endometriosis, Health

One not so new discovery…

IMG_5473.jpgApologies for not writing anything recently but I’ve been going through some health issues. You see, as I write this, I’m currently lying on the sofa having undergone a diagnostic laparoscopy on Saturday. I’ve got a small incision in my belly button and a small incision just where my left (or right according to the surgeon…) ovary is. This is probably where I should add in some context…

I’ve always had painful, heavy periods. For as long as I can remember they’ve been “curl up on the sofa squirming” painful, but I just kind of got on with it, until one day, when I was about 14/15, I fainted and had to take time off. My mum booked me a GP appointment and said she wondered whether the pill would help so off we went. Twenty minutes later I came out of the doctors office with a prescription for Mercillon and the promise of better periods. To be fair, for 3 years everything was better – lighter, less painful, regular, normal. But then I went to the doctors for a replen only to be told “We don’t do Mercillon anymore” and given Gedarel, under the promise that it was exactly the same and not to worry. Yeah, no. Gedarel was entirely different. I experienced mood swings, horrible PMS, bloating and swelling… This might all seem like normal side effects but to me it wasn’t worth being on a pill for. I went to a family planning clinic and asked for Mercillon back, to which I got it, but they’d changed the ingredients. Cue yet more side effects and three different pill changes, all with the same issues. Finally I seemed to find a pill that worked, but around 3 months in I began to experience strange pains when I was on my period. It was like an insane pain between my hips and the tops of my legs, particularly when I was trying to go to the toilet (apologies for tmi…) or sit down. In fact sitting down was the hardest part. It was like someone stabbing me upwards internally and it was horrific. I booked to see the GP again, explaining all my symptoms in the hope she would assist. Her answer was that I clearly couldn’t cope with the pain of a period and needed to take my pill back to back for three months. So I did, only to discover it made everything worse. I stopped the pill and everything stopped – no pain, no horrific PMS. It was great for about six months and then it came back. By this stage I had looked up my symptoms and realised that endometriosis sounded like what I was experiencing. Another trip to the doctors, to be told that fine, they’d book me for an ultrasound (the wrong type as it turned out) but it was highly unlikely they’d find anything because clearly I just needed stronger painkillers. Lo and behold, the ultrasound found nothing and another GP told me I should just try some Tranexamic Acid and Co-Codamol, maybe some Mefenamic Acid too. “I think you just find periods incredibly painful”, I was repeatedly told. “Just take some painkillers and you’ll be fine!” I wanted to scream at them that it wasn’t fine, that there was absolutely something wrong, but I had come to realise that there was no point. As far as doctors were concerned I was just a girl who had a low pain threshold and needed to learn that this was just what periods were like. I carried on for another two years, tried other hormones to no avail, and just accepted that this was what my life was. I knew something was wrong. You know your own body and I knew there was something wrong. The final straw came when Pete and I moved in together and a week later I couldn’t get out of bed the pain was so bad. Everyone told me to call the GP and get seen and so I did. Thank God I did my research and chose a GP with a good NHS score. I went and told this man my life story and rather than being told I was overreacting he told me he was referring me to a gynecologist, in the hope of further investigation. For the first time I had someone who actually believed me, who didn’t doubt me. The gynecologist was less convinced however. When i said I thought it might be endometriosis she might as well have laughed. “Well it’s unlikely but I suppose it could be.” She agreed, after me begging, to let me have a laparoscopy. And that’s how I got here.

Here’s the thing: I was right. I woke up from my anesthetic to nobody telling me anything and then finally, when Pete came to pick me up, they sat us down and told me what my consultant had found. Written there, next to pictures of my uterus, were the words “Endometriosis +++”. Tears filled my eyes because in that moment I felt so much relief. I was right. I had known that something was wrong with my body and despite the fact that only two healthcare professionals out of probably 8-10 had believed me, I was right. It was endometriosis. Moderate, to be exact. So not mild or barely there, its the third most severe. The ovary pain that I had noticed on my left hand side that had begun to worsen? Well that’s where the main growths are. I finally know that there’s something legitimately wrong with me, that the pain isn’t all in my head. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I have to go back in six weeks to see the gynecologist and I’m being referred to a pelvic pain clinic. I’m looking into how my nutrition can affect endo and how I should probably cut out caffeine and cut down my dairy and sugar. I’ve cut down alcohol before my operation so cutting that out completely won’t be hard. As soon as I’m ready and able I’m going to get back into exercise. But for now, I’m lying on the sofa, surrounded by books on nutrition, drinking peppermint tea to reduce the never ending bloating and enjoying eating crisps under the excuse of being an invalid… I’m going to keep you updated with how my recovery goes and how my diagnosis affects everything. There isn’t enough out there about endometriosis and certainly not enough about how periods aren’t always meant to be horrifically painful. There needs to be more trust from GPs that actually we as women know our own bodies and we know when something’s wrong and that we have to be listened to. It shouldn’t have taken me 6 years to be diagnosed but it has and it has taken others a lot longer. And that’s wrong. So for now I’m signing off to carry on watching Big Bang Theory on Netflix & maybe do some colouring. If anyone else has any good recovery activities let me know!


2 thoughts on “One not so new discovery…”

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