Dianna’s story: The Importance of Excision

By 2004, Dianna knew that something wasn’t right. She was in her 30’s and her period pain was getting worse and worse. Around the time of her period, she wouldn’t even be able to sit at her desk at work because her pain was so severe. She would have to take 5 naproxen a day and lie on the ground by her desk just to be able to cope with the horrific pain. Her gynecologist tried to give her herbal supplements to help with her period pain, but they did not work. Dianna realized that her issues were above her gynecologist’s skill set.

In 2010, she found a reproductive endocrinologist who thought her symptoms merited a laparoscopy to see what exactly was going on inside of Dianna’s pelvis. He found endometriosis throughout her pelvis, including on her rectum and bladder. He used the ablation technique to try and remove Dianna’s endometriosis. He also found fibroids. He urged Dianna to go on the birth control pill to help treat the disease.

13 months later, Dianna felt the pain from the disease creeping back into her life. By 2013, the pain was again interfering with her quality of life. The reproductive endocrinologist put her on Lupron for 5 months to help treat the disease. It did not help her. He gave her another ablation surgery. He told her upon waking that all of the endometriosis had grown back. That surgery gave Dianna some relief, but only for another year.

Almost a year from her surgery, Dianna was feeling severe pain yet again. She had bad bowel symptoms, including diarrhea. Naproxen didn’t touch her period pain and she found herself having to take oxycodiene to get through her work day. Intercourse was extremely painful.  She went back to her reproductive endocrinologist who confirmed that her endometriosis was back. For a few months she continued taking oxycodiene to be able to function.

Like many patients who have had multiple surgeries with no relief, Dianna was extremely frustrated and disheartened by her disease. She didn’t understand why she continued needing repeat surgeries and why the surgeries only gave her so much relief. She came upon an endometriosis advocate and patient of Dr. Seckin’s who told her about excision surgery. Dianna learned the difference between ablation and excision and why the benefits of endometriosis excision are so much greater. During ablation, endometriosis is burned from inside the pelvis, often only treating the top layer of disease. When the doctor leaves the roots of the disease behind, true surgical relief is not granted. Also, due to the nature of ablation, tissues surrounding the ablated areas are often burned making it easier to miss superficial disease. Left disease causes continued pain. Finally, most doctors are not able to visualize all of the disease and focus only on obvious disease as well as disease of the reproductive areas, leaving behind painful bladder, rectal, and peritoneal disease. Unfortunately, the majority of gynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists treat endometriosis with ablation.

These explanations made so much sense to Dianna. Her reproductive endocrinologist didn’t believe in excision surgery. She made an appointment with Dr. Seckin right away and felt that he truly understood the nature of the disease. He understood her pain and gave her hope. She put her health in his hands and had endometriosis excision surgery with him. Dr. Seckin meticulously cut the disease out of Dianna during an extensive surgery that lasted hours. He also removed 10 large fibroids from her uterus.

Dianna is feeling great since her surgery with Dr. Seckin. She is upset though that she could have had endometriosis excision surgery 10 years ago during the onset of her severely painful periods. Although her ablation laparoscopies gave her a little relief, she wishes she would have had surgery with an expert sooner. She regrets all the years of taking hormones and being in endless agony.  She now is an advocate for other patients and stresses the importance of going to an endometriosis excision surgeon first to get to the root of the disease.  Although there is no cure for endometriosis, she feels that anything that can improve her quality of life with this disease is crucial.

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