The pain began suddenly and inexplicably in my groin in 2003, an intense feeling of burning, stabbing pins and needles. All the tests including an MRI showed nothing pathological. Even laproscopic surgery ruled out the usual female problems. The pain became worse. I could not believe it when my gynecologist said to me, “I am sorry. There is nothing more I can do for you.” This began a desperate journey to find the right doctor and pain relief. I was suicidal with pain…literally stopping myself from driving full speed into stone walls. The nerve pain was severe, causing anguish in all areas of my life and kept me from continuing my work as a reporter and anchor in Los Angeles.
Narcotic pain medications made me sick. For almost a year, the pain was so unremitting that I ended up in the emergency room. After two and a half years, a neurosurgeon performed a neuroplasty that released the scar tissue wrapped around a pelvic nerve but left me with peripheral neuropathy in the area.
So little is known about women’s pain issues, it is with great vigor that I join the fight to help. Had I not been tenacious, I might not have seen this day. “It’s not in my head: it’s in my body and it hurts! “
I’m happy to report that after several years of alternative medicine and physical therapy, my pain level has been greatly reduced. I can manage it. Every woman should have the right to excellent treatment. We need to learn more, do more, and empower ourselves to feel well and as pain-free as possible.
Tiiu Leek was born and raised in Canada by Estonian immigrant parents. Tiiu (pronounced tee-you) began her career as a model and actress. She traveled extensively throughout the world before settling in Los Angeles in the late 1970s where a stint as a roving reporter for a CBS-TV series “That’s My Line” prompted her return to school and journalism. She became an award-winning KTLA News reporter and anchor. She left the news biz to spend more time with her family but in 2003 started experiencing pain in her right groin.
She says, “The frustrating thing was that once the doctors could no longer find anything pathologically wrong, I was pretty much left to live on opiates (which make me nauseous and dizzy) until the pain made me desperate. Numerous doctors, visits to the emergency room, countless trigger point injections, epidurals, pain medications, varying diagnoses and battles with insurance, have truly tested my strength, but I refuse to succumb to a lifetime of chronic pain. With For Grace, my goal is to empower other women in pain to find their voice.”