Last Friday, I packed an overnight bag and headed off to the hospital for a scheduled laparoscopic surgery. For a while, I had toyed with the idea of not going through with it. I read all the research I could find, questioned fellow endo sufferers in my support group, consulted my family, and bombarded my partner with articles. Unsurprisingly, nobody could give me a clear answer.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease and, for now at least, it has no known cure. All one can do is manage the symptoms, work around flare-ups and whatever “endo-cards” you are given. To top it all, methods for its definitive diagnosis are invasive and require general anesthetic.
One week before my op, I came across some new research for providing a formal diagnosis without surgery, and instantly I wished that I could take part. I read about biomarkers and non-invasive research and felt frustrated we were not there yet. I had already had an exploratory laparoscopy in March 2015, performed by a doctor who knew very little about endometriosis. After surgery, I was given a piece of paper stating that I had some form of the illness. I received no treatment at the time and nothing was removed. I had to recover as best I could from the effects of the surgical intervention, knowing that nothing about my condition had changed. It felt like a huge waste.
This time around, as the date approached, I struggled more and more with the idea of surgery. Life events just made my indecision grow. My mother passed away only a month before and my landlord decided to evict me days before the dreaded appointment. It all got to be a bit too much. Postponing the procedure would mean putting my life on hold once more. I struggled with even the tiniest decisions.
What forced me to make up my mind was my own body. Just a few days before my surgery was due, my period started. I was in agonizing pain, spending four days in bed and bleeding heavily. My energy levels plummeted and I felt constantly exhausted. I couldn’t think straight and suffered from dizzy spells. Losing a week out of my life “just like that” turned me toward surgery. I knew the procedure won’t cure the disease and would leave me even more bedridden and sore. But the hope of a degree of improvement down the line made me desperately want it.
So last Friday, with my overnight bag and a good book, I headed to the hospital. I waited patiently all day for my turn to come. I slipped on the prescribed hospital underwear and stockings, popped on the lavender gown and tried as best I could to keep my anxiety in check.
Just as I was about to enter the operating room, with monitors already beeping, the anesthetist turned to me and said, “You will soon fall asleep and it will be like waking up in just 20 minutes.” It all happened just like he said, except that I was under for more than 90 minutes.
My doctor found far more endometriosis than expected and removed as much as he could.
I spent a wobbly night at the hospital and went home the next day. Three days on, I was still quite sore and my brain felt like mush, but I was also itching to leave the confines of my bed and get on with my life.
I will tell you more about my post-op experience and how I did after surgery in next week’s column.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.