I used to be so proud of myself, because I had…
no broken bones
Then, that all changed.
If you have not read the first part of this story, go ahead and read this post about what led me to schedule my very first surgery for endometriosis.
As I explained before, I have endometriosis and over the past several years the symptoms had been getting worse. The stomach pain and bloating had come to an all time high last year and, of course, we still were not preggers. My fertility specialist suggested a laparoscopy to remove endometrial scarring, if there was any. At first, I could not cope with the idea of getting chopped open just so they could explore my insides. No, thank you! I had a million worries…
What if something happens to me on the table?
What if they find nothing?
What if they find something awful?
And worst of all…What if it doesn’t work? What if I go through the whole process, scars and all, and still don’t get to meet my baby?
However, I realized over time (and as the pain worsened) that I was coming at this surgery with the wrong mindset. I needed to do this surgery for my own health and well-being. There was obviously something wrong and my body was screaming at me to fix it. This was for me. If I ended up rocking a baby as a result of it, than great, but that was not going to be the reason I did it. Once I had this realization, I felt free. For the first time in so long, I made a decision that was not based on my heart’s aching desire for a child. I made a decision for me. I gave myself the permission to take care of myself for just a little bit. And it felt good
…until the pain meds wore off that is. 😛
An ultrasound just before the surgery revealed that I had a chocolate cyst (blood-filled cyst). I also had an HSG (a whole other yucky procedure!) done, which luckily showed that my tubes were clear, so if I had endometriosis, it was at least not blocking the tubes.
My surgery was scheduled in August of last year. The morning of was much like any other surgery prep- questions, last-minute tests, and needles (oh, how I hate that last part!). The surgery was long (about 3 hours) because she found much more than she had expected. She said I had scaring EVERYWHERE! I had stage 2-3 endometriosis. Stage 3 means that the scaring had spread to other organs, beyond the reproductive system. In my case, it was on my bladder. When she showed me the pictures of what the endo looked like, I was shocked. It looked like I had a horrible rash all over the inside of my abdomen. No wonder, I had been in such pain!
I will be honest…because I wish someone had been honest with me…it was awful.
My doctor had not prepped me for the severity of how uncomfortable and swollen I would be. She did not prep me because I think she did not expect to find me in such bad shape. My husband, “The Pilot,” was out of town (again we did not think my recovery would be so bad, so I told him he could go…poor choice). Luckily, my parents were with me and my mom stayed with me the first night until The Pilot came home.
I was SO SWOLLEN…like 7 months pregnant. I was swollen all the way down to my knees. Scary sight, y’all. The gas that gets stuck in you chest and shoulder was painful but not the worst. The worst was:
the first bowl movement after surgery…I thought I was going to die. I will leave it at that.
not being able to use my abs for about 4 weeks. I don’t mean not being able to go to the gym. I mean sitting up from bed or going down the stairs or walking your dog. You don’t realize how much you need that core until you lose it.
It took me 2-3 months to truly heal and for all the swelling to go down.
Now, a year later, the scars are barely visible.
Is my endo cured?- No Is my endo pain any better?- Honestly, no. Am I rocking my sweet baby?- No
Am I glad I had the surgery?- Yes, because of one last nugget of information my doctor told me after my surgery…
…If I had waited even just a few short years to have the surgery, it would have been too late…I would have needed a full hysterectomy…
So, yes, I am glad I took the leap and had the surgery. As great as the physical pain of recovery was, the emotional pain of the alternative would have been greater. (Those of you who have dealt with the emotional and physical pain of a hysterectomy, I keep you in my prayers daily. ♥).
And now I have a name for my pain and a network of endo pals to commiserate with. I said before I had been proud of myself for never undergoing surgery. Now, I am proud of myself for having surgery… because I chose ME.
Moral of the story…take care of yourselves, ladies. You are worth it. Your future babies need you to be happy and healthy when they finally come.