Emily had been struggling with pain, difficult periods, and fatigue for years, so she was desperate to find out what was causing her debilitating symptoms. For so long, she pushed doctors to find an answer to the pain she had been dealing with, only to be left with more questions. After years of feeling like she was in the dark, Emily found a doctor who listened to her and she finally received confirmation of what she suspected all along – she wasn’t being dramatic with her pain, as many doctors had insinuated – she had endometriosis.

Despite finally finding answers, Emily’s battle was only beginning. Recently, she opened up about her journey with endometriosis and how OvuSense ultimately helped her to conceive. Read more about her inspiring story in her own words below.

The Struggle For Answers

My endometriosis journey officially began when I visited the doctor for my pain at age 15, however, the pain began at age 12 when my period had first started. Although I had struggled with this pain for so long and knew something was wrong, I was ignored by numerous doctors, unfortunately including doctors who were women. I was told, “You’re a woman, why do you think you will be treated any differently?” and “If you can’t deal with this, you’re going to have a miserable life.” It was at this point that I stopped looking to doctors for help and instead tried anything I could to help the pain.

My mom also suffered with her periods, but she was unfamiliar with endometriosis, so that was never a possibility to her. She and my dad begged me to go back to the doctor, as it was upsetting for them to see me in so much pain. After once again returning to the doctor, it was suggested I go on a contraceptive pill to help with the pain. The contraceptive did help for the most part, but there were still months where I struggled immensely. I would call in sick to work, as I worked as a hairdresser and found it difficult to be on my feet for more than 20 minutes at a time, let alone for 12 hours a day. Unfortunately, my manager would still have me come in often, but I don’t necessarily blame them for this, as these symptoms were not well understood all those years ago. 

My undiagnosed endometriosis also affected my romantic relationships, as I couldn’t have fun on some days and sex could be very painful for me. It’s affected my friendships, as well, as I would need to cancel plans due to the pain and eventually stopped being invited out. This condition has affected me socially, mentally, and physically – more than I could ever put into words. 

A Reason For My Pain

Fast forward several years and many visits to various doctors, I finally gained the courage to really push for an answer when I was 21. At this point, I had been told I had Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, a weakened immune system, and low B12 all before I was taken seriously!

In 2017, I was told I was showing signs of ovarian cancer and was sent for blood tests straight away. Thankfully, the tests came back negative, however, the doctor told me no further action was needed. I was devastated and begged for more tests, as I refused to believe the pain was from nothing. After doing internal and external tests, blood tests, and more, I saw a gynecologist who said I needed to have surgery to find out what the issue was. Finally, I felt like someone cared and listened to me. 

I had my surgery in November 2019. During the surgery, keyholes were made and it was quickly realized that my endometriosis was so bad that I would need a specialist to remove it. It was a surreal feeling. I finally had the answer and it wasn’t all in my head. I was stitched up and sent home to heal. 

Unfortunately, the stitches did not dissolve, and I was dealing with both recovering from the surgery and an endometriosis flare-up. While that would already be enough, the incision in my belly button was constantly getting infected, as well. As a result, I had to be on numerous courses of antibiotics for this. The infection got so bad that it turned into an abscess the size of a golf ball in my belly button. This happened in May 2020 – a full six months after my surgery – and in the pandemic lockdown! 

While preparing for surgery to remove the tissue, I had to do my own research and find private services to help get advice on foods to eat or avoid, exercises and stretches to help, etc. Not only that but my surgery was canceled so many times – one of these times even being when I was sitting in pre-op. 

I had a breakdown in November 2020, as the pain had become too much and I felt so alone. It wasn’t until April 2021 that I had the surgery to remove the tissue. While I appreciate that the National Health Service was under a tremendous amount of stress, it was unfortunate for me and others who were experiencing delays in surgery and treatment. 

Pregnancy with Endometriosis

My doctor also gave me the best advice for having a baby, as that is what my partner and I wanted. When we were ready to try, my doctor said he would give us six months and if we weren’t pregnant, his fertility specialist would step in. I only have one ovary and fallopian tube that works, as the other is unfortunately too damaged from the endometriosis.

We tried for a baby for four months on our own. Then on the fifth month, we decided to try OvuSense, and I fell pregnant one month later in November 2021 – it was so amazing! During my pregnancy my endometriosis subsided, so those months were the best time for me throughout my journey. 

Late in my pregnancy I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and had to be induced, which is where my endometriosis once again caused problems. My uterus did not stop contracting during labor, which they believe is due to my uterus being so damaged from my endometriosis. I had a very bad tear during birth, which needed surgery afterward to fix, as well. My groin and pelvis are still not right since giving birth, either – two full years after having my baby. 

I also suffered from postnatal depression, and it was as if I resented my baby for being born. My endometriosis had subsided while I was pregnant and I felt happy and safe, but as soon as he was born I started to feel anxious and scared it would all come back. Luckily, I got the help and support I needed at the time. 

A Turn For The Better

Today, I am so grateful to be in the position I’m in. I have found an employer who understands what I am dealing with, an amazing husband who cares, a beautiful son who has given me more than anything I could imagine, and the best family and friends, too. 

As far as my endometriosis goes, I currently am not suffering too much. While I still have my bad days and flare-ups, they are manageable for me right now. I have, however, now been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, which comes with its own challenges. The reason I am mentioning this is that it affects my endometriosis, too. My body can only fight so much at one time and it can’t keep up with the overactive thyroid and endometriosis, so my immune system is weakened, in turn, causing more flare-ups. 

Despite all of this, I am also grateful to OvuSense for helping me achieve my ultimate goal of conceiving. When I am ready for another baby I will be using it again without question. It has saved my sanity and my heartbreak. 

Lastly, I truly believe that options like OvuSense should be better known to doctors. It shouldn’t take someone already going through a lot mentally and physically to have to spend hours and days online doing their research.