Share Your Story: Melissa

Man and woman standing side by side

A year ago, Melissa was diagnosed with Endometriosis (at 37 years old), but her symptoms became noticeable in her 20s. It took a decade to get answers…

Melissa’s Journey:   I first noticed that something was wrong when I was in my mid 20’s. I would have extreme pain in my lower back, lots of gas, and lots of pain when going to the bathroom. I noticed that a week before my periods it would burn when I peed and that would last until a week after my period (total of 3 weeks). I also dealt with bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

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Endometriosis & the Diaphragm

Courtesy of Wikimedia

If you’ve been a long-time follower of the blog, you may remember in 2014 when my surgeon found Endometriosis on my diaphragm. Several years later, it had completely disappeared (yay!). And it hasn’t been found in any of my subsequent surgeries. This research has been a lot of fun because of my own personal journey.

We’ve previously shared Endo Lady UK‘s experience with her own diaphragmatic Endometriosis, as well as a surgery to remove diaphragmatic Endo. We’ve even had a few brave readers, Lyndsay and Tabitha, share their own stories about endo on their diaphragm.

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Inguinal Hernia & Endometriosis

Inguinal canal in female courtesy of https://www.slideshare.net/vernonpashi/surgical-anatomy-of-the-inguinal-canal

Recently, a study hit my inbox about Endometriosis mimicking an inguinal hernia. So, of course, my interest was piqued and research had to take place! Be warned, though, it’s considered VERY rare. In all the literature I’ve read, only 42 cases have been referenced as being documented inguinal Endo. But when has rarity stopped me from sharing something about Endometriosis? Yeah. Never. Here we go!

What is AN inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia (about 70% of hernias are inguinal) and usually manifests as a small lump in the groin area. Both men and women can get inguinal hernias, but it’s apparently more common in men. It occurs if there’s a small hole in your abdominal cavity which allows fat or intestines to seep through, which can a lump or swelling to occur.

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Share Your Story: Jenny12

quote that reads I have always had heavy, painful periods since age 9.

“Jenny12” is a 39-year-old woman living in New York. Officially diagnosed with Endometriosis five years ago, she shares her journey with us today.

Jenny12’s Journey:

I have always had heavy, painful periods since age 9. After many OBGYN’s trying different B.C. I finally had my first lap surgery 5 years ago, and was told stage IV with some adhesions on bowels that were unable to be excised. Did not really help with the pain with my periods, so I was then given Mirena, that was a huge mistake.

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Share Your Story: Diane

Tattoo that reads "Start Somewhere"

Diane shares her Endometriosis journey with us today.  And she’d like to remind us all when life hits us too hard and we’re stuck or immobile…we have to start somewhere. One step at a time.

Diane’s Journey:  So, I’m officially diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain, recurrent peritoneal cysts, and precancerous cervical cells. I did have an exploratory lap in 2016, to remove suspected ovarian cysts. They turned out to be peritoneal, and I also had “extensive adhesive scar tissue”. Endometriosis was added to my records at that point, but I was seen at a teaching hospital. The residents that saw me and performed my surgery never sat down and discussed what they found.

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Share Your Story: Pam

quote: A hysterectomy doesn't resolve endometriosis.  I guess I was naive in 1999; were the doctors also?

Pam was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was in her 40s.  Today Pam is 59 years old and shares her story with us

Pam’s Journey:  Long story short, I have 4 grown children after years of infertility followed by 6 miscarriages. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and opted for partial hysterectomy in 1999 due to the heavy periods. I thought that was that.

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Share Your Story: Janis

Black and white photograph of blonde, smiling Janis

Janis was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 35.  Now 39, she shares her Journey with us:

Janis Oenbrink;  August 1, 2018

Endometriosis changes the lives of many, and in multiple ways.  Infertility, pain, fatigue, depression, and a multitude of other miserable symptoms encompass the disease of endometriosis.  I have dealt with this disease for years, and along the way, been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anxiety, depression, ruptured cysts, etc.…. as well as been called crazy, lazy, and a hypochondriac.

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Share Your Story: Michelle

Photograph of Michelle and a man in the hospital

Michelle from Virginia was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 36.  Now a year later, she shares her Endo story with us.

Michelle’s Journey:  Hi. My name is Michelle. I am sharing this story to help others with endometriosis. I have a very unique story.

In 2003 I came out of the military with a rare bone tumor called fibrous dysplasia. This was and still is in my pelvis. It’s something I went through many years and it took having my third son to put me in a state of barely walking, getting infusions, many rare surgeries at John Hopkins to get the help I needed to walk day-to-day.

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Share Your Story: Kathryn

Quote that reads "I will never give this despicable disease the satisfaction of beating me...ever...

Kathryn was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 30 years old.  Three years later, she found our blog and wanted to share her story with us.  It’s a heartbreaking and devastating tale, but one many of us can relate to.  And she will continue to hold her head high, undefeated.

Kathryn’s Journey:   I suffered a horrible car accident in July almost three years ago. The bruising from the seat belt was so bad it took months to heal. Then, in December six months after the accident, I collapsed at work in crippling pain and had to go to the hospital. There they found cysts on my right ovary and uterus. One week later, my gynie is telling me a protein in my blood that detects ovarian cancer which should be no higher than 2 was 171. The next three months I was in a horrible nightmare of doctors telling me I would need a hysterectomy and chemo and would be fighting for my life. I had to make the agonizing choice of pulling my organs out when it wasn’t really a choice at all… And I did it with peace and as much grace as I could. Another month later, I underwent surgery. When I was awake after the tumors on my ovary had been benign and what it had actually been was severe endometriosis. He cut it out, but refused to remove the pipes causing it. When the surgeon told me it would be back, I sobbed… I don’t know why… But I was devastated. Six months later the pain returned. I had been fully cut open from stem to stern the first time. The second time they did a laparoscopy. And discovered the ovary that had the tumor developed a blood cyst that had engulfed the entire ovary. Worse, my fallopian tube was now being twisted and pulled into the same ovary. My gynie did not realize what he was getting into as the sonogram didn’t show much… But he said my tube should be a twizzler and my ovary a walnut. Mine had become a churro and a softball… Two surgeries, six months apart, with no help or sympathy from my now ex-husband… And they still wouldn’t remove all of it… I wanted to have a child of my own but…. God had different plans for me… It still hurts… And now it’s back. I found Lisa’s blog and was overjoyed I was not alone… That the bitterness and hatred of this disease is shared by many sisters. But I can’t do this any more. I want my life back. My endo was so bad it made a blood test show insanely positive for cancer. And the real kicker is that when I was suing the bastard who hit me in that car accident… My insurance company told my lawyer that it sounded to her like a blessing in disguise… I may never have found out there was a problem if I hadn’t been STRUCK by a car. The cruelest part is her daughter was going through chemo for ovarian cancer herself…. I want the pain to stop. It hurts knowing I cannot have children… And I am devastated when I ask myself “why me!” I had been fine up until that car accident… And since then… I’ve had nothing but pain bitterness and rage… And yet, I march on… Because I will never give this Despicable disease the satisfaction of beating me… EVER.

Words of Advice:  Go to your gynie regularly and make them aware of your symptoms and pain level. Try to exclude as many triggers as possible… I am a migraine with aura sufferer and cannot have hormonal birth control which is one of the best defenses against endo… But do not give up and find a community like this one that offers support and love for all suffering and dealing with this devastating disease. Never let your doctor downplay your pain or your gut feeling. If they don’t help you then find someone who can. Don’t suffer alone… I thought I was alone… But this blog showed me that I really am no less a woman and no less beautiful even if my plumbing is yanked out. And remember… YOU ARE FABULOUS!

The Last Word: Please keep writing and updating your blog. I found it just by searching if alcohol affected endometriosis. You gave me more information about my health than my doctor ever did. Thank you… So much! And I love the blogs name.😊

If you would like to contact Kathryn, please feel free to e-mail her.

I want to send a special Thank You out to Kathryn for being brave enough to share her journey with us today!  You are NOT alone in this, and you never will be again.  You have my e-mail address…and I’ll forward you my phone number.  Please feel free to use both as often as you wish.  Much love.  And sending hugs and smooshes your way.   ❤ Yours, Lisa.

Paper with "tell your story" written on it

And if YOU would like to share your story, I would love to share it.  The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoSisters, and our friends and family, too.

Yours, Lisa.