What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a terrible condition afflicting many women. It is a difficult disease in that it can only be diagnosed with a laparoscopy (surgical procedure) and for many women, it often goes undiagnosed for a long time.
The condition is often characterized by abdominal pain, painful periods, painful intercourse, and difficulty trying to conceive…just to name a few of the symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for endo. Many women go through years of symptom management, with the help of their physicians.
My description of the disease is only meant to provide a very very brief overview of it. Reading up on the various websites devoted to the disease will provide much more information about this debilitating condition.
About Me/My Battle
I have been married for a few years now to an amazing man who is incredibly supportive, especially to a wife who feels less than optimal more days than none. I live in Massachusetts, and feel very fortunate to have some of the best hospitals and doctors a short ride away.
Some time ago, we decided that it was time for us to finally expand our family. I am in my 30s and mom to an amazing little girl who is an absolute joy!
My journey through reproductive malfunction (I think that’s a good word for it) began many many years ago. As a teenager, I had my first problem with a large ovarian tumor. It was benign and removed and I never looked back on it – until now. In my internet travels, I found another woman who has endometriosis, that also “started” out with a benign ovarian tumor and whose other symptoms/problems began later on. Well, it got me to wondering if there’s some correlation. I don’t think I’ll ever have an answer to that.
After the tumor came many uneventful years. Everything seemed to be working fine until I was in high school and I began developing multiple cysts on both ovaries that needed to be removed (the cysts, not the ovaries). After a a couple of laparoscopies, I only dealt with occasional pelvic pain from that point on.
I met my husband a few years later and everything seemed fine. The pelvic pain started again. It was happening more frequently and then something really weird happened. My husband was my first sexual partner and a short time into our relationship (a couple of years I think), I began to have pain during intercourse. Sometimes it would be excruciating; other times it depended on the position; other times it would be completely okay. When I mentioned this to my doctor, along with the pelvic pain and painful periods, a lightbulb went on in his head. Endometriosis he thought. He was right, but didn’t know it.
The pain wax and waned for the next few years without a definitive diagnosis. I had more laparoscopies and my doctor even thought he saw endometrial lesions during one of those operations, but said that the labs did not confirm it. Weird. I had all the classic symptoms.
After that, I switched doctors. Instead of seeing a gynecologist, I switched to a reproductive specialist. This was the best decision I ever made regarding my endo treatment. When I brought all my pictures and records and he diagnosed me with endometriosis stage 2-3, right there on the spot. Okay now, I thought, we’re getting somewhere and he had a plan for treating my condition.
I was on Lupron Depot for a couple of years. It’s a controversial drug and has some very unpleasant side effects – bone loss, hot flashes, mood swings, etc. Basically, my reproductive organs shut down and I was in a medically induced menopause. Not fun to go through in your 50’s and not any easier to go through in your 20’s. From my understanding, it’s better for your body not to have a period when you have endometriosis. There’s no hormone fluctuations for the body to respond to and this stops (in most cases) any more growths from forming, and improves symptoms. About a year before my husband and I started trying to conceive, I came off the medication. I wanted it out of my body for as long as possible, even though you only need to be off it for a few months, I didn’t want to take any chances with my future baby.
After several months of trying to conceive, we got lucky after having had a laparoscopy and hysterosalpingogram (they put dye in your fallopian tubes to see if there’s any blockages). It was meant to be…and our little girl was created!
Sadly though, the endo came back with a vengeance and here I am…again.