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Carlene’s Story

Carlene’s Story

I am a 44-year-old female. I was experiencing irregular periods, with heavy hemorrhaging for about a year. Considering my age, I assumed I was going through the onset of menopause. However, aside from the hemorrhaging and menstrual irregularity, I started experiencing pelvic pain. The pelvic pain that I experienced felt like a dull period cramp that never went away. I shrugged it off and tried to continue my daily routine. Unfortunately, the pelvic pain became more severe and sometimes the acute pain would last 30 minutes. I knew something was seriously wrong. This was not menopause. I started to think I might have ovarian or uterine cancer.

I went to see a gynecologist who tested me for uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. The uterine biopsy was negative, but my C-125 (blood marker for ovarian cancer) was elevated. Following a sonogram, she noticed a small cyst. She tried to convince me it was nothing. However, since my C-125 was elevated she referred me to a gynecological oncologist. As for the bleeding and pelvic pain, she was emphatic - the two problems weren’t related. She tried to prescribe birth control pills, IUD, and she suggested other hormone replacement therapies to stop my bleeding. I declined all these band-aide-like- treatments until I understood what was wrong with me.

I met with the gynecological oncologist that my gynecologist highly recommended. He was abrupt and unsympathetic to my problems. At this point, my pelvic pain was unbearable. He ran several tests and concluded I needed a hysterectomy. He suggested I had uterine and ovarian problems, but he didn’t seem to have a grasp on the issue. He said the only way he could tell if I had cancer was to remove the organs and test them. Needless to say, this was my first and last experience with this doctor.

Thankfully, I was referred by a family friend to Dr. Chi at Sloan Kettering. He examined me, re-ran all the necessary tests, and concluded quickly that I did not have cancer. Instead, he suggested I had endometriosis. This was the first time anyone had even hinted at this diagnosis. He immediately referred me to Dr. Seckin. Dr. Chi clearly knew of Dr. Seckin’s work, and he was impressed with the results he had seen in previous patients. I trusted Dr. Chi immensely, so I went to see Dr. Seckin.

Dr. Seckin is unlike any other doctor I’ve encountered – honestly. He was extremely knowledgeable and sharp, yet compassionate and reassuring at the same time. I immediately felt like I was in the hands of someone uniquely special – someone who knew exactly what to do. Within minutes, after my brief explanation and body language, he could sense the pain I was in, and he knew I had endometriosis.  After my examination, which was easy and painless, he drew a diagram and explained my problems in a way that was concise and easy to understand. I kept thinking “Thank God I am here, but why did it have to take so long!” “Why couldn’t anyone else tell me what was happening?” I was so thankful that Dr. Chi got me to Dr. Seckin. I had no idea I had endometriosis, and no idea that such a specialist existed!  I still can’t help but wonder why more people aren’t aware of this condition and the doctors that can help them.

I had the surgery on April 24. It was a five hour surgery. I had varying degrees of each triad of endometriosis, peritoneal, deep infiltrating, and ovarian endometriosis. The ovarian endometriosis was severe. I had a couple of cysts including an ovarian endometrioma. Additionally, there was evidence of a second endometrioma that appeared to have ruptured at some point in the past.  All of these issues were clearly causing the intense abdominal pain and bleeding I was experiencing. Dr. Seckin’s staff was terrific. They were a mirror image of Dr. Seckin – very talented and comforting. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with Dr. Seckin and his team.

My recovery has been incredible. I no longer have any irregular bleeding. My period is light to moderate, and I have no pelvic pain. After two weeks I went back to my daily routine. After 6 weeks, I was able to return to the gym and return to my mixed martial arts class. The intensity of this class would have challenged anyone following major surgery.  However, my trainers and fellow class members were shocked to see how quickly I was able to pick up where I left off. I am so thankful to Dr. Seckin for giving me my life back.