chronic pain india

My Endo Story Sneha Lalwani

Hi,

I am Sneha. Those who know me personally know that I am a book lover/coffee date kinda person, striving to achieve my corporate goals, and dreaming to travel the world. 

What most of you might not know is that I have a long story with Endometriosis – the most common disease you might not have heard of. Before I get into the details, you should know that my heart is full of gratitude today. Though I have been a part of medical gaslighting, made to believe that my symptoms were all in my head, my family was told that I am depressed and that I just need to stay busy, people close to me had mocked me with comments like “you are not the only women who menstruate” , “Shaadi ke baad kya karegi” , “stop being such a delicate darling”, etc., etc., but let me tell you –  if anything, all this has shaped me into a really strong, joyful, compassionate and independent woman – trying to heal and help others in their journey, in any way that I can, in dealing with chronic illness.

My periods have always been painful and heavy. Back then I did not worry so much, because I did not know anything otherwise. You don’t understand much when you are 13. I was told it’s normal – some girls have more pain than others. But, things started to change gradually. I found myself skipping college, calling in sick at work, and having no zeal to get out of bed during that time of the month. I was always wondering how my girlfriends were living a normal life even during their period. I started getting insecure. I knew something was wrong with me.

Years passed by. I was popping painkillers every month and going about my mundane life. Around mid-2017, my symptoms got severe – my hair started to fall off, I had stubborn cystic acne, I was passing blood in clots, I was bloated, and started to drop an abnormal amount of weight. I had been to every renowned Gynac in my city – switched from Allopathy to Ayurveda, to Homeopathy. Changed diet after diet. Paid a huge sum getting on from one treatment to another. Nothing worked. Around 2020, I found myself in pain throughout the month. I was misdiagnosed for PCOS in the last 5 years and was told it’s just normal – it’s nature’s way of asking you to settle down and get pregnant. (Allow me a moment of laughter here please!) 

I started to feel horrible. I didn’t want to meet people. I couldn’t work to the best of my capability. My travel plans had always taken a hit all these years because I was in excruciating pain for most of the days. Life seemed to be a burden. Until one day, one day when I had come across Dr. Abhishek Mangeshikar’s profile on Instagram. 

After a zoom call with me (as I was located out of Mumbai), the doctor told me that no medicine in the world was going to help me and that I will have to fly down to Mumbai for excision surgery. I was advised not to delay it, because I had reached stage 4. There were multiple cysts on my ovaries – bigger than my ovaries in size. I had multiple endometrial lesions deep inside my ovaries, a huge nodule on my rectum for which a disc excision had to be formed and this was the most complicated and delicate part of the procedure, my right Fallopian tube being involved too. Oh wait! This was not it.  My intestines were horribly stuck to the back of my uterus. No wonder I was in so much pain! All of this was going on inside, and I was still told I am exaggerating it. 

I was heartbroken by the negligence of healthcare professionals earlier. How did no one identify these issues all these years? How could they have not read the reports rightly? 

Anyway, getting back to the point, multiple surgical procedures had to be performed. I did not know what to expect when I woke up from this procedure.

The surgery took about 5 hours. Oh! Let me tell you, the feeling when you wake up from anesthesia, and pain from IV fluids is no joke. 

Anyway, I am glad the doctor and his team did their job extremely well. Not only did they save all my organs and preserve my fertility, but were patient to answer a hundred of my questions both before and after the surgery. I am 2 months post-op when I write this, but even today, I know they would be prompt to respond to any of my concerns. It’s no exaggeration today if I tell you that I was given a new life. 

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