It feels like I haven't blogged about Endometriosis in a very, very long time. Too long in fact, because right now I seem to be having major issues with it all again.
I think the last time I posted properly about it was way back in 2010, before I fell pregnant. I commented on it once or twice during pregnancy and then again last year, but to be honest I have been not-so-blissfully unaware of its impact on my life for quite some time. And that's not to say it hasn't been having an impact, but rather other things have distracted my attention from it.
But right now I seem to be living in hell and I'm beginning to think it may be connected to the Endo again (rather than, as I have been woefully saying, lingering affects from being so sick during my pregnancy).
Perhaps this sounds like I am being a bit of a drama queen, but bear with me…
I started suffering from nausea for 2 weeks in every month from the time Little Man was 3 months old. I saw a gynaecologist about this and we discussed my symptoms. He told me that as I had no pain and only nausea it couldn't possibly be the Endo, even though nausea is a very typical hormonal symptom for me. That was summer 2012.
By summer 2013 I was starting to get those niggling pains… the ache around the ovary, the cramping around the womb, the stabby pains in places you do not want to mention. They weren't regular but the fact that they came (along with spotting) whenever I did anything strenuous like scrubbing the kitchen floor or having the odd romantic evening with my husband, made me think things were ramping up a level.
What I failed to remember though was that when I had my last laparoscopy in 2009 I wasn't in huge amounts of pain. I had pain, but not unbearably so – it was all the other symptoms that got me. The nausea, the exhaustion, the random pains that had no pattern. I fell into the ridiculous notion that without pain it couldn't be the Endo (as prior to my first laparoscopy in 2005 pain was the major symptom I had), but I have always known pain isn't a direct indicator of the severity of Endometriosis and as I wasn't having periods thanks to the Mirena I wasn't having that same severity I had suffered from before. I knew this in 2009, which was why I pushed for the laparoscopy when they discovered stage 3 Endo which included my uterus being attached to my bowel. No wonder I felt awful!
But for some reason I did not make these same connections last year. I think I was so concerned with raising awareness of Hyperemesis Gravidarum as that was still so fresh in my mind, that I just assumed the dietary issues I was having were left over from that (after all, even my GP said all that dry heaving could have caused a hiatus hernia!) And then, of course, I was so worried about TJ's symptoms that I never really stopped to consider how bad mine were getting, nor how quickly they were progressing…
But here I am, in 2014, in a very familiar place. I'm exhausted, I am in discomfort, I am sick, and I am losing weight. All of these are such telling signs that something is wrong and I cannot believe I have missed them until they got so bad I had no choice but to notice them.
I guess I just always had something else to blame. In September I had to take two courses of antibiotics which severely upset my stomach – so I thought it was that. In October I started a new job so I thought the stress of that was making me sick. In November I went to a conference and I thought the change in routine upset my system. In December I had the most horrific "virus" and yet now I don't think it was a virus at all… I am starting to worry it was connected to adhesions around my bowel.
In January I had yet another virus, and this time TJ had it too so I just thought it was that lingering on a bit too long. But over the course of December and January I lost a stone in weight and I have yet to put it on. The only other times I have been this small in my adult life has been when I was very sick with the Endo or very sick with Hyperemesis!
Since January I have felt sick most days. For the past few weeks I feel sick without fail 30-60 minutes after I eat. Without fail! That makes eating very challenging to say the least. No wonder I can't seem to put the weight back on.
I am taking medication for the sickness, medication for reflux, and medication for IBS and I am still this sick. It is getting to the point now where I don't know how I am continuing to cope.
I don't know how I am doing it, but I do know why I am…
1. I have no choice
2. I don't know any different
3. I will not be beaten!
But that doesn't change the fact that I am really struggling and I need to get on top of these symptoms soon. I am lucky that I now work from home so can at least work around feeling poorly (I have made several phonecalls from bed!) That goes a long way towards helping me cope but the symptoms are still extremely troublesome.
So my difficulty now lies in the way forward. I have an appointment to see a gastroenterologist in April but I am unsure whether I need to see a gynaecologist instead (or as well as). I don't know who deals with these things – I think the Endo is to blame because I have some very telling signs, and yet it is severely affecting my digestive system which has not been great ever since my diagnosis of Endo, so perhaps I need to see both.
All I know is that I can't keep going on like this. It is for this very reason that we know we can never have another child. For us it is not the Hyperemesis that stops us doing it all again but rather my health outside of pregnancy too. We were so lucky to fall pregnant naturally and have Little Man but we can't do it again… it takes all my energy just to give him a good life, I couldn't split myself between two children. And it hurts me to say that but it is true.
I think I'm heading towards surgery at some point in the near future but I don't know what kind and that is scary too. And this is why I need to start blogging about it again… I need a place to share these feelings, both for myself and for all those women (1 in 10!) who experience the hell of Endometriosis. If I can ignore my own symptoms and doubt myself after all I've been through and all I know about it, what chance have I got of getting anyone else to recognise them and fight for better treatment?