28-year-old Suzan Selcuk says she was ridiculed by doctors who misdiagnosed her condition, endometriosis.
She told The Sun that she has been experiencing excruciating pain since she was only 12. She has suffered agonizing period pains, fatigue, and leg pain that she would miss school, college, and now, work.
Speaking about her condition, she said: “The best way I can describe it is as if someone is dragging razor blades down my stomach from the insides.
“It’s so crippling that I struggle to stand up straight. The pain can take my breath away or make me feel physically sick.”
Suzan said that for over the past sixteen years, she has been “laughed at, ridiculed and misdiagnosed by doctors and gynaecologists, despite being certain I was suffering from endometriosis.”
She added: “Over the years I was told I had IBS, that I was ‘weak’ and had a low pain tolerance, that I needed to take more painkillers, that it was in my head, – but never taken seriously.”
Because doctors told her she was only imagining her symptoms, she thought she was ‘going crazy.’ That led her to suffer from OCD and severe health anxiety which manifested as depression.
It was only recently when she was finally diagnosed with stage four endometriosis and adenomyosis, a linked condition which causes cramps, heavy periods and bloating. It has now grown into her womb.
“The endometriosis was all over my bowel and had resulted in adhesions sticking my bowel, womb and ovaries together,” Suzan expressed.
“I’ve had two major ops to try to unstick my organs,” she said. She lost an ovary during her treatment.
“Doctors say I’ll probably need to have a full hysterectomy – I’m not even 30,” she added. Doctors said her adenomyosis cannot be treated unless she undergoes a full hysterectomy, an operation that will make her infertile.
“I’m working with a naturopath instead to try and get to the root cause of what is going on with my body and immune system that the disease is growing like this.
“I really believe that if I had been taken seriously years earlier, I would have been able to take steps to manage my health holistically through diet (as this is an inflammatory disease, even small changes like cutting out meat, gluten, soy and dairy can slow the growth) and also had a better medical care plan to avoid the disease progressing and damaging my organs.
“I would also have been able to prevent the mental health issues which have plagued most of my adult life from progressing,” Suzan said.
The average diagnosis for endometriosis is up to 10 years, but by that time, most women have advanced condition with low quality of life, severe daily pain, organ damage, depression, and infertility.
“The lack of awareness and respect for this disease meant that I didn’t get taken seriously for more than half of my life and ended up feeling so alone,” she said.
“As the disease progressed, so did the pain I was dealing with, which resulted in chronic fatigue, bowel issues, back problems, deeper mental health issues, in general a low quality of life with no hope for the future.”
She added: “More awareness and respect for the women suffering is needed. I’m sharing my story to give young girls and women the confidence to trust in their own bodies – something I wish I had more of when I was laughed at by countless (mostly male) doctors who told me that ‘all women get period pain’ or that I was a hypochondriac.”
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