I can’t count the number of articles I have read about women of all ages who have been missed diagnosed and pushed to the side thinking their pelvic pain was all in their head. My journey began when I was 12 years old and I didn’t even know it yet. I had no idea what was wrong with me, I just knew that “I didn’t feel myself” and I was in a lot of pain. “That time of the month” was terrible for me and I thought that cramps were normal. After all, that’s why we have Midol and Pamprin, right? My mom kept taking me to the doctor and they ran blood test after blood test. Of course, nothing came back because I was “healthy.” Once I hit 18 years old, I knew I needed to see an OBGYN and that something was definitely wrong. I saw three different OBGYNs in VA and all three came back with nothing. Exam after exam and sono after sono, still nothing. One doctor even gave me Vicodin to mask the “unknown” pain. I was starting to feel like maybe it really was all in my head and nothing is actually wrong. During the next two years, I coped the best that I could without meds.
In 2012 I met my wonderful husband who is in the Air Force and we moved in together. Six short weeks later we were (brace yourself) happy newlyweds! When you know, you know, right? 🙂 Many days I would curl up on the couch and not want to go anywhere, he actually thought I was slightly depressed. Although I was happier than I have ever been in my life, the pain sucked it right out of me! He and I both knew that something was wrong and we needed to get to the bottom of it. Every time I had severe pelvic pain I would schedule and appointment with my doctor (There are certain steps you have to take to be referred off base). Because that time of the month was always the worst for me, my doctor either blamed my period coming on or the possibility of pregnancy. I was always very tired and my legs felt very achy and heavy on top of the obvious pelvic pain. The back and forth trips to the doctor went on for about a year. It was now February of 2014 and suddenly, another symptom came in to play… pain during intercourse. I knew I had to get back to the doctor. There was no way I was letting whatever it was that I had come between my husband and I on that level. I was actually pretty shocked that as soon as I told my doctor about the new symptom he referred me to go see an OBGYN right away. Even though I was thinking to myself “that’s all that I had to say?” I was thankful to hopefully have a breakthrough on my issues.
There were so many emotions running through my head on the way to my first appointment. I had been brushed off so many times before I was praying that she didn’t tell me everything was okay. Most people want that exact answer but I wanted the truth. My husband, doctor and I ran through my family history and symptoms leading up to this appointment. She was very knowledgeable and confident in her profession. As soon as we discussed my last symptom, she flat-out said “I think you have endometriosis.” I had never even heard of that disease before and she knew exactly what was wrong with me. I’m glad my husband was there with me for support and the fact that everything she said after that was a blur. I couldn’t stop thinking about how easy it was for her to diagnose me. I was relieved because we were now receiving answers, but I was also very frustrated and confused because of my previous doctors never even mentioning it as a possibility! Although she was very confident I had endo, the only way to be absolute is with a laparoscopic surgery. She gave us two options, put me on birth control (it helps with symptoms) or do the surgery and remove any endo if there was any. We went home and thought about our options for a couple of days and called her when we made our decision…
Stay tuned for my next blog to see which route we took!