Fra, Italy and UK - firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Fra and I come from Italy. My very first symptoms started in June 2016. At the time I was organizing my life to move to Australia from Italy for a PhD. It started with vaginal burnings. In December 2016 I finally moved to Australia and coincidentally I broke up with my ex-boyfriend after a very long relationship. In the meantime, I started to have pain in my sitting bones and the burning sensation was increasing daily. Due to personal life changes, all the doctors I visited in Australia thought my pain was psychological and there was nothing physical. They gave me a combination of strong pain killers and antidepressants. Scared of was happening and stressed about the continuous excruciating pain, I started suffering depression and anxiety.
At the time, I started taking duloxetine and benzodiazepine to cope with my mental condition. The pain eventually got better during the months, but even if lower, it remains constant for other 2 years. In the meantime, I moved with my husband in London in January 2019. In June 2019, I started a new stressful job. After few days, an excruciating pain while sitting made me so ill that I could barely go to work. The pain was so bad, that many times I found myself lying on the toilet floor in the office for the excruciating pain. I went to Italy to a physio who made a very painful massage, making the situation even worse and to a psychiatry who gave me an antidepressant that made me feel awful. Again, I started to go to many doctors to find an explanation about what was happening with me. Doctors were saying it was mental. I had every kind of comments: "You have pain because you are depressed", "you have pain because your brain is sending pain signals but there is nothing wrong with your body", "maybe you don't love your husband anymore and it is your body screaming what you don't want to face", "maybe you had sexual abuse when you were little and you cannot remember", "maybe it is your upbringing and bad parenting", "maybe it is a trauma of your breakup with your previous partner"…… every doctor went very creative to give an explanation of my pain.
I finally found doctor Durtnall (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, London). He was very practical, making a X-Ray scan in his office.. Finally, I had the very first doctor saying: "you are depressed because you have pain, not the contrary and the pain is physical". He found out from the scan that my coccyx was broken (which was true, I broke it many years before), and it couldn't move and all my muscles around the coccyx and the vaginal muscles were tense.
At the time, I was so depressed that I wasn't able even to smile. I think I didn't smile for months. He has a really nice personality and he helped me to be confident that I could face this and improve. In the meantime, I went to a neurosurgeon in London, to understand if my pudendal nerve was trapped. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with my body and that it was mental (again!). But I insisted I wanted to do some tests and at the end he agreed for 3 MRI scans in my pelvis. The result came with no physical problems except a cyst in my right ovary. He said that it was nothing, that the pain couldn't be related to the cyst but to go to a gynaecologist to check it. So, I went to gynaecologist who wanted to visit me twice before saying that the cyst was an endometrioma, but the pain was not related to the cyst and there was nothing to do about it. During my sessions with Dr Durtnall, my pain started to reduce, and I finally started to feel in control of my body again. I started studying again and I started a new job. I was not depressed, always at home thinking there was nothing that could make me feel better. During one of my session, I told him about the endometrioma. He suggested to not underestimate it. He told me his previous experience with other patients and he indicated me Dr Natalia Price in Oxford.
I decide to go for a visit (why not to try one last more, after so many doctors?). Dr Price understood straight away it was endometriosis. She prescribed me an MRI scan at the Manor Hospital in Oxford where she collaborates from 20 years with the technician to develop an MRI scan to detect endometriosis. In the MRI scan they found endometriosis stage 3 (maybe 4). They found 3 cysts in the right ovarium and endometroid tissue between the right ovarium and bowel. The endometriosis is next to a sacral nerve. Dr Price thinks that the nerve is pressed by the endometriosis. Next week I will have surgery to remove the endometriosis. I want to thank Dr Durtnall. He made me feel better not just physically but also mentally with his therapy and with his personality. And if I had listened to all the previous doctors (In Italy, UK and Australia!), I would still be thinking that there was something wrong with my brain and my pain was mental. He was the only one who believed me!!! If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have known about the endometriosis and I would have continued to take medicines who just suppress the symptoms (a little!) with no real results, while my endometriosis was getting worse and worse. After the surgery I don't expect a miracle. My muscle will be still tense and probably I will still need to continue the sessions with Dr Durtnall, but the real cause of the main cause the pain won't be there anymore and I am sure that the physiotherapy will be even more effective.