The Gains of an Endo Athlete
25 October 2018 – Patient Stories
The Pain Was A Heavy Weight To Bear
Brandi, a previous high school gymnast, cheerleader, weight lifter, and mother of one, spent her entire academic and professional career in unmanageable pelvic pain. Severely anemic and a victim of both ovarian cysts and fibroids during her high school years, the doctors were at a loss as to what to do for her. Brandi’s obstetrician (OB) began treating her for the anemia and ovarian cysts in 1999, however, she wanted to dig a little deeper. She performed the first of Brandi’s 15 laparoscopic surgeries, and determined that she, in fact, suffered from endometriosis.
Although this was something that she was told not to worry about, Brandi knew that something wasn’t right as the pain began to intensify, causing numerous missed school days, and the need to be excused in order to change her clothes due to excessive bleeding.
Between the years 1999 and 2006, she was shuffled to and from various specialists [allergists, proctologists, endocrinologists] who diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome, potential Crohn’s disease, colitis, and gastritis. At one point, they wanted her to seek psychiatric help.
“They wanted me to see a counselor, because they thought it was stress. They thought I was starving myself.”
The Doctors Maintained Repetitions of Ignorance
After receiving this devastating news, Brandi was referred to another OB who was also a pain specialist — this physician had the reputation of dispensing heavy medications to combat pain instead of addressing the condition itself. This methodology of treatment did not coincide with her convictions based on the personal experience of suicide impacting her intimate family nucleus.
“I was very against going on any type of pain management to mask the disease, because that’s what it was — masking it.”
At the end of her rope, Brandi attempted to make an appointment with this new specialist, but he refused to see her because her condition was, “all in your head.” It was during this time, that what was left of her health began to wither away.
After several additional surgeries, nearly losing her house because of medical bills that the insurance company would not cover, and doing her best to cope with endo, she sought both guidance and sanity from women like herself by joining an online endometriosis forum. Through this forum, she met Tara Hilton, Founder of The Yellow Cape — a non-profit, endometriosis outreach organization. Tara told her, “You need to contact RAD,” and so she did.
The Duration Of Medical Failures Was Finally Over
Her first consultation with Dr. McGuirk was a radical shift in the normalcy that she had become accustomed to for 20+ years. Due to the lack of professionalism, genuine care, and authentic concern from the medical community up until that point, Brandi was unsure if she could trust Dr. McGuirk’s word that she could help set her feet on the path toward a better, pain-free life.
Because of the extensive internal organ damage that the invasive endometriosis had inflicted on her body, Dr. McGuirk collaborated with a team of oncology specialists in order to strategically target the culprit and assist in bringing about remission.
“We did the Whole 30 and she understood that certain things for certain people work, but for others, they don’t. I found taking all of the hormones out of the meat and the food, helped with my symptoms — the hormones in the food were causing the flares.”
Regaining Her Power
“Keep your medical records. Keep your medical records with you. They can’t say that nothing is wrong when it’s in print. Don’t give up with insurance companies. I actually fought my insurance company tooth and nail — this opened the door for the insurance company to give me a personal liaison, because of the seriousness of the disease. Women are taking their lives in the endo community, because they feel that there is no other way [out]. There are resources out there to help.”
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
Medical Arts Pavillion 2, Suite 3217
Newark, DE 19713
Eden Hill Medical Center
200 Banning Street, Suite #240
Dover, DE 19904
© 2018 Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center - A Division of Reproductive Associates of Delaware