My diagnosis story begins on the bathroom floor of my childhood home.
Pt 1: Family Doctor + Tests
In this picture I was 16 and visiting DisneyWorld! But my period did not care and I was in so much pain.
Two weeks later I got a call from my family doctor, asking me to come down to the office, where they diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had cysts on my left ovary and from what I remember, a smaller one on my right. I met most of the other requirements so they narrowed down the diagnosis. I was to start birth control to manage the pain and cysts.
Pt 3: Surgery
After failing medications at different doses with different hormones, attending a pain clinic, seeing a physical therapist, trying different types of pain management and keeping a detailed record of my pain and symptoms of upwards of 8 months, I pleaded with my specialist. “I don’t know what else to do. I am struggling and I am tired. I will try whatever you want me to, but I’m having a really hard time. I am surviving, but I’m not living.” After a long discussion and the previously mentioned hard work, she offered to perform surgery on me. An exploratory, diagnostic laparoscopy with removal of whatever she found, if anything. Surgery is currently the only way to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis.
2 months after my 17th birthday, I was diagnosed with endometriosis during surgery. It was found in a few places, including my left ovary. That surgery is another story for another day, but it was a moment in my life I will never forget. I felt so at peace. In pain, but at peace. I wasn’t “crazy” and it wasn’t in my head.
Me at 17! Just a little baby!
My diagnosis changed my life. It changed how I saw the world and how I spoke about myself. No longer was I weak, or with low pain tolerance, or to blame. My pain was validated in all the ways I so desperately searched for.