Statistically speaking, every 1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis. With numbers like that, you’d think more would be known about the disease. Yeah, I kinda thought that too.
My name is Angelica Carson Bobbitt and my endo battle story starts in October 2011, when I was just 20 years old.
I was living with my fiance Chris, whom I had been in a relationship since we were 15, when I had my first symptoms. We live in Mount Carmel, IL and were both 20. It was an ordinary Sunday morning in October 2011 when I awoke to take a shower. I swung my legs over the side of the bed to stand and felt this horrible, stabbing pain in my left pelvic area.
I sank to the floor, doubled over in pain so hard to describe that even 3 years later it is still hard to describe.
It is a sharp pain, but it is also a nauseating, heaviness and electricity that would leave the manliest of men begging for mercy. Chris and I had a birthday party that we didn’t want to miss, but he said if I thought I needed to, we could go out to the emergency room. I said I could handle it and got ready.
I bathed bent over in the shower with one arm (the other clutching in vain at my left side) and went to the party. I was in pain the entire time and completely miserable. We came home, I curled up in bed and cried the rest of the night. I told myself that I needed to suck it up and continue working (at the time, I was working as an aide in an elementary school). I could only go a few days before the symptoms got to be too much to handle.
The pain was unimaginable, intercourse was unbearable and heartbreaking because I couldn’t be intimate with the man I was planning to call my husband, migraines that felt like my head had been split open with an axe, alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation…the list is a long one.
I decided I needed to seek help.
All In My Head?
I went a year and a half without a diagnosis, often told I was “attention-seeking” or that the pain was “all in my head.” I was even told by a condescending ER doctor, as he prodded my left ovary with a bony finger, that I was “just ovulating” and that I was “fine”.
Being on the pill, though, I wasn’t supposed to be ovulating. After getting the run-around in my hometown, I decided I needed to find a doctor in Evansville.
After finding a new GYN, I had an diagnostic laparoscopy and he confirmed that I did indeed have endometriosis on my abdominal wall. After giving me a run-down of what it was going to be like living with it, he started me on a 6 month round of everyone’s FAVORITE Category X drug…LUPRON! It is the worst medicine in the entire world and after being on it for 6 months, it damaged my organs extensively. And on top of tricking my body into thinking it was in full-blown menopause mode, I was done! I also had depression, anxiety, and had gained 40 pounds in those 6 months. I’d had enough.
After my GYN began being dismissive about my pain, I decided I needed someone who cared. I found an amazingly helpful group on Facebook called EndoMetropolis, where I was connected with the Center for Endometriosis Care. Dr. Sinervo called me and told me whenever I was ready that I could come to Atlanta for treatment. And so in April 2014, that’s what I did.
Finally, Some Answers
Never in my life have I met doctors and nurses so compassionate!
They knew I wasn’t crazy and they genuinely wanted me to be better. Dr. S is world-renowned for his work with endo and is a very busy man. I was floored when I was taken back to the OR and he held my hand until I went to sleep for surgery. When I awoke, he explained to me that in the year that I started Lupron, I had extensive disease on my pelvic and abdominal walls, bowels, ovaries and that my appendix was also diseased and had to come out. He also told me that he discovered that on top on endo, I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and that my new husband and I would most likely not be able to conceive on our own.
I am still living with endo. In some difficult cases, it never totally goes away. I have faith that one day it will. I have an amazing husband who is so supportive and a team of cheerleaders on my side. Chris and I don’t have any children, but I hope one day that we will.
Endometriosis is scary, demanding, and unforgiving. It will break you down physically, emotionally, and mentally. There will be days where you could just disappear and not care if you ever came back. I’ve been there, as have many others. But we have to be strong.
Until the disease has a cure, we have no choice.
Are you battling endometriosis?
Please consider sharing your Endo Battle Story. The more you share, the more awareness we raise, the more quickly the next woman can potentially find a diagnosis and finally realize it IS NOT all in her head. Fill out the short form below. We will be in touch shortly after.