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Knowing is half the battle: Diagnosis of endometriosis leads to treatment options for patient
Shakopee resident Erica knows a thing or two about what it takes to care for someone.

As a Personal Care Assistant, Erica spends most of her time caring for her brother, who has mental disabilities, and her father who has several health issues.

She also has a family of her own that includes a husband and two young girls. You could say time comes at a premium.

A recent diagnosis of endometriosis meant that precious time was now needed to be spent in a doctor’s office. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that typically is inside a woman’s uterus grows outside the uterus. The only way to accurately diagnosis endometriosis is to undergo exploratory laparoscopic surgery, a procedure in which a surgeon makes a tiny incision near the navel and inserts a slender viewing instrument (laparoscope), searching for the tissue outside the uterus. This technique is also known as minimally invasive surgery because it involves small incisions, allowing for fewer scars and an easier recovery.

Fairview Ridges Hospital is the only hospital in Minnesota to be designated a Center of Excellence for minimally invasive gynecologic surgery by the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Accolades aside, all Erica was concerned with was getting better.

“With endometriosis, you can feel like your entire lower half is in a vice and you feel like your top half is going to fall off,” she says. “That pain is something that I’ve always dealt with.
Doctors before would just say ‘Well, that’s just your period. It hurts and you have to deal with it.’”

That changed when Erica met with a Fairview OB/GYN doctor.

“I used to manage the pain. But it got to the point when I realized I don’t have to be in pain and why not try to figure out why I’m in pain? And when I met with my Fairview doctor, she knew exactly what to do and she’s taking care of it for me,” Erica says.

While there is no cure for endometriosis, it can be treated with medicine, surgery, hormone therapy or a combination of all three.

Today, Erica is on a treatment plan and feels confident that she is getting the best care possible for her condition.

“It’s almost like Fairview Ridges is a home to me,” she says. “I’ve been going there since I was 11 years old. The comfort and the care that I get there is something I can’t get anywhere else.”

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