Endo Strong Patient of the Week: Sara Fitzpatrick
Sara says she didn’t know what “normal” felt like until she came out of surgery with Dr. Seckin. She got her period when she was 12 and thought her bad periods were “normal.” Now looking back, she knows her definition of “normal” was absurd. This is her endo strong story.
Symptoms getting worse
Sara’s endometriosis symptoms developed over time. First, they materialized as uncomfortable periods. Then, like many other patients, she started getting urinary tract infections and having issues with her stomach. She learned to toughen up and get past the pain and discomfort. Her family never acknowledged that she was struggling with any health issues. They just didn’t talk about it.
But by the time Sara was in her early 20s, her periods got so bad that she couldn’t move when she had them. Her mom had a hysterectomy at a young age, and Sara assumes it was probably due to endometriosis. Sara, who was raised by her father, dealt with all of her “feminine issues” on her own. She eventually went to Planned Parenthood to seek out help for her terrible periods. The doctor at Planned Parenthood told her to start taking more Advil.
By the time Sara was 29, she was in severe pain. She tried going out one night during her period to a friend’s bachelorette party and almost passed out from the pain in the bathroom. Her friends warned her that she was looking pale and very sick. Doctors finally figured out Sara had a large cyst on her right ovary. A two to three-hour surgery to remove the cysts also showed that Sara had severe endometriosis. After her first surgery, she was in even more pain. She went back to the doctor who did her surgery and he suggested putting her on Lurpon. Sara, who doesn’t respond well to hormones, refused, looking for other options. The doctor’s only response was:
“Well, I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Finding Dr. Seckin
Sara did extensive research to find better answers to help treat her endometriosis. She came across Dr. Seckin in October 2009 and went to him for a second opinion. After a series of tests, Dr. Seckin confirmed that Sara did have more endometriosis in her pelvis and they set up a date for surgery. Dr. Seckin found endometriosis throughout her pelvic cavity. Sara started to feel so much better after her initial recovery.
In October 2011, two years after her surgery with Dr. Seckin, Sara started having issues with her digestive system. She started losing weight and had no appetite. She went back to Dr. Seckin and had another round of tests. The endometriosis had invaded her bowels and Dr. Seckin immediately set up a team of doctors to operate on her. They removed 9″ of her lower intestine, which was riddled with the disease.
Recovering from a bowel resection takes time. But, after two to three months, she felt like she had 85% of her strength back and continued to feel better every day after that.
A word of advice from an endo strong patient
Sara encourages women who have had a bowel resection to eat whatever their body is craving, within reason of course! Sara ate a lot of frozen yogurt post-op. She stayed away from eating greens and only ate soft foods until she felt her body healed. Once she was back on her feet, Sara started doing acupuncture and pilates, two things that she feels helped treat her endometriosis symptoms and strengthen her core.
Since her surgery, Sara feels that she has more energy and is grateful she is not debilitated anymore. She has even started her own company! She stresses that it is so important to allow yourself to lean on people and ask for and accept support. Sara feels strongly that endometriosis cannot be ignored. Had Dr. Seckin not intervened, Sara’s intestines would have ruptured within six weeks and she could have died. Sarah has learned that endometriosis patients have to address their disease head-on for the greater good of their health.
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