Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Female Problems Lead to Endometrosis Part II

I remember feeling so completely lost. I wanted answers and no one could give them to me. I felt so frustrated and so incredibly helpless. But I couldn't focus on this at all. By this point, I was married to my first husband, Michael. He was starting to get sicker. He went blind a month after we got married. At this point, his kidneys were beginning to fail. So he took priority over anything else.

This is the second part to My Female Problems Lead to Endometrosis, please feel free to read the first part  here.

Once again, I got sick. It was the worst time for me to get sick. My husband was getting sicker. There couldn’t have been a worse time for me to worry about this. Michael’s kidneys had failed him. I was basically going back and forth from work to the hospital and then home again. In the morning, I would start the progress all over.

I went looking for a new gynecologist. Even though I had all of my paperwork, he wanted to do an exploratory surgery. The gynecologist said that he needed to see what was going on inside me. I agreed. I was desperate and sick of having a period that lasted almost a month at a time. The gynecologist assured me that it would only be a couple of days in the hospital and six weeks recovery. I could handle the couples days. I knew that I would be back to the grind shortly after. I had to work. I had to take care of my husband.

After the surgery, the gynecologist told me that the reason for the pain and the long periods was because of all the scar tissue that I had built up in my system from all of the surgeries. He had to remove part of the other ovary as well. So now I am down to ¾ of an ovary. I was devastated. I asked what the possibility of me having a child was. He said that it was still possible. I tried to believe him.

When I went in for a check up, I asked the gynecologist why this was happening to me. I didn’t know of anyone else that was going through what I was. He told me that he didn’t know why but he would get down to it.

I checked out. Everything seemed to be good at that appointment. As I was walking by his office, I heard him say something about me on the phone. I heard him tell this person on the other end that, “I think the Marcum (meaning me) woman has endometriosis.” Let me tell you. I kept walking. I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t telling me that directly.

I decided to find a specialist and not to hold back on this one. My husband was constantly back and forth in the hospitals. I believed that he was going to be alright. He started walking funny. It was the circulation in his legs going out. I had to put my problems on the back burner again. I devoted myself to my husband for the next year. If I would start hurting, I did my very best to ignore it. I had periods that were month long and cramps that were undeniable. But I had stored up all the pain medicine from previous times and took that. No I did not become addicted. I simply had to cope with what was my life. My heart was breaking in small little pieces. The thought of my husband not going to be here was destroying me. The thought of being a mother at this point wasn’t even in consideration. I loved my husband completely. I knew that the doctors could not keep him going much longer. His body was failing him. My female parts were failing me. Maybe it was just meant to be that way.

Michael passed away in September of 1989. I went into a stage of life that no young woman of 23 should go into. I was in a group that no one wanted to be in. Not only did I mourn the loss of my special love, I also mourned the fact that we did not have a child to carry on his name.

I decided to find that specialist. I found a gynecologist, Dr. Plunkett. I went to see him with my huge file folder. He read over my information and then checked me out. I never told him what I had heard the last gynecologist said. He said in his office on the first visit, “I think you have endometriosis.”

I asked what it was. “Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding and possible infertility. The tissue growth (implant) typically occurs in the pelvic area, outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, and the delicate lining of the pelvis.” For more information, go here.

Dr. Plunkett wanted to do an exploratory surgery. I was having pain during the exam. He said that he had felt something and wanted to be careful. He wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose any option of having kids. I agreed to the surgery.

Once again during the surgery, cysts are found. This time they were found in my uterus. He removed them. Dr. Plunkett assured me that I still had a chance of having kids in the future. I was on cloud nine. I was so excited. I had a competent gynecologist.

For the next year, things went along smoothly. I was sitting at work when the pain hit me. I was working for the Girl Scouts in Cincinnati. I called Dr. Plunkett’s office and asked for the next appointment. I told them I felt like I was going to pass out. They told me to come right away. I called my mother and pretty much begged her to come and take me. I knew that I couldn’t drive. Mom asked if I was sure it was my female parts. I had absolutely no doubts. One I had asked the first gynecologist to remove my appendix so I never thought it could be anything else.

We got to the office. He said he wanted to give me an exam and see what was up. When he did my exam, I passed out for the first time in my life from the pain. When I came too, he told me that I needed to go to the hospital now. I would be admitted right away. We stopped off at my place for a few things before heading to the hospital. I knew that it was really bad.

I don’t remember much about before the surgery other than that. I do remember coming to crying. My mom was very careful not to tell me what he told her. I asked several times and finally gave up.

The next morning, Dr. Plunkett came in to see me. He told me that my appendix had erupted and that if I hadn’t had all the scar tissue from all of the surgeries that I wouldn’t have survived. My female parts were basically green with poison. He told me that he had to give me a complete hysterectomy.

Even now, that memory still makes me cry. I was devastated.  I think I went a little crazy.  I began to believe that I wasn't a complete woman.  That I could never be whole again.  I am today.  I am completely whole with my family.  I have my babies, Faith and Jason.

Note:  If you believe something is wrong with you, don't let it keep building.  Don't take the risk I did.



Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I get it. I am there as well. I completed my total hysterectomy in July due to cervical cancer, ovarian cysts, endodemtriosis. Of course, now the issue is where else will it grow. That is the scary part. Also, the hormones are kicking my butt. I am starting my third type of HRT. We'll see if this one is better!

Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the pain you have had to endure in your life and the grief of losing your husband. It amazes me when people suffer so much and are able to survive, moving forward to better times.

Hearts Make Families said...

@Lee The Hot Flash Queen - I'm so sorry that you had to have the hysterectomy and to go through this as well. I will pray that it does not grow anymore and that it is over. The hormones are kicking my butt now as well. 20 years later and I'm still having hot flashes but thats another story. I hope that your HRT works. I'm try to go the natural way now.

@Just Breathe - Thank you for reading it. I share my story simply so that others might benefit from it. They might be able to stop their problems before it gets to where I did. I truly believe that people go through what they are suppose to. That in some small way things always become apparent why you did. I had to suffer through Michael's disease so that I could understand what my husband's father was going through for Ken's sake. I guess I had to suffer through the endometrosis and hysterectomy so that I could truly value who I am. And so that I truly could value the gift that I was given when Faith and Jason came into my life.

I've seen amazing things over time. People truly show what they are capable of when they go through bad times. You just have to go on. My faith got me through which is why we chose to call our daughter, Faith. She is our blessing.

Amy said...

This is a very powerful and personal post Thanks for sharing it with me.

HeartsMakeFamilies said...

@Amy - I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. i just want to help others. It helps to know someone else went through it.

G-Zell said...

I had endometrosis.. in 2004 I had to have a laporoscopy because I was having pain... they removed all the tissue outside my uterus and the scar tissue.

But everything looked good after that. THANK GOD........

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. My previous ob/gyn thought I had endometriosis. I had to have a laproscopy and hysteroscopy. She found nothing, but managed to puncture my uterus! My new ob/gyn recently diagnosed me with PCOS and LPD. It causes a lot of pain and currently I am infertile. Thankfully my DH and I have a beautiful baby girl (that will be 3 in a month). I will never understand how I was able to have her, but possibly not able to have another child. But I thank God everyday for her. It is hard not to be resentful, though. It is hard to hear of other's getting pregnant. I am trying not to have a "hard heart", but it is very difficult when fertility is in question.