Too many people ignore the signs

by Cam B
(Jacksonville, FL)

Another sufferer not having her symptoms taken seriously ...

I started my period at age 13, with no usual problems. I was lucky, I had no cramping, minimal bleeding, and my cycle was 35 days on the dot. But a few months after my 14th birthday I woke up at noon and I felt like I was dying. I had heard of appendicitis and that's what I thought it was until I started bleeding, which according to my father, was normal to have cramping.

I had never had much cramping, so I pushed it to the back of my mind and bought a heating pad and ibuprophen, although the pills never helped. I moved to a different state to live with my mom a year later, with the same problems, only with worse cramps.

I quit the swim team and was missing school because my cramps were so bad. My mom was getting mad because I was missing school. Days became weeks and my grades were plummeting. No one would believe me when I said this couldn't be normal, not until my periods went from every 35 days to every 2 weeks and lasting for 2 weeks.

My cycle would go for about 14-17 days, be clean for 2-3 weeks, then another 14-17 days. My mom took me to my doctor, who put me on 3 types of birth control pills for 8 months. When those didn't work, and ultimately made the problem worse, my mother took me to a gynaecologist, who gave me a CT scan.

When they couldn't find anything, my gynaecologist thought I was lying to him for attention, and "diagnosed" me with dysmennorhea, and gave me more birth control pills that didn't work.

It wasn't until I went to a few more doctors that I found one who actually put a name to what I had- Endometriosis. He said that it could only be diagnosed with a laparoscopy, and couldn't be seen through my previous ct scans.

After a painful bowel prep and my surgery (done yesterday, June 28, 2013) my doctor officially confirmed I had stage 2 Endometriosis. I am recovering as I type this and just want people to be aware of this (disease?) thing.

My mother sent letters to the doctors who had ignored my pleas for help and I am hopeful I will be able to join the swim team again.

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