April 15, 2013: New OBGYN visit & Disappointment

On April 15, 2013 I finally got into my local clinic to see a Nurse Practitioner. I was told that she didn’t know a lot about Endometriosis and that I would be a learning experience for her. At that point I was desperate for some answers and I really could care less. I didn’t really think about her being a NP and not a MD. I figured some doctors I had seen didn’t know as much as some NPs I had seen. No real thought process went into her being un-experienced I just need to see someone.

My appointment was at 3pm on a Monday. I remember stopping to get some tacos before hand with my partner. I sat at the table under a umbrella near a beautiful fountain…not being able to eat or enjoy the view. I just could not stop thinking that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted so bad…answers! All I could think of was leaving the appointment in a near 25 mins with nothing but maybe its in your head? Maybe you should try birth control? Have you thought about diet and nutrition to help? That’s all that ran through my mind.

When it came time to walk over to my appointment I dreaded it. I held my partner’s hand and she assured me it would be okay. Soon after I calmed down. There I sat in the waiting room for my appointment. Sitting there I noticed the television was on CNN. There it was…The Boston Marathon Bombing. At that point I remembered how lucky I truly was. Here I am worrying about a doctor not giving me answers and these innocent people have just been attacked for no reason. Sitting there alive, well except for some pain and a long wait time. But I am well.

My amazing partner Christina then reminded me that bad things happen all the time and my need for a healthy life isn’t silly. I deserve to live a pain free life where I can walk and spend time doing what I love. I for a split second I forgot that I had been waiting for that moment to see a doctor for nearly 9 years. Instead of feeling guilt I felt blessed to be alive and be able to help myself.

A few moments later the nurse called to me ” Ms. Magitt, you can come back”. I sat my purse with my partner and nearly skipped to her. She took my weight, temperature and my symptoms done. Back in the waiting room I waited until my Nurse Practitioner called for me. Shortly after my NP called for me to come back and I got immediately nervous. In the appointment I went over my strong family history with colon cancer, thyroid nodules and Endo-Like symptoms(before there was a name to diagnose it. She handed me a gown and asked me to undress. Before I knew it I was butt to edge with my cold feet in metal stirrups. She was examining me and I was in awful pain. I was willing to take that pain if it meant knowing for sure what was wrong with me. Soon after my pelvic, PAP and breast exam were done. I was back in my clothes and waiting on her to return.

She returns with this to say- “I think you should get on birth control”. I remember being so annoyed that that’s all she had to say. I replied “Other than BC what are my options? Is surgery possible to confirm I have Endo? Are there other medications”? I got absolutely nothing. She ended up giving me a referral to see a resident to inquire about surgery or a laparoscopy. BUT the kicker here is that I would have to wait another 13 days. Doesn’t sound like much but for someone that has already waited nearly 9 years that’s a long time.

I left that appointment feeling so lost, so down and so angry. Tears rolling down my face from the frustration. The fact that doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners spend years learning about diseases like diabetes but they barely touch the surface of Endometrosis. Why isn’t Endo more widely talked about among health care professional? Especially since nearly 6.3 million women and the girls in the US suffer from it.  But I know I would love to find more people that are knowledgeable in the matter. More than just giving drugs to cover up and mask the disease.

This Endo Girl can hope right?!!!

xoxoxoxox

How Endo & I met: Part II

At 17 years old my mother told me I would no longer be eligible for Medicaid and that I would lose my OBGYN. I didn’t know if I should be more upset that my awesome doctor would no longer be mine. Or if I was more upset that the pain would soon return. I remember realizing that my last pack of birth control was near its sugar pills and that my cycle was near. I remembered my OBGYN telling me that after the BC was no longer in my system my symptoms and pain would return.

First cycle without BC came and went and no pain. Second cycle comes and still no pain. Then wham 3rd cycle comes and Its awful! The great thing about that third cycle was that I worked a double shift from 5pm-10pm and from 10pm-7am. I was stuck at work in the worst pain I had felt in nearly 5 years. Thankfully I came prepared with Vicodin and tampons. However I wasn’t mentally prepared for the amount of pain and fatigue I would be experiencing. Sharp shooting pains like knives in my vagina and rectum.  On top of my job being a fast food chain where it felt like H-E-L-L! There I am waking up in the hospital because I passed out.

At the hospital my ER doctor informs me that there is basically nothing they can do for me without insurance. They gave me IV fluids, pain meds and something for the nausea. The next morning I spent about 3 hours contacting clinic after clinic. NOTHING I could afford without insurance. I spoke a OBGYN at a local Planned Parenthood and she recommended BC but she told me that it would only postpone the damage of Endo. I decided instead of masking the effects I wanted to treat them. Well that didnt happen for a while.

I went through each monthly cycle for a year. Using pain killers, heating pads, hot baths and yoga. It worked for the most part except I could fee the Endo getting worse because each cycle my pain continued to increase. At 18 years old I joined the Marine corps. Yep I know I know….at 105 pounds and 5’3″ I..ME..SHE joined the Marines? Basic training came and I got the best cycles ever with  no medicine. I don’t know if it was the stress, exercise or diet of no sugar and high fiber that did it but I was extremely thankful!

3 moths later I am back home because of a lovely thyroid nodule(we will discuss this later) my OBGYN found during a exam. Turns out thyroid nodules aren’t allowed in the Marines. Once I am home I notice my cycles took a bit longer to return to the once excruciating episodes. But when they did the came back to kick my butt. I started experiencing a pulling and ripping sensation in my lower left side. It felt as if a little devil  was running around in my lady bits causing havoc to its liking. I couldn’t take it and back to the ER I went. Same ole same ole…still nothing other than pain killers and IV fluids.

This continued right up until now that I am 24 years old. I now have insurance through my county hospital Grady because I am unemployed for nearly 2 years. If anyone is familiar with Grady you will know it’s hell to get an appointment. If its a specialty like a OBGYN or Endocrinology you have to get a referral from your Primary Care doctor. So in December of 2012 I called for an appointment to see my primary care doc…..March 23, 2013 is the date I got. Who has to wait 3 months to see a primary care doc? Then I would have to wait another 2-3 weeks for my OBGYN appointment IF they give me the referral. What???

That just wasn’t going to work for me so everyday I called the OBGYN asking for any chance to see a doctor without a referral. FINALLY a few days later a nurse tells me the Nurse Practitioner is new and could use experience with a Endo patient. Okay great.

So, yep I got in to see someone at the OBGYN clinic without having to wait 4 more months. That’s where my journey starts. I am excited to start posting about the actual answers I received after that first appointment.

Ladies PLEASE make sure you never take a no without pushing forward. Take control of your own medical journey. ❤

xoxoxo

Sincerely,

This Endo Girl

How Endo & I met: Part I

Hello World! My name is LaLa and I am 24 years old. I live in Atlanta, GA where I was born and raised. I grew up with a big sister and a big brother. Yep that means I am the baby! I had a rather normal life grown up playing outside with siblings and friends. We played silly games like bust stop and hide and seek.

In general my childhood was the best. Up until I turned 11 years old. That’s where my life got truly difficult. I find it hard to say, well type that. I mean what real problem could an 11 year old child complain about LOL. Well at 11 I got what Mother Nature must have thought to be a cruel joke. I got my menstrual cycle. Yes I know it’s a girl’s destiny to “become a woman” however I am sure extreme pain and depression wasn’t meant to go along with it.

My first cycle came in the middle of the night when my parents were sleeping. I remember awaking to such terrible pain that I thought I was dying. I literally rolled out of bed onto the floor in a ball. I couldn’t stand and I didn’t know how I would reach the bathroom. My parent’s room was just down the hall but for me that seemed so far. After falling a few steps I managed to make it to my mom’s side of the bed. I grossly showed her my undies and cried out “mama something is wrong”. She quickly sat up and turned on the bedside lamp and replied “Chile, that’s just your period. It happens to all women”. I remember being so confused yet calm. I took an aspirin and got back into bed.

The next morning I awoke once again in terrible pain. This time with the lovely nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. I begged my mom and dad to take me to the ER. Instead my dad insisted I just had normal period cramps. I remember thinking to myself “he’s not a woman, how does he know what cramps are like”. Yet still I sat there in pain. Monday morning came around and I missed school. My mom went and purchased me a heating pad, Tylenol and Gatorade. I felt a lot better laying with the heating pad but I knew it still wouldn’t solve it.

A few more months like that came and went. Each month I seemed to be in more and more pain. This time bleeding more and more and getting severely dehydrated. Finally my mom decided something wasn’t right and took me to the ER. I sat in the waiting room for about 2 hours before being called back to triage…blood pressure, weight and pain level. Then off to wait it the waiting room for another 45 minutes. I remember my mother getting really upset that they were calling people back before me that had colds and headaches. But there I was pale, dehydrated and short of breath just waiting.

Finally a nurse called out to me “Ms. Magitt, we are ready for you. Come on back”. My mother picked me up and took me back. When I got back my nurse gave me fluids and Phenergan as well as Morphine for the pain. I waited about 30 minutes for my Dr. to come in. In walks a man that looked like he could care less about my pain. He looks at me one good time and says “let’s get her a pelvic”. My mother wasn’t happy that they wanted to do a pelvic exam on an 11 year old that was already in pain. The nurse explained it was the best way to make sure I was ok. Pelvic pain concludes that nothing was wrong.

A week passed after being in the ER and my mom got me a OBGYN. I meet her for the first time and told her my symptoms. Her first words “I think you have Endometriosis, baby”! She told us she didn’t want to do surgery-Laparoscopy since I was so young. Instead she prescribed me Vicodin, Phenergan and Seasonal birth control. Instead of 12 excruciating cycles a year I now had 4 relatively pain free cycles. I really loved my life at that point. I could go to my friends’ parties or to the movies. I didn’t have to miss out on everyday activities…I felt normal. Right up until 17 years old when I lost my medical insurance. That’s where my life went right back to the day Mother Nature played that awful trick on me for the first time. More pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and more.

The next blog post will pick up right a 17 years old where my Endo came back with a terrible vengeance. To bite me in the ovaries!

I appreciate you all taking the time to read this HUGE post! ❤

-LaLa

So what exactly is Endometriosis?

For those of you that do not have Endo or may not know what it is. This post will help you to understand it a bit better.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease which affects up to 6.3 million women & girls in the U.S. 1 million in Canada & millions more worldwide. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus-called the Endometrium implants or grows outside of the uterus. Endometrium implants have been known to grow in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, & ligaments that support the uterus; which is the area between the vagina & rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; & the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, & in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are also found in the lungs, arm, thigh, and other locations like the brain.

These implants or growths follow the same pattern as the menstrual cycle. Each month building up then shedding just like that of the uterus lining when no egg is fertilized. Except these implants have no way to exit through the cervix. This causes extreme pain, inflammation as well as internal bleeding.

This process can and do cause: infertility, scar tissue formation or adhesions, bladder and bowel problems.

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?

  • Pain before & during periods
  • Pain with sex
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Painful urination during menstruation
  • Painful bowel movements during menstruation
  • Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, nausea & constipation

In addition, many women with Endometriosis suffer from:

  • Allergies

  • Chemical sensitivities

  • Frequent yeast infections

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

There is no way to diagnose suspected Endometriosis without having what is called a laparoscopy. This is a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A laparoscopy tells a doctor of the location, size & severity of the Endometrium growths.  After diagnoses it allows the patient as well as the doctor to better determine proper treatment going forward.

What treatments are there for Endometriosis?

Treatment options for Endometriosis range from little as diet and exercise, to pain management with medications, birth control as well as excision surgery like that of laparoscopy surgeries.

Each option is up to the patient & her physician to decide.

What causes Endometriosis?

We do not know the exact causes of Endometriosis, but there are several theories. Researchers do know that the hormone estrogen, which is at its highest levels during childbearing years, is likely to contribute to Endometriosis. Other possible causes of Endometriosis include:

  • Retrograde menstruation – when endometrial tissue is deposited in strange locations because of menstrual flow that backs up into the fallopian tubes and abdominal cavity.
  • Ceolomic metaplasia – the areas lining the pelvic organs have certain cells that can grow into other forms of tissue such as endometrial cells.
  • Surgery – endometrial tissues are directly transferred outside the uterus during episiotomy or Cesarean section.
  • Blood and lymph systems – endometrial cells travel via the bloodstream or lymphatic system to distant places such as the brain and other places far from the pelvis.
  • Immune system problems – cause the body to not recognize and destroy cells or tissue that is growing where it should not be.

I hope this helps you to better understand Endometriosis. If you have any questions or concerns please leave a comment below!

Welcome to This Endo Girl!

Hi world. My name is Shekeita but my Endo friends call me LaLa…its short for my middle name Latrice. I am 24 years old & I currently live in Atlanta, GA where I was born & raised. I have a wonderful partner, Christina that I love & adore. We have a fur baby Izzy that we raise together. I am one of the lucky ones to have a partner that understands how much Endo-Endometriosis can affect my life. However that doesn’t always make life with Endo any easier.

I am excited to use this blog as a way to express my happiness, sadness or any other thing I am feeling daily. I also hope to reach other Endo Girls out there that may not have anyone to talk to. I am praying that this blog becomes a safe place to ask questions or find helpful information.

Each week I will be keeping this blog updated with my medical journey with Endo. As well as my medical journey with thyroid nodules. I am going to be posting about feminine care products that help to minimize Endo pain. I may also post diet & exercise regimens that I am trying & I feel are useful. I am even thinking of posting about how Endo affects relationships whether it be with your partner, boyfriend, or husband.

If you have any questions or suggestions for blog posts feel free to leave a comment. Please email me at lala.life.with.endo@gmail.com if you have any further questions.