In a new episode of [unscripted], Lisa Elliot talks about being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29 and later, after going through treatment, experiencing vaginal dryness and pain during sex, until she found the Mona Lisa Touch, a non-invasive laser treatment only available at The Christ Hospital and it changed everything.
This is Lisa's story, in their own words ... unscripted.
I grew up in a very small town in Ohio, Camden Ohio. I went to school at Miami University. I earned an undergraduate and a Master's degree. Then I went to law school out on the east coast. I came back to Ohio because, I love it. My family and friends are here. And actually, two weeks after I opened my law practice, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was 29. I actually experienced some symptoms, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, that doesn't seem normal, so I should probably go see a doctor." And thankfully, I had a great doctor who didn't belittle the symptoms, which I have definitely heard from other people that their doctors will say, "Well your 29, your too young to have breast cancer." And they'd kind of ignore it. I had a fantastic doctor who said, "Yes. We definitely need to check this out."
I was very lucky it was caught very early. So, I first had surgery to remove the cancer. And then I went through radiation. And then I took Tamoxifen for a little over five years. The Tamoxifen, although I think it's a great product, does have a lot of side effects especially for somebody who is pre-menopausal. And when the Tamoxifen sort of, stops that systemic estrogen in your body, there's a host of things that come with that including hot flashes and vaginal atrophy, which is the biggest side effect that I had experienced.
I was so very fortunate that one of my closest friends is an OBGYN, and my doctor. I went to see her at the time and said, "You know, I'm having dryness and it's painful and I can't have sex. I mean, it's abnormally painful." And I said, "We need to fix this. What are my options?" And she said, "Well, there's not a lot out there." At the time, because most of the treatments were oral treatment pills that you could take, but all had estrogen or some form of a hormone, which I wasn't eligible to take because I had a history of breast cancer which was estrogen receptor positive.
So, I just sort of had to deal with it for awhile. And it probably was maybe a year or two after I had initially brought that up to my doctor when she came to me saying, "there is another doctor in our hospital and he's doing this study. They're looking for participants in this study and I think this might help." And it was the study for the Mona Lisa Touch. I called Dr. Mickey Karram's office and told them, "I'm having this side effect from the estrogen", and so they welcomed me into the study. There was no pain with the treatment at all. There was just a little sensation of vibration and I went home and a few days went by and I thought, "I think that might have worked." I felt like there may be some activity down there, there might be some lubrication. And the dryness wasn't as bad and the pain wasn't as bad.
Then when I went in for my second treatment, after that I thought, "Well, there's no doubt that this actually works", because I just saw such a huge difference, and I was really excited about the treatment at that point in time. And by the time I had my third treatment I felt 100 percent better. It was like I had never taken the Tamoxifen at all.
I think that there's a stigma that is attached to talking about something so private, and especially when women think, "well it's probably just me and this shouldn't be wrong with me", because they don't hear about it on the news. They don't see it on social media. I want to get the word out there that this is available, and for more women young, old, in a variety of life circumstances, to know that this is something that you should be able to talk about. It's embarrassing, but everybody, it seems like, experiences this at some point in life. And there is a treatment for it. Hopefully other women can look at me and think, "Well, if she can say it on camera and she can say it to the whole world, then maybe, just maybe, I can tell my own doctor about it."
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