Johnelle Mercer, 19, who goes by the username @jvhnvllv on TikTok, recently shared her overjoyed response to the news in a video posted to the platform, in which she can be seen lying in a hospital bed as a healthcare worker comes to speak with her.
“They found the reason for your pain that will be able to be treated,” the medical worker can be heard telling Mercer, prompting her to break down in tears and ask: “They did? They really did? You’re not lying to me, they found it? Finally… Can I give her a hug?”
The heartwarming video ends with the healthcare worker informing Mercer that she thinks the doctor is in another surgery.
“Finally finding out that my doctors finally found out the cause of my health issues,” the 19-year-old captioned the TikTok.
In the comments of the video, which has been viewed more than 22.1m times, Mercer revealed that she was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome after suffering from “extreme pelvic pain” and heavy periods that were “horrid” for her.
She then added in a follow-up comment: “If you have similar symptoms ASK ABOUT IT. It’s rather hard to diagnose! You’ve got this babies.”
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a condition that causes chronic pelvic pain, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which notes that it is thought to be caused by problems with veins in the pelvic area but that healthcare workers are still trying to understand the possible causes.
According to Cedars-Sinai, possible treatments include hormone drugs, surgeries to “shut off damaged veins” or remove the veins, and surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries.
The moving video has prompted an outpouring of supportive comments, with many expressing their happiness for Mercer, while the TikTok has also resonated with others who have shared their own stories of chronic pain.
“Doctors ignoring the pain of women is easily one of the most dangerous and trauma-inducing issues in the medical sector,” one person commented. “So happy you’re finally [good].”
The comment prompted a response from Mercer, who revealed that she had been “so close to giving up” but that the news from the doctors had finally given her relief.
“I was so tired of not being taken seriously. It’s not anxiety, it’s an illness,” she added.
Another viewer wrote: “I’m so happy for you! I can’t imagine how relieved and validated you must feel.”
“As someone with a chronic illness, this is what I dream for,” someone else said. “So happy for you.”
According to Mercer, who spoke to BuzzFeed about her pain and her experience, she has been dealing with painful periods since she first started menstruating, but her pain was “always dismissed as just a difficult period”.
Prior to the video and her diagnosis, she also told the outlet that she had been going to doctor appointments every other week for a year.
As for her reaction to the response to the TikTok, she said that she thinks the video went viral because it resonated with women who have experienced similar experiences where they have fought to have their pain taken seriously.
“I think this video went viral because so many women can relate to their issues being dismissed in a medical setting,” she said.
However, she hopes that her story will inspire others in similar situations not to give up, and to keep fighting for answers.
“The message I have for people who are in the same situation is just not to give up; get a new doctor if yours won’t listen. I was reaching my point of giving up, and I finally got answers,” she told BuzzFeed.
The Independent has contacted Mercer for comment.