Tuesday, 26 March 2013
My story: Babette Gray.
My name is Babette Gray and I am a pelvic pain advocate and business owner of Pelvic Pain Solutions who is passionate about helping others manage their pain.
Like so many women in this world who are struggling to live with chronic pelvic pain, I share a deep understanding and empathy for what they are going through with my own 13-year battle with endometriosis, severe anaemia and ongoing pelvic adhesions.
At the tender age of 5, I was thrust into the word of pain due to a freak accident where I suffered trauma to my pelvic floor from a slide accident at the local playground. Upon my harsh landing, the heel of my Keds shoe struck deep into my pelvic floor causing instant bleeding and excruciating pain. My first thought was I just urinated all over my overalls and my mother was going to kill me until I saw blood quickly saturating my clothes. This event would become the beginning of a long, painful journey with chronic pelvic pain.
After struggling with ongoing, debilitating menstrual cramps and heavy dysmenorrhea, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 27 through a laparoscopy. I began to learn of my options, if any, to manage the disease. I was given monthly injections of Lupron, which is compared to chemical menopause, for a six-month treatment to shrink the endometrial tissue. Just into my third month of treatment, my body began to exhibit the harsh side effects. I lost nearly 15 lbs on my petite frame, suffered severe insomnia, night sweats, and depression not to mention the toll it took on my marriage as a newlywed. The six-month treatment allowed my endometriosis to shrink and ultimately, I was symptom-free for over one year.
The thought of living with endometriosis was again a true reality when I discovered that it returned. I suffered two involuntary miscarriages in my late 20’s and early 30’s; my delicate body could not handle carrying a child. Sadly, during this time in my life, my marriage would end due to the constant mood swings and bouts of pain that would cause my emotions to go up and down, the ongoing doctor visits, the financial strain - the list goes on and on.
Finally, at the age of 40, I hit a wall. My body could no longer get out of bed to go to work. The ongoing heavy bleeding brought on severe anaemia Just getting out of bed was a huge task; I looked weak, pale, and my employer was beginning to show concern over my excessive tardiness. I finally decided to give myself the best birthday present - a supra-cervical hysterectomy!
The day of my hysterectomy, I was by far the happiest patient in the recovery room. Even though I was in pain from the surgery, I already felt better. Once my body healed, I was happy, vital, and full of energy like never before. My endometriosis was removed and there was no sign of it returning. I managed to keep my right ovary so I was producing my normal cycle and had my hormones.
I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones as I have heard horrible stories of the continuous pain my customers endure after having such radical surgery! The only downside that I have from the surgery is adhesions. Overall, I could not be happier compared to the daily stabbing pains and blood loss from having endometriosis.
Throughout the course of my career, I have struggled maintaining a good attendance record due to having endometriosis. I have learned that employers are not as understanding as had hoped nor will your co-workers understand how you can “look” healthy but otherwise be quite ill. Slowly but surely I learned to form a protective barrier around myself in order to avoid the negative remarks being said. Over time, it does break you down and takes its toll on your morale and overall outlook on life, people, and the world, in general.
Nearly two years after my hysterectomy I discovered that adhesions had formed during my surgery. At first they did not seem to bother me, but over time I felt like a puppet on a string. The pain was different; however, sadly it brought on more sick days at my workplace.
I began to understand that the life I thought I intended to live truly was not the life I could actually do. With little to no support from my employer, I decided to make a change and start my own business to help other women who are going through the same situation.
In retrospect, I believe living with endometriosis enabled me to utilise certain skills I did not yet know existed. I would soon discover the common thread I shared with so many people and from that, a business idea would be borne.
During my last 3-4 years working for my employer, I designed a special heating/cooling pad that hugged my stomach and pelvic area providing me long-lasting heat. I was thrilled at how well it performed and used it daily to relieve my pain. I owe the EndoFEMM® Pad’s design for prolonging my inevitable hysterectomy for an additional three years! My dependency for pain medications lessened, my body could relax, and I slept more soundly.
After a successful Product Focus Study with the prestigious Endometriosis Research Center where they determined through their findings that the EndoFEMM® Pad was a viable product to reduce pelvic pain, a business was started. I officially had my first website in November 2006 and began to sell the EndoFEMM® Pad almost immediately.
As the President and owner with a local manufacturer, I have single-handily spread the word about my pelvic therapy pads through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other network portals. In addition, through hard work and sheer determination, more and more doctors and physical therapists are learning about my products and its effectiveness in relieving pain. I cannot exclude my wonderful and devoted customers who continue to provide their support to help spread the word to family, friends, doctors and physical therapists.
No matter what age a woman is, sadly at one time in her life, she will experience pelvic pain. My customers range from 12 to 80 years of age! I am just one woman among thousands who understands the daily struggle of living with pelvic pain who is trying to make a difference. My drive comes from the women I speak to every week who inspire me to keep going. It is my hope to someday “pay it forward” as well.
Thank you for sharing your story Babette. It's great to hear that something so positive has come from having this disease, even if you have gone through your fair share of difficulties. I've heard so much about your pads and I think now I may finally give in and make a purchase!
You can view Babette's website here where there is also a link to her blog. If you would like to contact Babette, you can follow her on Twitter @endofemm or on Facebook, or alternatively, email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can anyone relate to Babette's story? Have you tried the EndoFemm pads? Have they helped you? Has your relationship suffered as a result of endometriosis? Have you had a positive outcome from having a hysterectomy for your endometriosis?
Remember, everyone of us has a different story, and the more shared, the more we can learn. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email it to me at email@example.com along with a photo and I'll pop it on to here for others to read.