A Long Journey of Hope

Last updated: March 2022

The impact that endometriosis has had on my life is so much bigger than I would have ever imagined. I first started menstruating when I was 11 years old, and for 14 years after that, I suffered from heavy and increasingly painful periods. I was told for 14 years that this was of no concern and "if your mother had painful periods, you will too."

I can't believe this is 'normal'

It was hard for me to imagine that my period was normal when I could hardly function while my friends' biggest concern was just feeling hungrier and a little bloated. I felt isolated and confused because even at my yearly sports physicals my doctor never commented on the fact that I circled the "heavy and painful period" section. The most my doctors did for me was put me on birth control and prescribed me a huge bottle of 800 mg ibuprofen.

Endometriosis was never even discussed

It wasn't until I was 23 and started to try for a baby with my husband that I had learned about endometriosis. After trying for a year and being unsuccessful we sought out help from a fertility doctor. I did all the blood tests, ultrasounds, and an HSG. To her, everything looked fine "just a couple of cysts, but that's normal." She said our infertility was "undefined" and we should just proceed with IVF. Even when I explained to her about my period pain and symptoms, not once was the possibility of endometriosis brought up.

When I finally learned what endo was

Now, a blessing in disguise, our loan for IVF was denied. We continued to try naturally for another year while building our finances, but we had no luck. My periods continued to get more painful and heavier until one day I ended up in the ER from passing out from the pain at work. I was hooked up to pain medication and had an emergency ultrasound done along with a pelvic exam, which was horribly painful. The ER doctor was extremely concerned when he found a very large cyst on my left ovary. He referred me to a new OBGYN to see that very next day to get an expert's opinion. This new doctor said she suspected something called endometriosis and that I met all the criteria for it, but she said, "it would be a waste of time to do surgery, it's just going to grow back anyway." Even though I was still trying to conceive she wrote me a prescription for birth control saying that it was my best option to treat my pain.

Having doctors finally address it all

A few months later, we moved across the country because of a job change, and I got us established with a new fertility doctor. Instantly, this doctor wanted to do an in-depth ultrasound of this cyst they had found and was very concerned about the severity of my symptoms. The results showed I had multiple endometriomas covering both of my ovaries, so she referred me to a surgeon to have them removed and to find the root of my problems.
One month later, I underwent laparoscopic surgery, and not surprisingly, I had endometriosis. At my post-op my surgeon told me it was one of the worse cases he had ever operated on and was shocked to see how progressive my disease was. Unfortunately, there was endo that covered non-reproductive organs he was unable to remove, but he removed all of the endo that was coating my ovaries and both of my fallopian tubes.

13 years later, I have my diagnosis

I am now 26 years old and have only had my diagnosis of endometriosis for 5 months. I continue to suffer from painful and heavy periods and infertility. This journey continues to be hard and confusing, but I have hope for the future. I am happy I finally found a team of professionals that wanted to help me instead of dismissing my pain. I'm not sure where to go from here but I have become an advocate for others who may be experiencing the same symptoms I have and continue to spread awareness about Endometriosis. Stay strong my beautiful warriors!!!
Much Love,
Andi F.

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