My name is Tory, I am 26 years old, and I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto). I have a painful, chronic gynecological disease called endometriosis. This condition causes endometrial cells, similar to the cells that line the uterus, to grow outside the uterus and attach to other organs within the pelvic cavity. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds. Since this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped and causes lesions, adhesions (binding of the organs), inflammation, and internal bleeding. The organs that are usually affected are the ovaries, uterus, bowel, bladder, appendix, and the peritoneal wall. In rare cases, endometriosis can even spread beyond your pelvic region.
Endometriosis ("endo") is actually quite common, affecting an average of 1 in 10 women. Most women who have this illness, however, have minimal symptoms or none at all. Women usually discover they have this condition when they are unable to conceive naturally.
Not only does endo cause fertility issues, it can cause chronic, severe pelvic pain. Unfortunately, this is my most prominent symptom. Besides severe cramps that take my breath away, endo also causes me to have debilitating fatigue, sciatic pain (nerve pain that starts in your butt cheek and runs down the back of your leg), painful urination and bowel movements, pelvic pressure, bloating, hot flashes, headaches, disruptive sleep patterns, decreased immune function, and depression.
This illness not only affects your physical body, it also affects your relationships with friends and family and your psychological well being. You can no longer function properly and do what normal people do; it is extremely detrimental to your quality of life. I no longer do what normal 20-somethings do and I am lucky to leave the house once a week (usually for doctor's appointments). I am currently on a medical leave of absence from work and I am very lucky to have such supportive co-workers/job.
Most days my pain leaves me unable to move and I have pretty much been bedridden since January 2014. The more I move, the more my endo flares up, so I am in bed most of the day, everyday. My legs have started to atrophy due to limited activity, I have no appetite due to my pain medication, and I am very weak most of the time so simple things like walking can be quite difficult.
I have already had two laparoscopies done in the past, one in 2011 and one in April of this year. I have also tried numeous birth control pills, had an IUD inserted, and had 4 monthly injections of Lupron (a chemotherapy drug usually used to treat prostate cancer). Nothing has given me any long term relief and my pain continues to worsen.
Even though there is no cure for endometriosis, surgery with a qualified, skilled endometriosis excision specialist is my best chance of eliminating my pain and getting my life back. Most Canadian gynecologists use a combination of hormone suppression and ablation to treat endo, which results in never ending surgeries and minimal, temporary relief. Ablation, or cauterization, is similar to just plucking off the head of a dandelion; the disease still remains. Excision surgery removes the root of the disease and is the best treatment for endometriosis with very favourable success rates.
After many months of research and learning about my particular illness, I have found an extremely reputable, skilled surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia who is the lead surgeon at the Center of Endometriosis Care (CEC). Dr. Ken Sinervo is actually Canadian and studied at UWO (like me), but decided to practice in the states so he could properly develop his excision skills. He now performs excision surgery 4 to 5 times a week and is one of the best endometriosis excision specialists in the world.
I am in desperate need of surgery with a qualified excision specialist, and this is where I need your help. Since this surgery will take place in the U.S., all payment of medical bills will be completely out of pocket. The Canadian government does not support having surgery in the U.S. so I have no insurance that will help cover the costs. I also have to worry about paying for travel expenses such as flight, hotel, and accommodations while in Atlanta.
I absolutely hate asking friends, family, and acquaintances for money, but I am left with no choice but to swallow my pride and ask for help and support. In order to pay for surgery, my parents had to re-mortgage their home. My hope is to help lessen the financial burden on both my parents and myself. That being said, I would be eternally grateful and very much appreciative if you are able to make a donation for my cause. I understand that not everyone is in a great financial situation, but even a small amount will help me to reach my goal.
I appreciate you reading my story, especially all the way to the end, and I hope you are able to help.
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