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!

{pitch}

<< Previous Article
ENDOSTRONG Patient of the week: Ginny is back to Zumba and she wants you all to know!
ENDOSTRONG Patient of the week: Ginny is back to Zumba and she wants you all to know!

The Evolution of Ginny’s Nervous Stomach How many endometriosis patients have explained away their inconvenient bowel issues by saying, “Oh,…

Read more >

Next Article >>
Warrior
Warrior

Women who are diagnosed with endometriosis seem to have an unstoppable drive to operate independently. This drive, which is often…

Read more >

Patient Reviews

Write a review
  • 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…

  • Jason Curry

    My wife had her laparoscopic excision surgery to remove endometriosis with Dr. Seckin on Jan 30, 2014. She doesn't write online reviews so I'm writing this on her behalf. I accompanied her with each office visit she had. The staff--Lucy and Kim, are very friendly, warm and professional. Dr. Seckin was excellent in every capacity. He spent a lot of…

  • Liz Filippelli

    He is an awesome doctor who saved my daughters life from debilitating endometriosis..she knew instantly upon awaking from surgery that she was better..that wad May and no complaints only praises for Dr. Wonderful Seckin!!

  • Karen N

    I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 19. I saw several Endometriosis "Specialists" since then, had a few laproscopic surgeries to "remove" the endometriosis and continued to be in pain. I had a hysterectomy in 2012 and was told this would stop the pain once and for all. No such luck! Tired of spending days in bed with a heating pad,…

  • Lauren Rodriguez

    I researched and found Dr. Seckin after dealing with years of doctors who couldn't help me or refused to go the extra mile for their patients. I have to say I am truly blessed to have found such a compassionate and talented doctor. He is exquisite with everything he does, and both his team at the office and surgical team…

  • Kellya Vespa

    Dr. Seckin is a very skilled surgeon. There are not many doctors like him that truly understand the effects of endometriosis. I am lucky to have found him. The staff is wonderful too.

  • Meg Connolly

    Dr. Seckin truly LOVES what he does and cares about his patients from the bottom of his heart. My life has already changed in 3 weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful. Should I ever need another operation for endometriosis, Dr. Seckin will be the one to do it. I recommend him to anyone I come across with similar problems…

  • Elisandra O

    Dr. Seckin is an amazing Doctor he is very compassionate, caring and he will be honest with you. He's been my doctor for 19yrs and I am so grateful to have someone taking care of me that knows what he is doing and knows the best way to treat each and every situation. I would definitely recommend him and his…