The never-ending period
When Dana first got her period at age 14, it wasn’t too bad. But by the time she was in her early 20s, she would have terrible periods and would bleed heavily for 11 to 14 days. She felt like her period would never end. The school nurse would just give her some naproxen and she was told by many that some people just have bad cycles and that it is part of being a woman. This is her Endo Strong story.
Pregnancy and loss
When Dana and her husband started trying to conceive, they couldn’t have imagined the beauty and heartache that were in store for them. Although they have three healthy daughters, Dana also suffered four miscarriages.
As Dana got older, her period pain started getting worse and worse. With passing time, Dana developed excruciating sciatic pain during menstruation. As a teacher, being on her feet all day, Dana found this pain especially difficult to manage. The pain was so bad she would spend many days driving home from work, screaming in agony in her car.
Dana’s sciatic pain became so bad that she went to a neurologist to try to figure out what was wrong with her. The neurologist told her it was most likely arthritis. She went back to her doctor one day in excruciating pain, hysterically crying, begging him to help her with her pain. The doctor told her he couldn’t help her, that the arthritis she had was not one that progressed and could not be that bad and that the pain seemed to coincide with her cycle.
Doing her own research
Dana did her own research on endometriosis and sciatic pain. She read that if left untreated, endometriosis on a patient’s sciatic nerve can cause permanent damage leading to a dropped foot or even worse outcomes. She pictured herself having trouble dancing at her daughters’ weddings and felt devastated. Dana explained all of these findings to the doctor and he said:
“Well, there are no studies to prove that.”
“It just means nobody has studied it yet.”
At this point, Dana was having to take oxycodone for the pain and was missing school. She also suffered from migraines. The pill, Lupron, morena, and the NuvaRing were the solutions multiple gynecologists came up with. After even further research Dana looked for answers elsewhere.
Off to New York City
Dana knew she needed help but felt no one near her home in Rhode Island could help her. She found Dr. Seckin’s website online and emailed his office for information about sciatic pain and endometriosis. Through that email, she connected with Dr. Seckin.
Dana’s surgery with Dr. Seckin was extensive. Her ovary has been attached to her bladder. Her uterus had been devastated by adenomyosis and had to be removed. It took some time for Dana to recover but she is now back to yoga class and bike riding again.
A family affair
Dana is proof that there is merit to the theory that there is a genetic component to endometriosis.
Based on her mom’s symptoms, Dana believes her mom most likely suffered from the disease, although never officially diagnosed.
Dana also has a sister who suffers from the disease and another sister who she suspects has it but has not been diagnosed.
As a mom to 3 daughters, Dana is committed to speaking out about the disease and hopes that sharing her own story will help other women.
She would never want her daughters to suffer from this disease for as long as she did. Dana feels it is so important to not fade into the background when it comes to managing your healthcare. She encourages patients to push their doctors for the medical procedures and medications they need. She also feels it is important for women to know that painful periods are not normal.