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Hello, favorite readers of mine! Sorry for the lack of posts the past week. I’ve just been busy enjoying my new normal after endometriosis excision surgery! I’ve posted a couple updates about my post-op progress here and there, but finally feel that I’m in a good place to give you a full on report of life after endometriosis excision!
If you haven’t read about my journey with endo, definitely start at the beginning by clicking here!
If you’re reading this, chances are you just want to know that there’s light at the endo’ the tunnel (see what I did there…). I’ll keep you waiting no longer! I’ve had lots of questions about my experience, so this post will be laid out like a Q&A.
How Are You Feeling?
I am asked this about 20 times a week! My answer tends to vary depending on the day. There are still good days and bad days even this far out. I must say, though, the good far outweigh the bad. I’ve told many people, and I’ll tell you all too, surgery is not a guaranteed cure all. There is no cure for endometriosis.
Did endometriosis excision make a drastic improvement in my quality of life? ABSOLUTELY!
When asked how I’m feeling, I tell people–endometriosis excision got me to about 70% “normal”. The remaining 30% (which I’m still working on) did not magically happen the day I was released from the hospital.
What Has Changed?
This answer is simple! EVERYTHING has changed!
Prior to surgery, my symptoms were horrendous–pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, vaginal bleeding, cramping, night sweats, food intolerance, migraines. Keep in mind that this was all happening post-hysterectomy! These symptoms all were very sporadic as well. It was impossible to know when they would hit and totally ruin an entire day! Not to mention I was terrified to eat if I was anywhere besides home!
After endometriosis excision, most of those symptoms are gone! This is where that extra 30% mentioned above comes in. Prior to surgery I blamed everything on the endo. Now that it’s gone, my physicians and I are able to see that some symptoms are not endometriosis related.
I do still have a huge dairy and beef intolerance that results in bloating and discomfort. Migraines also are proving to be a part of who I am–not who endo made me. Leaky gut is a probable factor in my overall health as well. No, these things aren’t enjoyable, but they are tolerable when compared to what I was dealing with 4 months ago.
What Has Recovery Entailed?
Prepare for the the good, bad, and ugly here, folks!
Recovery has been mostly rough if I’m being honest. It’s been full of ups and downs, fake outs when I thought I was 100% only to find I wasn’t, and has been really time consuming!
If you’ve read my story, you know that most of my symptoms were bowel and intestinal related. Most of my post-op unpleasantries also deal with my intestines. During my endometriosis excision, I had 6 inches of my sigmoid colon resected. Some people have FEET of their intestines removed so this was pretty minor in comparison.
Healing your intestines, however, is not easy regardless of how much work is done and EVERYONE HEALS AT THEIR OWN PACE!
My resection has really caused me a lot of distress! I’m going to be brutally honest here. Initially after surgery, I was passing blood instead of stool. I went 4 days without having a bowel movement after I was released from the hospital. When I finally was able to go, I didn’t stop for a couple days! It finally got to the point where I had to take Imodium in order to fly home from Atlanta.
I went through weeks of alternating constipation, normal bowel movements, and a constant urge to go. Some days I’d go ten times a day, others I’d not go at all. For about 2 months after surgery I still would find some blood in my stool.
The most obnoxious symptom (that is JUST NOW going away) is that I would pass mucus rectally after my excision. This was happening multiple times a day! I googled this, read message boards, asked others, called doctors, had test run—and found NOTHING concrete. I tried magnesium, probiotics, aloe vera juice, modified diet, increased water in hopes that they’d decrease the inflammation. Quite honestly, I think time is the only thing that has helped.
Keep in mind that pain was pretty hit and miss for me prior to endometriosis excision. I am one of the lucky ones where this is concerned.
Pain after excision has been no different. I was written a prescription for painkillers and never once used a single pill. I didn’t use my pain pump in the hospital either. In my opinion, pain is a brain thing; it’s psychological. I have always been able to just talk myself through it.
Post excision, I have had some aches and pains. Mostly spasms in my ribcage area or near my tailbone, as well as some adhesion pain (which feels sharp and like someone is shredding your muscles). This pain is now virtually non-existent after seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist.
I went through a rough patch for a week or so where pain under my ribcage was unbearable. After lots of research and speaking to others, I was positive it was my gallbladder. I refuse to have my gallbladder removed (even though most surgeons are eager to take it) so I went to an acupuncturist. After 4 visits with him, my symptoms vanished and haven’t been back.
My acupuncturist also happens to be a chiropractor. He noticed that my posture was way off due to scoliosis that has come back after correction. He has given me some stretching exercises to do which have helped my back to stretch. The stretches combined with being aware of my posture truly have a made a difference in my overall comfort.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
My left ovary was removed during my endometriosis excision. This was the only remaining component of my reproductive system. With it being gone, my body was thrown into menopause. My surgeon put me on an estrogen patch right away after surgery.
Petrified doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt about hormone replacement. In my younger days, birth control pills made me a near-homicidal lunatic! Not to mention, I’m a hippie who does everything as naturally as possible! Dr. Sinervo promised me that my patch wouldn’t cause me much trouble. I value him greatly and trusted his opinion so decided not to argue.
So far, he’s been right. I do notice when I forget to change a patch I will have nausea, dizziness, hot flashes and overall yuckiness. I’m working with my OBGYN to figure out if I need more of another hormone or if my body is still trying to level everything out.
I am happy to say that 99% of the time, I am free of menopausal symptoms!
Do You Consider Endometriosis Excision Successful?
A thousand times YES!
I would recommend the trip to Atlanta to see Dr. Sinervo to anyone suffering with this disease! I know there are “specialists” all over the place, but if you’re going to do this–do it with the best! I had multiple operations with multiple doctors, and was even told there was no endo left prior to going to Atlanta.
I’m sad that my body had to go through all of that, but I’m grateful that I’m here to finally tell a success story. I believe everything happens for a reason. There was a time that I would have never found the good in the severity of my disease and my situation.
Today I use my experience, my research, my knowledge to reach out to others with this devastating disease! I told a stranger recently that this disease has really screwed up my life. He replied with, “No, I believe it has opened a door and given you an opportunity.” He was right. This is my opportunity to share with other women, the 1 in 10 impacted by endometriosis, that there is light at the end of the long tunnel you’re in! Things CAN improve!
I would love to hear from any of my endo sisters! Whether you’re just beginning the battle, have conquered it, or are somewhere in between–drop me a line!
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