Over a 10-month period, she made repeated visits to the hospital for her unbearable pain. She had surgery for removal of ovarian cysts (one the size of a grapefruit), followed by a treatment regimen that included pain medication, physical therapy, electrical nerve stimulation and hormone medication injections. Ultimately, Kathleen was diagnosed with severe endometriosis.
In March 2011, when her pain recurred, Kathleen established a relationship with what she refers to as her “pelvic pain heaven” at Carolinas Medical Center- Mercy’s Women’s Center for Pelvic Health. "Between the comprehensive services and amazing team of physicians, therapists, nurses and staff, all of my needs were met," she says. "I’m so glad it’s here in Charlotte." Kathleen credits them with enabling her to live her life without pain controlling her every thought.
OB/GYN Elizabeth Morgan, MD, and physical therapist Shannon Cormier, PT, DPT, specialize in pelvic pain and care for patients at the Women’s Center for Pelvic Health. Both were instrumental in Kathleen’s ability to manage her pain. "Dr. Morgan was understanding, compassionate and a wonderful patient advocate. She saved my life. She’s my angel," Kathleen says, enthusiastically. "And I give Shannon credit, too, for helping me work through my pain so I’m able to live a quality life."
Dr. Stepp performed a four-and-a- half-hour, robot-assisted surgery. "Because of Dr. Stepp’s skill level and the technology he used, he was able to remove the endometriosis completely," says Kathleen. The work she did with Shannon prepared her for the surgery and helped her recover quickly. "I was up on my feet the following day!" she adds.
Today, Kathleen is enjoying life again. She and her husband, Ben, are enjoying concerts and trips to the dog park with their Brittany spaniel, Bella. They entertain guests in their home again and Kathleen has returned to her volunteer work with the Junior League at Levine Children’s Hospital doing crafts with the children.
"I feel fantastic,” Kathleen says. "The biggest thing is that I can enjoy life again. I’m not controlled by my pain." Her advice to others suffering from pelvic pain: "Sometimes you need to take control of your own health. You know your body better than anyone else. If something feels wrong, seek professional help."