Lady problems – or living with endometriosis

May 8, 2013

As some of you may know, I went to the hospital for some surgery last week. I had a diagnostic laparoscopy performed on me, it all went very well and I am on the mend. After they stitched me back up and I recovered from the anesthesia the surgeon came around and had a chat with me. They had found what they were looking for and loads of it: endometriosis. Now, before anyone worries too much, it’s nothing life threatening but it sure is a pain in the arse. A pain in the arse that had gone undiagnosed for around 15 years. This is why I am now writing about it: to raise awareness so that more women know about this condition and seek the help they need. As you are about to see, information can sometimes come from unlikely sources.

This started maybe in my early 20’s, I’m not too sure exactly when anymore but it all began with acute period pains. This was several times reported back to my gynaecologist and GP but other than trying all the types of contraceptive pill in the market, nothing else was done or any explanation offered. The symptoms have increased with time, along with permanent feeling of fatigue, causing me to sometimes have to either not go out at all or drag myself to my workplace, sometimes with the help of heavy prescription painkillers. At one point the shooting pains I got down my leg were so severe I thought I had sciatica. This, like I mentioned before, went on for years.  Time passed and any complaints made to doctors were met with indifference – they probably thought I was exaggerating or being a wuss. Or maybe they never heard of endometriosis at all. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I feel let down by the doctors that have seen me over the years. It has caused me to suffer unnecessary physical pain, abuse painkillers out of despair and even have relationship problems with a less understanding partner (an ex partner and clearly an a-hole, it needs to be noted).

The funny thing about all this is that I only suspected what was wrong with me when I read an article in a woman’s magazine about endometriosis. And they say women’s magazines are dumb and useless, heh? It was around 2 years ago that I saw that list of symptoms: painful or heavy periods, pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back, lack of energy, depression and fertility problems… the list goes on. If you can honestly say you have most of these then you’re a strong candidate for the condition. This really got me thinking so I approached my GP here in England, who finally took me seriously (thanks Dr Mark!). After a few different examinations to rule out other problems, a little over 6 months ago I was finally referred to a specialist at the hospital. I was put on a hormonal treatment for 6 months and after meeting up again with the registrar, it was decided I would undergo the laparoscopy to make sure I had endometriosis and laser it off if found. So there you go, I had my operation and my diagnostic was positive. Now that I know what’s wrong,  there are things that can be done to minimize the problem. It’s a good feeling,there is now light at the end of the tunnel, although I’ve been through some post op pain and discomfort. It must also be mentioned that I have nothing but good things to say about the nursing and doctor staff that assisted me on the day of the operation at the Grantham District Hospital, particularly Raina and June, who were really nice and understanding. Having a friendly smile when you’re far away from husband and family goes a long way. I should also thank my friends, who have been like family during this difficult time.

So here I am, recovering at home and celebrating world leopard print day in my fabulous Sassy Vamps flower headpiece and lovely tulips brought in by my friend Iryna. It’s not a real holiday but it should be.

As I mentioned previously, I decided to share this with you to help raise awareness on the condition. If that list of symptoms rings a bell, please read more on the NHS website, or on the website of the Endometriosis charity where there are a lot more details on the symptoms and causes of the condition, written by healthcare professionals. If you suspect you might have it don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help and don’t give up! Just be persistent and you will get your proper diagnostic.

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  • Reply Victoria May 8, 2013 at 11:36

    Dear Sara, hope you are well and recovering soon, so glad the you finally got the treatment you need it. I can’t believe you went for so long without knowing! I think is great the you’ve share this personal experience because out there there is people suffering too without knowing, take care sweetie, hope to see you soon xx

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:01

      Thank you! I know, it’s ridiculous… Even if it only helps just one person it was worth writing about it 🙂
      Hope to see you soon too.

  • Reply Amber of Butane Anvil May 8, 2013 at 12:59

    Sara – xoxoxo

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:07

      Thank you Amber, right back at you!

  • Reply Señora Allnut May 8, 2013 at 15:06

    so glad that you’ve received a good treatment and you are getting better!,
    and thanks for sharing your experience, you’re so kind and honest!

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:09

      Thank you, your words are very kind!

  • Reply OH LA LA LI May 8, 2013 at 16:38

    xi-hearts and lots of love

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:22

      Obrigada 🙂

  • Reply Connie* May 8, 2013 at 17:10

    Oh Baby Doll,
    I was so worried about you and now I know that you’re going to be just fine. I share your frustration with doctors. I’ve been through the mill, myself. I’m glad you posted this. I finally got up the courage to blog about my medical woes in my post: This is How I Roll. It is very therapeutic. And for every thoughtless doctor there is a kind one and the most wonderful nurses. So glad you finally found Dr. Mark.
    LOVE YOU, Connie*

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:33

      Thank you Connie, your words are always a blessing. Hang in there and much love to you too!

  • Reply pastcaring May 8, 2013 at 17:35

    What a shame it has taken so many years of pain and worry before you got a diagnosis and treatment. Hope you are recovering well and feeling positive. We are so dependant on the medics we see, thank goodness you finally found a good, clued-up GP. Lots of love. xxxxxx

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:35

      Absolutely! More than anything, I found a GP that doesn’t treat me like I’m stupid, as if not having a medical degree means we are unable to process information about how we feel…. That’s another problem with some doctors, they can be a little arrogant sometimes.

  • Reply PinkCheetahVintage May 8, 2013 at 22:33

    Sucks ass that it took so long to be treated for your condition. Hope you feel loads better.
    Becky 🙂

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:35

      I will be good as new in a few days I hope 🙂

  • Reply SACRAMENTO May 9, 2013 at 06:31

    I am glad to see you are fine at last. Thank you for this fantastic post, dear Sara.

    • Reply Mrs. D May 9, 2013 at 12:36

      Thank you, I hope it helps people.

  • Reply The Style Crone May 9, 2013 at 13:58

    Thank you for raising awareness and sharing your story. And looking absolutely stunning in leopard print.

  • Reply Clare May 9, 2013 at 23:42

    I know it’s a tough one to diagnose. I’ve got a scan next week and I wonder if my problems are related to it, but they could be IBS or something like that! So glad you’re recovering, take it very easy indeed, it’s a common op but you need to be gentle with yourself! I hope you’ve got some people around to spoil you! Xxxx

    • Reply Mrs. D May 10, 2013 at 17:27

      Thank you Clare 🙂 I hope your scan goes well and they find the root of what’s bothering you!

  • Reply Melanie May 10, 2013 at 07:38

    At last – relief is in sight! How many years of suffering? How many painkillers? I often think that gynecologists should have to wear contraptions that simulate these conditions so they can develop empathy. Women doctors aren’t necessarily better. Hugs to Dr. Mark. And most of all, hugs to you!! You look fabulous in recovery mode and it’s all going to get better from now on. xo

    • Reply Mrs. D May 10, 2013 at 17:25

      Thank you Melanie, things will surely get better!

  • Reply JGRuddock May 12, 2013 at 00:21

    I’m reading your blog backwards today, so two comments. 1. I think it’s always a good sign when kids like what your wearing. Often shows us being colourful, and fun and being playful – all great qualities to cultivate. And 2. I have some friends with endometriosis too, so I’m really pleased you’re getting the care and advice, finally. Good luck. I’ve also worked in sexual and women’s health for years, which means when I see fun campaigns and information I love it too. Here’s one such example that I hope can make you smile: the *brilliance* of Japanese style and cuteness all to actually highlight this important issue: http://boingboing.net/2013/02/21/japan-the-shocking-true-for.html

    xo xo

    • Reply Mrs. D May 16, 2013 at 19:58

      You are absolutely right! It’s terrible when people grow up and forget they should be allowed to have fun too!
      Thank you!

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