When I started having periods they were very normal. I cycled every 28 days and had cramps. Oh the cramps. But doesn't everyone have horrible cramps?
As I got older my cramps got worse and I had horrible pain when I ovulated. I thought everyone knew exactly when they ovulated and which ovary they ovulated from. It's normal....right?
I remember Ike telling me about one of his co-workers who was in her early 20's and was diagnosed with endometriosis. I had heard of it before but mostly associated it with infertility. I told him I was so sad for her that she may never be able to have children. I felt pity for her.
Little did I know.
I continued having increased pain when I ovulated and cramps. I went to my general physician once for some significant pain on my right side. He simply pressed down on my abdomen and when he got to the right side, I cringed. He decided I had an inflamed appendix. Why did he suggest that? Who knows. Looking back I know it was the endometriosis.
One Sunday morning I woke up to excruciating pain. Again it was on my right side. As the pain increased Ike and I decided I should probably go to the ER and that it was probably my appendix.
Once we got there, they took me immediately back. After five hours of tests and an ultrasound, they doctors decided that I had a "mass" on my ovary and I needed to see my OB immediately the next day. They also decided I had a cyst that ruptured and that caused me the pain. I was left with nothing but questions.
Talk about being freaked out! My OB sent me to a different OB because she couldn't do any surgery anytime soon. The new OB looked at my records, told me the mass was a cyst that would go away. He began asking me a few questions and quickly determined I had endometriosis. We scheduled a laproscopic surgery to see how severe it was and to confirm that was the source of the pain.
I had my surgery and once I got home, Ike told me what they found. I was in excruciating pain so I was guessing it was bad. I was diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis. My right ovary was so bad it had scar tissue, chocolate cysts, and had adhered to the wall of my abdomen. My doctor sprinkled some "magic dust" on it and helped separate it from my abdomen. No wonder my ovary hurt so much.
When I went for my two week check up my doctor recommended doing a round of Lupron. Especially if we wanted to try any IUI's. At this point we knew about Ike's infertility and knew that IUI's were the next step we needed to take.
After talking to Ike we decided I needed to do the Lupron to get rid of the endo. I did six VERY LONG months of Lupron. My pain was better, but it wasn't gone.
Almost two years ago I started having the same recurring pain again. After talking to my doctor we decided to do another laproscopic surgery. My endo had gone way, way down but was still causing trouble. We decided not to do Lupron again because I did not want to deal with the side effects again.
One thing I have learned on my journey with endometriosis is that everyone's symptoms are different. No one has the same level of pain or the same tolerance for pain. Sometimes my endo is calm and other times it's a raging beast!
Do you think you may have endometriosis? This is a good article from the Mayo Clinic explaining some of the signs and symptoms.
I have found that for me the best way to treat my endometriosis is to cut back on my caffeine, invest in a good heating pad, and keep an eye on what I eat since certain foods cause my symptoms to flare up.
What about you? Do you have endometriosis? If so, how do you battle it?