Hey Ladies!! Its been a while since I’ve posted on here and I’m so sorry! This year has been quite the year for me and its only June…I wanted to come on here and share my story because I am finally at a point where I’m comfortable talking about it and knowledgeable enough to write about it. This post isn’t Beauty/makeup related but I think a lot of Beauties should be aware of Endometriosis and how important it is to listen to your body.
I wanted to come on here and talk about a few topics that are often ignored and misunderstood by people. First topic is Endometriosis. “AKA The silent disease” I have been suffering with this since I was 14 years old but had no idea what it was. I thought painful periods were normal and thought every woman misses work because they can’t get out of bed from horrible cramps, abdomen, lower back pain and fatigue. This wasn’t just during my cycle the pain was all month long. I thought it was normal to complain every day and night to my family, friends and my husband. After many years of complaining and missing work I was concerned people though I was exaggerating or wanting sympathy, but this was not the case at all. My husband thought I was lying to get out of going to work or doing every day activities as I looked perfectly fine. I didn’t look sick and I was still able to do things like laundry and run errands etc. I would go from being in such pain I was hunched over holding my stomach or in the fetal position in bed to being just fine and wanting to go out and do something. There are days at work when I am so tired I would almost fall asleep at my desk, or nod off driving home. And when I get home the first thing I do is crawl in bed. This was the hardest for my family and husband to understand as how can I feel like shit in the morning and then later that day feel completely fine. Nobody Understood they just thought I was being dramatic until I was finally diagnosed in January of this year with stage 4 Endometriosis. It took 19 years for me to be correctly diagnosed and I am still angry about this. And I’m angry that it still takes 7.5 years on average for women to be diagnosed with this often debilitating disease.
The diagnosis for Endometriosis is often missed by OBGYNs. My doctor always said my pain level was normal and to take Ibuprofen every 4 hours as needed. I would take tons of over the counter medicine and nothing worked. There were times I needed something stronger but many doctors do not give out Prescription strength drugs for cramps as Controlled Substances are not prescribed lightly due to all the self-medicating and miss use.
Fast forward many years I finally put my foot down in October of 2017 and didn’t care about what anybody said and I listened to what my body was telling me. I scheduled a visit with my current OBGYN and explained that my husband and I have been trying to conceive but had no luck. She referred me to a specialist and this is where it all started to make sense. I saw Dr. B at a clinic in Seattle and she ordered a lot of tests to be done. First test was an HSG which is a hysterosalpingogram imaging test that is used to examine the cavity of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. In a hysterosalpingogram, dye (called contrast material) is injected through a tube inserted through the vagina into the uterus. (This was the most pain I have ever felt! It only last 20 seconds but I screamed in pain) Then the radiologist takes x-ray pictures as the dye flows through the fallopian tubes. The HSG test is used to determine where and what type of blockage is present, if any. The good news is that I had no fallopian blockage but the x-ray showed a 3 cm fibroid in the middle of my uterus. Dr. B said this was causing a lot of my symptoms. Heavy Bleeding, pain and Infertility. The size of the fibroid was the size of my uterine cavity. So basically if I did have a fertilized egg it would have no room to grow as there was a huge fibroid in the way. She also did a trans vaginal ultrasound and that showed the Endometriosis surrounding my left ovary at 4 cm. She said it was stage 3, there are only 4 stages. I wanted to also mention the only way to diagnose Endo is through a laparoscopy. However, they can tell from the ultrasound that you have it. I was devastated. I cried at night asking God why is there always something wrong with me? Why can’t I just be normal? I became more depressed every day. I had the fibroid surgically removed which delayed us from trying to conceive for another month. The surgery went surprisingly well! The surgeon was happy with what he did and was actually shocked on how big the fibroid was and how I didn’t have this done earlier. I remember looking at him still drugged up and said I tried telling so many people but nobody believed me. If it wasn’t for my husband putting a smile on my face every day I don’t know how I would have made it through this difficult time. He is my Rock!
After more research what I found out was astonishing! 1 in every 10 woman suffers from Endometriosis and there is NO CURE.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that acts a lot like the lining of your uterus—called endometrium—starts growing outside of your uterus, where it doesn’t belong. These out-of-place growths, called lesions or implants, can cause severe pain and inflammation throughout the month. It can attach and wrap around your ovaries, bladder, bowel and many other places inside. Other symptoms are pain with intercourse, pain with bowel movements and urination, excessive bleeding and INFERTILITY.
My next topic is Infertility. I had no idea that Endo would cause me so much emotional stress trying to have a baby. Well, it has. My husband I have been trying for 1.5 years and 5 of those months have been monitored by a Specialist at Seattle Reproductive Medicine. If I would have known I had this disease I would have tried to conceive 5 years earlier because Endo doesn’t go away, it’s chronic and it can get worse.
I go back and forth in my head if I even want to have a baby anymore because of how financially and emotionally draining this is. Every month I go to the doctors 2-3 times to be monitored with the hormones and ultrasounds. On top of possibly missing work that month from being in pain, I’m missing work to see the specialist. The stress that that puts on me alone is overwhelming. I constantly worry about what my co-workers think and if I’m going to lose my job. It was hard to tell my supervisor every month I have cramps so often I made up excuses like I have a migraine but how many migraines can one have in a month? Ugh! I was so embarrassed but knew I had to tell him what was going on. Thankfully, he’s very understanding and suggested I apply for FMLA. Family And Medical Leave Act is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. so I did and am awaiting approval. A weight was lifted off my shoulders knowing that my bosses and work associates care for me. However, this type of stress is not what you should have when trying to conceive. The doctors say I’m supposed to be stress free!! LOL that is so hard when in pain, taking hormones, getting ultrasounds, missing work, being a wife and worrying about what others think of me. It’s literally impossible!!
The point of this message is to make others aware of this nasty disease and that YOU are not alone. Many women are embarrassed to talk about it, and so was I until now. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me I just want to bring awareness. I want people to understand and do their research and have their family members even co-workers do research, so they can also know how to talk to you about Endo and how to help you to cope. If you have teenagers that complain of painful periods I suggest they go to their OBYGN right away to get examined. A routine annual is covered by insurance. I wish I would have spoken up when I was a teen but I thought all this was normal. There are a lot of support groups on FB and tons of information online. Speakendo.com is a great source as well as Nancy’s Nook on FB that is a group with thousands of woman who suffer from Endo and is monitored by a few volunteers. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly suggest you do. Nancy has a plethora of information and provides it to anyone who is interested in educating themselves about Endo and how it can affect one’s life.
Endo is part of my life and I have finally accepted it. Whether or not I will need Laparoscopy surgery in the near future is possible. I am seeing a new OBGYN this week and Ill be asking about surgeon recommendations. Whether or not I will be able to start a family is in God’s Hands. And If I can’t physically have my own child, adoption is always another option we will look into. But until then we pray every night and make an effort every day to be stronger then yesterday. #staystrong
UPDATE: I had Laparoscopic surgery 8/2018 with Dr. Pendergrass in Oregon and she excised 14 lesions all over my cervix, bladder, ovaries, bowel and removed my appendix. They were all sent to the lab and it was confirmed Endometriosis.
If you guys are wanting to know if we have done IUI or thinking of IVF let me know and Ill write separate blog on that. Please don’t hesitate to comment below with any questions you have AND your story with Endo.
Here are some great articles to read about Endo and Infertility.