Fo years doctors told Tracy Fischer that she was fine.
According to her piece in xojane, since starting her period at age eleven, Fischer had spent several days of each month in “crippling, life-altering pain.”
“From lying paralyzed in the nurse’s office in high school to blacking out after a pelvic exam at age 24, never once did a doctor seem to believe me when I said I needed help,” she writes.
Fischer recalls a particularly terrible episode in May 2013 when the pain was so intense that she was lying on the floor in agony. She knew something wasn’t right, so she called her now-husband and begged him to take her to the emergency room.
The doctors were sure it was kidney stones, so they hooked her up to an IV and performed a CT scan.
— Broadly (@broadly) December 6, 2015
The CT scan, however, revealed no kidney stones and doctors sent Fischer home, once again assuring her that she was fine.
But she knew she was not fine.
“I put up with this for another year until I was tired of being ‘fine,’” sherecalls. “My symptoms were getting worse, happening outside of my period, and I was even having pain during pelvic exams and intercourse.”
Unable to get a diagnosis from her doctors, she turned to Google.
After typing in her symptoms, something turned up in her search: endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition which occurs when the tissue that usually lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus. Because of this, blood that is normally shed from the uterus and out the vagina remains in the body as it has no way of escaping. The result is painful internal bleeding and inflammation.
— womenshealth.gov (@womenshealth) November 25, 2015
Millions of women suffer from endometriosis, but because many doctors are not well-versed in the condition, it often goes undiagnosed.
Fischer says she is not one to self-diagnose, but the similarities between her symptoms and those of endometriosis were too similar. Even more, she read comments from a plethora of women who were all experiencing the same frustrations as her— doctors constantly telling them that they were “fine.”
Upon returning to her doctor, she proclaimed that she had endometiosis, but the doctor was weary to believe her.
“Having read about the procedure for diagnosing endometriosis, I practically demanded that my doctor prescribe it. After trying to argue with me, he begrudgingly scheduled for me for a transvaginal ultrasound that was necessary to rule out anything else before my diagnostic surgery.”
Fischer underwent surgery, which revealed that despite the billions of remarks from doctors, she was, in fact, not fine.
“Tracy, you definitely have endometriosis,” her doctor told her in the recovery room.
Finally, she had an answer.
— Tracy L. Fischer (@stillsunflowers) December 8, 2015
Now she is hoping other women will be an advocate for their own health— if something does not seem right, do not give up. Be persistent until you get an answer.
“Please don’t accept ‘fine’ when you know you’re not,” she suggests. “Be proactive with your health.”