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Courtney’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Endometriosis)

Courtney's Story (Endo)My story starts during my senior year of high school. I was eighteen years old and halfway through the school year, ready to graduate, and go off to college. I had just been accepted into the college of my dreams with a plan to major in Forensic Science. I had been dating a wonderful guy for a few months, and he was so amazing. He was even talking about moving over a thousand miles from his home to follow me to college. As far as I was concerned, my life was perfect.

But that didn’t last. My perfect little life changed in one single night. I went to bed that night, and woke up the next morning a completely different person. I could tell as soon as I woke up, I knew something was wrong. It felt like I was being stabbed over and over. I pushed myself to get up and go to school.
I sat through classes all morning, gritting my teeth and trying not to pass out. Then around lunch time, I couldn’t take it anymore. I ended up in the restroom vomiting. I called my parents and had them check me out early and take me to the local emergency room. Little did I know, that was just the beginning of my hospital visits.

The next five months were nothing but pushing myself through school during the day and emergency room visits at night. Most of the doctors looked at me like I was crazy, and sent me on my way with diagnoses of a stomach virus, ruptured ovarian cysts, and even nothing at all. I was so lost and confused with no idea what was going on.

Finally, it came. My graduation day. It was extremely rough, but I made it through my senior year. Walking across that stage was a huge accomplishment, and I was so relieved.

After graduation, my family, and my boyfriend set off on our thousand mile road trip to our new home. It was a bumpy road trip, with me sick the whole time, and vehicle trouble, but our trips were never boring. This is when I got my first glimmer of hope about finding out what was wrong with me. Along our journey we stopped to visit family. While laying on my aunts’ couch, she looked at me and said “I know what’s wrong with you.” This really surprised me because no doctors knew what was wrong, so how could she? Little did I know, the next word that came out of her mouth would come to be my life, “ENDOMETRIOSIS.”

I had never heard of endometriosis before, so off to Google I went. I found that it was a gynecological issue, so when we got to our new home I made an appointment with a local OB/GYN. He was really reluctant to do surgery on me, and instead he tried to put me on a drug called Lupron. I did some research and just knew that Lupron wasn’t for me. I pushed and pushed until he agreed to do surgery. Two months later, I was waking up in recovery with a diagnosis of endometriosis. My new life had begun.

I went back to that OB/GYN for a follow up. He gave me two options: medical menopause or a complete hysterectomy. At eighteen years of age, I couldn’t imagine agreeing to either of those options. In sheer desperation I typed “endometriosis” into the search bar on Facebook, and the first result was the Endometriosis Research Center. I spent the next few months reading other peoples stories, talking with doctors who dedicated their lives to endometriosis, and learning as much as I could about endometriosis. I learned that my doctor was leading me down the wrong path, and that there was a better way. I learned that there are a small number of doctors who remove the disease, not organs, and that their success is far higher than normal OB/GYNs! That day I made two promises to myself; I would NEVER settle for under skilled doctors again, and I would do whatever I could to help other women with this monster disease.

It is now almost three years since I met this monster, and I’ve come a long way. I had to transfer out of the college of my dreams and into a small community college because of my health. The good thing is that the transfer led me to realize that my true calling is to become a nurse. I also had a second surgery about a year ago with a doctor who was supposed to be an “expert,” but seems to have lost his passion for the disease. Unfortunately, it was not a successful surgery, and I am now planning my third surgery. This time I will be traveling eight hours from home to have surgery with one of the best endometriosis surgeons in the world. I’m thrilled!

I have also joined the Endometriosis Research Center, a large non-profit organization dedicated to making advancements in the endometriosis world. I have been honored with the opportunity to run one of the ERC’s programs called “Girl Talk.” This program provides support and education for young women with endometriosis. I advocate day in and day out to get more awareness, better education, and higher standards of care for endometriosis. I take pride in helping young women get the best care so that they can make it through school, into careers, and healthy relationships. I have a couple awareness projects in the works, and run a support group. My life truly revolves around endometriosis. While I suffer from pain, nausea, and the limitations that come with a chronic pain disease, I wouldn’t change it one bit. Helping others makes this disease bearable. I plan to be an advocate for endometriosis for the rest of my life.

Courtney
Missouri
Submitted 6-2-2013

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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