(Reminder: This post is both personal and wordy, maybe even more so than Part 1. You’ve been warned. Also, you can read Part 1 here)
As scary and relieving as it was to find out that something was actually keeping us from being blessed with a little baby, it was all just speculatory. I found out that endometriosis can’t actually be diagnosed without having laparoscopic surgery, and then if they do find it, they remove it during the surgery. So, terrified out of my mind, and having only gone through wisdom tooth removal surgery before, I scheduled my procedure and tried not to pass out at the very thought of going under for 3-4 hours.
The weeks leading up to my surgery were honestly a blur. I’m sure I was a shitty wife, friend, daughter, employee, etc, because all I could really do was worry.
What if they don’t find endo and there’s something major wrong with me that they can’t fix?
What if I react to the anesthesia?
What if I don’t wake up from the anesthesia?
What if I have it on some major organ and they damage it and I have to live my life without a bladder?!??
And on..and on.. and on.
But whether I liked it or not, the surgery was coming and I was having it. And despite the worries that I had about the procedure itself, I actually found myself feeling extremely at peace. It had been almost two long years of wondering what was wrong with me and feeling like a broken person that couldn’t be fixed. Now we were finally moving towards some answers and some clarity, which gave me more comfort than I’d had this entire time. I had spent months crying every 26-28 days when old flo came around. Feeling paralyzed with envy when I’d hear someone had gotten pregnant, even worse when they weren’t even trying. (Try congratulating someone through clenched teeth while fighting back tears, it’s super convincing.) People actually started to feel bad telling me they were expecting, how awful is that? I was so tired of feeling disappointed in myself and jealous of other people’s blessings, and all but screaming, “WHY, GOD, WHY?” every night. Now I had some hope and there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
4:30AM the day of surgery came extremely early and I woke up with butterflies the size of Khaleesi’s dragons fluttering around my stomach. We headed over to the hospital as I hid behind huge sunglasses (no makeup on surgery day, like it wasn’t already bad enough) and checked in. After we checked into the pre-op area, a few very lovely nurses came and did pleasant things like take blood and give me an IV. As I headed over to the OR, I realized it was on. I was given some info about my anesthesia, asked some questions, and wheeled into the OR. (PS – they totally used a robot to do my surgery, how Back to the Future is that?) A few minutes later I was given something to calm my nerves (YES PLEASE) and shortly after that I was in Snoozeville.
I woke up (3 1/2 hours later) and promptly asked “did I do good?” I was told, “you did great”, which is all I needed to hear. My pain level was about a 7 out of 10 so they gave me some pain meds, but it was all very manageable. As they wheeled me to recovery I saw my mom in the hallway who had some very good news to share: “They got it all and your tubes are both open!” I think I might have cried, but things were still pretty foggy. About two hours later they sent me and Brandon on our merry way, still feeling pretty good with very minimal pain.
The next week was spent on my couch, working in little bits of walking and moving around when I could. Between Brandon, my mom and my sister-in-law, I had an awesome support system to keep me company and feed me delicious soups and other post-surgery meals while I was recouping. The most pain I experienced during this time was from the gas they use to fill your abdomen during surgery that gets trapped up in your back, but honestly it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I read on the internet (go figure) and I feel like I was extremely lucky. My incisions are so teeny tiny (I have 4 total), and as long as I wore loose clothing, I’d forget they were even there.
Where I’m At Now/What I’ve Learned
I am so happy I had this procedure done, and I am really anxious to see how my quality of life improves from it. Hopefully I won’t experience the awful cramps and pain I was dealing with before, and I’m hoping my hormones even out as well. I’m about two weeks post procedure, and I am praying that the baby-making odds are in our favor. I have definitely come to realize more than ever what an amazing gift life really is, and that no one should take it for granted. I’ve also learned a lot about endometriosis, and that there is a really supportive community out there. There’s even a diet to reduce the symptoms, which sounds insane, but let me tell you, I tried it and actually had really great results! I wish I’d opened up about it sooner, having heard from so many people in the last few weeks that have given me so much comfort and advice. There is no cure for endo, and it’s not uncommon to have this surgery done more than once. There isn’t a ton of awareness about this disease yet, either, which is why most women aren’t even diagnosed until they’re in their 30’s, many years after they’ve suffered from unnecessary pain. 1 in 10 women have endo (which I find to be crazy given that it’s not spoken about very often) and one of my favorite ladies, Padma Lakshmi, is an endo sufferer, and even co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation. I mean, at this point it’s like we’re almost the same person…
Love You, Mean It
So anyways, I really want to say thanks for all the amazing comments, emails and tweets I’ve gotten already, I really can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me. I wish this was the part where I tell you “OMG IT WORKED!”, but alas, our outcome is still yet to be determined. So for now, I am going to try my very best to be optimistic, keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have some good news to share sometime in the future.
And until then we shall enjoy these two little handfuls.
If you have any questions or want to know more about my experience so far with endo or this surgery, please please please do not hesitate to email me. I’m not an expert, but I am a pretty open book.