Tag Archives: endometriosis

I have endometriosis.

27 Mar

We prayed for answers, and we finally have it.

I have endometriosis.

“Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) similar to those that form the inside of the uterus, but in a location outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is most commonly found on other organs of the pelvis.” –Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD at Medicinenet.com 

So grateful for all of those who sent flowers, prayers, and well wishes my way!

So grateful for all of those who sent flowers, treats, prayers, and well wishes my way!

Ever since I can remember having my womanly friend (I’m not sure I’d consider her friendly…) I had pain during that time of month; severe pain. Pain that I thought was just the way it was supposed to be…just the way it was and always would be.

“The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your period. Although many women experience cramping during their period, women with endometriosis typically describe the pain as far worse than usual that increases over time.” –Mayo Clinic Staff at Mayoclinic.org 

Click for a full list of symptoms

During all of my infertility testing, I brought up the possibility of endometriosis with a long history of painful cycles. I was told that wasn’t what he thought it was and that we would continue with treatments. So that’s what we did.

“Estimates suggest that between 20%-50% of women being treated for infertility have endometriosis, and up to 80% of women with chronic pelvic pain may be affected.” –Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD at Medicinenet.com

After nothing seemed to be working, and I knew that there was something we were missing, something that was still wrong…feeling exhausted from the pressures of treatments and the financial burden it takes, we decided to seek our second opinion before moving forward with more invasive treatments.

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If I’ve learned anything the last few years it’s that I know my body. I can listen to my body fairly well now as I’m pretty in tune with things, even though it throws me for a loop every now and again; our communication line is well opened and understood. Within minutes after hearing my history, my new doctor felt it was worth taking a look inside…

Not only do I have endometriosis, I had it moderate/severely. She classified it as a Stage III-IV.

She seemed to be a little taken back by how bad it ended up being but seemed to be relieved we had answers, and even more so that she was able to remove what she could.

““The cause of endometriosis is unknown…” “There is evidence that shows alternations in the immune response in women with endometriosis, which may affect the body’s natural ability to recognize and destroy any misdirected growth of endometrial tissue.” –Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD at Medicinenet.com

Unfortunately, some (more than I was hoping for) were on organs that could be damaged greatly by the heat of the implant removal so there were spots that were left untouched. I’m praying that what was left will just be and won’t stand in the way of our plans to move forward towards having a baby.

Through my research of endometriosis, I’ve learned that there are a whole lot of unanswered questions. There is no cure for endometriosis, there’s no concrete cause, there’s no explanation as to why/when/how, so even though we have our answer to why we aren’t pregnant, we have a lot of questions that have to be left unanswered because, well, no one really seems to know.

I couldn't help but take this picture as we waited at my follow-up appointment. Don't get too close to the plastic model of female insides, David! :)

I couldn’t help but take this picture as we waited at my follow-up appointment. Don’t get too close to the plastic model of female insides, David! 🙂

So where do we go from here? Well as much as I hate these darn little things – the subtle, consistent hormone levels that the birth control pill offers is the easiest way to slow things down so I am on them for a few months to allow my body to heal. After that, we are given the ok to go forward however we’d like…but…time is of the essence. There’s not a set timeline with endometriosis but it can/will grow back but the severity and speed of that happening doesn’t really seem to be known – it could be as short as a few months my doctor said.

All we can do now is continue to pray and trust that God’s plan will show through this journey.

All opinions on If Gravity Happens are my own personal opinions, views, and experiences. I am not a doctor. Please contact a professional for any specific questions regarding your medical issues.

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Surgery Day Part One

24 Mar

Hi everyone! It’s been a while!

A few weeks ago, I had my exploratory laparoscopy (going in through my belly button with a scope to explore what is going on inside my tummy, if there was anything found then they would make one or 2 more incisions in my lower abdomen to go in and burn/remove what they could), hysteroscopy (looking into my uterus), and chromotubation (basically like my HSG only I was knocked out this time, thankfully).

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The surgery was planned for 11:00 in the morning; I had to be there at 10 to get all checked in and prepped for surgery. I was really hoping at this point that the pregnancy test they took would be positive so they would scratch all of it! No such luck!

My doctor had another surgery before mine and told me to plan for a delay but she was hoping everything would run on time. I got all checked in, prepped, and the nurse started my IV, when another nurse popped in and said my doctor was indeed running behind but would be there shortly. My mom and David were able to come back and sit with me while I waited.

I’ve never had a surgery or even been in the hospital for anything so I didn’t know what to expect but one thing that I wish I had at home was their blanket warmer. I have no idea how they do it but they warm a blanket up to place over top of you and they feel like they were just taken out of the dryer but are all folded so nice there’s no way it’s just a dryer heating them! I was so surprised when the nurse brought me a blanket and laid it over my lap; she must have sensed my excitement and said it was part of their ‘spa treatment package.’ I guess when they put you in a cold room with a lightweight half-robe on, it is a great idea!

Soon after my doctor showed up and asked if we had any questions (she is the sweetest thing ever!) and told me we would be going into surgery soon. Sure enough, they were taking me back to the surgery room and I think about a minute later I was out! I don’t remember much and didn’t even have a chance to look around the room when I got in there.

About an hour later, I was out of surgery and in recovery. Meanwhile, my doctor met with David and my mom to let them know how it went and to go over what she found in surgery while showing them the pictures of my insides (weird!).

I was in recovery for about 2 ½ hours! Which made everyone wonder what was going on, but honestly I must have just been really loopy because I do remember dosing off and on for quite a while and was in quite a bit of pain when I woke up so they were trying to get that under control before they allowed my family to come back to see me. Shortly after I woke up the very first time, still pretty out of it, my doctor was by my side and told me all went well but they found endometriosis…and a lot of it…

To be continued…

Our Second Opinion

18 Feb

A few weeks ago, we met our new Doctor. She is wonderful. (I’ll call her Dr. K) We both really liked her sympathetic, compassionate, and down-to-earth personality and felt comforted by her fresh take on things. She didn’t necessarily offer us new hope or good news but is interested in what’s going on instead of just pushing us towards more invasive treatments.

You could tell as I talked about our past years, that her heart broke for us. She felt like there is definitely something more going on and it’s worth looking into…literally…to see what is going on in there. I never had an issue with my old Doctor. He was always very knowledgeable and proactive –and I liked that. But when things weren’t working and we were at a dead end, we decided it was best to have a set of fresh eyes on our situation.

I have had suspicions of something called endometriosis for about a year now and when I brought it up to my old Doctor he sort of shrugged it off saying I didn’t have enough symptoms to check for it. The only real way of diagnosing endometriosis is to have laparoscopic surgery.

Dr. K felt like with a history of abnormally painful periods and infertility, even with pursuing treatments, that it’s worth it to do the surgery, and she felt it was a good next step for us.

So we decided to go forward with the laparoscopic surgery. I will be having the procedure in the beginning of March. And praying for good news or at the very least, some answers.

They will make a small incision at the bottom of my belly button and possibly 2 more incisions in my lower abdomen and will insert a scope so they can check for any implants/scarring/anything abnormal that shouldn’t be there or may be causing our infertility. If there is anything that they can clean/burn off, they will at that time. While they are in there, they will also be pushing dye through my tubes again (much like the HSG but I will be out), to make sure they are still clear.

I am thankful for answers one way or another.

I really feel like my heart has opened up throughout this journey. I really feel like God is in there doing His thing, making room for more love to share than I could have ever imagined. Sure, bad days (sometimes really bad days) come and go – but who doesn’t have bad days? I am learning to lean into those days, feel that pain (it’s ok to feel it), deal with it (it’s ok to cry and feel angry and hurt), and remember that a day is one small second in our lives, this too shall pass (though hopefully sooner rather than later) and I will look back on this journey and see our lives, our marriage, our selves, our pain, our reasonings, and our hearts, changed. Improved.

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Anyone going through infertility – it’s plain hard. I haven’t posted on the bad days in a while…but my outlook isn’t always as hopeful as it may seem, and my good days, my hopeful posts, are the results of those bad days. I typically don’t post on the bad days, the really bad days, because that’s the time I really struggle to make sense of it all. That process of sorting it all out has become very personal to me. Unfortunately, those bad days also bring a lot of guilt and shame…and that is ok. That is normal. All of us mothers in waiting go through those days (too many to count) and understand those feelings, I just wanted to remind all of you that this journey is real, we experience some very real emotions – some emotions we never have felt before, some we aren’t really sure how to deal with – but sometimes it’s about those bad days. Without those bad days, we wouldn’t grow, and God wouldn’t put anyone through this painful journey without a reason. I promise, trusting that there’s a reason to this is the only thing that will make it make sense.

I’ll keep you updated with hopefully good news in March!