I can't remember a time that I haven't worked. Ever since I was 13 I had a job. The myriad of jobs include working at a gas station, green-house work, doing meat inspection and working one-on-one along side a boy with Down syndrome. When I went to university and then to chiropractic college I juggled full-time school, jobs and travelling back to my hometown to care for my ailing father. Taking time off to care for myself has never been an option.
In 2011 I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. An MRI and a caring doctor realized that it had been undiagnosed since the age of 12. And so began a long journey of managing the ongoing pain, adjusting my lifestyle, diet and navigating an often confusing and frustrating medical system.
Over the past year the pain had increasingly became unmanageable. The growth had bound all of my internal organs (colon, uterus, ovaries, appendix, liver, bladder and kidneys) making simple movements, like walking, near impossible. Different food would set off my GI system adding to the growing list of allergies. This endo. growth (now stage 4) also made itself known by pinching the nerves so that I felt it from my back all the way down to my legs. I could find no relief and with my physically demanding job I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would be unable to work. In the fall of 2016 an ultrasound confirmed my suspicions - the growth that is endometriosis had spread and it was time for surgery.
I was lucky to find an amazing doctor that took on my case. After 8 hours on the operating table my endometriosis (along with my appendix, uterus and one ovary) was cut, scrapped and pulled out of my body.
I find it ironic that I, as a doctor, who cares for and prioritizes others' health, had let this mass grow inside me doing irrefutable harm. Perhaps when we are so busy giving care we forget to advocate for our own.
~ Dr. Katie Lingard