Mersene was 38 and desperate for answers. This mother of two young children was suffering from debilitating headaches, fatigue and depression. Adding to the challenge, her husband’s job with an international company had led to life in Far Eastern countries, where she had sought care. Nothing worked.

Turning point

“All I wanted was to be a healthy mom again to my children,” Mersene said. “When the company’s CEO learned of my declining condition, he assured me I would be in the best of hands.” The company’s medical consultants arranged for an appointment at Mass General, and within a week, she was flying from Tokyo to Boston to be seen by Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of the Vincent Department of OB/GYN at Mass General. “I felt so bad, I didn’t think I could even make the plane trip home,” she said. ‘But when I walked through Mass General’s door, I knew I was in good hands.”

Dr. Schiff began diagnostic testing and consultations with other Mass General specialists, performing blood work, imaging and clinical examinations. Mersene’s treatment history provided a key clue: In previous attempts to resolve her symptoms, she had been given a potent drug used to treat cancer. It had induced premature menopause, exacerbating her already delicate medical state.

Women’s midlife care

Dr. Schiff and other members of the Vincent team are leading authorities in menopause, which can cause a host of complex interrelated issues: hot flashes, sleep disruption, depression and other mental concerns, vaginal and bladder problems, sexuality issues, bone loss and elevated cholesterol. Once Mersene began receiving appropriate care, including hormone therapy, she recovered her energy and zest for life.

Launching a new life

Now living in Westport, CT, Mersene has launched a successful gift and home-décor business, which has become a lively gathering place for women. She continues to drive to Boston for regular checkups with Dr. Schiff. “Once in a while, an angel drops on your doorstep,” she said. “He is one of those angels.”