My Story: What is Endometriosis?
In a few days I’m having surgery. As you know my partner and I are going through fertility treatment, and the surgery is to help with that. I have Endometriosis and cysts on my ovaries, I know lucky me right? The cysts on my ovaries make it really difficult to produce and ovulate eggs so I have been going through a process called Ovulation Induction. It’s worked twice so far, but heartbreakingly has ended in two miscarriages. That’s where the Endometriosis comes in. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (a fancy word for tissues that lines the uterus) is found in abnormal places, for me it’s in my pelvic area. Unfortunately the cause is unknown in most cases, but fortunately there are a couple of different treatment and management options.
Medically or surgically.
Medically it can be treated with pain relief and hormones that suppress ovulation and menstruation. This isn’t an option for me, given that my goal in life at the moment is to ovulate. This leaves me with the surgical option. Around four years ago I had the surgery to remove the Endo that had invaded my body and for the most part it made all the symptoms go away, but being the nasty pain in the bum that it is, there’s a 50% chance that it will reoccur within five years. And mine has, so it’s back to the operating table I go. The surgery is a day procedure and is done with a keyhole technique; three smallish incisions across the abdomen, one for a laparoscope (a camera) and two for the equipment. The endometriosis is either burnt or cut out depending on the surgeon, the severity and the location. Endometriosis is really hard to diagnose without a laparoscope because on ultrasound it can look like normal tissue – imagine putting glad wrap on your hand and hoping an ultrasound could differentiate, it’s really difficult. For many women Endo isn’t picked up straight away as the symptoms can mimic many other issues; bad period pain, pain through sex, pelvic pain at other times than menstruation, back pain and low energy. So until we push and push the medical team to go in and have a look it can go undiagnosed for years, which means fertility can be affected.
Because Endo can cause scar tissue this can often block the Fallopian Tubes making it really difficult to conceive. It also makes the body produce a natural toxin to sperm and produce eggs that are less likely to be fertilised. So if I could give any advice to anyone it would be, don’t take no for an answer;
if you have any of the symptoms keep pushing, go to a different Dr until you find someone who will listen. The other wonderful thing Endo can do is decrease the blood supply to the Uterus, making it almost impossible for a little fertilised egg to stay put and grow, often ending in miscarriage.
This is where I am at. So this week I will have the endometriosis that has grown back, removed. Throughout the procedure, which is being performed by our Fertility Specialist I will also have my Fallopian Tubes flushed (sounds glamorous hey!) a Dilatation and Curette, or D&C, which is a nice way of saying my uterus is going to be cleaned out of anything that’s not meant to be in there. This time I know what’s coming, which is good and bad at the same time. I am prepared for what’s going to happen, I’m almost excited for Thursday to come so we can get the show on the road, but I am also dreading knowing that I am having an operation. What I do know is that this is the next step in the baby making process, so bring it on! (Ps – to my partner; the chocolate that you hid? I found it, and ate it. So you’ll need to get more for after my surgery. Thanks in advance)