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Success Stories

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Allaire and the team that performed surgery for me…. You have an excellent team of doctors, nurses, and staff…who made me feel at ease when I came in that morning. I felt I was having the best care possible and each person I was in contact [with] made a positive impact in how I felt and in the surgery going well.

Thank you for all your care, expertise, and professionalism before, during, and after the surgery. From my first and preoperative appointments, you answered my questions and provided information…in helping me make the right decision to go ahead with surgery. I felt confident having you as my surgeon…. You also have a wonderful team of people in your office including the nurses Victoria and Cathy, Teresa, and others who have been outstanding in caring and being helpful and made my preoperative appointments very pleasant….With this surgery, I no longer have to worry about heavy periods, my fibroids getting larger, and being anemic.

Thank you very much for being my doctor, for your advice, and care before and after the surgery. Having you as my doctor made it so much easier to make the decision I needed and I can’t thank you enough!

~ Anonymous, 2015

My decision to undergo a complete hysterectomy was one filled with many emotions, questions and tears. I had been living with debilitating pelvic pain for almost ten years accompanied by five miscarriages and countless tests and surgeries that all came back inconclusive as to what was causing the pain and the pregnancy loss.

My family doctor referred me to the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and for the first time in my life I felt that I had found ears to listen and hearts to care for the pain that was my life. I learned that I had stage 4 endometriosis and that I was peri-menopausal at 38 years of age. Once the devastation passed from learning we would not conceive a child, the options were discussed as to how to heal from the pelvic pain. The counselor, nurses, and doctors helped me understand and process the decision that a complete hysterectomy was the best option for me. Their kindness and understanding was unparalleled to any other medical professional I have ever encountered. The entire surgery was performed laparoscopically using four small incisions throughout my abdomen removing all endometriosis and scar tissue from previous surgeries.

I was amazed at my recovery… after only one night in hospital, I am now 9 weeks post-surgery and have had no return of pelvic pain. I am on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and am in the process of restructuring my life to remove stress and live a holistic, healthy, and balanced lifestyle. Not only did the Centre for Pelvic Pain perform a surgical miracle, but they have given me a new life filled with possibilities and freedom from pelvic pain. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this clinic and am so thankful to the team of women who looked after me.

~ SB, 2013
For 4 years, my husband and I struggled to have a baby. We wanted it more than anything else in life, and despite our best efforts, we slowly, as the years went by, gave up hope. We were both young, I was only 28 when we started trying and he was 30. We were healthy and didn’t smoke or drink. We had what doctors seemed to call ‘unexplained infertility.’

In the first two years of trying I had had 3 miscarriages very early on (before 6 weeks), and then no conception at all for another almost two years. I couldn’t figure out what was more painful; the miscarriages, or not being able to conceive. During this time, I had been tested for almost everything and always, I received the frustrating news that all test results came back fine. The question of endometriosis came up a handful of times and was always dismissed as I didn’t have the classic symptoms and there was no way to test for it without doing the surgery. And since every test I had ever been through came up negative, I assumed this would be the case with endometriosis as well.

Then one day out of the blue, my older cousin in Asia wrote to me. She had recently had a hysterectomy and had received the news that she had had severe endometriosis that also had gone undiagnosed, and which explained the many years of infertility she had experienced. She begged me to go and get the surgery. I did as she suggested.

It was about a 6 month wait to have the surgery. I was doubtful that anything would be found, and in the meantime my husband and I decided to start the adoption process.

I remember waking up from the surgery, and in my groggy state, my husband telling me that they had found endometriosis on my ovaries and my uterus, that the surgery had been successful and it had all been removed. My eyes welled up with tears. Four years of pain and heartache finally explained. I was overjoyed as all of this time I had been so desperate to find out what was behind our unexplained infertility. I felt vindicated.

Looking back, I now realize that my periods had been very painful for years.  I just assumed that that was normal.

~ NA, 2012
I had struggled with cysts on my ovary for 15 years. The pain was a constant in my life. In 2008, after four surgeries to remove cysts and tumours from my right ovary, the decision was made to remove the ovary altogether.  It was no longer viable.  When this decision was made, I was extremely scared that I wouldn’t be able to have children. Dr Williams assured me over and over that the remaining ovary was viable and I should have no issues conceiving. She even showed me the ultrasound image of my ovary with lots of healthy eggs.  Still, I was not convinced that all would be ok. I looked into freezing my eggs, but  didn’t end up pursuing any fertility treatment options.

When my partner and I finally decided we were ready to try for a child, I did not hold my breath that we would be successful.  We were not yet married but I felt I had no time to waste.  I had my IUD removed in April of 2011 and I became pregnant in September or the same year. I was certainly surprised at how quickly it happened.  I now have a happy, healthy 8 month old. We will try for another in the fall, once we actually get married!!

 ~ SB, 2013
For years I have struggled with chronic pain along with a host of other various illnesses, and had lost hope that my life would get better than what it was. I constantly felt that doctors didn’t care about how much pain I was in, and because they couldn’t explain it, they just blamed it on my medical history. The only offer to keep me ‘comfortable’ was narcotics, and I didn’t want to live my life that way.

My family doctor referred me to the Pelvic Pain Clinic in the hopes that they could offer more. My first appointment at the clinic was with Dr. Allaire, and after meeting her I felt something I hadn’t felt for years: hope. Dr. Allaire listened to me with such intent that I knew she actually heard what I was saying. Her bedside manner is out of this world. She always kept me informed, and explained everything in a way that I could understand it. Dr. Allaire introduced me to the other team members that would be working with me, and came up with a game plan for treatment; that for once didn’t include narcotics!

 I’ve had the privilege to meet with Dr. Lau, Dr. Chen, and Susannah Britnell. Dr. Lau started my prolotherapy, and took the time to teach others how to do it. I’m thrilled that she did, and find it very impressive that the other doctors took the time to learn. They are bettering themselves as doctors, and making an amazing treatment available to those of us who suffer and want more than just a pill to dull the senses.

I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better since coming to the pain clinic. I feel like I’m living life again and that I have control over my health. It no longer has control of me.

~ HR, 2012
When I was referred to Dr. Christina Williams at the Pelvic Pain Clinic I was in a very dark place. I had been suffering with debilitating pain for several years, had been diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, and was on too many prescription medications to count. I was not living, just surviving, and I was quickly losing hope. I had been to many doctors and specialists and was given medications that attempted to treat my symptoms, but in actuality caused more problems than the diseases themselves. In my heart I knew there had to be another way, because I could not bear to go on as I was– Dr. Williams was my light at the end of the tunnel. She correctly diagnosed my endometriosis, and she exhibited so much care and compassion for me not just as a patient, but as a woman, that it gave me new hope.

Our journey together was several years, two surgeries, and many treatments long. In this time she helped me to realize that the body and mind are not separate, that what we believe about ourselves can be physically manifested, that we need to take charge of our bodies and our lives for true change to occur, and, that there is always, always hope.

I chose a holistic path to healing- daily yoga practice, a healthy diet, proper rest, and most importantly- a lot of self-love. I no longer take any form of pain medication. I just started my own business and live a full and very active life. And on my last check in with Dr. Williams, I was declared endometriosis free and fully able to have a baby if I so desire. This is a miracle to me. My life is completely transformed. The compassionate care I received from Dr. Williams and her team helped me to find the strength within to fight for the best quality of life that I could have. It helped me to realize that I was worth it, that my life was worth it. I wish that every woman suffering know that there is hope, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that they are never alone. We all need and deserve this amazing support.

~ BC, 2012
I have suffered from endometriosis all of my adult life. I am 56 years old and have gone through many years of infertility involving testing, drugs, programs, and IVF, here in Vancouver. During this time I was being told that pregnancy would likely cure the endometriosis. Sadly, that never happened. My husband and I now have 2 beautiful adopted girls that are the light of our lives.

I was sent to Dr. Williams as a last effort in finding a way out of what had become an unmanageable chronic pain. Dr. Williams and her Team were compassionate, understanding, very knowledgeable in the field, and willing to explore and discuss with me the different options of treatment. They spent the time I needed to understand what they needed to do and showed me pictures before and after the operation for further explanation. Their care during my stay in the hospital as well as in the office was exemplary.

Today, I am pain free thanks to Dr. Williams and the Pelvic Pain/ Endometriosis Care Team, for their care and treatment of endometriosis. My family and I are forever grateful to them.

~ LC, 2012
I have suffered from pelvic pain for over three years, with the last year being the most difficult. In the last year the pelvic pain I was experiencing began to significantly affect all aspects of my life. I have a demanding career in law enforcement from which I have had to repeatedly take significant amounts of time off.  I had to put off my fitness goals because I was unable to train. My support system has really been put to the test.  

My pain was chronically debilitating me. Over the span of three years I have attended numerous doctors’ appointments with various specialists, all of which have resulted in the same conclusion: “your pain is unexplainable”; “the test/scans are all normal”. It was a relief to know that everything was “normal” but frustrating that my pain was not recognized. I have lost count of the number of times I have been to the emergency room in agonizing pain. I was fortunate enough to have a family physician who did take my pain seriously and was determined to get me to the right specialists.  Early 2012 I became a patient at the Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis.

For the first time in three years I was able to describe my pain and symptoms to a medical professional who actually seemed to understand what I was describing.  Dr. Yong and Dr. Williams suspected that I had endometriosis and after numerous attempts to relieve the pain with various medications I was scheduled for a laparoscopy.  The surgical procedure confirmed that I had stage one endometriosis (which was removed).  I had hoped that after recovering from the surgery I would be cured and back to living pain free, however that was not the case. Though physiologically the problem was removed, I was still experiencing pain. My post- surgical follow up appointment with Dr. Williams was probably one of my most difficult appointments. I was depressed and feeling hopeless even though I did not want to admit it.  At Dr. Williams’ suggestion, I made an appointment with Holly Yager, the counsellor on the team.

I was critical about seeing Holly I had the mind- set that if an endless list of medications and a surgical procedure could not help me then how could she?  I already had an amazing support system of friends and family, I did not think speaking to a counsellor would be of any help.  I went to see Holly when I was at my rock bottom.  I felt defeated and broken to say the least. I sat in her office attempting to fight back tears while I actually voiced what I was feeling.  Holly made me recognize how little compassion I had for myself and what I was going through. 
She made suggestions for ways I could help myself to learn how to cope with my feelings and pain. Initially I had thought that there was no way any of her suggestions could actually be effective but when I actually tried I was greatly surprised. I can’t put into words how much Holly helped me. She saved me from my negative head space that was taking over and feeding the pain that I was experiencing. She made me aware of the power I had within myself to cope and overcome this. I can’t not stress enough how critical her role is in the Centre.

I may not be 100% pain free yet, but I am on a good road to recovery. I still have good days and bad days but I have better learned to cope with those bad days. The small groups have been informative and comforting to know that I am not the only one facing this.

I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to be treated at the Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis.  The Centre has a team of amazing medical professionals who I am thankful for.  I set a fitness goal a year ago to compete in a fitness show in 2012.  Five months ago this goal was unattainable with the amount of pain I was in that interrupted my training.

Today I am extremely proud to say that in Fall 2012 despite all the physical and emotional obstacles I have face I will step on stage among other athletes and part of this I owe to Holly, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Yong.

Thank You.

~ RB, 2012
Three years of my life was wasted on an indescribable amount of pain. I was 15 years old when this started. The doctors used a scale of 1-10 and I would tell them I was off that scale. Over the span of 3 years I’ve had an appendectomy, two colonoscopies, Botox injections, various narcotic pain medication prescriptions, and a barium swallow test. I saw a pain psychologist to help manage the pain, and had many hospital visits dealing with doctors who had no idea what was wrong with me nor how to treat it. I spent 3 years running around chasing a diagnosis I wasn’t sure would ever come.

I had no quality of life. The summer of grade 10 was spent in and out of the hospital and in grade 11 I was taught by a hospital homebound teacher because I couldn’t move. I could not get out of bed without assistance. Sometimes I had to crawl on the floor the pain was so excruciating. I was told that it would pass and that exercise and Advil and Tylenol would make it better. The more exercise I tried to do, the worse the pain became and that meant more time in bed. To play one inning of softball landed me a 3 day stay in bed unable to move and in tears.

I had doctors insinuate that the pain was all in my head, but I was told to not ever believe that, there was something wrong and somehow we were going to prove it. All the medications I had been on built up resistance in my system and every heavy duty narcotic drug I tried to control the pain so I could enjoy some part of life, failed.

Finally I got referred to Dr. Williams and the Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis at BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre. Doctor Williams and the Team at the Centre are specialists in Endometriosis and I owe my life to them. Dr. Williams was shocked by all the previous attempts at treating the endo that I had undergone. These included Biofeedback, Botox injections, alternative medicine, massage therapy, lupron shots, the pill and again the various pain medications. I was reassured that my case was typical, which I had never been told before. I had been treated as a mysterious undiagnosed case of pain.

Dr. Williams did a laparoscopy and removed the effected endo tissue. There were areas of endometriosis on both sides of my cervix, which were confirmed by the lab. Over a year has gone by now and I have been amazingly pain free. The time right after my surgery was the most incredible thing ever. I had no pain- it was gone. I didn’t need to take any of the recovery pain meds because the recovery discomfort was nothing compared to what I had been feeling. I remember going home that day a little out of it but totally free of pain.

In my 1 year free of Endometriosis, I’ve been able to play softball again, work, spend time with my friends, family and now a boyfriend. I’m slowly getting back into life adjusting to being able live life again pain free. I can do a lot of things now without worrying how much the pain will affect me later. I went from being a girl full of tears and pain to all smiles and good health. I’m extremely happy to report that I am currently still Endo free, though I know there is a chance of reoccurrence. But if that happens I won’t be wasting another 3 years of my life getting treatment. It will all be taken care of as soon as I am able to go back to the Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis program.

My goal in writing this testimonial is to educate doctors. You don’t have to be a specialist in Endo, but if you are aware of the many ways women are affected by endometriosis and how important it is to refer your patients to the program at BC Women’s, you will help them get effective treatment much sooner than I was able to.

I also wanted to write this for other girls like me. Don’t let them push you around and tell you your pain can’t be diagnosed. It can. And don’t let them throw medication at you. It doesn’t always help no matter how strong. If you’re still in pain keep going back to them saying something is wrong. Don’t ever give up. The fight is hard and long but hopefully with this testimonial and all the amazing work of the doctors and the Team at the BC Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis, your time to be in pain will be much shorter than my three years.

~ SH, 2012
From the first day I got my period, when I was twelve, I have been experiencing excruciating pain in my pelvic region. It wasn’t the kind of pain that a couple pain killers could take away. It was back aching, vomiting, passing out, hospitalization, pain that no one could figure out. And it happened for 1-3 days, in waves, every two weeks.

At first it was something that I was embarrassed about because it was something that I was still learning about and didn’t understand. Of course I had the help of my mother through everything, but it was so hard to explain the pain I was going through.

I was 21, and had been on 7 different birth control pills to ease the pain, seen 4 speciality doctors, and the general consensus was that I just ‘got bad cramps’ and that I just ‘had to deal with it’. Finally after two surgeries, I was put in touch with Dr. Williams’ office. That was the change of the rest of my life.

After having 2 or 3 meetings with her we decided that surgery was the next step. One year later, Dr. Williams and her team performed a laparoscopy and ovarian suspension of my right ovary. One year after that, I made an appointment to have a check-up to ensure that everything was going ok. Although I had been experiencing some mild to moderate pains in the pelvic area, it was a huge difference to what I had gone through in previous times.

At my appointment I got to see for myself the difference my right surgery had made. From no eggs inside, shriveled up, glued to my uterus, covered in endometriosis and scar tissue and hard to find in general, to 10 eggs that I helped count out. They were clearly noticeable on the ultrasound screen. My mother, Dr. Williams and I were ecstatic!

Dr. Willams and the Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis helped me more than I could have ever had asked for and I probably would have had a hysterectomy at 22 if I had never met her.  That’s my story.

~ DK, 2012

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