At this time last year, things were completely different in my life. I was completing my undergraduate degree at home just a couple months into the pandemic while trying to manage my endometriosis on my own. Soon after graduating with my Bachelor’s in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Exercise Science, I had an idea of what I wanted to pursue next, but wasn’t sure exactly how to get there. Last April-May, I decided to enroll in a master’s program in order to help me decide what I was going to do next. I was excited for my new degree program and wanted to make sure I took part in as many opportunities as possible to start finding what I love. One opportunity was being an ultrasound model for medical students and emergency medicine residents. This sounded so cool to me, and I quickly signed up. My first ultrasound model class was in September 2020. I went in and the doctor running the class explained to me what I needed to do, and in a few minutes I was learning about ultrasound imaging as doctors, residents, and medical students practiced their imaging by scanning me. As one of the residents was scanning my abdomen, he paused. The doctor in the room noticed and said, “It looks like you have a cyst on your left ovary, did you just have a period?” I responded No, and explained to him and the students that my periods are pretty irregular and that I was suspected to have endometriosis. They moved on and continued scanning different organs until the class was over. After the students left the room, the doctor came back in with one of his colleagues, and told me he wanted to look at the cyst again. There I was trying to participate in an interesting opportunity, and it was now about me, my periods, and my pain AGAIN. Both doctors looked at my cyst on the imaging screen, explaining to me that it did not look like a simple cyst, and that I should go get it checked. They asked me if I had any pain recently, and I basically said that I have pain all of the time, so any pain related to the cyst on my left side I just considered a normal part of my day to day life – I didn’t think anything of it. I left the class unsure of what the cyst would mean for my health, but it also made me realize how long I had just been accepting my pain. Two months later, I went and got my uterus, ovaries, and the cyst scanned again. I then saw an endometriosis specialist who told me the cyst needed removed. He actually told me if I was older and fertility was not a concern, he would have just removed my left ovary all together. So in November 2020, I was scheduled for surgery in February 2021 to have the cyst removed along with any other endometriosis they could find. The surgery was a success! It was confirmed that I have endometriosis and my surgeon was able to remove the cyst while preserving my left ovary. Fast forward to today, my pain has significantly decreased over the last few months – not completely gone, but an immense improvement. Not only did I gain answers and options concerning my health this last year, but I also made advancements towards my own personal goals. At the end of February 2021, just weeks after my surgery, I was accepted into medical school. I am beyond excited to begin working towards my goal of becoming a doctor after I complete my Master’s in Biomedical Sciences this June. Oh yeah, AND I started my blog this year! Looking back, so much has happened – I am in a completely different place with a new direction and motivation today compared to this time last year. I’m managing my endometriosis now, I’m about to complete grad school, and I am going to start medical school so soon! It just goes to show how much can change in a year.
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