Share Your Story: Melissa Turner

Woman sitting on couch outside

Melissa is from New Zealand and was 19 years old when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis. She shares her story with us today. As well as tips that have helped her cope and overcome.

Melissa’s Journey: It all began with a dreadful case of a bladder infection. I remember the pain like it was yesterday. Intense swelling and no amount of going to the toilet alleviated the pain.

Worst part about it was that I was on holiday and there was no way I could get treatment without the long drive home. I had never experienced such intense pain while driving over a road bump in my life. I knew something else was going on.

I remember lying in the tub. Looking down at my body and asking it what was going on. Why do you still have pain, even though the bladder infection is all cleared up? What is going on in there? A little soft voice told me to visit a gynaecologist.

The experience of visiting the gynaecologist left me with more questions and yet a version of a diagnosis I had never heard before… endometriosis. I couldn’t even say the word, never mind understand what it actually meant in terms of my pain levels. It was just a confusing mess and the only way I could know for sure was to have surgery. I dreaded the idea of it but I also wanted an answer. Something to help me move forward.

That began a long journey with endometriosis and one that took me through 15 years of struggling. I had 7 surgeries and tried every hormone treatment and pain-killer that was offered to me. I didn’t feel any relief during that time and it felt like I was literally on a surgery merry-go-round with a new surgery booked every year and a half away from the last.

I remember waking up after the last surgery and having nobody there to hold my hand and talk me through it. It had become normal that I was in surgery again. It was nothing special. I felt a deep sadness in that moment. A sadness for all the things I had put aside because of endometriosis. A sadness for all the hours and days I had wasted in pain.

A deep yearning began that day and it shifted my whole approach to endometriosis.

It began a journey of discovering and learning more about endometriosis. To know what my personal body was needing and actually providing for it. Giving it what it needed and really honouring and taking care of myself for the first time in years.

Over the last 12 years I have transformed my experience with endometriosis. It is no longer a feature in my life. I live pain and symptom free and want more women to know that it is possible.

The key things I changed were:

  • How I fed my body. I didn’t just avoid some key culprits recommended but also focused on truly replenishing the nutrients my body was lacking.
  • I move my body daily. It can be in any form I like but it must bring me joy and feel good. No pushing through!
  • Lowering my anxiety and stress was fundamental. I looked at everything that was triggering this in my life and shifted it. If that meant someone was causing me anxiety I either shifted how I viewed them or decided to spend less time with them. I also looked at beliefs I held about myself and my body. I needed to believe healing was possible and so much of my transformation began when I found proof of this.
  • I cleaned out my body from imbalances and toxins. Not just gut dysfunction but right down to heavy metals and parasites. These things had impacted my health and I needed them out!
  • I found support and guidance from others who could show me what was possible. It had to be positive and it needed to show me a way out and not just be a self pity party.

Words of Advice for Us:  I want women to know that it is possible. We just need to provide the environment for healing.

If you wish to contact Melissa, you may email her or visit her webpage.

I want to send a special Thank You out to Melissa for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and victories with us today.  And thank you for all that you do for the Endo community.  Thank you!!!


And if YOU would like to share your story, please let me know.  The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoWarriors, and our friends and family, too.

Yours, Lisa.

Endometriosis Excision Surgery No. 6!

Pre-surgery photo with myself, Dr. Mel Kurtulus and Dr. Matthew Schultzel

On October 21, 2020, I went in for my tag-team surgery with my fellas: Dr. Mel Kurtulus and Dr. Matthew Schultzel. Each had their own specific tasks while they worked together to make sure I was happy, healthy, and well:

  1. Dr. Matthew Schultzel was going to inspect and remove a portion of my sigmoid colon which had deep-infiltrating Endometriosis (discovered during my May 2020 surgery);
  2. Dr. Mel Kurtulus was going to peek around inside to see if I had any new Endometriosis growths since May or any scarring or other things that may need to be cleaned up.

If this sounds familiar, we did a similar tag-team effort with these two amazing surgeons back in November of 2018, but for the opposite side of my colon.

The best part? I have had ZERO, zilch, nada, no pre-op pains! The only pain I’ve had since October 21st has been healing from surgery! My November pain journal screamed of the difference in my symptoms and Endometriosis pain!

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My 4th Endo Excision Surgery

"Uterus & Guts," created by Ivy Denton
@deathwindchimes 

Before I get started, let me explain the image above. A talented artist by the name of Ivy Denton created it for me (they also created the EndoGuy and PoopChuteSnakie you’ll see below). They’re taking commissions if you’re interested in throwing ideas their way! “What is it,” you may be asking yourself. It’s a whimsical interpretation of my insides: a uterus with two cervix, no fallopian tubes (hence the band-aids and floating ovaries), and it’s accompanied by it’s new buddy: an intestine missing some pieces. I think it’s adorable! Thanks, Ivy!!


On with the good stuff! If you didn’t already know, back in July 2018 during an excision surgery Dr. Kurtulus discovered a pair of Endo lesions on my small intestine . He brought in a colo-rectal surgeon, Dr. Schultzel, to look at it and decide if we could remove it then. Unfortunately, it was deemed too deep and risky without a proper bowel prep and a future resection would take place.

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Interstitial Cystitis

Today I’d like to talk about something that a lot of my EndoSisters suffer from: Interstitial Cystitis, also known as IC.

Interstitial what? That’s what I thought the first time I heard of it a few years ago.  Heck, my doctor even suspected I had it (we check every time I go in for surgery, and so far: no tell-tale signs).  I’ve been telling myself for a few years now that I needed to research and write about it…so today I am!

What is it?

Let’s start off with:  it’s been around for quite a while.  The first written description of IC was back in 1836 by Philadelphia surgeon, Joseph Parrish.

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Reader’s Choice: Pudendal Nerve Pain

A diagram of the pudendal nerve in a female human

One of our readers (who shall remain anonymous) asked if we could look into a topic: “Pudendal nerve pain-when is it endo and when is it not? Or is there even a way to know?”  So, here I go off to learn things and hopefully share a bit of that newfound knowledge.  And since this blog entry is Endometriosis-related, I’m going to keep the anatomy female (although men have a pudendal nerve and can also suffer from these symptoms).

Where’s the Pudendal Nerve?

The pudendal nerve is located back by the tailbone, and extends along the pelvic floor and around the pelvis, toward the rectal, gluteal, and clitoris areas.  There’s two: a right and a left pudendal nerve.  One or both pudendal nerves may cause issues, which we’ll get into right now!

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Endometriosis & the Appendix

Diagram of the appendix

Here I go again, once more intrigued by Endometriosis growing in odd places inside the body.  Today I’m going to focus on the appendix.  I’ve read that many Warriors have their appendix removed because physicians may confuse Endometriosis pain for the symptoms of appendicitis.  But on Tuesday an article hit my email about Endometriosis growing on the appendix…and I became obsessed.

Please remember: I don’t write this to scare you, or freak you out, or say that all of your right-sided abdominal pain is from Appendix Endo.  Take a deep breath – I like to document these things in case anyone would like to discuss it further with their healthcare providers so they may be aware during surgery.  Appendiceal Endometriosis is considered extremely rare and it is suspected that only 1-3% of all cases of Endometriosis involve the appendix.  But…knowledge is power.

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Share Your Story: Patricia

Smiling woman with dark hair

Patricia was only 16 years old when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis.  Now 42, she lives in Montreal, and tells her tale now.  It includes a progressively worsening diagnosis, a full hysterectomy, ongoing medical treatment, and 32 surgeries!  Despite her medical efforts and treatment, she continues to suffer with the illness.

Patricia’s Journey: I was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 16. It wasn’t too bad at that point, but between the age of 16 to 21 it went to stage 4. So it was decided at the age of 21 to have a full hysterectomy, thinking it would be a cure. I also had tried all the medications that were available at the time to treat it. Nothing worked not even the full hysterectomy.

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Reader’s Choice : Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

A birdseye view of pelvic floor musclse

A bird’s eye view of the pelvic floor muscles

Have you heard of pelvic floor dysfunction?  I hadn’t; not before meeting women who suffer from it.  And I’d never heard of a pelvic floor before that, either.  We’re going to focus today on pelvic floor dysfunction in women (although men can get it).  But what is it?

The pelvic floor is made up of a lot of little muscles, nerves, and tissues all working together for your body to function.  Imagine it as a tightly-woven basket at the underside of your pelvis, sweeping from front to back, and side to side.  Not only does it support the organs of the pelvis, but it also wraps around the urethra, rectum, and vagina.  When these muscles, nerves, and tissues stop working properly (they are too tense or too lax), it’s called pelvic floor dysfunction.  It can cause pain and difficulty with urination, defecation, intercourse, and lower back pain.

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