research. We found a GYN at one of the hospitals in the city and ended up making an appointment with him. I begged him to perform surgery to diagnose me. He had started with no, but when he saw how badly I needed this answer, he agreed. He warned me he was not a specialist and he could not do what an endo specialist would do during surgery. At that point, I did not care. The risks were worth it just for the answer I had been searching for.
After surgery on March 27th 2017, I remember waking up and hearing the words, we found endometriosis. The joy that ran through me was something you would never think you would feel waking up from surgery and hearing they found something. But those were the words I needed to confirm I wasn’t crazy. That there in fact was something going on inside of my body. And for the first few months, I felt good! But as I said, he was not a specialist. The surgery he performed was ablation and that is the worst possible surgery to have. I decided to do what I could to naturally heal. Change of diet, different exercises, CBD, all sorts of things I added to my life. And while they did all help me manage, I was getting to that point of discomfort and struggle again. So I started my hunt for an actual endometriosis specialist.
I finally did find one in August 2019 and we were able to come to an agreement for surgery. My surgery was this past December (2019). He had removed polyps, fibroids, endo around the uterer, endo around the bowels, a general surgeon removed hernias and my specialist was also to confirm adenomyosis and IC. It all made sense and explained a lot of what I was dealing with. After surgery besides new bowel issues, I felt good. I lost weight. I wasn’t experiencing bloat. And I just all around was feeling better. I am now about 5 months post op and just starting to feel back to my uncomfortable state. The bloat is back. The weight gain is back. The constant bleeding is back and it is frustrating.
But I am a fighter, that is what I do. I fight.
I will be speaking with him in a few weeks to see what we should do next. In the mean time I keep reminding myself how strong I am. How far I have come. And that this is just another rough patch I will get through. The best feeling is still knowing I am not crazy and that I have answers to everything I had been dealing with most of my life.
WORDS OF ADVICE:
You are stronger than you could ever imagine. Keep fighting. Keep getting up every single day and showing endometriosis who is boss. Because you are so much more than this illnesses. Your pain does not define what you are capable of doing with your life. And always remember you are not in this alone. You have a whole community of amazingly strong women, right there fighting with you.
The Last Word:
KEEP FIGHTING. You are the only one who knows your body. If something does not feel right, keep on fighting until a doctor listens to you and gives you answers. You can always follow me on Instagram @life.with.kimberli and reach out anytime if you need to talk ❤ I am always here.
If you’d like to reach out to Kimberli, you can do so by email, Instagram, or follow her blog. I myself am the proud owner of her EndoWarrior bracelets, which are $4 a pop and can be found on Kimberli’s Etsy shop! It reminds me daily to keep fighting. Every day!
I want to send a special Thank You out to Kimberli for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and victories with us today. We’re so glad that you were able to have surgery in December of last year, and wish you the best of luck for your upcoming appointments.
And if YOU would like to share your story, you can do so. The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoSisters, and our friends and family, too.