A Sherwood Park woman is using her painful past dealing with a medical condition as motivation to help others.
Prenaka Ram knows all about pain.
For years, the woman suffered severe ab pains due to a condition called endometriosis.
“It would be so painful, you’d be hitting the ground almost clenching your teeth, become a ball and just want to cry. After awhile it just got more and more intense,” Ram says.
“To live with pain, it’s not just a physical thing, it’s mental, it’s emotional and it’s virtually just affects you in every way possible.”
Endometriosis occurs when tissue which lines the uterus grows outside the uterus, which can cause severe pain and in some cases – infertility.
Ram says she had to undergo surgery every six to 12 months to try to remove the tissue.
“What happens with endometriosis is it grows and it spreads. The more it grows, the more it spreads, the more painful it gets and the more hard it is to control,” Ram said.
“So going through surgery every six months to a year helps to clean that up and keep you going so I did that but after about two or three years the pain was getting worse.”
Ram says her endometriosis affected her work. She says she often had to call in sick because of the pain.
“You’re literally having what I call attacks,” she said.
She was sent to a chronic pain specialist and put on medication.
“For about two to three years I was on very strong medications. When I think about it now, it kind of scares me a little bit,” Ram said.
“I’m surprised I even remembered my name.”
Ram says while her friends were having babies, she was dealing with infertility.
“It’s not always easy to answer people, why we don’t have children,” she said.
After the emotional toll of surgeries and medications, Ram decided enough was enough – and she underwent a hysterectomy – surgery to remove her uterus.
After that, Ram opened up the Namaste Wellness & Day Spa with her husband as a way to help others.
“I got certified as a massage therapist, started by my journey helping people, coaching people and now I have this beautiful spa I’ve created,” she said.
“We focus on helping people who are suffering with pain. It doesn’t have to be endometriosis, it could be MS, it could be fibro, it could be anything.”
No 'new, new' treatments
Endocrinologist Dr. David Cumming says it’s estimated about 2 per cent of women are affected by endometriosis. It’s also suggested that endometriosis is the cause of about 20 per cent of infertility.
There’s no cure for the condition and although there are treatments to help deal with endometriosis, Dr. Cumming says no significantly new treatments are being developed.
“Most of the drugs that have been around have been around for a long time. We’re not getting any new, new drugs. They’re just variations on old drugs,” Cumming said.
“There’s nothing startling different to treat endometriosis. We’re still stuck with drugs that block estrogen, reduce estrogen, shut off the reproductive system. We haven’t really gotten much beyond that.”
Ram says it hasn’t been an easy journey and although dealing with infertility was difficult, she says she did end up having a baby – her spa.
“If I had children I wouldn’t’ be able to do what I’m doing today. I’m completely dedicated to helping others,” Ram said.
“I have my beautiful spa. This is my baby. She’s crawling right now and one day she’s going to walk. We’re very happy.”
With files from Carmen Leibel