Article by WNDU

More than six million American women and girls struggle with endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes pain before and after their periods. It can also cause infertility. In some cases, endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, but a new imaging method may shed light on difficult to detect cases.

Twenty-eight year old Susie Veech has spent more than half her life in the kitchen. She’s a food service consultant and a budding caterer.

Susie also spent more than half her life trying to figure out the source of the monthly, searing pain in her side. Veech told Ivanhoe, “Eleven, on a scale of one to 10, the pain.”

Veech had endometriosis. The tissue normally lining the inside of her uterus was also growing on the outside and blocking other organs.

Gynecologist and co-director of the Endometriosis Center and the Minimally Invasive Surgical fellowship program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Kevin Audlin, MD, is studying a new imaging technique designed to help gynecologists detect endometriosis. Traditionally, doctors use a minimally-invasive tool called a laparoscope to look for tissue.

“Full spectrum light looks just as if we would see. If you’re looking into a belly, you’ll see organs, most everything is either a yellowish or a pink,” Dr. Audlin explained.

In addition, Dr. Audlin is testing special lighting called narrow band imaging. When he presses a button on the laparoscope, the light changes, making endometriosis stand out.

Dr. Audlin said, “The red hue tends to be the endometriosis, the green we see tends to be the actual vasculature.”

For Veech, finally a diagnosis followed by a procedure to keep the endometriosis at bay. She said, “When everyday pain goes away, you have tons of energy. You don’t realize how much it’s weighing you down.”

In a study of 150 women undergoing the laparoscopic procedure for endometriosis, researchers found the addition of narrow band imaging improved detection by 20 percent. Dr. Audlin says the narrow band imaging offers another avenue for women who have had chronic pain but are not showing signs of endometriosis with traditional screening.

To read the research summary, click here.

 

Advertisements

Endo Fact of the Day – Day #1

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.  This month we will be sharing lots of information, facts, stories, etc. to help increase much needed awareness for this disease. Continue reading

I Did It!!!

Yesterday’s endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was a success! I also had an EGD which revealed no stomach ulcers but the ERCP revealed that I do have I have sphincter of Oddi dysfunction and my pancreatic bile duct was completely blocked so they performed a sphincterectomy, sliced it open and inserted a stent. I had to stay at the hospital all day but they gave me a choice to be admitted or go home with my Mom (since she is a nurse) so I stayed at my parent’s house last night. Continue reading

Well, I said I would follow-up on the last leg of my medical journey, which I started explaining in a prior post titled Doctor Appointment #Infinity.

I must admit that I was wrong about my doctor. At this moment, my faith in him has been restored. My husband was also right when he said that God works in mysterious ways and there may have been a reason that I needed to have the abdominal CT scan, which I believed would be a waste of time and money.

The CT scan revealed a variety of issues, none of which were a stomach ulcer. It appears that some of the symptoms I have been blaming on Endometriosis, may be related to an entirely different problem.

My abdominal CT scan came back abnormal with punctuate calcifications in my spleen, extrahepatic biliary (up to 8 mm) and pancreatic duct dilation, enhancing gallbladder walls, hypodensity of the left hepatic liver lobe, thickening of the ascending colon, probable scattered leiomyomata within the uterus, and a left adnexa cyst. The report mentioned several possible causes such as gall stones, colitis, chronic cholecystitis, a genetic disease (for the spleen calcifications), as well as some even more scary possibilities that I’m trying not to think too much about just yet.

Continue reading

Medication Increase

Here we go again … I’m back on the medication roller-coaster and I really hate this ride.  About three hours ago, I started an increased dosage of my strongest long-acting medication.  I can already feel the side-effects, so I know this isn’t going to be fun.  This isn’t like one of those medications that you can take a partial dose of to see how it affects you and then not take it again if you don’t react well.  This is a 3 day commitment to the new dosage and there is no going back.  I shouldn’t drive during this time and I’m scared to sleep so I will just sit here.  Maybe watch some TV and work on my blog, unless I start feeling too sick to do those things.  I’m one of those people who is always cold.  I keep the thermostat set on 75 degrees or higher most days.  Not now though.  This medication makes me hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable.   I keep turning the A/C down more and more but it makes no difference.  The heat isn’t coming from the air around me, it’s some sort of weird side effect from the higher dosage of medication.  I know this well because when it comes to side effects, I get them all.  I have a heightened sensitivity to my body and I notice even the most subtle changes.  I’ve been through this before.  Hell, I should be a professional by now but it’s hard to get used to living like this.  Knowing that I rely on so many medications to get me through each day and help me cling to whatever thread of normalcy is left in my life.  It’s hard but it’s also necessary because I am a fighter and I will not give up;  I can’t.  Will it be like this forever?  I don’t know.  It very well could unless I encounter remission or a cure.   Continue reading