As I sit on a pillow wearing my pajamas and fuzzy socks at 2:55pm to share my story, slightly hunched to avoid stretching the stitches in my stomach, I can’t help but look back and connect the dots leading up to my diagnosis of endometriosis on December 5th… and I’m also crossing my fingers that everything you read hereafter makes sense because, not gonna lie, I’m on a lot of pain meds. 4 days post-surgery, getting a little stronger every day – that is where I am at now, but that is not how the story begins – and to be completely honest, I don’t really know where it does.
For those unfamiliar with the illness, endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue, found inside the uterus, grows outside the uterus on other organs and surrounding structures. During normal menstruation, the endometrium builds up, bleeds, and sheds. With endometriosis, however, the tissue has nowhere to “shed” to, which results in internal bleeding, inflammation, scarring, pain, and a multitude of other problems. This illness wasn’t new to me, especially since I had been having ongoing pain for over a year and a half and knew that it had ran in my family. Both my mother and my grandmother had it, and both had to get surgery because the pain got so unbearable. It is a chronic disease, so even after surgery it can come back, and although there are means to try and suppress it, there is no cure.
Over that course of that year and a half, I had been to see different doctors and specialists what felt like multiple times a week. Swabs, ultrasounds, MRIs, bloodwork, and pretty much any other way a person can get poked and prodded was done, all without really giving me a root cause of my problem. (I’m going to write a separate post on my symptoms later, but feel free to contact me if interested!) From my primary care doctor, I was referred out to a gynecologist, then to a pain specialist, then to an endocrinologist, and even a hematologist. By this point I was joking with my family that the only doctor I hadn’t seen was a psychologist, and I was really starting to feel crazy running around to all these doctors being told everything was fine. It wasn’t until the pain got so bad one day that I called my gynecologist and elected to do a diagnostic, laparoscopic surgery.
My gynecologist had mentioned doing a surgery back in July when I went to the ER doubled over in pain because it felt like my entire back and pelvis was on fire. The ER doc chalked it up to nerve pain and told me to go home and rest, which I did, but my gynecologist called me in the next day and told me about the surgery. I was hesitant to do it because I had never had stitches, never broken a bone, and wasn’t about to let someone cut me open without any answers. Hesitant is a nice way of putting it… It was really more like WOAH, PUMP THE BRAKES! Let’s just say it was a firm NO from me when it came to surgery.
Fast forward to November, and I was now pleading to get the surgery done ASAP, which definitely sent up some red flags to all docs involved, but they thought it was a good idea by this point.
Being wheeled back to the operating room knowing that there could be nothing or everything wrong was really scary and took a lot of acceptance that I was in good hands. My mom actually thought I was the lucky one because I got to be asleep. Her and Erick waited and prayed anxiously in the waiting room until a little over an hour rolled around.
When I woke up in the recovery room, I had three incisions in my stomach. I was told I had Stage I endometriosis on one ovary, the back of my uterus, and my rectum. The spots on the ovary, they were able to laser off, but the other spots had to be cut out. It was a lot to take in, and I remember groggily asking a few questions until the doctor said, we’ll discuss it at your follow up. Hopefully I didn’t say anything too embarrassing because I only remember bits and pieces…
Today, I am very sore, and I still have a few weeks until my follow up and biopsy results come in, but I am counting my blessings like no other! Luna, my sweet fur baby, has become my therapy animal letting me give her pets and giving me gentle head nudges when I need them most. I’ve caught my wonderful husband peering on me at all hours of the night to make sure I’m OK, and he has never once complained at my needy, and lengthy list of food, water, and medicines. I love you so much. THANK YOU! And to my selfless mom who put all of her work aside to spend time with me during the day, bring us food, do our laundry, and even mop the house! I don’t even get that done on a GOOD day. I also have a lovely vase of flowers making my dining room gorgeous thanks to the Pawelek family. I am thankful that my gynecologist was patient with me and all of my visits, and had a skilled hand at removing the invasive tissue. I am thankful that my condition was caught early. I am thankful that my faith didn’t waiver through this difficult time in my life, and I continue to pray for everyone who has this disease, or who has yet to be diagnosed. I am thankful for my upcoming birthday and the Christmas holiday, even though I probably won’t be sending out Christmas cards this year – SORRY, FAMILY. My heart is seriously bursting with love and gratitude right now. It makes the healing process so much better.
If you are having endometriosis symptoms and have any questions for me, I’d be happy to share more details of my story with you. And I know these pictures don’t necessarily fit the tone of my story, but they were taken before my diagnosis and that’s what I’m trying so hard to get back to!
This is definitely a setback, but it is a minor one that has made me love my family even more. To all of my readers, I thank you for your patience with my slow-coming posts, and can truly say I am excited to see what lies ahead! Sending you all big hugs always! <3