My name is Ashley Nicole; I am 31 years old and have been living with Endometriosis for 16 years. My journey started when I was 15, I was a late bloomer as my mother would say. I started having issues with mind numbing cramps, heavy periods, fatigue and blinding back pains. I decided to go the doctor to discuss the amount of pain I went through every month, I knew this couldn't possibly be considered normal. Once the doctor came into the room, I wasn't even through my sentence before he whipped out his prescription pad for pain medication. Sure enough the medication was not working and I was still in a lot of pain. I missed so much school that I almost didn't graduate. I couldn't hold down a job due to my absences. There were many people in my life that looked at me like I was weak and making it up for the attention. Over the past 10 years I have been to over a dozen doctors. Most of them just wrote me a prescription for pain killers, some told me to try breathing through the pain (whatever that means) or “just take some Advil or Pamprin.” It had gotten to the point where I had bleeding ulcers due to the amount of pain killers I was taking. I knew that something was wrong with me; however my dozens of doctors didn’t believe me. Nevertheless my doctors did have many things in common, writing me prescriptions for pain meds, doing unnecessary tests and racking up a giant bill for me to pay. It started to feel like that was all doctors were good for until….
I met my angel, Dr. Charla Blacker, out of Troy Michigan. I was in the waiting room for 15 minutes and then I was in her office for over an hour, which was shocking to me. I was used to waiting for 40 min and then seeing a doctor for about 5-7 minutes before they were writing a prescription for more pain meds. During my talk with Dr. Blacker, I was able to tell her details about what I have been going through and not once did she stop me from talking. She sat there and listened to my story. That, all on its own, was a giant relief. For the first time in 10 years, I was actually being listened to and it felt amazing! By the end of the appointment she had me filling out paper work for my surgery which was scheduled for 3 weeks later. She knew something was wrong and took charge of the situation.
The day of my surgery I was nervous and scared, thank God I had my wonderful husband by my side. The surgery lasted 4 hours; Dr. Blacker had discovered my stage 3 Endometriosis. The Endometriosis was wrapped around both ovaries and I had a group of Endometrial implants on the outside of my uterus. After my surgery I remember asking my husband if they found anything. He looked at me and said, “You have Endometriosis and she removed it.” How sad is it that I was relieved? I was happy that they found a disease in me that has no cure and barely any treatments. I was happy because now I knew that I wasn't weak. I thought that if I didn't have endo, I would be seen as the girl who couldn't deal with cramps. Finally people are going to understand me now; I finally understood what was causing me all of this pain and torture.
Once I knew I had Endometriosis I went online to find a support group to join. I wound up at DailyStrength.com. That was where I discovered something even more depressing than the disease itself… I was not the only woman that went through a long maze. There are so many of us out there who weren't taken seriously, pushed aside by doctor after doctor, and stuffed full of pain meds. It made me so terribly sad that this is a trend in today’s medicine. I received great support from these women; they went above and beyond to make me feel right at home. My doctor gave me a lot of information, but I wanted to talk to woman who deal with it every day.
I have a long road ahead of me, but it's great to know that I have such an amazing amount of support from family and friends. I think what scared me the most is when I told people about my disease..... how many people responded with "Whats that?". We must do our part and spread awareness. I pray everyday that doctors will listen to their patients and give them the right diagnoses before its too late. I have talked to many women who are not able to have children because it took too long for the diagnoses and by then the Endo had destroyed there uterus and ovaries. So we must do what we can to stop this Maze of doctors, pain killers and depression from being ignored.
I made this website to help women find accurate and updated information about this disease. This is also a place where women can go to share their stories and receive support from other women fighting this disease. I hope to one day start a charity for women who struggle to afford treatment.
A Special Thank You....
To my amazing husband Bryan, who has not only been there for me through thick and thin, but has been my rock. I could not go through this without you. You are a wonderful husband and I am so lucky and grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for putting up with the crying, screaming, and mood swings every month. You have stood by my side through it all and I am so blessed to have you as my husband.