Vanessa’s Story

I cannot thank Dr. Seckin enough for what he has done for me. My first menstrual cycle began at age 13. Two years before that, I developed GI issues that were diagnosed as IBS. Also presenting were chronic fatigue, and several other issues. I remember the night I got my first cycle. I was doubled over in pain on the toilet and screaming. My mom came in to help me get in the bathtub to soak. It took one Advil and an hour for the pain to subside. Month after month I would go through hell; pain during ovulation, severe menstrual pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, GI issues, worsening of IBS and chronic fatigue. I missed a lot of school as a result of these issues. My first gynecologist, a female, told me there was nothing wrong. It was normal to feel pain. I fell into the trap of believing that and I continued to live with diminished quality of life. An ultrasound showed that I had small ovarian cysts, but she told me they didn’t cause pain.

I mentioned the possibility of endometriosis, but she told me that I was reading too much and that only women who were 30-years-old got the disease. I was put on Ortho-Tricyclen at age 17, but mid-cycle, I had horrible pain, and migraines. I gave up and just continued to swallow Naproxen to function. As things got worse, I decided to see another gynecologist. His ultrasound also confirmed I had small cysts, but insisted they caused no pain. I again mentioned the possibility of endometriosis, and he stated that it could be possible, but highly unlikely. He told me to try Lupron and if it worked, it was endo. Also, he stated that the insurance companies would not pay for a laparoscopy if I didn’t take Lupron first. I disliked the idea of going into temporary menopause, and the list of potential side effects resulting from that, so I refused. I was at a dead end again. I was in college and struggling during and before my menstrual cycle. My college life consisted of vomiting, loss of appetite, doubling over, GI issues, constipation, diarrhea, having to give up internships, and reworking my entire schedule around my period/ovulation. My acid reflux was becoming worse as I had to take more doses of naproxen in order to continue to function. But, at this point, naproxen wasn’t even getting the job done anymore.

I really don’t know how I managed to excel in my academic studies. I continued to press on. I went to see another gynecologist after coming across an article in a magazine about endometriosis and the IBS connection. Everything I read made sense.  I somehow knew that this is what I had. After a long consultation, the gynecologist told me that it was possible that I had endo, but he wasn’t sure. He wanted me to try birth control again. So I went on Seasonique. For a short period, I was alright, but then systemic breakdown began. I got migraines from the pill, then pain in the pelvic region, my stomach issues got even worse. I was switched to Lo-Seasonique, but it did not help. My acid reflux was so severe, my immune system tanked, and I contracted a Staph infection. I quit the pill and had to rely on ice packs when ovulation and my cycle hit. I could not take any more anti-inflammatories or painkillers because of my GI issues.  I was living on baby food, pastina, and nutritional drinks. Little did I know, they were contributing to my stomach feeling worse. I decided to take matters into my own hands and thoroughly research endometriosis. I wasn’t going back to this gynecologist because I felt he didn’t have much knowledge about diagnosing and treating endometriosis. I used my trusty laptop, Googled the disease, scoured message boards, and Facebook groups for information and advice.

Miraculously, I came across an article about Padma Lakshmi’s struggle with endometriosis. She mentioned she was successfully diagnosed and treated by Dr. Seckin, who performed excision surgery. I found out that excision surgery was the gold standard in treating endometriosis. He was the specialist I needed to see. I called his office to make an appointment and they made me feel so comfortable. I was scared before my first consultation. What if Dr. Seckin did not find anything wrong with me? What if this was just normal? Dr. Seckin put me at ease my first time there. He had so much knowledge about endometriosis and the confidence beaming from him was passed onto me. He ordered a CA-125 test, which was never performed on me and an MRI which showed cysts, and some other things, including a septate/heart shaped uterus. Since I was having a lot of GI problems, which got worse during my cycle, he suggested I get a colonoscopy to make sure there were no other issues with my bowels. Since my gastroenterologist decided to wash his hands of my case, I asked for a recommendation from Dr. Seckin. I had my colonoscopy performed by his recommended Dr. and I have to say that that gastroenterologist was the most competent I have ever visited. My excision surgery was in October of 2009. I remember waking up afterwards and feeling less pain than before my surgery. Dr. Seckin held my hand after waking up and told me that he was proud of me for taking a stand. He was proud of my determination and insistence it was endometriosis.

It has been over a year and I’m still pain-free. I know what a normal period feels like. I just have normal discomfort that goes away quickly. My chronic fatigue no longer exists, my stomach has healed and my IBS doesn’t act up. I found out I had some food intolerances that made me very ill. Wheat, eggs, and dairy flare up my IBS, and of course, when the endo was present, IBS flares would occur during my cycle. My immune system has improved greatly since the surgery. I have to believe everything I have been through was connected. Women with endo have various immune system dysfunctions, food intolerances, allergies, chronic fatigue, and GI issues. If it weren’t for Dr.Seckin’s skill and expertise, I don’t know where I would be today. You are in good hands if you have surgery with him. His skill is A+, his knowledge of the disease is amazing and comprehensive, and his confidence will radiate to you. I look forward to attending his medical conference next year. I attended the first two, and I highly recommend going to them if you can! He is doing wonderful things through his foundation and I am so proud to call him my doctor. I plan to help out the foundation in some way, because it is very important awareness be brought to such a misunderstood and overlooked disease. Thank you Dr. Seckin for what you have done for me!


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