My Endo Story
Last updated: January 2021
The first few times the spotting happened, I tried my best to ignore it. I wanted to blame stress. I thought maybe I hadn’t been sleeping well, or that my diet had been too weird in the prior weeks.
But, as is always the case when our body is in need of care and we are ignoring it, it started sending bigger signals. Signals I couldn’t ignore.
Remembering my worst day of bleeding
My morning commute from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan lasted 30 minutes on the 2 train. I’d put in a new tampon just before leaving the house, and as I exited the train, I knew I had soaked through the panty liner and my underwear. I made a quick trip into the Gap, buying new pants and underwear, and ducked into work.
By then, I was scared. I knew it was more than stress or diet. I feared cancer. An STD. I kinda sorta talked about it with girlfriends at happy hour, and the only thing they knew was that I needed to go to a doctor.
I ended up seeing six doctors
Doctors performed ultrasounds and manual exams of my vagina. For months, I dutifully went to appointments, only to sit in waiting rooms, change in and out of the paper gowns, and then hear nothing helpful. No doctor could give me a definitive answer.
I decided I was right all along and that it was stress, and that I would just have to learn to live with it.
Then, everything changed
A few months after I had accepted my unknown fate, I received a job offer in Florida. Within a month, I had packed up all my belongings and now called the Sunshine State home. Everything changed, including the gyno I saw for free with my new health insurance.
Before she’d even finished the exam, I disclosed what I had been dealing with. I shared that all the doctors before her had no idea what was wrong with me.
“That’s easy,” she said. “You have endometriosis.”
Before I left her office, she scheduled the surgery for me at the hospital, with the purpose of removing the endometriosis tissue.
It all happened so fast
Months of questioning, stressing and fearing the worst was suddenly over. I had an answer, and a solution—all in 60 minutes.
The only niggling thing was the comment my doctor added just as I was about to leave the appointment.
She told me to prepare myself: Surgery does not cure endo. Nothing does. The surgery would buy me time. She said that I should expect to need another surgery 10 years down the road. That visit and the surgery both happened in 2006.
Saying goodbye to the unknown
It has been 14 years since she passed on that warning. For the most part, I have experienced almost no symptoms since then. However, around the time the Covid quarantine started, I began to see spotting again.
There will likely be more doctor visits and possibly another surgery in my future—but at least I now know what I am dealing with. I can say goodbye to uncertainty.
Do your endo symptoms ever cause you to feel socially awkward?
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