Tracy Pennea: I’m Tracy Pennea and I was diagnosed with endometriosis in March, 2010. My life includes taking care of the horses, bringing them in, turning them out, bringing up all the hay and the tractor and lifting up the big bales of hay. You get 40 to 50 pound bags of grain that we always have to lift on our shoulders and carry around ourselves. It’s a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of heavy physical stuff.
It was about 1996 when I realized I had some cysts on the ovaries and it became pretty painful with the periods. But I thought that was normal. I thought everyone was supposed to feel the pain.
I met Dr. Seckin… actually my brother, his best friend is Dr. Shane Dawson, who also works surgery with Dr. Seckin, so he told me that the best endometriosis specialist he knew was Dr. Seckin. I made an appointment and was able to see him right away.
I was able to see my doctor and she prescribed birth control pills, which of course then shrunk the swelling and everything seemed fine. Then, I think about 2007, it came back real ugly. The cysts grew back, I had stopped taking the pill, didn’t want to be on that anymore and it got to the point where I could not walk without holding onto something. I would hold a door knob or a wall. The pain was so severe that I would basically curl over. Fortunately it never happened while I was driving because if it did, I don’t know what would have happened. But those periods of just complete anguish and pain would last 30 seconds, it seemed like a minute. And then they would pass. I was living on two Advil, four Advil a day when the pain was really, really bad and I’d just continue with my life thinking that this was totally normal. I had no idea how bad it was. This went on from 2007 until just this year, 2010 when it got so severe I couldn’t get out of bed. For a woman who stacks hay for a living, rides horses for a living, I was completely down for the count. I couldn’t get out of bed – 24 hours in bed. I didn’t know what was going on.
I went to my gynecologist to see what we could do. I was definitely taking at least two to four Advil at the beginning of every period. She decided we would do what is called a cryoablation, which is freezing of the uterus, which was supposed to then end my periods, which would have been all well and good if I didn’t already have cysts on my ovaries. That wasn’t going to have anything to do with the other. I had a full hysterectomy.
Dr. Seckin: We wish we did not have to do a hysterectomy. If it was some 15 years ago probably we could have prevented this.
Tracy Pennea: I’ve had no pain since. Going from the level of pain, you know, the one to ten scale, I was at 10. There were times when I almost passed out to now I don’t even have to take an Advil. I don’t take over-the-counter meds or anything. And this is two weeks after surgery. So, I’m really psyched and I can’t wait to get back on the horses.
The relief that I felt, knowing that he could take care of me, and help me, he’s just a man you put all your trust in and all your faith in. I just felt so good going and seeing him and knowing that within a couple of weeks the pain would be gone. It was amazing. And it’s gone. It’s really good. Two weeks later and I’m like back at the barn. I’m not lifting hay; I didn’t do it, Dr. Seckin! Overall, it’s been very good.
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