That's how long Christine Eboli says she spent virtually paralyzed from the symptoms of undiagnosed endometriosis and adenomyosis, a condition in which endometrial tissue grows into the uterine muscle, damaging the uterine wall. Eboli says she spent days laying on her stomach as the neverending pain radiated into her lower back and legs and hampered her mobility.
"Nobody could figure it out," recalls Eboli, 49. "I had every test for everything."
She exhibited all of the classic red flags for endo and adeno: chronic pelvic pain, heavy periods, neuropathy, or nerve numbness and weakness radiating down her legs. And yet, the mom-of-two and Newton, Pennsylvania native says she didn't get answers from multiple OB-GYN's, nor the two orthopedic spine specialists whom they referred her to for that mystery back pain.
"I kept having ovarian cysts. I was changing my pad every hour. Then, it got to the point where I was having to cancel plans, and I was no longer in my church. I just didn't feel right." Eboli's husband Dominick, a hospital executive, noticed Eboli's pain was cyclical. "We started to kind of put it together, but it took a long time."
Eboli says she turned to the internet, and soon became convinced that she had adenomyosis. Now she had to push her caretakers to believe her. She underwent an MRI with contrast of her pelvic region, and a radiologist would inform her that he, too, suspected adenomyosis.
"I cried tears of joy," says Eboli, "because I knew I had something."
It all started to make sense. Beginning at age 13, her periods were painful enough for her to miss school. "Going on the pill fixed it all," she says. She stayed on the pill until her late 30s, only stopping to start a family. After that fateful MRI, Eboli knew she was finally headed in the right direction, but there was a rocky road ahead.
She underwent a laparoscopic surgery after a burst cyst landed her in the ER, but she says her OB-GYN didn't take any biopsies, instead of telling her that she "didn't see any endometriosis."
Finally, Eboli underwent an April 2016 hysterectomy, and she would once again learn that her OB-GYN fell short of giving her the treatment she deserved. Post-hysterectomy, "I was starting to feel better. Then [the pain] slowly started coming back. I didn't put it together because my two [OB-GYN] surgeons said to me that they didn't see endometriosis."
She may have no longer had her uterus, but Eboli's gut feeling her surgeons left something behind was spot-on. Searching for answers, she Google'd and quickly found endometriosis excision specialist Dr. Tamer Seckin.
"When I read the ladies’ stories," says Eboli, "I was like that’s me. I’m not getting any help. No one’s diagnosing me.”
Finally, Eboli took matters into her own hands and scheduled an appointment with Dr. Tamer Seckin. Surgery day came in March, and Seckin excised lots of endometriosis left behind inside Eboli's pelvic region, which should have been removed at the time of her hysterectomy with her previous surgeon.
"[Seckin] removed 27 endometriosis patches," says Eboli. "I had it all over my colon, especially the left side, and I had it all over the nerves that were very low inside of me, so that’s why I had all the horrible leg pain. And I also had my left ovary removed. He says it was stuck inside the muscle wall of my abdomen."
Eboli says she's hasn't felt better in years. "I wish [my doctors] pointed me in Seckin's direction a lot sooner. I would’ve had more years to spend with my kids. I’m just so thankful."
And with her health finally restored, Eboli doesn't hesitate when asked what her plans are now that she's feeling better.
"Tennis. A lot of tennis."