Candie’s period was miserable. From the moment it started, her severe pain got worse and worse with every passing year. About 4 or 5 years after her first period, Candie noticed that her ovaries were so swollen that she could actually feel them from the outside of her body.
Candie went to multiple gynecologists and each one told her that it was “all in her head” and her symptoms, which now included painful ovulation, back pain and constipation, were all normal. Candie kept insisting that something was very wrong and after much persistence she was able to get an ultrasound that showed that she had cysts in each ovary. She was referred to a self-proclaimed “endometriosis specialist,” who agreed to do surgery.
The day before the surgery, Candie had an ovarian cyst rupture and was in so much pain that she went to the emergency room. She kept vomiting from feeling so terrible. The emergency room doctors sent Candie home, only to have her return for surgery the very next day.
After Candie’s surgery, her endometriosis specialist said it was the worst case of endometriosis he had ever seen. It turned out, that her specialist was really no specialist at all. During her surgery, he only drained 80% of one of her cysts and 20% of the other. He did not touch much of the rest of the endometriosis throughout her pelvic cavity. Instead, he just left it there and insisted that she go on hormonal medication to control the rest. Candie felt a little better after surgery and started taking birth control. Due to migraines, weight gain and mood swings, Candie had to discontinue use.
Candie again started feeling worse and worse. The large cysts in her ovaries came back. She was nauseous all the time and couldn’t eat. Having already a slight frame, Candie lost an alarming extra 20 pounds. She was working as a waitress, but often found herself crawled up in a ball at work due to the pain. Candie often felt like she could pass out at any moment. She eventually had to quit work. She still didn’t have health insurance. She had lost all hope.
Candie’s sister was researching endometriosis online and came across Dr. Seckin. Candie was very interested in using him as her doctor, but without insurance, wasn’t sure how she was going to be able to pay for her surgery. With the help of the King’s Ransom Foundation and the support of many generous friends, Candie was able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Seckin and talk about having surgery.
Dr. Seckin and his team of doctors operated on Candie. The cyst on her left side was 19cm and was stuck to her colon. Endometriosis was found on her liver and her lungs. It was throughout her entire pelvic cavity. Dr. Seckin excised the disease with the support of his team, an urologist and colorectal surgeon. Recovery was tough, but Candie, an actress and a singer, was at an audition only a week after surgery! She felt so much better than she did before surgery.
Candie urges patients to not delay getting a proper excision surgery. She also urges patients to question doctors who proclaim they are endometriosis specialists. Patients should ask if endometriosis is found outside of the reproductive organs, if the surgeon is comfortable to operate. Also, patients should work with endometriosis specialists who use a team approach to the disease. Candie warns patients, “Take care of the endometriosis before it gets too severe, so it doesn’t ruin your life.”
Candie is a musician and actress. To hear her music go to her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/candietremblaymusic
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