Health – Endometriosis Surgery

*Personal / Vulnerable / Detailed Blog Post For Women*

From the age of 14, I suffered from agonizing pain during my cycle. My poor parents had no idea how to help me. By the time I was in college, it was common knowledge in my household: just don’t bother Meetrah for about 3-7 days out of the month. *face palm

The pain and the amount of over the counter pain killers I would take became my norm. I would take Aleave, Ibprofin or Tylonal like they were skittles; just to get through the day.

One time in college, I was lethargically laying on the floor in pain questioning my ability to go on. I remember the only thing that helped keep my spirits up was imagining me punching Eve in the face as she reached for that apple in the Garden Of Eden. Not even a donut would be worth this pain, let alone an apple! Every month I felt like my friends/loved ones either thought I was being dramatic/ridiculous or felt helpless that there seemed to be no hope.

Birth control, heating pads, hot stones, pain meds… nothing worked. I just sucked it up, every month for over 15 years.

Finally…

On July 15, 2019 my amazing Dr. Harms at Advanced Women’s Healthcare in Dallas vindicated me. She diagnosed and treated me for Endometriosis and a benign fibroid. My endometriosis was found everywhere: my uterus, recto-vaginal septum, Fallopian tubes (so heavy on my right Fallopian tube that it was bent) and even my bladder.

What the hell is endometriosis? A medical condition that occurs when the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows in other places, such as the Fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis. When that lining breaks down, like the regular lining in the uterus that produces the menstruation, it has nowhere to go.

The basics:

Why did I chose surgery as my treatment?
My phenomenal Doctor gave me the option of treating the symptoms (pain) with a specific birth control and my regular pain medicine. However, it was clear that if I wanted children, my endometriosis needed to be diagnosed and removed in a timely manner. Without being removed, it would continue to get worse over time and could jeopardize my fertility. I chose to move forward with the surgery because I wanted answers and piece of mind when it came time to try for a baby one day.

The Surgery:

Warning: graphic surgery images below
I checked into the hospital at 5:30 am. It didn’t hit me until I had that awful hospital dress on. I felt nervous, scared but also excited to get it over with and have my answers. As they wheeled me back into the O.R., I have no memory past the doors.

My doctor performed a laparoscopic surgery. A camera went in through my belly button to canvas my lower abdominal area. They put gas into my body to be able to see better and have more mobility. After they have a clear diagnosis, they plan their removal based on what they find/see and what they can remove safely. I had 2 small incisions, 1 in my belly button and 2 smaller ones below my belly button. The black spots are advanced endometriosis and the dark red spots are also endometriosis. You can see where the nerves are irritated which is what causes the symptomatic pain.
Approximately, 90% of my endometriosis was removed because there was about 10% my doctor did not feel comfortable removing without damaging my Fallopian tube and part of my bladder.

I woke up feeling pain in my throat from the tube and anesthesia. My lower body felt heavy and ached. I was swollen and bloated. It was obvious things in my abdominal had been moved around. My shoulder ached from the gas. All of this was explained to me before surgery so it wasn’t a surprise.

I stayed in recovery for about 2 hours. I was released when I was able to urinate, they do this to make sure everything is working properly and nothing in surgery was damaged. That was probably the most painful part, getting out of the bed and walking to the bathroom. It was difficult for about 2-3 days after surgery as well.

Recovery:
It’s been 9 days since surgery, I feel stronger everyday. I think the pain was manageable only because I had been dealing with worse pain from my endometriosis all those years. I went to the gym and took it easy this week and will gradually increase intensity next week. Rest is the best thing with small walks to help your body get rid of the remaining O2 in your body from surgery (all the gas in your body causes aches and soreness,  almost worse discomfort than the incisions.)

The Cost:
Being self-employed, I have an independent insurance policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. Its a decent policy, it covers the basics for what I need at this age. There are worse and better policies out there.
The overall cost of my surgery was $58,000.
My out of pocket portion was $5,436.

Every woman is different. No surgery or experience will be the same. One things I hope women grasp from this blog post is: Don’t dismiss your pain. You deserve to feel peace. If something feels wrong, don’t be afraid to seek answers.

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