Monday Motivation + Surgery Update

by - June 08, 2020

Week one of recovering from surgery is in the books, and I realize that while I told you about the surgery, I didn't tell you what kind of surgery I was having or why. As a rule, I'm pretty private about personal health issues, not because I'm embarrassed by them but because I just don't like to talk about it. I know I'm not alone in that, especially now that I look back on my experience in the past year. It's because of that experience and all of the unknowns I faced that I feel like I need to share my story. I hope that by talking about what I've been through, others in similar situations will find the courage to seek help and find relief.

A little more than a year ago, I had a really bad period. It was unusually heavy, I had cramps like I'd never experienced before, and was basically knocked on my ass. I chalked it up to stress. I'd always been regular in the past, had never really had a problem with PMS or cramps, and only passed the occasional clot. But as more months passed, my periods just got worse and some other seemingly random, unrelated issues started popping up.

I developed pain in my left hip area that caused issues with that entire leg, especially at night. I was having to take ibuprofen pretty much on a nightly basis just so I could get some sleep, and even that didn't always work. On top of that, I was bloated more days than not, having tons of issues with bowel movements (of which I will spare you the details), and sex had become painful. And those period pains had transcended mere cramps into aches that I can't even describe. What's worse, they weren't relegated just to the days I actually had my period. Approximately a week before my period started, the pain would start, and it continued for roughly a week after it ended. I was popping Midol like it was candy.

After about six months of feeling frustrated and not having any idea of how to make it better, I made an appointment with my gynecologist. That's the first time I even considered the possibility of having endometriosis. After an exam and blood work to make sure there wasn't any weird bacteriological issues going on, we scheduled an exploratory laparoscopy to see if there were rogue endometrial cells in places they aren't supposed to be and to rule out cancer. That surgery happened in February, and the results weren't what we expected.

Endometriosis was ruled out, but based on the condition of my uterus, my doctor was certain that I had adenomyosis. With endometriosis, endometrial cells have attached themselves to the outside of the uterus and in some cases nearby organs. With adenomyosis, those cells have grown into the muscle lining of the uterus, resulting in a lot of the same symptoms as endometriosis. As with endometriosis, there is no cure and very limited treatment options.

I took a month to make a decision. I did my research, did a lot of soul searching, and had an honest conversation with my husband. Making the decision to have a major surgery was scary, especially with the threat of coronavirus, but in the end, it wasn't really a choice at all. We decided several years ago not to have any more children, and I really didn't want to have to remember to take birth control every day for the next 20 years or so and hope that menopause fixed everything. So, we scheduled (and then rescheduled) a hysterectomy.

So now I'm one week into my new life. One that will hopefully see me feeling like myself again. I can already tell a difference, even with the recovery still in progress.

To anyone out there who is suffering in silence, please talk to your doctor. There is no shame in asking for help. You don't have to share your story with others like I chose to do, but I hope you know that you're not alone. Help is out there. You just have to take that first step.

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