Beyond the Surface: How I Found Out I Have Endometriosis

endo awareness Mar 01, 2024

Heyyy! I'm Kelley

—a Holistic Health Coach, Physical Therapist, and Endo Warrior. I’m happy you are here! To kick off my very first blog post, I can't think of a better way than sharing my personal journey and how I came to discover that I had endometriosis. Let’s get to it...


That one terrible Saturday in August 2022

It was a perfect day for the pool and my friend invited me over to hang at her new place. It was the 2nd day of my period so I decided to put in a tampon — which I rarely ever used because they never felt comfortable (endo sign!). But I had a super cute pool fit and refused to let my period stop me from a good time. 

As I was putting my finishing touches to getting ready, my cramps started to get bad, real bad. I took a moment to sit down and thought to myself, “What is going on?! Maybe it’s the tampon? Yep, definitely the tampon.” I decided to remove it and see if the pain would subside.


5 min later…


The pain was worse!!! It was clear that going to the pool was no longer an option.  Michael, my husband, was planning to take me but I had to tell him to forget it—There was no way I could make it. Instead, I rushed to fill the bathtub, knowing that it was my go-to place to find relief from the pain. The bathtub had always worked its magic for my gut pain, and I was counting on it to do so once again.

 My hubz said he was heading to Chipotle to get some food and would be back soon. I was now alone. 


10 minutes in.


While waiting for the tub to fill, I decided to grab some Advil, even though it was something I typically avoided during my period. I had endured gastrointestinal issues for over two years (endo sign!) prior to this moment and was well aware of the potential harm that NSAIDs like Advil and ibuprofen could cause to the gut lining. However, this was an emergency!

I gently lowered myself into the bathtub that I had filled with epsom salt and lavender essential oil to help me relax. With my eyes closed, I initiated my deep breathing techniques. However, after just two breaths, it became unbearable. Relaxation was out of reach, and staying still seemed impossible. The pain was escalating to levels I didn't even know were possible. 


15 minutes in.


I wasn't experiencing nausea, but the pain had become so overwhelming that my entire system felt overloaded. I hurried out of the bathtub and started to vomit. Personally, throwing up just makes me feel worse! At this point, I was in tears, feeling incredibly weak, and, to top it off, the pain remained relentless and at full throttle.

I was certain that I had threw up the ibuprofen I had just taken. Great. I somehow managed to make my way to the kitchen to get more Advil. I took another dose. 

Shortly after, I found myself vomiting due to the excruciating pain, AGAIN. This time, I couldn't gather the strength to stand up. Instead, I crawled my way into the guest bedroom, conveniently close to the bathroom. I just wanted to lie down on the carpet, hoping for relief as I patiently waited for the medicine to kick in.


20 minutes in.


Lying on my back on the floor, I resorted to techniques that had provided relief in the past. I focused on controlling my thoughts, visualizations of a future version of myself free from pain, tears, and lightheadedness.  It helped a little, at least I was able to stay in one position.

 I just kept telling myself, "Michael is coming home soon, Kelley, everything will be okay." Simultaneously, I was just praying I didn’t pass out. 

 The idea of heading to the emergency room crossed my mind, but truthfully, I didn't have much faith in our healthcare system. I questioned what they could really do. While I was enduring the worst pain of my life, I just didn't feel like I was in a life-threatening situation, so I ruled that option out.


30 minutes in.


I couldn't wait any longer and called Michael, anxiously asking, "Where are you?!" He calmly replied, "I'm at Chipotle, sitting down eating." NEVER in the history of knowing my husband has he ever sat in chipotle to eat his food!! Lol Like really?  I think that maybe it was meant to be this way. If he had seen me at my worst, he probably would have completely freaked out. I told him to please come home.

By the time he arrived, the Advil had started to take effect, and my pain had decreased from a 10/10 to around 8/10, a level I could tolerate but that still caused discomfort. Mind you, I still had absolutely no idea what or why this was happening. 



The Aftermath

The pain lingered for exactly 10 days.

I remember because my period ended but the pain continued.  It was so awful, I feared I would have to live with it. (which a lot of endo women do). I had severe pelvic pain, I walked around like I had a stick up my butt, constantly guarding the area and using a heat pad around the clock. Laughing, coughing, sneezing - any of that was excruciating.

I didn't want to eat because I could literally feel everything moving through my system and it felt like a sharp knife just twisting through my intestines.  Bowel movements were so painful, I could barely stay seated. And then on day 10 I woke up and the pain was gone. Praise the Lord!


I later discovered that I had experienced an ovarian cyst rupture. Now, I will never actually know how large that cyst was but it was large enough to still have a significant amount of fluid in my pelvic cavity even 4 weeks after it happened! 

My gynocologist performed an ultrasound that also revealed cysts on both ovaries. Further testing was needed to determine what type of cyst I had. The MRI revealed a 10cm cyst on my left ovary, which is about the size of a grapefruit! The type of cyst was "chocolate filled" indicating it was an Endometrioma, which is highly associated with Endometriosis. 

This was the moment I was officially diagnosed with Endometriosis. 



The Long Road to Diagnosis


I visited my primary doctor due to close periods (21 days instead of 28). She suggested monitoring for six months before considering birth control—a solution I wasn't keen on.

 Have you ever heard: "Just take birth control." 



I experienced heavy bleeding (a pad every 2 hours), chills, and faint feeling. I was not on my period. The gynecologist couldn't determine the cause but gave me medication to stop the bleeding. The report said a cyst ruptured, even though the doctor never directly told me this. An ultrasound revealed a small left ovarian cyst, doctor reported this was normal.

Have you ever heard: "This is normal."



I faced extreme pain and cramping, out of nowhere, while working. Again, I was not on my period. I thought why go to the gyno? They provided no solutions last time. 

Have you ever felt like: "What's the point?"



I labeled it a “flare-up.” I had 3 gastrointestinal attacks in 3 months! Essentially, it was sharp, pulsating pain in my upper stomach area,  accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and going back and forth from diarrhea to constipation. Freaked my entire family out. I went to 2 different GI doctors. Both gave me PPI medications, that did not help. I discontinued my visits when I felt like they were just treating me like a chronic patient. 

Have you experienced persistent digestive issues like constipation, IBS, reflux, bloating, nausea and diarrhea?



Visited my primary doctor to discuss same issues: GI issues, infertility, period problems - we did full blood work. Tested my gall bladder which was normal. She said I was normal and healthy

Have you had generic labs from your doctor come back "normal"?



Tried Acupuncture for what was now constant GI pain and painful periods. Suspected polyp. No improvement after 2 months.

What alternative therapies have you tried?



Sought a new gynecologist referred by a friend due to infertility after trying for 6 months. Mentioned GI problems, but the doctor was adamant there was no connection. I also reported how frequent my periods were and how I spotted several days before and after. She insisted this was unrelated.

Have you ever had a medical professional not look at the whole picture?


Early 2022

Followed up with my gynecologist. All lab results came back normal. Ironically, her ultrasound machine was out of service that day. She advised me to focus on my husband at this point.

Have you heard over and over "everything is normal"?


Late 2022

The story I shared above ultimately leading to my Endometriosis diagnosis.


That's five years of evident signs and symptoms that I consulted medical professionals for, yet they couldn't provide a diagnosis.

  • 2 Primary Care Doctors
  • 3 Gynecologists
  • 2 GastroIntestinal Doctors

I don't tell this to scare you. I am sharing this to raise awareness on the importance of advocating for yourself and the power of your own intuition!



Facts about Endometriosis  


Time to Empower! 

I've made a conscious decision that my journey isn't just about me. I believe it's part of God’s bigger plan for me to support women facing similar health struggles,  and help them realize that things can get better!!  You can take control of your health and I’m here to teach you how.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I've had the privilege of connecting with many women who, like me, have their own endometriosis journey. Throughout these years, I've been dedicated to prioritizing my health and well-being, exploring ways to alleviate pain, optimize my health, and maintain my physique. My own struggles led me to becoming a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach. 

I've been fortunate to help numerous women in achieving their physique goals and embracing healthier lifestyles. I've also supported women in alleviating their gut-related symptoms. However, when I received my endometriosis diagnosis, I temporarily paused my coaching journey to focus on ME.  

This diagnosis hit hard, and acceptance has been a challenge. But now, I'm in a much better place and ready to share my entire journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I aim to share holistic healing strategies that helped me when our healthcare system couldn't.


If you found this post valuable, please share it. Let's raise awareness about endo!

If you know someone facing similar struggles, please pass it along. If you'd like to share your own story, please message me. I plan to feature Endo Warriors on my blog.


 Lastly, drop a prayer, meditation or visualization for my spirit babies to come Earthside :)




Join the EmpowerHer Community

Sign up for our exclusive email list to receive the latest tips, empowering content, updates and more!

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.