June 29, 2015
It’s Monday and like every woman in the world, the way we want to start off the week is by going to the OBGYN…. said no woman ever. It’s my follow-up appointment after the ultrasound. I’ve been so anxious to hear the official results from my doctor and next steps. Like I said, I’m type-A and I want to get this all fixed and figured out so I can move on and start a family.
It turns out endometriosis is not that simple at all. It’s not curable unless I want a hysterectomy – which is totally not an option at this stage of my life. My OBGYN confirmed that the ultrasound showed what looks like endometriomas on my ovaries. Endometriomas are what is also known as “chocolate cysts” on the ovary. (How disgusting!) It’s a benign cyst that can cause chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
Immediately I had so many questions. Why was this never diagnosed before? Why am I just now experiencing pain? How did I get this disease? How do I get rid of this pain? Is there something I did to get this? Is there something I can do naturally to get rid of it? Will I ever be able to give my husband (4) children? Is this why my period is suddenly so painful? Will I pass this down to my daughter (if I can even have a daughter)? Why aren’t ultrasounds part of a routine annual check-up? Was this inherited? Do I blame my Mom or Dad for this? Why me?
My OBGYN explains to me in greater detail what endometriosis is. Basically it’s the uterine lining growing outside the uterus. So every time I get my period, not only is my uterus bleeding, but all the lining outside my uterus is bleeding as well. Again, W.T.F? She said typically it’s on the outer surface of the uterus, but can grow and spread on the ovaries, abdomen, bladder, colon, and in extreme cases it can be found in the lungs. However, she doesn’t know the extent of how much it has spread until she performs laparoscopic surgery.
SURGERY? I’ve never had surgery before in my life. I’m Jane and healthy! Jane and surgery do not belong in the same sentence. Not at the age of 31! Suddenly I start thinking dollars. My health insurance has a $3k deductible. I make a mental note that I should anticipate this being a couple grand out of pocket since we still haven’t met our deductible and then it’s 20% out of pocket after the deductible and coinsurance.
All of a sudden I find myself developing a whole new vocabulary. I ask my doctor how in the world I could possibly get this disease. She explains that the cause is unknown but studies have found that it is inherited. Apparently I was just born with these cells outside my uterus. Again, the fertility Gods forgot about me. She also said that birth control likely saved me from my ovaries and fallopian tubes being completely scared and destroyed (HA! Take that, Mom and church!) Apparently birth control suppresses the endometriosis growth since typically a period is light and short when on birth control. Since I’ve been off of birth control for a year and a half, my cycle is now longer and heavier causing the endometrial tissue to grow and spread.
My doctor and I decide to move forward with scheduling a laparoscopic surgery. The intension is to either (a) remove the endometrial tissue or (b) drain the cysts. However, we won’t know what the outcome will look like until she gets in there with the camera. My OBGYN said she will do everything possible to save my ovaries since I’m looking to get pregnant (UMMM yea lady. I kinda need those things if I want to make a baby with my own eggs!) She said I should hear from the hospital scheduler this week with a date for my surgery – which my doctor anticipates will be sometime in July. This conversation was going great until my doctor said she will want her partner OBGYN there for the surgery as well because of the size of my cysts.
Now I’m beginning to freak out and I ask my doctor why its necessary to have two highly skilled doctors there. This is where I wish JM came with me to the appointment. JM is seriously the most calm human being I’ve ever met in my life and suddenly I find that I really wish he was here with me to calm down my nerves.
I’m trying to listen to her but everything at this point was in one ear and out the other. My mind is racing, panicking and thinking that this is now serious if she wants the other doctor there performing the surgery with her. I ask my doctor at what point should I start seeing a fertility specialist (aka reproductive endocrinologist). She suggested that if I’m still not pregnant within six months after having surgery then I should see a specialist. SIX MONTHS? That’s way too long. I mentally make a note to myself to call one tomorrow to make a consultation.
I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve been blessed to be very healthy my whole life. I’ve never had a damn thing wrong with me except childhood asthma and a dairy allergy. I look down at the floor and suddenly remind myself “oh, and this stupid stress fracture.” AUGH. This is now all of a sudden turning into a summer of hell. I’m dealing with infertility, a fractured foot, endometriosis, and now I need surgery. What could possibly be next?