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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  • Angela Aro

    I have struggled with endometriosis and adenomyosis since first starting my period at 13. I was diagnosed at 21 and what followed was a series of unsuccessful surgeries and treatments. My case was very aggressive and involved my urinary tract system and my intestines. After exhausting all of my local doctors I was lucky enough to find Dr. Seckin. We…

  • Emi O

    Seckin and Dr. Goldstein changed my life!

  • Kristin Sands

    Like so many women who have tirelessly sought a correct diagnosis and proper, thorough medical treatment for endometriosis, I found myself 26 years into this unwanted journey without clear answers or help from four previous gynecological doctors and two emergency laparoscopic surgeries. I desperately wanted to avoid the ER again; a CT scan for appendicitis also revealed a likely endometrioma…

  • Wilfredo Reyes

    Dr. Seckin literally gave my wife her life back. I am eternally grateful to him for his generous, determined spirit to see that Melanie finally live free from the prison bonds of Endometriosis.

  • Carla

    I am so grateful to Dr Seckin and Dr. Goldstein. My experience was nothing short of amazing. I was misdiagnosed with the location of my fibroids and have had a history of endometriosis. Dr. Seckin was the one who accurately diagnosed me. Dr Seckin and Dr. Goldstein really care about their patients and it shows. They listened to my concerns,…

  • Melissa Boudreau

    When I think of Dr. Seckin these are the words that come to mind. Gratitude, grateful, life-changing, a heart of gold. I feel compelled to give you a bit of background so you can understand the significance of this surgery for me. I am passionate about Endometriosis because it has affected me most of my life and I have a…

  • Jaclyn Harte

    Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein radically changed my quality of life. They treat their patients with dignity & respect that I've personally never seen in the literally 25+ doctors I've seen for endometriosis. This summer, I had a surgery with Dr. Seckin & Goldstein. It was my first with them, but my 5th endo surgery. I couldn't believe the difference,…

  • Megan Rafael Moreno

    I was in pain for 2 years. I was getting no answers, and because dr Goldstein and dr seckins were willing to see and treat me I'm finally feeling almost back to normal. They were very down to earth and helpful in my time of need. Dr Goldstein was easy to talk to and caring, she took care of me…

  • Nancy Costa

    Dr. Seckin is one of the best endometriosis surgeon. Every time I go to the office, he really listens to me and is always concerned about my issues. Dr Seckin's office staff are a delight and they always work with me. I feel I can leave everything to them and they will take care of it. Thank you to the…

  • Rebecca Black

    Fast forward 5 years to find out incidentally I had a failing kidney. My left kidney was only functioning at 18%. During this time, I was preparing all my documents to send to Dr. Seckin to review. However, with this new information I put everything on hold and went to a urologist. After a few months, no one could figure…

  • Monique Roberts

    I'll never stop praising Dr. Seckin and his team. He literally gave me back my life.

  • Erin Brehm

    I had a wonderful experience working with Dr. Seckin and his team before, during and after my surgery. I came to Dr. Seckin having already had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis 5 years prior, with a different surgeon. My symptoms and pain had returned, making my life truly challenging and my menstrual cycle unbearable. Dr. Seckin was quick to validate my…

  • Anita Schillhorn

    I came to Dr. Seckin after years of dealing with endometriosis and doctors who didn't fully understand the disease. He quickly ascertained what needed to be done, laid out the options along with his recommendation and gave me the time to make the right decision for me. My surgery went without a hitch and I'm healing very well. He and…

  • Nicholette Sadé

    Dr. Seckin brought me back to life! I am now 3 weeks into my recovery after my laparoscopy surgery, and I feel like a new and improved woman! Being diagnosed with Endometriosis, then 25yrs old in 2015, and discovering the severity of my case being stage 4, made me devastated. Dr. Seckin's vast knowledge of the disease, sincere empathy, and…