What My Endo Surgery Was Like
When my gynecologist told me that I needed surgery to alleviate my endometriosis symptoms, the only thing that calmed me was how matter-of-factly she said it. As if this was the clear and obvious choice.
Before I left that visit, she booked me into surgery the following week. Tuesday at 9 am at a hospital a half mile from my house. My insurance covered it. It all fell into place without me doing much. Turns out, going under the knife was the easy part. Following the surgery protocol was not.
I didn’t tell anyone about my endo. I had just moved from New York to Florida two months prior to the diagnosis news. I really didn’t have close friends yet. Certainly not anyone I felt close enough to that I could ask to pick me up from surgery. So I told nobody. I went into surgery, and the I remember the anesthesiologist asking me to count back from 10. I got to 8 before things went black. Then I woke up.
I was informed it went well. That was all the news I needed, so as soon as I could, I escorted myself up and out of bed. Somehow, I managed to talk the hospital staff into letting me leave on my own. Or maybe I just snuck out.
Either way, minutes after the surgery, I hopped in my car and managed to drive about one block before I realized I couldn’t and shouldn’t be driving. From my car, I called the guy friend who, in six months, would become my boyfriend. He came straight away and fetched me from the parking lot of the bagel shop. He was horrified that I had attempted to drive after surgery. Worse, he was hurt that I hadn’t told him what was going on.
What he didn’t know was that, back then, I struggled so much with intimacy— to tell another person the absolute, vulnerable truth. I just didn’t do it. Ever.
He was the only one who knew about the surgery. The next day, I went back into work, and pretended everything was just fine. Which, as it turns out, it was.
My journey to talking about endo
Prior to the surgery, I’d been in and out of doctors’ offices and nobody knew what was wrong with me. I couldn’t stop bleeding, which is a scary thing to try and tell anyone. So, I just didn’t. Then, when the surgery solved the problem, I again had reason to not tell anyone what was going on with me. Only within the last year have I started talking about it.
The surgery returned my life to what it was, more or less, before I received the diagnosis. It was a gift in that way— restoring my health. And yet, I allowed it to be a disservice because, once the problem was out of sight, I didn’t speak about it.
Even though the surgery fixed the symptoms, I do regret not talking about this more. Turns out, so many women suffer from endo or something similar. The surgery may have fixed the bleeding, but it didn’t fix the shame— shame I should have never been carrying.
Today, I’m grateful that we have modern medicine to make our lives comfortable. I also see an equal need for the mental health side of these diagnoses. To help us know we are OK and whole regardless of what diagnosis we have or had. We are perfect no matter what.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?