We at Let’s Talk Period recognize that experiencing abnormal or excessive bleeding feels life-consuming for many women. Unfortunately, it’s not a widely discussed topic, leaving the women who suffer feeling alone and unsure of their options.
Which is why we are thrilled to talk to Pamela*, who recently came to be a patient of Dr. Paula James. She shared her story about how she found Let’s Talk Period and how taking the Self-BAT set her on the path to ask the right questions. With new information and a new outlook, she was able to find the answers she needed to obtain a diagnosis and the treatment she needed.
You are a relatively new patient of Dr. James. Tell me how that came to be?
I had bleeding problems my whole life – nosebleeds, easy bruising, gum bleeding whenever I would go to the dentist – and when I was old enough to have periods, they were heavy.
I went to my doctor in my mid to late twenties to discuss my heavy periods. I was basically told it was expected that my periods would be heavy as I was getting older and had given birth.
Were you happy with that response?
I wasn’t happy with that response. I was bleeding longer than most people I knew – almost half the month. It was so heavy and painful, it was almost debilitating.
So, what happened next?
Nothing happened for a while. But a few years after hemorrhaging quite badly following the birth of my first child, I found myself talking to a friend about that experience and my other symptoms.
When I told my friend about it she said I should take my printout from the Self-BAT to my family doctor and ask to be referred to Dr. James, which is what I did.
How did your doctor respond to your request for referral to Dr. James?
She was familiar with Dr. James and said she thought that was a reasonable idea, so she sent in the referral. She didn’t mind me asking to be referred, but I don’t think she would have come to that idea on her own.
Around that time, I was also seeing a gynecologist for pain with my periods and was diagnosed with endometriosis. I mentioned the +BS result from the Self-BAT to them as well, and they seconded the referral to Dr. James for the heavy bleeding.
Once you had your appointment and investigations done with Dr. James, you were diagnosed with Type 1 VWD. What has this diagnosis meant for you?
It really improved my quality of life. I was found to be iron deficient and had treatment for that – now, my iron levels are back to normal. Since I know that I am susceptible to that and I know why, I can keep an eye on it.
Dr. James and my gynaecologist worked together to find a treatment to stop the excessive bleeding from my periods, and that treatment also improved my pain. I have changed the way I was managing my nosebleeds and am no longer getting 2-3 per week. I feel like bleeding is no longer taking over my life.
In terms of your children, how do you think your diagnosis will affect them?
They are still quite young and they are very needle phobic, so we have decided not to test them for VWD yet – unless they have an invasive procedure coming up. However, I am hoping that if they do end up getting diagnosed with VWD, it will prevent them from having problems with bleeding like I did all my life.
Overall, how do you feel about things with your bleeding these days?
I feel very lucky to have found this website and to have taken the Self-BAT, and that I was diagnosed with Type 1 VWD.
I struggled with bleeding my whole life, but it wasn’t until I took the Self-BAT that I thought “yeah, I’ve had that”. The result I got from the test came back so high that I put it all together.
I’m not sure if my bleeding disorder would have been recognized without the Self-BAT. I am very happy to have the diagnosis and knowing that my bleeding can be managed going forward. The treatment I received since my diagnosis has been life changing.
Thank you for sharing Pamela!
It’s always wonderful to hear about how Let’s Talk Period has given many people answers to questions they have about their bleeding. We recently received a message on our Facebook page that was so great to hear,
“I wanted to share with you a good news story about your Self-BAT exam.A coworker of mine at my day job has endometriosis and spoke a lot about bruising easily. I encouraged her to take your test, which indicated that she could have an underlying bleeding disorder.
She got tested straight away and has been formally diagnosed with von Willebrand disease. Your exam really empowered her to insist on getting this looked into. She said to pass along her thanks!”
*The identity of our participants are kept confidential and all names have been changed to ensure their privacy.
To learn more about effective treatments or to continue the conversation, please get in touch with us by writing to us at the bottom of our website homepage.