I am sitting in the waiting room “playing” on my iPhone. I take notice of the people who are sitting around me. An elderly woman walks from the reception desk and drags her left leg slightly behind her. She sits down with a thud. Adjacent to me is a younger couple, realistically probably my age. It is a man, husband perhaps, wife, a four-year-old little girl and probably a 15-month-old little boy. The mom looks tired. When she stands up to return her paperwork I notice a bulge in her abdomen. As, I begin to look back down at my phone, the door opens, and a very happy woman walks through the doorway followed by what looks to be her very happy husband, who’s pushing a child, probably two, in a stroller.
If you have not guessed, I spent my morning at the OB/GYN. I have spent an abundance of time here, to the point where most of the staff knows my face and greets me by my first name. I’ve been coming to this doctor for nearly nine years now, and sadly, I have an appointment every two to three months.
Every time I am in the office, I interface with someone who is just finding out that they are pregnant, clearly pregnant or attending their postpartum appointment. Today was no exception. And today, just like many times before, my heart aches and breaks. The fact that I never conceived a child and the reality that I never will ever, hurts, like a slow, hot, deep slice into my pale, freckled skin.
Today I was at the doctor to evaluate the source of the abdomen pain on my right side. I had an ultrasound to determine if there was a mass, as just back in May I had a mass just shy of 5 CM that seemed to pop up out of no where and then before I knew it (less than two weeks from the discovery) I was having my, well, I think my seventh (?) surgeries (I’ve lost count, to be honest) to remove endometriosis from various parts of my abdominal cavity. I was looking at the screen in the ultrasound room and wondering what it feels like to see the baby that you created on that monitor. What emotions does a person feel? When I look at the screen, I am looking for masses, since I have been down this road before. Unlike with a pregnancy, I am hoping to see nothing, rather than something. Nothing is good news.
Today, there was nothing but some movement in the bowels (yup, I am full of shit, apparently!). But, when I consulted with my doctor it was determined that the endometriosis had returned to the area where the mass had been removed just nine months prior. We did not discuss surgery, it is not severe enough yet. It was speculated that because of the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) that this was aggravating the endometriosis and causing a flare. I have been on the hormones for two years now, following a hysterectomy that was performed in December 2014 due to endometriosis and my history of pain related to the condition. Endometriosis thrives off estrogen, but I need the estrogen to maintain some sort of peace within my body, both physically and mentally.
I read an article from NCBI and it stated, “For women with endometriosis, hysterectomy is often viewed as a permanent solution to their chronic pelvic pain. For many women, this is the case. However, there will be a small number of women who will experience a recurrence of their symptoms after “definitive” surgery. Women who choose to keep one or both ovaries or start HRT after oophorectomy are at higher risk for recurrence, although the benefits of ovarian conservation or HRT in younger women likely outweigh the risk of disease recurrence.”
So, today I felt numb. Another appointment where I find out that another part of me is not working as it should. Another hurdle to overcome. Another problem that can not be fixed. I was thinking, “What the hell?”, “Why me?”, “Why is there always something wrong with me?” And I focused on that for more hours that I should have. I wasted the morning feeling sorry for myself.
The truths are this:
- I am strong, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- I have been through worse and will power through this.
- I know my body and know when something is off, and I have the resources available to access care for all my numerous health conditions.
- I have a supportive network that consist of family, friends and co-workers.
- Much like in the past, I will get through this and will emerge stronger than at the onset.
There are things that are not within our control. However, we are in control of how we handle what comes about. It is within our control what we allow ourselves to think and how long we dwell on the surprises that pop up out of the blue. This too shall pass (my new favorite saying) and the sun will come out tomorrow, in some shape or capacity, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun!
Resources used for this post: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4286861/