Nancy Randall has traveled the world to compete in beauty pageants.
She holds the sparkling crowns of Miss Rio de Janeiro 2003, Miss USA World 2004 and Miss New Orleans 2005. But perhaps the 38-year-old Brazil native and current Brooklyn, NY-resident’s biggest win to date came in late 2018 when she finally faced off with endometriosis after a 27-yearlong battle.
“I was in Brazil with my kids in August,” recalls Randall. “I ended up doubled over in severe pain. A pain that I'd never had. I had two natural childbirths; I’d gone through labor, [but] labor was not painful at all compared to this pain. And that was the wake-up call that I finally needed to actually figure out, ‘Okay, what is going on?’”
She’d soon have her answer.
Randall recalls first getting her period at age 11. What initially seemed normal eventually spiraled out of control. By 16 she had bled for two months. In her twenties, the periods became irregular, coming only every three months, but they were unbearable.
She ditched a brief stint on birth control at 23 after the pill made her gain 15 pounds and suffer mood swings. But life without the pill came with plenty more problems.
“I would have to take several Aleve in a day. And I remember I would be in the shower, just on the floor in the shower, for an hour.”
Doctors told her, “this is just the way it is,” so, Randall, then perusing her Master’s degree in Anthropology in Brazil, trudged along.
“I learned to just tolerate, basically. I learned to just accept pain.”
Even with undiagnosed endometriosis raging on inside, Randall racked up the crowns on the beauty pageant circuit. At the age of 30, she was shocked to learn she was pregnant with her son, now 7—and so, too were her doctors. Another shock? Her periods finally became normal, returning to a monthly cycle, and she eventually conceived her daughter, now 5, two years later.
But then came that fateful trip to Brazil in August 2018 where one particularly bad period landed her in the ER. Upon returning to New York, she visited Manhattan OB-GYN Dr. Adam Romoff. “He sent me to get a sonogram, and the sonogram showed that I had an ovarian cyst.” He soon encouraged her to book a consultation with Seckin Endometriosis Center.
What did Dr. Seckin say?
“He said, ‘If you were my daughter, I would operate on you, tomorrow.’”
When surgery day came in late November, Randall was in for a lengthy procedure.
“Dr. Seckin believed that the surgery would be about two and a half to three hours, and in fact, it was more like four and a half, five hours. And that's because my endometriosis was so much more advanced than he had thought it was.”
Seckin excised bilateral endometriomas and extensive rectovaginal endometriosis that adhered Randall’s rectum and uterus together.
How’s Randall feeling post-op?
“I feel so much better,” she shares.
“I'm still taking it easy in some ways, but I'm able to get back to life. That, for me, was really great to just be like, "Okay, I'm feeling pretty good.”
With surgery in her rearview mirror, Randall, who has appeared in ads for Garnier and Lincoln Motors is ready to get back to business.
“This year I had,” she adds, “God, I’m really ready for 2019.”
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