These were the first hurried words I recall asking the nurses as I came round from the General Anaesthetic last week. I was desperate to know if it was in fact Endo wreaking havoc in my insides.
Then the pain hit me. My insides were burning. I reached for my swollen tummy and writhed around pleading for pain relief. My whole body was shaking, teeth chattering. The nurse gave me some morphine but that didn’t touch the sides. She followed it up with a dose of something else, something magical that took the edge off.
“Yes, it was endometriosis…” she kindly said, and with that I nod off.
Husband and I got to Spire Harpenden Hospital around 4pm March 16th. My room was rather nice actually, overlooking the car park pond. The nurses came to see me regularly explaining this and that, taking blood pressure and kitting me out with my gown and stockings. I was told to be ready for 5.30pm.
It’s just before 6.30pm when I am met by a lovely man, an anaesthetist who walks me down to the theatre. There I am, a 34 year old woman in bunny slippers and a dressing gown (the latter specifically purchased for this event mind) making small talk about where I live when inside I’m prickled with nerves.
I want them to be oh so gentle in there you know, these lady parts are precious, the gateway to life etc. Random thoughts like ‘what if the surgeon sneezes when he’s in there with his prodders and prods the wrong bit and, and, and…’
No sooner am I on the bed, I have a cannula in the back of my hand and liquid is seeping into my veins. I remain talkative (nerves) but I am definitely slurring. The second dose goes in, my face gets cold pins and needles and I’m out.
This is what having a laparoscopy looks like. Air is pumped into your abdomen to help the surgeon navigate around. Plus a hysteroscopy which enables the surgeon to see inside your uterus.
The procedure was supposed to take 45 mins, but I get wheeled back to my room around 8.45pm. I’m staying the night, and thats absolutely fine by me.
The next few hours are a blur. The consultant comes round and imparts all the vital info on to my husband while I’m still away with the fairies. I hear him say it was stage 2/3 endometriosis (the most severe stage being 4) and that he’d like to see me in a week. They’ll be signing me off work for at least 2. He hands us the photos of my insides taken during the op.
I’m starving. Husband gives me Orange Tropicana which is heavenly but i’m eager for my pre-ordered sarnie to arrive.
Mary the nurse is a little treasure. In and out to see how I am, insists I don’t get up for a wee without her. With my husband now gone, the sarnie arrives around 11pm. Mary helps hoist me up to sitting and without warning up comes the Tropicana all down her little arm. Oh Mary.
I’m in and out of sleep all night, with full body sweats going on and remaining very sore. On a few occasions I wake up, sarnie in hand, I take a slow motion bite and fall back asleep with it still firmly in my grasp.
The next day I discover random selfies and Snapchat vids I’ve taken throughout the night on my phone. It’s important to keep your humour :/
I’m awake from around 6.30am. PAIN. I discover I am wearing an industrial sized sanitary towel and on lifting my gown up, see I have 3 little bloodied dressings on my horribly bloated tum. One over my belly button and two lower down, sort of inside my hip bones. All very neat and tidy for something that feels like I have been impaled.
I’m discharged around 11am.
So, let’s get intimate shall we. Below are my insides and some select shots from the big day. The browny patches are endometriosis. There are a few cysts dotted around too.
In a follow up consultation a couple of days ago, the surgeon explained to me that the endometriosis had completely webbed over both ovaries, sticking them down. He freed them up. Endo is literally burned off, explaining the angry pain within. In freeing my right ovary (remember, the one that couldn’t be seen via the vag scan? See earlier post) tons of blood was released and removed. In one pic above, you can literally see where one ovary had been stretched over and stuck elsewhere. The orange stuff is FAT. Must start that diet.
The procedure notes also state that he drained endometrioma on the right ovary (a localised form of endometriosis, usually within the ovary), removed other cysts from the left and right and carried out additional treatment to internal adhesions via adhesiolysis. My right ovary is damaged.
So now on to the recovery. It’s been a little over a week since the procedure and here’s what’s been going on:
The neat little incision points below my belly button. Inside my hip bones/front of my pelvis:
I’ve decided to not rely on painkillers. I want to feel my body working and healing. Want to know how it feels so that I can accurately describe the sensations. So I am taking pills only when I really can’t take any more.
I’m mainly feeling positive and am embracing this healing time to try and raise awareness of Endo. Late last week via an Endometriosis group on Facebook I got instant messaging with a lady in Trinidad who is concerned about her 19 year old daughter with the condition. We chatted for a good half hour. Since publishing my blogs about it too, I have unearthed a couple of friends who have it. One of which I am meeting up with in April for lunch to lol about our shitty wombs. Maybe I’ll start some Endo meetups. EndoMEETriosis if you will. Phnar phnar.
Every now and then though, I have a bleak moment of wondering if the pain I am having is right and also if this is what i’ve got to put up with for the foreseeable. I can’t let my mind wander into the realm of family planning, I’ve got to remain positive about that one when the time comes.
The reality is, I am likely to need this op done again in the future anyway because with each period, my endometriosis will start to develop again. And who knows where and how severe.
I’ve got to see my GP early next week for him to assess where I am in the healing process.
So for now, onwards and upwards. Slowly but surely. Hot water bottle close at hand.
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