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My First Lap – Part 2

Read Part 1 here

I had begun bleeding by the next day, which the doctor warned me I would…it would be like a period, but not quite the same thing. The next couple of days, I stayed home from work. I had had the surgery on a Wednesday, so that I could have Thursday and Friday and then the weekend off before returning to work on Monday. Thankfully, my roommates worked regular hours, so I had my apartment to myself those first two days after.

The worst ache was not in my abdomen or my groin, but in my shoulders- an effect of the carbon dioxide gas they used to inflate my pelvic cavity during the surgery, which was now trying to escape my body before it could be absorbed by it. I felt fluish, and let myself sleep and eat pizza while binge watching cheesy 90s movies. However, I was well enough by a little over week later to make the two hour trip back to New Paltz for the following weekend to visit my friends and attend a few hours of a local music festival. I even did some dancing.

The results

After I returned to Amherst, I met with the doctor so he could review my case and let me in on the details of what he had found. After he walked into the examining room, he spread out photos of the inside of my abdomen. “You had a serious case of endometriosis”, he told me. “Stage III, advanced”. (For those who don’t know, endometriosis comes in four stages, similar to cancer, where Stage I is the least severe and Stage IV is the most.)

He pointed to the speckling of a dozen black dots on my ovaries, that looked like clumps of tar. “These are chocolate cysts”, he said. He showed me where the endo wrapped around my intestines. He explained my cul-de-sac (that empty cavern or “pouch” behind the uterus) was filled “to the brim” with it, and my uterosacral ligaments also were heavily affected, which might help explain the lower back pain and the weakness that spread down my legs sometimes. He even found I had an inguinal hernia on my right side; I had been to the ER twice with sharp pain in that location and had been dismissed as a hypochondriac when the docs could not confirm appendicitis. Meanwhile, this gynecologist said he removed close to 98% of the endometriosis he found and that I should notice some relief in the coming months.

Finally, a diagnosis

I wanted to cry with relief, but I mostly was silent and just stared at the photos in awe. I finally had a diagnosis that explained so many of my symptoms, that proved I was not just a hypochondriac or a “weak-willed woman” who couldn’t take “a bit of cramps”. I not only had a disease, but a severe form of it, which explained so much of my suffering. In the months that followed, I noticed my periods were a lot less heavy and somewhat less painful (though not completely pain-free by far). I also noticed my GI issues has calmed down significantly. My periods would eventually become as bad as they were before surgery, though it would take quite a few years for that to happen. Meanwhile, my intestinal issues have never been as bad as they were pre-lap, so I seemed to have gotten at least some lasting relief there.

If I had to do it again, I would without a doubt. In fact, I am considering having a second surgery within the next year, which might also include a hysterectomy, in addition to excision of endometriosis.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.