Bridging The Gap To Stephanie’s Fertility
4 July 2020 – Patient Stories
“I had heard about RAD for years. I just never viewed it as a place that dealt with endometriosis symptoms. I had a lot of friends at church that struggled with infertility. Every single one of them went to RAD and every single one of them became pregnant.”
Endometriosis Patient & Career Pianist
Stephanie encourages others battling endometriosis to consider RAD’s Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center whether they are pursuing fertility now or in the future.
Music’s Role in Coping With Pain
As a young teenager, Stephanie would play piano for hours at a time, while simultaneously battling several health conditions and chronic pelvic pain. Music served as her therapy; an escape from long, painful cycles that increased in intensity. As Stephanie searched her memory for the exact moment when she realized that her body was betraying her, she shared,
“I think the first time I realized that something wasn’t right, was when I was with a friend at the store who was trying to get pregnant. She bought ovulation strips and I was like, ‘Oh, what are those?’ And she said, ‘This is how I can know when I’m ovulating.’ I said, ‘You don’t feel pain when you ovulate? You need a test? They have those?’ And she said, ‘Yeah nobody does.’ And I was like, ‘I do! I always know when I’m ovulating.’”
In an attempt to address the deep, burning pain, Stephanie sought help from a traditional OB-GYN and informed her about the trauma that was wreaking havoc on her body. Instead of seeking the potential cause of her debilitating discomfort, Stephanie’s doctor presented her with a NuvaRing and sent her on her way — never mentioning endometriosis.
“It [NuvaRing] didn’t help at all. There was no helping with something that simple.”
Seeing Different Specialists Became The Same Song On Replay
Seeking treatment for her ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and anemia only made the discovery of her endometriosis more difficult due to pelvic pain being associated with these other severe conditions. After years of coping, Stephanie, now in her 20s, decided to take matters into her own hands and do some research. She quickly discovered the term endometriosis accompanied by a laundry list of symptoms of which she was a match.
“It wasn’t hard for me to find it and as soon as I read the first thing on the Internet, I was like, ‘Oh! This is me — this is real.’”
When asked how she first heard about RADfertility and the Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center, Stephanie stated,
“I had heard about RAD for years. I just never viewed it as a place that dealt with endometriosis symptoms. I had a lot of friends at church that struggled with infertility. Every single one of them went to RAD, and every single one of them got pregnant. I only viewed RAD from the infertility perspective and thought, ‘Well, if endometriosis gets in the way of me and my husband having kids someday, I’ll go there at that time.’
Then a friend of mine told me about RAD’s Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center. And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And she said, ‘They treat pelvic pain outside of pregnancy!’ I booked an appointment that night.”
The Beginning of a Whole New Tempo
When she entered RAD’s Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center, Stephanie did not know how productive and hospitable her visit was going to be. Her first appointment consisted of a physical exam, and blood work to obtain a baseline for combatting her symptoms. Rhonda Wright, PA-C and Clinician Director, welcomed her with open arms, listened to her concerns, and evaluated her health as an introductory analysis for Dr. Barbara McGuirk. During that appointment, Stephanie explained to Rhonda what her lifestyle looked like.
“I was aiming for the best possible health through diet, exercise, and medication, but it wasn’t working for endometriosis.”
After conveying her thoughts and concerns to Rhonda, Stephanie received immense encouragement and a plan forward. Rhonda recommended the Whole 30 diet and diagnostic testing, alongside appointments with Dr. McGuirk for treatment options and preservation of fertility.
Within two months of her first appointment, Stephanie had her very first laparoscopic surgery to diagnose and treat her endometriosis at the source. When asked what the hardest part of the journey to remission and fertility was, Stephanie described the recovery from surgery.
“The challenge physically for me after surgery was the dysfunctional bleeding. For the first six months after surgery it was an issue, but RAD worked really hard with me through it. I went on Whole 30, different suppression medicines, and eventually, it was managed. I think the hardest part was when I started trying to have a baby. I always wondered if the length of time it took me to manage that post-surgery was going to be a showstopper for me. In the end, it didn’t end up being a showstopper which was wonderful.”
A Dream Score Made Reality
After her endometriosis surgery, diet modification, hormone suppression, and successful intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment, Stephanie and Turner became parents to baby Alex, a beautiful, smiley ray of sunshine. “Even as severe as my situation was, I didn’t end up needing in vitro fertilization (IVF). The lower tech treatment option was successful. I found hope in this for myself and others battling endometriosis.”
“I have a beautiful little girl that we’re just enjoying every day with. I do still struggle with some endometriosis symptoms because there’s no cure yet. But I know that I have the best possible situation and life is awesome.”
Wanting to convey the importance of fertility preservation, the excision of pain, and bridging the gap to fertility specifically for endo patients, Stephanie closed with the following statement,
“I tell people that RAD’s Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center is the only place they should look if they are struggling with endometriosis. It’s a place that treats women with endometriosis whether they are pursuing fertility now or in the future. Other laparoscopic surgeons need to learn what Dr. McGuirk is doing because that should be the true standard of care.”
*Stephanie and Turner welcomed their 2nd daughter, Elsie, in December 2019.
Stephanie at her diagnostic appointment at RAD’s Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center
Stephanie & Turner getting the phone call from RAD they they were pregnant with their first child
Celebrating Easter 2020 together as a family of four – Turner, Stephanie, Alex & Elsie
"I have had pain for so long, finally finding Dr. McGuirk was honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me. She is so so smart and so kind. I knew I was in the right hands the second I met her. I actually get emotional thinking about it! She was the first doctor to take me seriously. She took away my pain and has given me better chances of becoming a mom. I can’t recommend this clinic enough, they truly care so much about their patients!"
"After a friend recommended, I saw Dr. McGuirk in April of 2019. On my first visit after explaining my symptoms I have had for over 20 years, Dr. McGuirk and I worked on a plan, she explained everything, offered reassurance that I was not crazy and she could help me. I had surgery in September and have enjoyed freedom from many unwanted symptoms since. I am so thankful for Dr. McGuirk and her team, especially Mari who was also a huge support for me throughout it all. Thank you all!"
"After becoming a patient, Dr. McGuirk performed a successful endo excision surgery and immediately started a treatment plan that restored my quality of life. I haven't felt this good in over 20 years! She really cares and is so passionate in helping those battling endo. She truly takes the time to explain everything to you and has such a great bedside manner. I've seen the pain in her eyes when she sees us suffering because she truly cares and wants to help us all. I feel amazing now and can actually enjoy life."
"Dr. McGuirk has been phenomenal. My daughter is 15 and underwent four surgeries and many other failed treatments for endometriosis within 2 years. As soon as my daughter was seen, Dr. McGuirk had a treatment plan and knew exactly what needed to be done. My daughter has been pain free since May and is living a teenage life again. Dr. McGuirk and her staff truly care about her patients and spend as much time as needed with you to explain and answer any questions. I can't thank Dr. McGuirk enough for giving my daughter back her quality of life."
"I don’t think I can express how much Dr. McGuirk changed my life. Before meeting Dr. McGurik, I had been living in chronic pain from endometriosis and after 4 surgeries nothing changed. My last doctor literally just gave me pain meds and sent me on my way. Not with McGuirk! Every appointment she takes time to thoroughly listen and understand what is going on. Through diet, surgery, and suppression I am now completely pain-free. I woke up from my surgery feeling completely different. She knows chronic pelvic pain and she is definitely someone you can trust."
"I suffered with my Endometriosis for many, many years - I am SO thankful for Dr. McGuirk and the wonderful staff at the Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center! She performed my laparoscopic excision surgery back in Nov. 2015, and that marks the day I got my life back! Dr. McGuirk and her staff are always quick to respond whenever I have any questions or concerns, and they're so professional and kind - it's obvious that they love what they do! I highly recommend them - they changed my life!"
"I have been a patient of Dr. McGuirk's since 2011. It's frustrating going from doctor to doctor to figure out what's wrong. I was fortunate to find Dr. McGuirk and she understood the constant pain I was going through. I was diagnosed with endometriosis. She has helped me to be come pain free and be able to get back to my life."
"Dr. McGuirk is an amazing doctor and I am so grateful that I found her to help me fight my battle with endometriosis. I have been to many doctors over the course of my treatment and I can confidently say that Dr. McGuirk is the one who gave me my life back!
Dr. McGuirk is a rare breed of doctor--capable of sitting with you even while you cry your eyes out discussing the struggles of life with endometriosis; capable of empathizing with you while rejecting the notion that a pain level of 4 is ‘not that bad’; capable of making you feel like she has all the time in the world to sit with you while you process; capable of delivering on her promise to help.
Dr. McGuirk saved my life and for this I am eternally grateful!"
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
MAP 2, Suite 3217
Newark, DE 19713
Eden Hill Medical Center
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Dover, DE 19904
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