How far would you go for your health? Canadian author Heather King travelled 4,500 miles from Canada to the UK for life changing surgery at The Birmingham Endometriosis Clinic.
Freelance author, children’s writer, and life-long endometriosis sufferer, Heather King decided it was time she took charge of her own narrative, travelling an incredible 4,500 miles from Canada to the The Endometriosis Clinic in Birmingham for life changing surgery.
Despite the physical distance, Heather’s story is all too familiar for many women suffering with endometriosis.
Exasperated and in pain from years of asking for medical advice from doctors but never being properly treated, Heather was in desperate need of an endometriosis professional who knew how to help her, and took her pain seriously.
Wherever I turned I seemed to run into a brick wall. Doctors were either dismissive or arrogant. At one point I was told by one doctor 'do not come and see me again.'
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found in other parts of the body: including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, in or around the bladder or bowel, and even in the lungs.
Endometriosis has a wide variety of symptoms, most commonly including heavy and painful periods as well as digestive issues.
While in Canada, Heather had tried numerous times to be referred to someone who would be able to help her.
I asked my female GP for a referral to the Pelvic and Endometriosis Clinic in Vancouver and discovered she had never heard of it. She actually had to Google it while I was sat in the surgery.Heather King
During her search Heather came across a website centered around endometriosis, where Mr Chris Mann was receiving very positive reviews.
“I arranged a telephone consultation and as soon as I talked to Chris I knew he was the person I had been looking for. He actually listened to what I was saying and convinced me that I was not mad… That I actually had a real medical problem. My first call was on Friday and by Monday I had booked my trip - amazing,” said Heather.
Mr Chris Mann, founder of The Endometriosis Clinic, and based at a number of private hospitals in the Midlands, including Spire Parkway explained: “Endometriosis is a disease that can be extremely debilitating, causing extreme pain in the abdomen and pelvis, chronic fatigue, as well as having a large negative impact on a woman’s fertility.
Endometriosis, a condition that affects women across a variety of ages, is more common than people may think, with 1 in 10 women suffering from the disease.
“It is a condition that can be very difficult to diagnose, usually requiring a laparoscopy to be performed by a gynaecologist with experience and an interest in the disease. As a consequence it takes on average more than seven years between the onset of symptoms before a diagnosis is made.
“During that time these women are often suffering terrible symptoms that have a huge impact on their professional, personal and family lives.
“Patients are often misdiagnosed with other conditions, most commonly irritable bowel syndrome, and are often told to go off and get pregnant, to take large volumes of painkillers that come with significant side effects, or to just “put up with it” as it is “normal for women to have period pain.”Mr Chris Mann, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at The Endometriosis Clinic
“When Heather contacted me, it was soon apparent that she had endometriosis and was keen to have it treated surgically. We arranged for her to come over from Canada and she was in the operating theatre two days later when we were able to cut out all of the endometriosis using key-hole (laparoscopic) surgery so she was quickly up and about and was able to travel back to Canada in just over a week.”
"After three days we had the results of the histopathology assessment that was performed on the tissue we had excised, and this confirmed the presence of endometriosis."
“I think she was relieved to be given this news as it confirmed that she had had the condition and also explained the cause of her long standing symptoms, which have now resolved. Heather can now move on with her life and hopefully lead a pain and fatigue free life.”
Despite paying for flights to and from Solihull, a two week stay following surgery at a top hotel, and the private medical treatment, Heather is convinced that her total outlay was less than treatment alone would have cost in Canada.