Latia's story: Excision surgery brings hope, after 20 years of suffering

Latia's story: Excision surgery brings hope, after 20 years of suffering

My name is Latia Lee. I am 37 years old and have suffered with “Killer Cramps” since I was 14. I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis in February of this year during my excision surgery with the amazing Dr. Tamer Seckin. I honestly thought my, “Killer Cramps” were normal. I had somehow learned to cope and push through the horrific pain I had been experiencing for over 23 years.

Post Excision Periods Bring Hope For A New Life: Latia's StoryGrowing up, I constantly would tell my OB/GYN that I suffered with severe menstrual cramps. I was put on birth control as well as other medications, though, nothing seemed to help. When I started developing new symptoms, such as severe back pain, I was told that it was due to the position of my uterus. Not once did my OB/GYN mention endometriosis to me. I eventually stopped asking because she wasn’t listening to me. I now realize that missing school, work, and important social events due to my menstrual cycle, as well as planning vacations around my menstrual cycle, WAS NOT NORMAL. Neither was taking 1200mg of Advil and 1000mg of Tylenol all at once to cope with my painful cramps, which often wouldn’t even help.

I began suspecting that I had endometriosis when I started to have right lung collapses during my menstrual cycle. In between collapses, I would have severe neck, chest and shoulder pain, migraines, and “Killer Cramps”. I began to research these symptoms and it pointed to diaphragmatic endometriosis and catamenial pneumothorax. While it is rare, women with catamenial pneumothorax have recurrent episodes of pneumothorax within 72 hours before or after the start of menstruation. My pulmonologist also mentioned that it could be endometriosis and advised me to seek a new OB/GYN.

My gut told me that not only did I have pelvic endometriosis, but I also had diaphragmatic endometriosis and catamenial pneumothorax. I knew I had to find an endometriosis specialist. Before selecting Dr. Seckin, I had thoroughly researched his work and admired how much he contributed to the endometriosis community. I joined multiple endometriosis support groups and talked to other patients of his. They all said the same thing, “He changed my life!”

I vividly reminder the day I first met Dr. Seckin. I had so many emotions, such as fear, anxiety, and nervousness. But for the first time, I had a sense of hope. First the first time in years, someone really took the time to listen to me. I wasn’t dismissed as I have been in the past. He believed me and wanted to help me.

On the day of my surgery, my nerves really kicked in and I became overwhelmed. The surgery included 5 surgeons, including the 4 specialists, and ended up being 7 hours long. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis with deep infiltrating endo. The thoracic surgeon performed a talc pleurodesis and assisted Dr. Seckin as he removed endometrial implants on the central dome of my diaphragm, while repairing holes within it. Endometriosis was also found on my liver. I needed to have my bowel resected and my appendix removed. Temporary bilateral ureteral stents were placed in my ureters so that Dr. Seckin could work on fixing my ureters, which were covered in Endometriosis. Dr. Seckin also removed a large fibroid and excised endometriosis throughout my entire pelvis.

When I read all four of my operative reports, I was shocked. Endometriosis impacted almost all of my vital organs and a total of 16 procedures were done in the operating room that day. During my first menstrual cycle after my excision surgery, I began to feel excruciating pain on my right side, impacting my thigh, hip, buttocks, rectal, and lower back pain. These were new symptoms that I hadn’t previously experienced. Dr. Seckin was genuinely concerned and wanted me well.   He was always available via phone, text, email, weekends, evening and nights to speak to me. A follow up MRI showed an endometrioma that had not been previously visible before my last extensive and complicated surgery. Dr. Seckin made a decision to reoperate. He removed a pelvic mass about the size of an egg that was so deep; it had invaded my pelvic floor muscles. The mass was located along the pudendal nerve which explained the debilitating sciatica pain that I was experiencing. When I woke up in recovery, amazingly, the horrible, stabbing sciatic pain was gone.

Recovery from these two major surgeries, that happened so close to one another, was difficult. At one point it felt as though I would never get better. Eventually though, I turned the corner. Dr. Seckin gave me my life back. I've already had two post-surgical menstrual cycles and for the first time in 23 years, I no longer experience “Killer Cramps”. The migraines that I suffered with for years are gone. My stomach no longer feels bloated and gassy all of the time and I don’t suffer from severe abdominal pain.   I also no longer experience the horrible symptoms of diaphragmatic endometriosis and have not had any more lung collapses. I can finally breathe so much easier. I love to sing and no longer have breathlessness, heaviness and tightness in my chest. For the first time, I am hopeful that one day I will be able to have a baby. I am so blessed that Dr. Seckin was able to preserve my reproductive organs and has now given me the chance to be a Mother.

I want to thank Dr. Seckin for his desire and passion for endometriosis research and educating other medical professionals about endometriosis. I thank him for bringing awareness to this horrific and debilitating disease. I also thank him for giving so many women their lives back, myself included. We need more physicians like Dr. Seckin who want to perfect the craft of excision, the gold standard treatment for endometriosis. I feel so blessed to have been treated by one of the best endometriosis excision specialists in the world. I pray that one day every woman suffering from this debilitating disease will be able to get the proper treatment that she deserves and needs.

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

  • Rena Ebrahim

  • 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!