living with endometriosis

it’s not often that i take anything too serious, but when it comes to my health i have no choice but to. for years i have been living with endometriosis, a health disorder that unfortunately affects more than 5 million women in america. every woman has very different symptoms, while some will never know they had the disorder others don’t go a day without a reminder they suffer from it.

the discovery:

in college i had very irregular periods; it lasted 7-10 days and came sooner than every 28 days, so i basically always had my period. oh the joy! when i went home for christmas break i told my mother about my never ending period so she took me to the gyno to get checked out. (side note my mother told me i was going to see dr. kim, thank goodness because i didn’t want a guy doctor all up in my lady business, but when i get to the office i found out dr. kim was an asian male. thanks mom!) dr. kim did a pap smear and discovered i had abnormal cells (which doesn’t mean too much) so i had to go back in three months for another exam just to make sure everything was ok. in the mean time dr. kim put me on birth control to regulate my period which ended up being a fail because i always forgot to take those stupid pills. three months later i went in for the follow up exam and the results were the same, this cycle continued for a solid two years. a few years later i found myself a boy and well we started doing it! what should be an enjoyable activity turned out to be god awful, not because of him but because i would be in so much pain (and no it wasn’t because he was an “animal” in the sack). at this point i decided to see another gyno, one who was closer to my office and who came highly recommended. it was during my first visit with my new gyno that i heard the word endometriosis for the first time. i didn’t have a real understanding for the term but i knew that it had something to do with “shedding, scar tissue, and uterus” and i also knew there was no way to find out someone had endometriosis unless surgery was done. since surgery wasn’t an option for my doctor or me she decided to prescribe me medication for other illness so that we could rule them out. huh? yup! every 2 weeks or so my doctor would give me a medication to treat something that my symptoms matched if the medicine worked (never did) we found our culprit if it didn’t we continued the search and endometriosis was still a suspect. after a year of this terrible mess (i hate medicine) and a really painful hanky panky session with my boy she decided it was time for surgery. she said i was too young to be in so much pain so we scheduled surgery for the following month. i shared the news with my boy and he asked me a million and one questions that i had no answers for and just like that i was off to get a second opinion “you can’t just go and get surgery without a second opinion!” (oops!). the next day i traveled 2 hours for a freaking second opinion, the doctor ran all sorts of test on me and sent me on my way. while at work the following day i received a call from the second opinion doctor’s office “jacqueline, we received your test results. we need you to come back to the office immediately.” my heart dropped, i started sweating, my face lost color, and i couldn’t stop shaking...and just like that i was right back at it, traveling 2 hours for results that couldn’t be discussed over the phone. 

a traumatic experience: 

turns out i had an infection that the previous doctor didn’t catch. an infection that i had been living with for a year untreated that severely damaged my reproductive organs! an infection that would have killed me had i gone through with the surgery. you see the infection was in the same area i was getting surgery and when they cut me for surgery the infection would have went through my blood stream and could have killed me! naturally i was freaked out as i nearly faced death! i went on antibiotics and within 2 weeks the infection was gone but the damage was done both physically and emotionally. for obvious reasons i never went back the doctor who almost killed me but i also couldn’t continue seeing the second opinion doctor (she was too far) so i went back to good ole dr kim. shortly after that traumatic experience my pain reached an all time high and dr kim said it was time for surgery. 

surgery:

i went in for three things:

  1. i had a retroverted uterus that had to be put back in place
  2. they needed to go in with a microscope to see if i had endometriosis (which i did)
  3. they had to scrape the built up scar tissue and remove it 

i was scared shitless going into the surgery being only a few months prior i came close to near death experience. but the surgery was successful, thank god! 

healing: 

the healing process was pretty painful being they cut my abdominal area and my uterus area meaning i couldn’t stand up straight. also, i was extremely bloated because they had filled me with gas so i looked borderline pregnant. oh and did i mention i performed surgery the week of my birthday, so i was fat and sick for my birthday. but none the less surgery was successful. according to the doctors i wouldn’t feel the wrath of endometriosis for at least seven years!! seven years of a normal life, well at least physically see endometriosis never goes away, there is no cure it just kind of hides. 

life after surgery:

oh my god! after i healed it was like i had a tummy tuck, seriously my stomach was the flattest it has ever been in my whole entire life (post puberty). i was rocking my tightest skirts and dresses for about two weeks because after that i was back to my sexy gut but whatever for those two weeks i was fab! and the pain? the pain was gone, life was good! no killer period cramps or crazy back pains, having sex was enjoyable rather than a death sentence. i was the happiest girl in the world until about 9 months later...yup, the pain came back. at first it was mild, so i thought maybe i was just going to have a bad period but it got worse as the days went by. mind you the surgery was supposed to give me a good seven years of freedom and normalcy. at this point you could image my frustration when it struck me again less than a year after surgery. 

my life now:

right now, like as i type my life with endometriosis is a bitch! three years after the surgery i am in the most pain i’ve ever been. my lower back feels like two midgets are inside having a major wrestling match. it feels like my insides are being punched and pulled in every which direction and just when i think the pains is dying down...bam just like that i get an awful shock of pain that literally makes me scream. at 24 years old i was told i should consider “starting a family” because it would become more difficult as the years went on in my condition, but at 24 years old i was in no position to do that. but it hit me hard because at 24 i knew more than anything in this world i wanted a family of my own. now i’m nearing 27 and the chances are lower and the reality of it is realer and harder to deal with. imagine being told: yeah so you have this condition that is going to put you through immense pain, lower your chances of having a child, oh and there is no cure! what am i supposed to do with that information? my treatment options are: go through early menopause (which will completely rule out having a child), try getting pregnant right now (which i am not in any position to do), another surgery (which will diminish pain temporarily and lower my chances of having a child even more), or pain killers (to numb the pain). i’m a ball of emotions right now! my body is giving me hell, my heart aches at the thought of not having a family of my own, and my brain wants to ring someones neck because i cannot understand for the life of me how there is no cure!

right now i’m just having a moment of weakness, i usually have a much more positive attitude and outlook on my situation. i know where there is a will there is a way and i don’t care what it takes when i’m ready for a family i will have one! i will pray that there will one day be a cure for endometriosis, if it’s too late for me than for the young girl who it hits next. 

i know i didn’t explain all to well what endometriosis is but it’s because it’s still hard for me to fully understand even after countless hours of research. here is some information to help give you a better understanding: 

http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/endometriosis.cfm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289

 

 

 sometimes when i'm smiling on the outside i'm hurting on the inside

sometimes when i'm smiling on the outside i'm hurting on the inside