Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Being A Girl

I read this article in Fitness Magazine the other day about endometriosis. I was diagnosed through a laparoscopy back in August 2004. I pretty much always knew I had it, but doctor to doctor brushed me off, telling me it was "normal to have pain that time of the month." Uh. Not the kind of pain that leaves you curled up in the fetal position in bed, with a heating pad on your abdomen, loaded full of the strongest painkillers you can find, literally in tears for days on end. Missing school. Missing work. Going to the ER, finally, because you're just sure that you're one breath away from losing it.

During the laparoscopy, my wonderful OB/GYN excised off as much and as many of the lesions as she could without damaging any of my reproductive or other vital organs. In the recovery room, she told me that there was a lot of scar tissue built up throughout my abdominal cavity/reproductive organs--an indicator that the endometrial lesions had been there for many years. (Duh!) Anyway, after the surgery, I was put on Seasonale...a continuous birth control pill (CBC) containing progesterone & very little estrogen. (Endometriosis grows on estrogen--thus, estrogen in my body is no bueno). I take 11 weeks of CBC's straight and then take 1 week of placebo pills (at which time I get a period).

Right now, I'm on Day 3 of placebo pills. I've noticed my pain increase over the past year each time I'm taking the placebo pills. Monday night had to be the worst pain I've felt in years. Moaning. Gently rocking back and forth while curled up in the fetal position. For those who don't have endometriosis, the pain is unbearable--it feels as though someone is inside your body with a sharp knife, stabbing you over and over again in the exact same spot (or exact same several spots). Mr. Lukie was worried about me, "Babe...I've never seen you in this much pain before. What can I do? I hate that you have to deal with this." Such a sweetheart.

I'm not sure what happened--the pain subsiding long enough to fall asleep, or my body being so exhausted from battling the pain that it gave up--either way, I finally managed to sleep for a few hours on Monday night, in order to get through the day yesterday.

I'm seeing a new OB/GYN in November (that's the earliest she could get me in, when I called back in August. Yeah, I know...) and I want to see what my options are. I REFUSE to deal with this again, in 3 months. Through my research, I'm thinking I am going to inquire about the Mirena IUD. They've done studies on women with endometriosis using the Mirena IUD and so far, they've had good results.

I need to get back to eating well and exercising regularly. I read an article that stated that women with endometriosis who cut gluten out of their diets found that up to 80% of their symptoms vanished! Then, if they reintroduced gluten into their diet (as little as 1 piece of bread), their symptoms returned. Isn't that crazy?! This is new research, and I'm loving it! So...maintain my gluten-free diet, get back on the Zone Diet and get my BMI back down to 18% or so (I'm at 20% right now). The lower your body fat, the lower less estrogen your body has. The less estrogen my body has, the least likely any additional lesions are to grow.

In the meantime, I'm just going to deal with this pain the best way I know how--heating pad, strenuous exercise, sex (orgasms relieve cramps...did you know?!), painkillers and...of course...Ben & Jerry's ice cream :)

3 comments:

  1. OMG. These are the EXACT symptoms i feel nearly EVERY MONTH. No one ever takes me seriously and think I am dramatic, except my mom who has them too.

    Every time I've told my doctors, they have told me it's normal since I don't bleed heavy-- one even prescribed me meclofenomate, a pain relief med most commonly prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients which my body quickly adjusted to and resisted. Stronger pain pills make me sick. They had me take my pills back to back for years- prior to Seasonale being released. But it got expensive.

    Anyway, I've checked into the endometriosis symptoms and always wrote it off as it wasn't likely that I had it, since the DR was always adament it was normal to have painful cramps.

    That I can actually feel when an egg is released most months... and it goes downhill from there. No one ever understands that I get so much pressure in my pelvis that my uterus feels like a 20lb bowling ball and that when I get cramps, they feel like white hot blades ripping through my abdomen. My legs cramp and go numb. Spasms in my low back. That when friends explain what contractions feel like, I can relate and say my monthly cramps sound similar or worse. And the flu like symptoms during that time. And more recently, the sporadic cycles... missing cycles or getting them way overdue.

    I am sorry you are in pain and dealing with this. But it is relieving to know I am not crazy or a hypochondriac or exaggerating and that these symptoms are real.

    Wow.

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  2. I hope the new doc can give you some help! And I hope you feel better soon.

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  3. Sorry you have to deal with this Sarah! I hope you start to feel better very soon, and one day maybe you won't have any pain at all :)

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