I remember the first time I experienced cramps. I was in dance class at my middle school and it felt like an army was invading my body and having a battle inside. I had never felt this pain before, but it was incredibly strong. Later on that night, I realized I was becoming a WOMAN! Yayyyyyy…..NOT. My dad had the honor of rushing to the store to take a tour down the feminine hygiene aisle to pick up some pads. I had to explain to him that I only wanted the one with the wings, because those are the ones I had seen before. I didn’t know that this day, would be the start of a never-ending journey that would lead to the diagnosis of Endometriosis. Through the years that followed, I continued to have horrific periods and each one after the other continued to worsen. I was put on birth control at 12 years old to manage the symptoms. My common symptoms were cramping in the pelvis, back and legs, nausea, mood swings, excessive bleeding and clotting. That was enough to keep me home from school and in bed with my heating pad. Birth control helped the cramping, but it did not help my psychotic mood swings, that everyone loved, and the flow of the Niagara falls coming from my body! I was undiagnosed with Endo until I was 22 years old. In 2013, My OB/GYN, Dr. Fox finally convinced me to go under the knife to examine what was going on inside my body, and to cauterize any Endo if it was found. Surgery is the only way to actually diagnose Endometriosis. It was no surprise that she did find an extensive amount, which she temporarily treated with the cauterization. This helped for a little bit, but the pain just increased from this point on. A year later in 2014, Dr. Fox suggested we do another surgery to cauterize more of the Endo. I didn’t want to at that time, so we opted to do a hormone therapy treatment called Lupron. This drug manipulates your body into thinking you’re going through menopause, which inhibits the Endo from growing. Lupron was great for managing the pain, but the side effects were so bad that it wasn’t worth it. I honestly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I was basically a 23 year old going through menopause. Extreme hot flashes and night sweats that soaked the bed, which my boyfriend at the time just loved, cracked lips which were great for kissing and super crazy mood swings, that eventually caused me to throw a Subway sandwich at my boy friends face. I didn’t know tomatoes stuck so nicely to the wall! I was a completely different person. After six long months of torture, for me and everyone around me and 6,000 dollars later (thank God for insurance), I decided it was time for another surgery. Although I loved Dr. Fox, I wanted to go to a surgeon who specialized specifically in Endometriosis. My mom took the liberty to search for a top notch surgeon, and she came across Dr. Nezhat in Palo Alto, California near San Francisco. Women from all over the WORLD had come to see Dr. Nezhat because his amazing success rate. My mom and I booked time off work, reserved a hotel for a week stay, and flew down to California. A day or two before the surgery, my mom and I toured around, went to the beach and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time! Doctor ordered for me to have a lot of carbs the day before the surgery, so we played testing roulette with the most delicious cupcakes.
The day of the surgery, I was so nervous but equally excited. I thought “this will be the surgeon that will change my life!” The surgery lasted about 3 hours, longer than usual. He found Endo in the bladder, bowels, tubes and the ureter with deep fibrotic nodules. Dr. Nezhat had cauterized over 90% of the Endometriosis and the Urologist placed a stent in my ureter. When I came out of surgery, I was told that I had stage IV Endo. I was in horrific pain from the moment I woke up. Something did not feel right down there. I had the constant feeling of wanting to pee, but when I went to the restroom, the pain was so excruciating I would just cry and nothing would come out. I had no idea there was a stent up there at this point. The color of my pee was red which freaked me out. I thought I was peeing blood, but it was due to a medicine that they gave me. I finally was released and we went to the hotel to recover. I felt like I was literally dying. Dr. Nezhat ordered me to walk everyday to get the gas that was pumped in my stomach out my body, but I couldn’t even stand up. My mom would drag me around the hotel grounds everyday to walk, and it was miserable. I couldn’t control the pain with any amount of drugs and was vomiting every time I took them, even with the nausea pill. I am allergic to every narcotic except Oxycodone, and they tried giving me Vicodin at first and I hallucinated big time. I was running out of the Oxycodone because I was eating it like candy so the doctor who worked closely with Dr. Nezhat met my mom after hours at a pharmacy near by with a refill prescription script. There’s no doubt that she saved us! I was constantly alternating between puking in the toilet and crying hysterically on the toilet trying to pee every five seconds. There was no sleep for my mom and I. My mom was in turmoil, she said that this was the worst experience for her as mother, watching me go through the pain. The next day I told my mom to call an ambulance, or do something because the pain was going to make me faint. My mom put me in the car, and we drove to the emergency room thirty minutes away to Stanford Medical Center. I was in my matching top and bottom PJ’s and sitting by a little girl projectile vomiting just waiting for my name to be called. I had my plastic bag in hand catching my own vomit and I couldn’t sit or stand. My body was hunched over and I was clinging to my mom to try and stand up, but I could feel my eyes roll back. My mom starting shouting that we needed help right now! I finally got called back to a bed in the pod that was shared with five other people separated by curtains. A patient to the right of me was dying, and the patient to the left kept screaming for the nurse. I felt like I was in a movie. The nurse finally gave me the morphine drip, which instantly masked my pain. I’ve never been so thankful for morphine in my life! I was finally able to sleep for 8 hours, while my mom sat uncomfortably in a chair next to me the entire time. It was her birthday. The next day I was sent for an emergency removal of the stent in my ureter. In order for me to have a faster recovery time waking up from anesthesia, the doctor said I could wait until we got into the operating room to put me under, instead of putting me out before the operating room. I agreed, but I soon would regret that decision! They put me on the operating table and the lights were glaring down on me. They hooked all these things to my body, placed that scary thing over my nose and strapped my legs and arms down. I started to feel myself panic, but before I knew it I was waking up in recovery. After the stent was removed, my pain had subsided to an extent. I was able to get through the day without being in so much pain and was finally able to pee. WHAT A RELIEF! I flew to Arizona to recover for a week with my mom, and then returned home to start work. I was bleeding for three straight months, and was completely fatigued. Working was almost unbearable (Another blog about working to follow). I continued to stay on birth control and manage the pain with Ibuprofen and heating pads. After this experience, I told myself I would never have a surgery again, unless its to rip my uterus out once and for all! That day wont be for while, so it’s necessary I find ways to help myself and stay positive! This blog is definitely a great outlet for me, so thank you for all the support! Keep reading for more stories. XOXO