This isn’t a typical blog post I would share here, as this is my business website. But with the roller coaster I have been dealing with over the past year, well, really, the past eight years, my husband encouraged me to share my story, hoping it may reach other women going through the same thing. Give them some hope, and highlight how genuinely awful women’s healthcare can be.
Now, I am going to talk about my lady parts, so if you are a man reading this and that makes you uncomfortable, you can bow out now. No hard feelings.
I have always had bad periods. Ovulation has always been painful, and the week leading up to my period is like going through the first trimester of pregnancy—headaches, exhaustion, and nausea. These are pretty typical symptoms for many women. But over the past few years, I also started to experience a lot of pain. Pain that would take me out for at least a full day.
I noticed the pelvic pain getting more intense after I got over a kidney infection on Christmas of 2021. I thought it was odd that most of the pain was in my pelvis, but the doctor said my bladder was most likely hurting due to the kidney infection, so I didn’t overthink it.
Slowly, that pain would appear more frequently and last a little longer each time, always with ovulation and my period. I would maybe have one week a month where I felt OK.
I brought up my concerns to my Gynocologist, and she did a pelvic ultrasound, told me I looked perfect, and offered birth control. I declined as I had my tubes tied after I had Kori in 2015 and also dealing with hypothyroidism & Hashimotos; I didn’t need one more thing making it harder for me to lose weight.
I actually visited the gynecologist about four different times due to this increasing pelvic pain, and every time was met with basically the same answer, “We are women. We get painful periods, and it’s pretty normal.”
I knew something wasn’t right, though. It wasn’t, in fact, “normal” to feel like someone was stabbing me in the pelvis 24/7.
In October of 2022, I got a UTI. My 2nd one in less than a year. (first one turned into that yucky kidney infection.) I thought it was odd, for me at least, to have two UTIs in a year when previously I never had an issue with them.
But I did what you usually do, and I went to my doctor, got some antibiotics, and called it a day. But that is where this story starts.
This is a long post, so stick with me.
See, my UTI wouldn’t go away. And not only would it not go away, the pain in my pelvis was getting worse and worse by the day.
From October 2022 to June 2023, I went through 11 different oral antibiotics to try and kill this infection, when I was finally put on IV meds for ten days to try and get rid of it. Honestly, this UTI needs an entire blog post of its own, as the mistreatment I got there was ALSO unreal.
My urologist was stumped. Because he said usually, when you can’t clear an infection like this, it’s due to an underlying cause like kidney stones, which I didn’t have. I told him about my awful pelvic pain, and he kept telling me I most likely had “Painful bladder syndrome.” Sorry, Sir, but I am not an 85-year-old woman, and I doubt I have “painful bladder syndrome.” But he’s the doctor, right? I didn’t go to medical school; what did I know?
During these nine months of hell, I experienced pain like I had never felt before (other than when I was having active labor contractions.) I was going from doctor to doctor, ER visit to ER visit. Four CT scans and seven pelvic ultrasounds showed I was “fine” and that “everything looked great.” ELEVEN doctors told me I was 100% OK.
I left every appointment feeling so defeated. I would sit in my car in the parking lot before and after every appointment and cry. Knowing I would be met with the same fate each time, ZERO help. Maybe I was crazy; perhaps it was in my head.
NINE MONTHS. The darkness I experienced over these nine months was like nothing I ever imagined going through. Living in constant pain that was only getting worse by the day with no end or help in sight was extremely defeating. I could hardly get out of bed; I lost over 25 pounds because I couldn’t eat. I cried multiple times a day. I debated more than once driving my car into a tree because there was no way I could live like this forever. I felt like a complete failure as a wife and mother.
No one would help me. No one.
But I wasn’t about to accept that this would be my life now, and I kept looking online for answers. And the one constant thing I came across was “endometriosis.” A condition where the lining of your uterus grows on the outside, causing a slew of symptoms, issues, and in many cases, EXTREME pelvic pain.
When I returned to my gynecologist with this, she told me, “You have had two healthy babies; you don’t have endometriosis. If you did, you would have never been able to get pregnant.” Come to find out later, that statement is complete bullshit.
I BEGGED her, literally cried on the exam table, and begged her for a referral to an endometriosis specialist I found online. She refused at first, saying I would be wasting this doctor’s time because I probably just had some scarring from my c-sections causing pain, not endometriosis.
But due to my insurance, I needed a referral, or I would have to pay out of pocket. So after about 20 min of me sobbing and begging, she finally agreed to do it. Honestly, it was almost like she wanted me to stay sick. To keep throwing medications at me that would inevitably cause a plethora of other issues. Yea, no thanks.
Also, you should never have to beg a doctor for a referral to another doctor. EVER.
It took me five months to see Dr. Hudgens because his wait list was so long. But he was my last and only hope. And let me tell you, he was worth the wait. And then some.
According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, out of over 40,000 OB/GYNs in the US, there are only about 100 endometriosis specialists skilled in the most up-to-date treatment options. And thank God, one was located in Virginia Beach.
At that first appointment, he listened to me. He sat and listened to me. He looked me in the eyes when I spoke and acknowledged my pain. Something that the ELEVEN other doctors I had seen over the past year had NEVER done. And then, he performed a pelvic ultrasound himself.
Here is where I will get a little TMI, but this is when it all came to light. He said, “OK, Megan, I am going to place my hand up inside you and push up; it will probably hurt, but I want to get a good look. My ultrasound tech will push from the top at the same time.”
He was right, it hurt like hell, but he discovered that, in fact, the pain wasn’t in my head. My uterus was FUSED to my bladder, my bowls, and both of my ovaries. I had a large mass on the top of my bladder that was preventing it from emptying fully (hence why I couldn’t get rid of that UTI), and I had MULTIPLE masses inside my uterus. (a totally separate condition called Adenomyosis) He said he also suspected I had stage 4 endometriosis with how severely everything was fused together.
GUYS. Let me remind you I had 4 CT scans and SEVEN other pelvic ultrasounds this past year, one three weeks before Dr. Hudgens performed his. I HAD MULTIPLE MASSES INSIDE OF ME. And not ONE doctor or ultrasound tech picked up on it. NOT ONE.
As you can imagine, I started crying once again on that exam table, finally feeling validated, finally getting the answer that I wasn’t crazy, it wasn’t in my head, and something was very wrong.
We had a long discussion about my options, and he said that due to the severity of my issues, he recommended I get a total hysterectomy, which is shocking to hear at 36 years old. Knowing that I would be instantly sent into surgical menopause, and that would come with its own set of issues.
But I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. And luckily, I was able to meet with an AMAZING hormone doctor beforehand so I could get on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy right away to try and prevent all of those awful symptoms. Here’s to hoping that works!
It’s going to be a long journey to get back to feeling normal again. I’m not even sure I know what “normal” feels like right now, but I do know this, my story was short.
I wish every doctor that labeled me as anxious, crazy and tried to convince me it was normal to be in this much pain because I had a uterus could read this post. Not because I want to shame them (well, maybe a little) but because I want them to LEARN. I want them to know that when a woman comes to them in as much pain as I was, they should take her seriously. We know our bodies; we know when something isn’t right. And that we look to them as medical professionals to HELP us and NOT gaslight us into thinking we are crazy.
I declined pain medication EVERY single time I went to the doctor or ER.
Every. Single. Time.
Even though I desperately needed it. I didn’t want to be labeled a drug seeker because I knew for sure they wouldn’t listen to me then. If I declined the pain medication, they would take me seriously and try to help me find answers.
But they never did.
1 in 10 women have endometriosis, and they said it takes most women TEN YEARS to get a diagnosis because this is such an under-researched disease. Most insurances won’t cover the surgery to remove it because they don’t deem it a “medical necessity.” In fact, mine also said “no” until Dr. Hudgens wrote a letter saying I was at high risk for bowel obstruction. And I had a large mass on my bladder that they were worried about.
How fucked up is that? So sorry your organs are fused together, and you have masses in your body; you have to deal with it. Women’s healthcare in the United States is SHIT. And I only touched the tip of how awful it truly is.
Through this journey, I joined an endometriosis support group on Facebook; it’s where I got a lot of answers and support and where I found Dr. Hudgens, an endometriosis Exision specialist.
When I tell you I see about five posts a day from women in this group talking about ending their lives because they can’t get the help they need, I would be downplaying it. The pain this disease causes is unimaginable.
I was a lucky one. I have insurance and the resources to keep pushing for answers. Most don’t. And these surgeries cost $25,000+. It wrecks me to know how many women are suffering. And nothing is being done.
I am thankful for so many things, but mainly my support system.
Derek, lord knows you had to deal with so much over this past year. I know it killed you to see me in pain and not be able to help. But you never let me feel bad about it. You came with me to appointments, held me while I cried on the kitchen floor, and kept pushing for me to find answers.
Most days, you did the job of both parents while I lay in bed on a heating pad, trying not to go back to the ER again. Because I know they wouldn’t offer any help. You helped pull me out of the dark when I told you about not wanting to live anymore. That has to be a hard thing to hear from your spouse. But you never gave up on me, and I thank God every day for you.
Laura, Jessica, Kati, Quinn, and Lisa, you ladies are my rock. You girls ALWAYS listened; you always offered support. You checked on me daily and made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. I don’t know what I did to be blessed with not one but five best friends. You guys will never know how much you helped me through this mess. I will forever be grateful for your friendship.
This year’s girls’ trip will be the BEST ONE YET.
Mom & Jayne, thank you for being my unpaid therapists. And for always answering my MULTIPLE daily phone calls. Always listening, always offering so much support. And thank you, Mom for flying out the second you heard I was going to have surgery to help. I love you both and know how blessed I am to have such a caring and selfless mother and mother-in-law.
And thanks if you stuck around to read my entire story. Again, my story is mild compared to what I have read in these support groups. And if you are going through the same thing right now, you are NOT alone.
We need to do better for women’s healthcare. This is America, not a 3rd world country. Mistreatment like this should never happen, ever.
Keep pushing, and check out these Facebook groups; they helped me immensely.
More research and funding are needed so our daughters don’t have to deal with this awful disease. Kori is 7 times more likely to have endometriosis than a person who has no first-degree relatives with the disease. And I refuse to let her go through what I have had to go through.
And sadly, even though I had a total hysterectomy, I will have to deal with this disease for the rest of my life. Even without a uterus, the tissue can still form on its own. In fact, when he performed the surgery, he said I had endometriosis growing on my kidneys. CRAZY.
At least this time, I will have fewer pelvic organs for it to fuse together. I’m praying I can make it at least 5-10 years before I will inevitably need another excision surgery.
I’m fully invested in this disease now, and I plan to continue using my online platform to help raise money and awareness for more research and, hopefully, a cure someday.
If you know someone dealing with this awful disease, please share this post with them. It may give them hope and a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
If you want to donate to help support more research and cures for endometriosis, you can click here: