Thursday, September 6, 2012

Having a Baby didn't End my Endometriosis

If you know me, or happened to read my post from May 2011, you know that I've been dealing with endometriosis for nine years now. Ever since the diagnosis, when doctors weren't trying to convince me to have a hysterectomy, they were trying to convince me to have a baby. Babies, they said, were the magical cure-all for women who suffer from endometriosis. They couldn't give me any hard evidence on why this was the case, but instead dropped lines like "every patient I've had that has suffered from endometriosis hasn't had it return since giving birth."

Right. Well, guess what! I don't get to be one of those lucky women. Maybe my (SUPER AWESOME AND AMAZING) baby didn't get the magical endo-curing properties those other babies got to rid their moms of horrendous pain and suffering? Maybe I am cursed? (Not so long ago I would have indeed been considered cursed given that endometriosis was widely known as the working woman's disease.)

OR maybe, just maybe the problem is that we don't know a lot about endometriosis in the first place (who wants to fund medical research for some weird woman's disease, anyways?)

Now, let me back-up a bit. I had H in late December via a cesarean section (which was preceded by a horrendous labor and attempted vaginal birth). For obvious reasons, I was in quite a bit of pain for several months afterwards. At my 12 week appointment, when I told my doc about the pain, she said that pain from c-sections doesn't entirely go away until about 5 months post-partum. So, I sucked it up and dealt with the pain. Constant, shitty pain.

Fast forward to 8 months post-partum and I couldn't take it anymore. I went in to see my gynecologist and she had me undergo an uncomfortable transvaginal ultrasound (I'm sure Virginia Governor McDonnell was SO happy about that!) which wasn't a big deal since I've had at least 10 of them in the past for other endo-related reasons. The ultrasound revealed an endometrioma  on one of my ovaries and she said that given how I had described the pain I was having that it's likely the endometriosis is back.

I wanted to cry.

"So," I said "what's the plan?" My doc explained that since I am breastfeeding (more on this in a sec) that medical menopause, or lupron, isn't an option since it would stop my milk production completely. She decided that what would be best is to put me on a hormonal birth control pill (did I mention that I already have a non-hormonal IUD in? talk about back-up birth control!) and if I didn't start to feel better in a month, then she recommended surgery given my extensive history with the disease.

I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and cry my eyeballs off.

So, here I am two weeks in, trying out the hormonal BC. And so far, it's not working. Instead--it has stopped my milk (I don't even have enough to pump during the day and am now down to once-a-night feedings with H---totally heartbreaking) and I am having what seems to be a never-ending period from hell. It's like my uterus has turned against me. I feel helpless.

All I can do right now is wait. Even though I know the end result: surgery number FOUR. This ought to be fun. Stay tuned for more endo-adventures!

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