The Inner Workings of a woman…(part 2)

When I started my blog, I had no clue what I wanted to write about or share, I just wanted to connect with more people and I think keep a journal of sorts, of all my funny musings, my family adventures and books! Oh how I love books! But now as I sit here, I realised I do want to share all the fun and exciting things with an audience, I want to share the sad, and painful times too! Hence my random musings on my previous blog post.

So,now to continue… After my scan had revealed some chocolate cysts, and someone had mentioned Endometriosis. I waited anxiously for my appointment. On arrival, the Gynaecologist seemed nice enough and welcoming, so we sat down and described briefly what had been going on, whilst I talked she was looking at my scans on her computer screen. I don’t remember her words exactly, but she began with “Lots of women suffer with bad period pains, and over here we normally like to suggest a bit of a watch and wait kind of approach.” Now I am not sure what I wanted them to do, or what I wanted to hear but I do know I wanted to feel like they were listening and taking me seriously, and this response did not fill me with faith. I was tired, in pain and anxious, I normally would try to stay calm and discuss calmly my issues. But I couldn’t do that, not today, I was feeling really emotional and I pored my heart out to her. I actually feel for the poor woman, she had in fact had more to say, this was just her usual start to the conversation but as I was feeling low, I jumped in too soon.

She said a pill to stop my periods completely could help me with the pain, and if it is endometriosis, stopping my periods would also help cease this in its path too. However, this may not fix the cysts, and as I was in so much pain she suggested surgery. But not to remove the cysts, well not on their own. She advised trying to remove the cysts would leave too much scar tissue, which in turn would cause more cysts, and if I had endometriosis, scar tissue would also aggravate this. So her suggestion was to remove my right ovary, investigate for endometriosis so we could confirm the diagnosis, and put the coil in all at the same time. Effectively stopping my immediate pain, confirming the endometriosis and helping stop it from spreading, however it is removing an ovary. I know she probably sees lots of patients in one day, and I am just one of many, but I do feel she was quite blasé about my ovary. I may be just one of a thousand for her, but I only have two ovaries, and removing one just like that, was scary. At that precise moment though, I didn’t feel like I had much choice. I wanted the pain to end, and I wanted a normal life. So I signed the form and went for pre-op.

Later that day, in the middle of Tesco, I had what can only be described as a bit of a breakdown. We had decided as much as I wanted another baby; my health was more important. I still stand by that, so it wasn’t so much the thought of losing an ovary that scared me, but the thought of being put under general anaesthetic that caused me to have my little melt down. I know plenty of people have operations, and go under general anaesthetic and wake up just fine. I know this, but knowing something does not stop you from being scared still. I cannot cope with the idea I might never wake up and see my babies again. I am awaiting an appointment, but I don’t know yet what I will do.

On the advice of the Gynaecologist, I also visited my GP and I have started a progesterone only pill. My GP was wonderful and let me talk about my worries and my fear. She believes it sounds like endometriosis, and she suggested I try the pill before having the surgery. She doesn’t believe I will get the appointment through for a while, and she thinks if we can control the pain and if there is any chance it can help with the cysts why not try that? And I wholeheartedly agree with that. It may take some trial and error to find a pill that suits me, and helps the pain. And I will need another scan in a few months to check on the cysts, and there is a chance I might still need the surgery and then I will have to come to terms with it. But for now, I am willing to try anything to help the pain and not have to have general anaesthetic.

Here you have, my whole tale of why I disappeared for a long time between November and January. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my issues, and please share your stories. Its a comfort to share and discuss, and its good to hear it talked about. I want to keep my blog happy and fun, but I think if I don’t share all of my stories, you will never get the full picture, and my main aim is to meet new people and share a bit of myself with the world. Holding the sad, painful or boring bits back, means I am not doing that.

I think I may try to get a few guest bloggers if I can, I think going through this pain, and sharing my story I realise there is so much in the world we don’t talk about, and I love to talk and share, so why not work towards some good whilst I am doing that anyway!

The Inner Workings of a woman…(part 1)

I didn’t do amazing in biology, in fact in any of the sciences but I do know my body fairly well. I have been living with it now for nearly 32 years. I won’t go into too many details so if your a guy you won’t have to run away never to return, but I will be talking about some lady issues, so please feel free to skip this post if you would like. However, if you have a wife/girlfriend/sister or if you are just friends with ladies maybe this will be of some use.

For as long as I can remember I have had awful; I mean gut wrenching, agony inducing period pains. I was taken to hospital three times as a teenager with suspected appendicitis. It was decided it wasn’t; it was just my monthlys and to just crack on with it. Thankfully at 14 years old, a lovely GP took pity on me and suggested the contraceptive pill, not because I was thinking of having lots of rampant sex at 14, but she thought it would help with the pain, the heaviness and the completely wreck of any kind of routine my “monthlys” were causing. For 10 years, I was on the pill, and I had normal periods with niggly pain but nothing I couldn’t handle. I stopped to try for my babies, and I have two wonderful and beautiful children. I always planned on three, so I didn’t go back on any contraception and just used condoms in the interim. And for the first two years after my little girl I was fine, so I thought ‘yes, my body has fixed itself!’ When poppet was 2 years and 4 months, my entire view of my own body changed. My period pains came back, and every month it got worse and worse. Not only this, but it brought new symptoms, pain when I needed to use the toilet, pain when on the toilet and sharp pains in the middle of the month. It worsened and last July for the first time in my life, I had to have a day off work due to the pain. I have never had a day off for period pains in my life, and it was disheartening and awful. I visited my GP who told me most women suffer with period pains, I should take paracetamol. (You don’t think I wasn’t already?!) I think this hurt more than anything, it reminded me of when you would visit the school nurse and she would just tell you to eat something and see how you feel.

It continued I saw another Dr (have you tried hot baths and heat pads?), and finally my favourite GP visit seeing a lady Doctor whom I thought would take me seriously, How could my own body be causing me so much pain? So I did what any rational woman would do. I tried to ignore it, and power through. My “monthly” as the hospital Dr so lovingly called it back then, was not going to defeat me.
The pain intensified, and November came and I ended up in A&E. The pain was so bad, I was in tears, curled up in a ball trying just to remember to breath, I became worried it was something terribly wrong with me. I was in pain every month, how would I ever know if something was seriously wrong. The Drs thought it could be appendicitis (again), maybe kidney stones or who knows. After a week long stay in hospital and a load of blood tests and finally a CT scan. They found some cysts on my right ovary, 3-4 of them to be exact and one of them was 5cm. I think this seemed quite big, but apparently not. Anywho, so there I thought, my gosh, cysts on my ovary, this must be causing the pain.
However, even though the Drs could not see my appendix to see if it was healthy or not, the Dr in all his wisdom, decided it probably wasn’t the cysts that they could see was causing me issues, no, it was my appendix. And rather than go straight for surgery, lets give her really strong antibiotics, they did however bring in the Gynaecologist team who thankfully said they would see me in a month to check on the cysts once the appendicitis had gone.

I can tell you now for free, this was probably not the best option. The Antibiotics made me feel rubbish, the pain didn’t get better. In fact it was as bad as ever, so back to the hospital I went. I saw another very young, and very handsome Dr, so you know at least I had something nice to look at whilst they pushed and poked me and finally said; “the pain is probably coming from those cysts on your ovary.” And advised I would need another scan and to wait to see my Gynaecologist.
So for another month, I had to live with lots of painkillers and the hope that maybe soon, I would have an answer. Despite feeling rubbish, I powered through and Christmas was still just as wonderful as ever. We possibly didn’t squeeze in as many exciting outings as usual but this year we were really thankful for everything. The children took extra special care of me and gave me lots of cuddles, and made me feel really loved and cared for.

Finally my scan appointment came round, the sonographer heard my story and was surprised I was coming back so quickly for a scan, as usually only one month isn’t enough time to see if anything has changed. She also asked me if I had heard of Endometriosis, which I had, and I was dreading hearing again.

*I probably should have mentioned this sooner, but I didn’t want the Doctors to jump to that conclusion without checking everything else first, and I wondered if my readers had also figured out possibly what could be wrong without mentioning it. I didn’t mention it to the Doctors because in my head I wanted them to tell me it was something else, and it was something they could fix. Here right now, I didn’t mention it, because its becoming quite common for women to suffer, in some form due to endometriosis and it can cause some horrible symptoms and change peoples lives. As a woman until my sister got it, I had never heard of it, so I wondered who out of my readers could see signs before I mentioned it. You see my sister has Endometriosis, and it isn’t nice, and unfortunately there isn’t a cure for it yet. It is also fairly common although quite often undiagnosed, or it takes a long time for a diagnosis. So many women I talk to, have similar issues to myself or my sister, and have either been treated like myself to the “every women has period pain” bit by the Doctor. Some have been put on the pill and this has helped so they have never questioned it. Sometimes Doctors are *funny* and suggest pregnancy as this can help or even sometimes fix Endometriosis, but if you do suffer, you will know sometimes getting pregnant with it, is not that easy. Some like my sister complained for over 10 years, and it was only found when she went in for a different surgery and they discovered her insides were covered in endometrium tissue. And I think for most they live with knowing its probably this, and they just have to find ways of controlling it and the pain and just live with it, which is not a nice thought. So after hearing all these horror stories, doing some research, I was hoping and praying for something else, when I was in hospital, I really did hope it was my appendix with its easy fix of – Whip it out and it’d be over and done with.*

So, yes I had heard of it and I told her about my sister, and we discussed my symptoms. She started to look at my ovaries, and was surprised. As I said, she began by warning me that a month wasn’t long to notice much of change. However, I had more cysts on my ovaries, only small ones but still, more had appeared, and the biggish ones they had called “simple” cysts, and kept telling me were nothing to worry about had now filled with blood and whatever else “Chocolate” cysts fill with. It’s a lovely name for something isn’t it, not really. The sonographer advised that although she was the gynaecologist, she had seen enough of these types of cysts, she thought they were endometrium cysts, or chocolate cysts, and they could well be causing the awful pain. She said she would fill in my notes and send everything over to my gynaecologist whom I would be seeing in a few days.