Dr. de Castro
How I Advocated And Got Myself Into Surgery
It's January 2019.
I've been back home for about 6 months now, getting into the swing of my new career as a chiropractor and settling back into being home.
I've joined the gym. I'm hanging out with my friends again. All is well....almost
I keep getting this excruciating pelvic pains.
Don't get me wrong, I've always had heavy periods with painful cramps...but these felt different. And there was no pattern to them.
Finally, sitting in my office one day at work, I can't take it anymore, block there rest of my day and drive myself to the Urgent Care Centre in Airdrie.
I wait for hours, my mom comes and waits with me. Finally I get to go back, and wait in the bed for a bit for a Nurse Practitioner to come in and see me.
I already knew I had cysts on my ovaries...and as soon as I said that they disregarded me and sent me home with a requisition for an ultrasound. I got that done the next day and followed up with my family doctor.
Turned out I had findings that, along with my symptoms, looked like I could have endometriosis. I have a family history of it so that increased the likelihood as well. My doctor put me on Yasmin (a pill form of birth control) and it helped manage my symptoms for a while. She also got me on the list for an MRI, was happened about a year later.
In March of 2021, things were getting bad again, so I did some research and found an excision specialist named Dr. Thurston at the South Health Campus here in Calgary. I asked to be referred to her, and my GP obliged (she's the best).
In August, I had my first phone call appointment with Dr. Thurston (thanks #covid) and she was amazing, told me about my MRI results and the chances that they would find some endometriosis as well. I gave verbal consent and was on the surgical list.
Initially, it was a 6-9 month wait. I did my in person exam in September, got switched to an IUD the same month and then...
About 6 months in I called to see where I was at. I found out my surgeon was on maternity leave so it was looking more like a year from initial appointment.
In July and August of 2022 I think I called the clinic 3 different times, finding out I was 21st on the list, and that my surgery was longer since they were doing two things, so OR time was a but tougher to find.
Finally. On September 8, 2022 (I remember because that's the day I got to try my wedding dress on for the first time) I got a call from AHS.
Let me tell you, I almost dropped my phone.
The nurse asked if I was available November 8 (HELL YES) and told me instructions would be coming in the mail about what to expect next.
Tears of joy.
This is not the typical story for people with endometriosis, fibroids or adenomyosis. It takes an average of 10 doctors and 12 years to be heard and get treatment, which for these, the gold standard is surgery.
I was lucky. I'm in the health care system. I know how to push. I have a GP who listens and will refer me to whatever I ask if it makes sense.
I share my story to show that advocating for yourself is okay. And even being in the system took me 3 years to get me to where I am now.
Don't give up, you're not alone.
Interested in more of this information? Follow along here and on my instagram page where I'll be chronicling my journey!