This week’s ENDOSTRONG patient Michele will be 47 next month. She has spent the last 30 years fighting endometriosis. Her determination and perseverance throughout her battle with endometriosis are truly inspiring.
Journey to diagnosis
Like so many women, Michele had quite a long journey before finding an endometriosis specialist.
Michele got her period at the young age of 12. At age 16, her period had become very painful. By age 25, Michele had endured three emergency surgeries performed by her gynecologist to remove large endometriosis-related cysts that kept forming and causing tremendous pain. By this time, Michele was also married and she and her husband had tried conceiving only to suffer multiple miscarriages. They were obviously very sad by their losses and the amount of pain Michele was living in daily, with no relief in sight. Her gynecologist could only offer her a hysterectomy. Michele was determined to find another solution.
After a lot of research, Michele found an expert endometriosis surgeon named Dr. Redwine who was practicing out of Oregon. Michele was ready to fly out for a consult. Instead, Dr. Redwine recommended Dr. Reich, a surgeon in her area. Michele was amazed and relieved to meet Dr. Reich. Finally, she found a doctor who understood this terrible disease. After a six-hour surgery, Dr. Reich was able to remove much of Michele’s endometriosis, which had spread throughout her entire abdomen.
Motherhood and endometriosis
After Michele’s surgery, she and her husband were incredibly grateful to be able to conceive their two children. After the birth of her youngest child, Michele started having endometriosis pain again. By the time her youngest child was 4, Michele’s pain was so bad there were many times she couldn’t take care of her children. She recalls having her child’s friend over for a play date when her period arrived with no warning. The pain was so bad she had to call a neighbor to take her child’s friend back home. Almost 10 years after her surgery with Dr. Reich, she knew her endometriosis was back with a vengeance and she needed help to get her life back, which was again limited by her disease.
Finding hope again
Michele needed another surgeon since her last surgeon was not working in NY anymore. Again, through extensive research she found Dr. Seckin and knew at their first meeting that he was the doctor to help her. She felt he was so passionate about helping women with this disease and incredibly knowledgeable. He became her “knight and shining armor!”
Dr. Seckin operated on Michele quite a few years ago and she is still living, for the most part, pain-free. She credits Dr. Seckin for giving her life back. Unlike her gynecologist, he was also able to give her another option besides a hysterectomy. She is welcoming menopause and hopes that she will not need another endometriosis surgery in the future.
Endometriosis and pregnancy loss are very difficult to handle not only physically, but emotionally. Michele attributes her mental wellness during the most difficult times to determination, a fighting spirit, and going to see a therapist when times were especially painful. She says the secret to the longevity of her marriage is having open communication and the ability to be best friends.
Advice for other patients
“Find the best doctor you can! Surgery is the only thing that truly gave me relief.”
Michele’s story is an inspiring one! Her self-advocacy and determination are only two of the many things that make Michele ENDOSTRONG! Her hope is that in sharing her story she can help other endometriosis patients out there feel less alone and more empowered!
This week’s ENDOSTRONG patient