I experienced crippling, life-interferring, fainting at the mall, up all night sobbing, want to DIE pain for approximately the last 168 months of my life. Some months were better than others. Some months were almost more than I could bear. It was unrelenting.
I can’t put into words how horrible and disheartening it’s felt to be told by doctors that “everyone is uncomfortable during periods” or to have peers look at me with disbelief and a “suck it up” look on their face.
A few months ago, around 2:30 in the morning, when I stumbled upon the truth about endometriosis, the symptoms, and the likelihood that this disease- undiagnosed by any of the several providers I’d seen since puberty began- was the source of my continual pain and problems, I wept.
I cried for hours.
I cried while reading the symptoms. I cried while reading the statistics. I cried when I started reading the stories of women like me who had suffered with out help, without a diagnosis for YEARS, and sometimes DECADES before the right doctor told them about this disease and helped them take the next steps. That night I read a statistic somewhere that said that, on average, women with endometriosis suffer for 12 years before getting treatment.
I was over that average.
That night, I became determined to find a doctor who cared about this disease. Because, unfortunately, the big business is birthing babies, not pelvic pain… frankly, most doctors just don’t keep up with their endo studies. And that’s a shame.
Who wants to talk about hot flashes?!
The pain of endo is caused because these cells, which grow all over places they don’t belong (including on intestines, fallopian tubes, ovaries, appendices, just to name a few) are highly responsive to hormones. In the presences of the hormones by body produces naturally, these cells react (usually during a woman’s cycle) and become painful.
While excising the cells, and removing what can be seen through laparoscopic surgery is a way to remove some of the problem, it doesn’t SOLVE the WHOLE problem.
Much like when cancer cells are removed, and chemo/radiation treatment is used to ensure that any cells that are left behind are extinguished, cutting edge endometriosis treatment has another step too.
By taking the drug, Lupron, my hormones are stopped, which will hopefully cause any remaining endometriosis to keel over and die… or at least shrink…
But, for those of you keeping score, if my hormones are taken out of the picture, that means that I’m entering a medicinally induced state of menopause.
Of course, the perks of that could include an absence of the excruciating, and chronic pain that has plagued me for the last 14 years. The downside is… FREAKING MENOPAUSE! Hot flashes, mood swings, bone loss… oh my.
I find it pretty hilarious that yesterday, I blogged about all of this nonsense, and that very night, I had my first hot flash.
Ohmygod. It felt like I was a pot of water and someone had turned the burner to high. It crept up before I even realized it, and all I could do was RIP my sweater off as fast as I could and grab my sweet Spanish fan.
Honestly, I laughed. I laughed a lot… because it’s funny, I guess. Being suddenly slammed with this radiating heat!? Out of nowhere, wanting to hurl the cats to the opposite side of the room like little furry footballs, because their cuddling just contributed to your sudden skin melting temperature change…
I hope this post wasn’t too alienating. Anyone stick with me through this one? I hope so.