ENDOSTRONG Patient of the Week: A Psychologist Who Was Told She Was Crazy

ENDOSTRONG Patient of the Week: A Psychologist Who Was Told She Was Crazy

Mandy Smeetz-Klumpkens is a 28-year-old psychologist and endometriosis patient living in Holland. Mandy just joined our team to write articles not only from a psychological perspective, but also from a patient perspective.  Here is Mandy’s story!

Diagnosis: Crazy

For many years Mandy suffered what she called, “killer cramps” and extreme blood loss during menstruation. No one could explain what was wrong with her and one doctor dismissed her as just being “crazy.” At age 24, Mandy was in really bad physical shape. She was peeing blood, had recurrent urinary tract infections and was constantly vomiting and feeling nauseous.  She knew something was very wrong.

From One Doctor to the Other

One of Mandy’s doctors was sure that she had appendicitis. When an MRI showed nothing abnormal, that doctor sent her home without any answers. Mandy was determined to find out what was wrong with her and finally found a gynecologist who diagnosed her with endometriosis in 2009. Mandy has had 6 operations since. 

What the Diagnosis Meant to Her and Her Marriage

Mandy spent a long time, like many other endometriosis patients, being shuffled from doctor to doctor not getting any answers as to why she felt as bad as she did. No one took her disease seriously. Her friends accepted her illnesses at first, but then the multitude of symptoms and the vague explanations of why she was feeling the way that she was took a toll on how they looked at her as a person. Mandy would keep trying to fight the symptoms and live a normal life until she would just collapse from exhaustion. Deep down she knew something was wrong. She knew that what she was experiencing was not normal. Her diagnosis brought great relief to her and her husband. All of a sudden there was a better understanding of what Mandy had and why she was feeling the way she was feeling. Her husband, who was supportive before, became even more supportive after being able to read up on the disease to better understand what she was going through and how he could help her.

Endometriosis and IVF

Like many women with endometriosis, Mandy’s only hope to be able to conceive was through IVF. Mandy had a tough time with the synthetic hormones that her doctor prescribed during stimulation. She felt the medications made her hormones go crazy and left her even more exhausted and very agitated. Luckily she was able to get pregnant with twins. They were born 2-months premature but are now healthy after spending some time in the NICU. The doctor who performed Mandy’s C-section did not listen to Mandy when she warned him that her endometriosis had displaced some of her organs. Incidentally, the doctor had cut Mandy’s bladder in half while delivering her twins. 

Mandy’s Future

Currently Mandy is experiencing a lot of pain, especially leg pain and nausea. Balancing work and taking care of her twins is exhausting for her. She feels that she is working with very limited endometriosis resources in Holland. Her plan is to see Dr. Seckin this winter. She has a lot of hope that he can help her with her deep infiltrated endometriosis. She continues to hope that a life without constant pain is possible.

Words of Wisdom

Mandy wanted to share her story to let other women know that they are not alone with this terrible disease. She encourages women to reach out through the internet and speak to others who have endometriosis to get support and understanding. She thinks it is important to utilize organizations like the Endometriosis Foundation of America and the Dutch Endometriosis Foundation, where she is an ambassador, to gain up to date information about the disease and help spread awareness.  She also stresses that going for a second opinion (or third or fourth opinion in Mandy’s case) is crucial, EVEN if it takes you all the way to New York City!

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Patient Reviews

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  • Winnie Chan

    I’ve seen many obgyns over the years explaining my monthly symptoms during my period...but eventually it became a daily struggle with these pain. It feels like a poke here and there near my right pelvic region. I was given birth control pills for the past ten years but honestly, it didn’t help at all. I was in bed whenever I…

  • Rachel Grobman

    Dr.Seckin is so much more than a surgeon. His passion for helping endometriosis sufferers and determination to improve the quality of life in all of his patients is undeniable. I remember when my gynecologist first told me I needed a laparoscopy. Her exact words were "I can do the surgery, but if you were MY daughter- I'd send you to…

  • Esin Kocabiyik

    I was there for hysterectomy but then I found out that I also had endometriosis.My both surgeries went excellent and I feel great!.I am so thankful to Dr.Seckin and all his team for making my journey smooth!

  • Samuel Taveras

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  • nikoletta pados

    I am a physician who suffered from deep infiltrative endometriosis. I needed laparoscopic surgery, so I went to see my former gynaecologist and he performed the procedure (a surgery which he supposedly does hundreds of times a year) last November. I had severe pain again when I had my period in January and was advised to go on taking a…

  • Grace Larsen

    After years of excessively painful periods, a serious loss of quality of life, and a series of uninformed and uninterested doctors, Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein turned my life around. I was told I woke up from my surgery almost a year ago with a smile on my face, and I haven't stopped since. Before I heard of Dr. Seckin,…

  • Nicole Novakowski

  • Jacqueline Galindo

    Dr Seckin and his team gave me back my life! Tomorrow will be 1 month since my surgery and I feel great. Dr. Seckin, Dr Liu, and Dr Goldstein are not only beyond words talented and amazing Doctors, but they are also genuinely wonderful and caring people. I cannot say enough great things about Holly, Asiye and Kim as well.…

  • Anna Lu

    Dr. Seckin and his staff spared me from years and years of heavy periods and unbearable endometriosis pain. After having surgery with him (my first) I can now function like a regular human. No more eating NSAIDs like candy and calling out sick from work. Thank you, Dr. Seckin!