Dismiss Modal

Each day, people around the world battle with invisible illnesses and conditions. You may not be able to see their pain or struggles — yet they are there. One person who knows about this all too well is Jessica Jolia.

Jessica is an accomplished artist, producer and songwriter based out of Southern California. She has been living with endometriosis for years now, and it recently landed her in the WakeMed Raleigh Campus Emergency Department.

Understanding Endometriosis

The tissue that lines the uterus is called “endometrium.” This tissue is what builds up over the course of a woman’s regular menstrual cycle. If she does not get pregnant, the tissue is shed.

A woman with endometriosis can develop endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. During each menstrual cycle, this tissue responds like the tissue inside the uterus — it thickens and bleeds. The problem is that since it is outside of the uterus, there is nowhere for the blood to go, and it causes small bleeding inside the pelvis. This can lead to inflammation, swelling and scarring.

Symptoms of a Silent Syndrome

For Jessica, her endometriosis often causes pain in her left side. Some days it is more powerful than others. One of those days with heightened and intensified pain happened to be April 1, 2022 when Jessica was in Raleigh to play a show with the Icelandic Rock band, KALEO.

“I began to experience excruciating pain in my pelvic area on the left side, pain in my inner thigh (left side), and sciatic pain (left side). It became almost unbearable to walk, and the symptoms were [similar to] those I’ve experienced in the past.”

While pain in your abdomen and lower back are symptoms many women with endometriosis experience, those aren’t the only complications that come with the condition. Endometriosis can also cause pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal or heavy flow, infertility, painful urination during periods, painful bowel movements during periods and other gastrointestinal problems.

Seeking Care in a New City

Their concert was scheduled for later that evening at The Ritz, so Jessica knew she needed to see a medical professional in order to perform. Thankfully, Jessica knew someone in Raleigh to turn to for advice.

“I have an aunt whose has lived in the Raleigh area for some years, and [we] have only heard great things about the WakeMed Raleigh Campus.”

So, Jessica visited the WakeMed Raleigh Campus Emergency Department that morning to ask for help, and that’s exactly what she got.

“The treatment I received was exceptional. I was seen right away, and several blood and lab tests were run to determine the cause of the pain. The nurses and doctor checked on me very regularly, and even brought me food to take with the pain medication that was administered.”

Jessica’s test revealed inflammation, and likely an infection, in her colon. This did not come as too much of a shock to her since this area of her body has been previously impacted by endometriosis.

“A previous ovarian cyst had partially become attached [to my colon]. Though a cystectomy was performed in 2019, there was some tissue that could not safely be removed. As such, the area is sensitive and prone to irritation.”

Thankfully a few hours later, Jessica was feeling better and the care team at the emergency department had helped her manage her pain.

The Show Must Go On

As often is the case with these types of conditions, the world doesn’t stop turning when symptoms flare up. Jessica was able to go perform that night at The Ritz wowing the crowd with her incredible vocals. It would be hard to tell that just hours before she had been in the hospital.

“With prayer and a strong will to push forward, I am grateful to be still able to pursue my career.”

Jessica has a bit of advice for anyone living with an illness or condition that impacts their daily life.

“Be kind to yourself, take one day at a time and give yourself credit for all that you accomplish each day. Often, I don’t think we realize how incredible it is to accomplish the little things. Some days, I know just getting out of bed can be a challenge. But when you get up and look at yourself in the mirror, remember to smile because you did it and that’s a big deal.”

About WakeMed Emergency Departments

The WakeMed system of emergency departments is one of the largest and busiest in North Carolina. As a result, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Our doctors are board certified in emergency medicine, are backed by the highest designated Trauma Center available and bring with them the depth of experience that you would expect from the area’s leader in emergency care.

So, rest assured that no matter where it hurts, we’ve got you covered.

Blog URL

WakeMed Health & Hospitals