* Endometriosis: A traitorous uterus
What happens when a uterus goes BAD?
Do you remember the talk?
You know the one that told us about the blessings that would be visited upon us when we reached womanhood.
It was supposed to be this wonderfully spiritual time for us, almost sacred.
Most of us couldn't wait...
Well, there were a few things about being a woman that they didn't tell us. Like that it is hard to feel divinely feminine when you are cramping, bloated, hemorrhaging and dogs won't keep their nose out of your crotch.
It didn't take us long to figure that part out, and the baby making part really is pretty incredible. Knowing that a tiny life is growing inside of you, that your body is responsible for creating another human life. It is pretty awe inspiring...
But what happens after the baby factory closes?
For some women all is quiet until that final slip into menopause, which brings with it a whole new set of problems, but for others it isn't quite that easy.
Some it seems develop a traitorous uterus.
That's right, your own organs launch a full scale attack on your body. Other organs are recruited in the rebellion and your abdomen becomes a full scale war zone.
In case you couldn't tell by now, this page is for ladies only (or for particularly brave men)
So let's take the gloves off and talk about the real joys of womanhood.
The first signs of rebellion
It seems my girly parts have always been a bit rebellious, I had some difficulties carrying my children. After two miscarriages, most of my pregnancies were spent on bed rest.
It was a family joke to tell the child within me to go to their womb and stay there until I told them to come out.
My uterus quickly located a co-conspirator when I was pregnant with my youngest, they discovered precancerous cells on my cervix. However we were able to freeze them out, and quell the earlier rebellion.
That was 10 years ago.
My uterus was not willing to give up that easily...
Tick, Tick, Tick, BOOM!
Ruptured Ovarian Cysts
I had long suspected that my uterus and ovaries were working together in this plot against me, but my suspicions were confirmed in August of 2008.
I began experiencing pain in my right side shortly after a fall, the uprising had begun. A cyst had developed on my right ovary, and grown to about two centimeters before it ruptured.
My body of course objected to having fluids where there should not be fluids and left me in horrible pain for about two months while it tried to clean up the mess caused by the minor uprising.
The pain eased, but did not go away.
An inside job...
Then the pain got worse, much, much worse.
My uterus was feeling quite superior by now, so it decided to launch a new attack using its menstrual minions.
As if the actual act of menstruation wasn't bad enough outside of your body, wait until it happens inside of your body! As my monthly hormones fluctuated the pain ranged from barely there to "somebody shoot me now!!"
Ruptured Ovarian Cysts:
Nearly all premenopausal women have ovarian cysts, as they are a normal and natural part of the female menstrual cycle.
Most of the time you aren't even aware of a cyst until it misbehaves. They can bleed, break open, twist, or even cause the fallopian tube to twist. Now and then a cyst ruptures.
In many cases this rupture is very painful, and very likely will send a woman to the ER with sever lower abdominal pain.
An ultrasound can diagnose a ruptured cyst, and give you some idea of the extent of the rupture. There really isn't anywhere for the expelled fluid to go, so most of the time they just send you hope with painkillers and tell you to wait it out while your body reabsorbs it.
Birth Control Issues
By now I realized that this was war, so I met with a specialist to discuss a battle plan. His answer? Birth control pills...
Considering the baby factory has been abandoned for ten years, boards on the windows and chains on every door it did seem a bit silly.
Then I realized my specialist must be working for the other side!
Every commercial I saw for the BC I was on said you should not take it if you are over the age of 35 or if you are a smoker, and I happened to be both.
One of my friends had to leave the room each time a commercial came on because he couldn't stand it.
Along came lumpy
Side effects of progesterone
**If you have a weak stomach you might want to skip this part.**
During our recent move, I kept forgetting my pills and the pain returned full force, so I made an appointment so we could schedule surgery. The pain got worse and worse until I could barely get out of bed.
Then one morning I felt a bit better.
I went to the bathroom and felt... something... that something turned out to be a golf ball sized piece of white tissue that promptly launched me into hysterics, and what does a woman do when she is hysterical?
I don't know about you, but I naturally screamed for my husband.
He later retold the story to a family member who swore it was like listening to a soldier tell a war story. We were both horrified and scared to death so we called the doctor who assured me that it was "normal."
The next time we saw her I assured her that this was an experience so far from normal that I didn't care if she removed EVERYTHING right then and there.
The battle for my body had now become personal.
The pain I had experienced was as close to a miscarriage as one could get without actually being pregnant, apparently I was now shedding the lining of my uterus.
My husband and I swore to never speak of the mutant again, and if we do we refer to it only as lumpy.
Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrial tissues (what you shed during your period) that normally form inside of the uterus begin to form outside of the uterus. Usually inside of your abdominal cavity.
These endometrial tissues react to your normal hormonal cycles just as the tissue in your uterus does, and can cause terrible pain. Sometimes it is a cramping or burning sensation but it can also cause other strange internal pains.
Endometriosis can also cause scar tissues, lead to infertility, or cause adhesions (organs, ligaments etc being glued together by the growths.) in short it is very unpleasant.
Treatment varies depending on severity and extent of damage, but also upon your doctor. Mine is anti-surgery so it was a struggle to get her to agree to go in.
Take it OUT!
So after the lumpy incident, I decided it was time to eradicate the enemy by whatever means necessary.
Surgery is scheduled for October 2, 2009.
Based on what we know now, the doctor is planning on removal of any endometriosis tissues, and very likely the removal of my right ovary. There is a possibility of a full hysterectomy if she can't get to all of the tissue or feels it would be best.
So I'm going to war, and I'm taking no prisoners.
I decided to go for Giant for the June 30, 2009 deadline and made it, and now I am trying for Giant 100 for the September 30, 2009 deadline. If I make it, I will have done it just six days shy of my one year anniversary... and the funniest part of all? I've been medicated the whole time!
I may be crazy, but I'm a dedicated crazy.
This also means I will be recovering from surgery anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, so I wont even know if I made it until I get well enough to check! *bites nails to nubs*
The Battle Ends...
...the continuing story.
On May 10, 2010 we staged the final battle. I was a bit nervous going in, but it was nothing like I expected. They did the new Laparoscopic procedure, and WOW! There was quite a bit of endometriosis, the adhesions were certainly a factor in my pain and strangely it does seem that it was the cause of my mysterious hip pain. It has slowly and steadily gotten better since the day of surgery.
All I had were three small incisions, one on each side and one on my belly button. The pain was FAR worse when I had the ovary removed because I had the bikini line incision. This time I could sit up with minimal pain. I made them pull the stupid catheter after a few hours because it was bugging me, I had them take me off the pain pump a bit later and I was eating and keeping food without trouble shortly after (hubby got me Subway! Yay)
I spent most of the night doing laps around the hospital, walking, visiting, and never did sleep that night. Just walked and made new friends out of the staff. My nephew was in a room down the hall so I spent quite a bit of time visiting with him. Yes, I was sore, but not nearly as bad as I'd thought I would be.
Within a week I was back to basic daily activities, but needed to rest a lot. By two weeks I was about 75% and now, four weeks post I am back to full routine, if I overdo it I am still reminded by a twinge but I feel great.
In fact many of the symptoms I have had for years have almost gone away entirely. I am full of energy for the first time in distant memory. I don't sleep as much, and no longer have trouble falling asleep.
Having a hysterectomy was the best decision I have ever made, and many women agree with me. I can already feel a major difference in my whole body, and can't wait to see what the next few months brings.
The downside? HORMONES... ick. Yes, I am moody as hell, and the patches don't really seem to make a difference either way. I do cry easily, and I'm been a bit... snippy shall we say but otherwise I am fully satisfied that I made the right decision.
A lot of women are sad when they finally have a hysterectomy but lets face it. I have four kids, the oldest is 16, the youngest 10. Having another child now would have been like getting halfway through the Boston Marathon and saying you know... let's go back the the starting line. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom and I love my kiddos but... really... I'm looking forward to traveling, seeing the world, finding out what else is out there.
I faced the enemy and took no prisoners. So, the war is over... and I am ready to get on with my life.
It's all part of being a woman
Yes, that's what they tell us. When they gave us the talk, they didn't tell us about all of the things that can go wrong with our "special" plumbing.
If you experience recurring pelvic pain, get it checked out. Don't be ashamed to say, "It HURTS!" you might have to keep saying that until someone listens, but that's okay... you need to take care of you!
Thank you for stopping by!