Sara says she didn’t know what "normal" felt like until she came out of surgery with Dr. Seckin. She got her period when she was 12 and thought her bad periods were "normal." Now looking back, she knows her definition of "normal" was absurd.
Sara’s endometriosis symptoms developed over time. First they materialized as uncomfortable periods. Then, like many other patients, would start to get urinary tract infections and have some issues with her stomach. She learned to toughen up and get past the pain and discomfort. Her family never acknowledged that she was struggling with any health issues. It wasn’t talked about.
But by the time Sara was in her early 20s, her periods got so bad that she couldn’t move when she had them. Her mom had a hysterectomy at a young age, and Sara assumes it was probably endometriosis-related. Sara, who was raised by her father, dealt with all of feminine issues independently. She eventually went to Planned Parenthood to seek out help for her terrible periods. The doctor at Planned Parenthood told her to start taking more Advil.
By the time Sara was 29, she was in severe pain. She tried going out one night during her period to a friend’s bachelorette party and almost passed out from pain in the bathroom. Her friends warned her that she was looking pale and very sick. Doctors finally figured out Sara had a large cyst on her right ovary. A 2-3 hour surgery to remove the cysts also showed that Sara had severe endometriosis. After her first surgery, she was in even more pain. She went back to the doctor who did her surgery and he suggested putting her on Lurpon. Sara, who doesn’t respond well to hormones, refused, looking for other options. The doctor’s only response was, “well, I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Sara did extensive research to find better answers to help treat her endometriosis. She came across Dr. Seckin in October of 2009 and went to him for a second opinion. After a series of tests Dr. Seckin confirmed that Sara did have more endometriosis in her pelvis and they set up a date for surgery. Dr. Seckin found endometriosis throughout her pelvic cavity. Sara started to feel so much better after her initial recovery.
In October of 2011, two years after her surgery with Dr. Seckin, Sara started having issues with her digestive system. She started losing weight and had no appetite. She went back to Dr. Seckin and had another round of tests performed. The endometriosis had invaded her bowels and Dr. Seckin immediately set up a team of doctors to operate on her. They ended up removing 9" of her lower intestine, which was riddled with the disease.
Recovering from a bowel resection takes time. But, after 2-3 months she felt like she had 85% of her strength back and continued to feel better every day after that. Sara encourages women who have had a bowel resection to eat whatever your body is craving, within reason of course! Sara ate a lot of frozen yogurt post-op. She stayed away from eating greens and allowed herself to only eat soft foods until she felt her body was more healed. Once she was back on her feet, Sara started doing acupuncture and pilates, two things which she feels help treat her endometriosis symptoms and strengthen her core.
Since her surgery, Sara feels that she has more energy and is grateful she is not debilitated anymore. She has even started her own company! She stresses that it is so important to allow yourself to lean on people and ask for and accept support. She feels strongly that endometriosis cannot be ignored. Had Dr. Seckin not intervened, Sara’s intestines would have ruptured within 6 weeks and she could have died. Sarah has learned that endometriosis patients have to address their disease head on for the greater good of their health.
Casey Berna is a patient of Dr. Seckin’s and an endometriosis and infertility counselor and advocate. To learn more about her story and her practice go to www.CaseyBerna.com. If you are a patient of Dr. Seckin’s and want to share your story please contact Casey at [email protected].