Hi everyone! March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. The Mayo Clinic says Endometriosis is a disorder that affects the endometrium, tissue that normally lines the inside of a woman’s uterus. With Endometriosis, the tissue grows outside of the uterus. The disorder commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining in the pelvic area. During a menstrual cycle, the tissue thickens and has no way of completely exiting the body. Although some of the tissue exits, not all of it does. Endometriosis can cause pain and bleeding during sex, painful menstrual cramps, pain while using the bathroom and even infertility. It can also cause scar tissue and large cysts or closed sacs of abnormal cells. According to Endo Stats, 176 million women worldwide suffer from Endometriosis. There is no known cause for Endometriosis. I’m going to tell you my story below. Warning: The content below may be disturbing for some readers! I hope my story inspires others who suffer from it to speak out. I also want to educate the public more about this disorder.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in February 2011 at 29 years old. Since I started my period at 12, I’ve always had painful periods. I’ve had terrible cramps before and during my period. It’s said that women usually aren’t diagnosed with Endometriosis until 7-10 years after the pain and periods begin. In my case, I wasn’t diagnosed until 17 years after my period started. When I was finally diagnosed, I developed a tennis ball sized cyst near and around my right ovary. There were days when I couldn’t get out of bed to go to work because I was in excruciating pain. There were also days when I couldn’t even walk without being hunched over. The pain usually felt like cramps from hell and maybe even worse than contractions before giving birth. One time I thought I was going to collapse at work because of the strong pain. It felt like someone was repeatedly kicking and punching my stomach for hours. At first, my doctor wasn’t really helpful. After a couple of ultrasounds, he saw that the cyst continued growing. If I wouldn’t have had surgery to have the cyst removed, it would’ve eventually ruptured. My doctor prescribed the pain killer hydrocodone and birth control. I refused to take the birth control because I always felt bloated and nauseated. The hydrocodone worked but I eventually got addicted to it. I started craving it in order to control and stop the pain. There were a couple of times when the pain was so strong I went to the emergency room before and after the surgery. The nurses gave me a couple of hydrocodone pills and hooked me up to an IV with strong doses of morphine. Last year, I started going to acupuncture to help me cope with endometriosis, irregular periods and hormone imbalance. In case you missed my post about it, you can check it out here. I am no longer addicted to pain killers. I only take over the counter pills like Tylenol and Advil on occasion. Unfortunately there is no cure for endometriosis at this time. Although I’ve had small cysts after the surgery, they haven’t been large enough to remove. A few days ago, the doctor told me I have two small cysts growing. He will continue to monitor them from time to time via ultrasounds.
I’d have to say having the tennis ball sized cyst removed was much more painful than giving birth. Don’t get me wrong, giving birth also hurts a lot but this surgery was much worse. In order to remove the cyst, my doctor cut me straight across my pelvic area (similar to a Cesarean section/C-section). Besides the cyst and most of my right ovary, he removed a lot of scar tissue. Afterwards, he stapled my pelvic area. He removed the staples about a week later. Even though I was still sore, I returned to work 10 days after the surgery. I was devastated when I found out he had to remove most of my right ovary. He did such a great job that I have zero scarring in my pelvic area. I didn’t think I’d want to have more children so I tried not to let it bother me. My son was a surprise baby when I was 24! Even if I have to undergo Invitro Fertilization and take fertility drugs, I would still like to have one more baby soon. I haven’t given up completely. The only thing that sort of holds me back are the expenses. On average, IVF and fertility drugs cost around $15,000 and up. I’ve considered going to another country for the procedure but it kind of scares me. I don’t know what rules and regulations other countries follow. I plan to do more research on IVF in another country. Well everyone, this is my story. Thank you for reading it.
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