I had my first laparoscopy in 1992 due to sudden onset of pain from a ruptured ovarian cyst. They found endometriois on the right side. Over the years, the endometriosis spread to the left side, bladder and intestines.
I had a total abdominal hysterectomy in 1995, when I was only 28 years old and only two months after having my youngest daughter. My daughters are miracles and I am extremely lucky to have them despite these issues. I was convinced to have the hysterectomy after the 6th laparoscopy for endometriosis. This was after the right ovary, tube and appendix were already removed and I had tried many techniques for pain management including acupuncture, acupressure, hormones, Lupron, Depo Provera, meditation and many strong medications. I would try anything, I told one doctor that I would sacrifice a chicken in the corner if that would help. Unfortunately the pain was relentless. It was and is a constant, stabbing, twisting pain.
During the hysterectomy they found Stage 4 endometriosis all throughout the abdominal cavity. Unfortunately the doctor didn’t remove the endo during the surgery. They just removed the left side ovary and tube, uterus and cervix. The day after the surgery I was given Premarin. The pain returned with a vengeance within 6 months. This is when the real “fun” started. I had to find a doctor that understood endo after hysterectomy. I have had 14 more surgeries since the hysterectomy. In each one and over ten years after the hysterectomy they found live endometriosis. The hysterectomy did not resolve my endometriosis. The endometriosis was deep in the peritoneum, along the bladder, on the intestines and it kept returning. After each surgery I would get about 12-18 months of relief.
I worked with many different doctors from OB/GYN’s to renowned reproductive endocrinologists and general surgeons who specialize in adhesions. During each surgery they found many thick adhesions gluing my insides together. I had my last surgery in Atlanta last year at the Center for Endometriosis Care and they were fantastic. I had relief for about 13 months. Unfortunately the pain has returned.
I have returned to pain management doctors. This is such a frustrating disease. I have had many doctors tell me I was “just stressed,” or that because I am a single Mom with two daughters, I’m just depressed and the pain is in my head. I have also had amazing doctors who have listened and explained the disease and how they can help. I have had countless tests that show nothing and yet every laparoscopy has shown either severe adhesions or residual endometriosis or issues that need to be corrected.
The best advice I can give is trust yourself! You know your body better than anyone and if you aren’t getting a doctor to listen, find another one! Be your own advocate and educate yourself on this condition. There has been tremendous progress made in the last 10-15 years. I am sure they don’t give Premarin right after hysterectomy anymore and I would hope they are removing the endometriosis during the surgery and not leaving it to grow as they did with me.
There are a whole list of issues with not being able to take hormones. I have tried many substitutes including soy and phytoestrogens and some combinations work better than others. There are some very good holistic treatments and everyone has a different experience.
I hope this has provided some insight. I am not a medical person, I am actually a finance executive and through research and articles from great sources I have learned a lot about endometriosis. There needs to be more awareness and discussion on this, as there are way too many women suffering. Good luck and God Bless!!!
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