A woman listening to a speech bubble coming from her belly instead of a speech bubble coming from a doctor

Always Trust Your Gut

When you’ve been living with a chronic condition or many chronic conditions, it’s fair to assume that you have been told your symptoms are in your head. Especially if you are a woman with chronic pain, they hardly ever listen.

Or providers just brush your feelings off, making you feel like you’re crazy, which is not okay.  But because of that, we have learned that we have to stand up for ourselves.

Above all that, we have to listen to our gut!

Trusting your gut on pain

Before I was diagnosed with the laundry list of conditions, including endometriosis, I doubted my gut. I knew there was something wrong beyond what the docs were saying.

My gut was telling me there was something more serious than the IBS flares they kept blaming.  I started having endo symptoms as early as 1999 but wasn’t diagnosed until 2011.

Probably 5-8 years before I got the diagnosis and before I finally decided to see my OBGYN for the constant abdominal pains. In the years before that, I had been to the ER, urgent care, and my primary doctor countless numbers of times.

I had more abdominal CT scans to check for possible appendicitis than one person probably ever should. Due to the fact that the pain I was feeling was always localized to my right lower belly, just like it does when you have appendicitis. 

But surprise! I never had appendicitis.

Finally, I decided to listen to my gut because I was over being bounced around, being gaslighted, and told it was just my IBS or possibly a cyst. I went to my OBGYN to talk about the possibility of having endometriosis.

A little back story: I started my period around 12, and since that time, they were never regular and always super heavy. So I started taking birth control around age 15 to see if we could regulate my cycle.

Trusting your gut on symptoms

We tried basically every form of birth control out there, and none of them really helped the symptoms or regulated my cycle. That first visit, when I brought it up she denied it and said she really didn’t think that was the issue.

She thought it was likely ovarian cysts rupturing despite the fact that we’ve never seen any on the multiple ultrasounds done.

The pain got to the point that it wasn’t just with my cycle. It was all month long. I always had a heating pad with me when I was home and sometimes at work.

I had one of the heat packs I found at Walmart that are for menstrual cramps. I lived on Tylenol and ibuprofen and spent so much time in bed or on the couch.

This went on for years. During those years, I did tons of research on my own, joined online endometriosis groups, and did all I could because my gut was telling me that I 100% positively had Endometriosis. 

So each time I saw my OBGYN, we talked about my symptoms and that I was pretty positive I had endo, yet she would always want to try a different intervention.

Trusting your gut on being diagnosed

Finally, I had my first laparoscopy, but only to look around, and what do you know? She found endometriosis. 

It was mild, but it was there and was the cause of my pain. Had I ignored my gut, who knows how long I would have suffered or how long I would be treated for belly issues I wasn’t actually dealing with?

Sadly, that first surgery only kept me totally pain-free for under a year. It came back so quickly that we did a second 18 months later. So we did another ablation.

But two years later, the pain was back with a vengeance. This was the point I truthfully began considering a hysterectomy to treat the endo.

Even though it’s not a cure, it had to be better. I was 32 years old at that point and knew that having my own babies wasn’t in the cards for many reasons.

I brought it up during the #3 pre-op visit and was denied. She told me I was too young and that I might change my mind.

Despite the fact that it isn’t possible and won’t be happening, she was set in her beliefs, which I get. 

I feel like we should be listened to when we decide this. We shouldn’t have to fight for it. 

Sadly, it’s just the way it seems to be for so many of us. Currently, I have the Mirena IUD, and it has been a total game-changer.

All those years ago, when all this started, I was just like 14 years old and had no clue. So I just went along with whatever the docs suggested.

I didn’t know or feel comfortable telling a doctor that I didn’t agree with their diagnosis, or that my gut is telling me something different. But that’s all changed and improved with age.

All this to be said, no matter the situation whether you are in a medical situation or your personal life.

Always listen to your gut.  It’s almost always right!!

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