During the years to come I learned to live with the pain. Long menstrual cycles, mood swings, unbearable and indescribable pain became my monthly way of life. Just like clock work…tick tock, tick tock…one could set their watch by my menstrual cycle. Every month I tried to 'count' how many eggs I could possibly have left trying
to guess how much longer my body would be ravaged monthly with pain.
Fast forward to around year 2000… I think that was when I started taking birth control pills to relieve some of the menstrual pain. Life began to take on a different form. I was still moody but I didn't hurt as much. Some times people thought I had a split personality because my mood swings were so bad. My cycles were still outrageously long, 9 days in fact but at least I could somewhat function. I would eventually stay on birth control pills for the rest of my sexually reproductive life trying to manage the impossible.
Jumping ahead one last time to 2009… it was around February I believe. All my medical processes take place in the early portion of the year near my birthday so I can keep on schedule. I tried a new obstetrician gynecologist. Nothing was wrong with my current obgyn but I had heard such rave reviews about this lady in particular and I trusted the source. During my first visit she asked a simple question that no one had thought to ask before…"what problems are you having?" to which I replied "I have a really heavy monthly cycle." I accepted the pain years ago so I didn't mention it. I learned to live with the mood swings as best I could so I didn't say anything about that either.
My new obgyn ordered a simple test to check for fibroid tumors, a vaginal ultrasound. Things slowly happened quickly after my first appointment. I didn't make it to my ultrasound appointment soon enough however. One day while working I left early because I had a constant pain on my right side in my thigh and pelvic region. A pain so bothersome and unbearable it literally brought me to my knees but it wasn't my time of the month so I was confused. I went to an urgent care facility and they ordered me to get a cat scan at the emergency room cause they thought my appendix was about to rupture. Thankfully that wasn't the case.
My cat scan and my vaginal ultrasound showed two things that concerned my obgyn…I had cysts on my ovaries and my uterus was 3 times the thickness it should have been. Initially it was thought the cysts were causing the pain. From these two scans I was offered options. My obgyn wanted a closer look at my uterus and the
cysts had to be removed.
We are now in April 2009 and I was 30 years old. I was scheduled for 3 procedures with anesthesia, a DNC, a diagnostic laparoscopy and a diagnostic hysteroscopy. The DNC thinned the walls of my uterus, the hysteroscopy looked at my uterus and allowed the cysts to be removed and the laparoscopy confirmed the presence of endometriosis. That procedure would change my life and shape my future. I had never heard of endometriosis before. I didn't know what it was so I did research. I also trusted my obgyn.
Hormonally I had a lot still going on in my life. I was always tired and every month I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I felt like I was being shaken from my very core. I shared this with my obgyn and she started me on a birth control pill to treat PMDD. That brought some emotional relief. Next we started a plan of action to try and manage this medical disorder called endometriosis. I started taking birth control pills everyday with no week off. I was flooding my body with hormones trying to stop the progression of my endometriosis. I learned a lot about endometriosis. It wasn't contagious and it couldn't be cured. I would have it forever. Trying to manage it, the ultimate goal is to stop the menstrual cycle because endometriosis lives off estrogen. Over the course of almost 5 years I tried different pills to manage the disorder so I could naturally transition into menopause.
Unfortunately because of my body makeup nothing was working. The cycle would stop for a few weeks then come back full force for months at a time. I was losing energy, becoming more fatigued, battling with emotions, the menstrual symptoms and monthly cravings, the bloating and fluctuating weight. I endured it all. I kept
getting vaginal ultrasounds to make sure my disorder wasn't spreading to other organs or growing out of control on the outside of my uterus. It was there and a constant irritant. I pressed forward with life but I was overall reaching the end of my rope. I understood it but I was getting tired of fighting. I was tired of the emotional impact, the eating, the mood swings, the unknown menstrual cycles. I was just tired. My doctor was also running out of options. She began whispering the possibility of a full hysterectomy during the summer of 2013. There was two more medical options to try and manage the disorder. The biggest was the Lupron shot. Taken quarterly, it is supposed to stop the menstrual cycle. This wasn't an option for me because of the side effects…rapid weight gain. I had just lost 40 pounds to save the life of my knees and I wasn't going to risk gaining that weight back for a
disorder that can't be cured. I refused and we started what would be my last option of treatment, the Provera pill. It worked for about six weeks and stopped my cycle. I went back to the doctor and she asked me how was it going and I responded the same ‐ the unknown period. I had a cycle now for about 2 months straight. If it didn't stop by the weekend I would have to be hospitalized to stop it.
At this point, I was over it all!!! I just wanted my life back. I had a few doctors appointments during the late summer/early fall of 2013. My ending was decided on September 25th. I was to have a full hysterectomy on December 11, 2013. Would it cure me of the endometriosis, no. Would it make me pain free, promising. Would it afford me the opportunity to have a better quality of life, definitely! It was decided and my count down began. I was okay with my decision. It was very well with my soul. I was okay that I never had any children because I had Godchildren. I prepared myself to transition into menopause. I was ready for whatever the next phases of
my life were.
Don't think the days leading up to my surgery were pleasant. I cried a lot of happy tears as I prepared for my big day. I reflected on my life and it's new direction. I was born at Mercy Hospital and my ability to give life would end at Mercy Hospital. How ironic but I was okay with my decisions. On December 11, 2013, I bravely walked into my destiny and haven't looked back since!!
Peace and blessings as you walk through your journey!