the joys of being a woman: dealing with endometriosis

So last month I was admitted to the hospital.  A lot of pain, getting poked and prodded, more pain….  Since then I’ve had two follow up visits to my new OBGYN.  And then two days ago I found myself back in the ER.

All for the joys of being a woman.

Though we won’t know without surgery, that 2-centimeter abscess they found near my ovary is caused by endometriosis.  That fleshy lining that’s supposed to be on the inside of my uterus, well, some of that isn’t.  The endometrium formed that abscess.  And since I’m not pregnant and it cannot leave my body, it’s become irritated.  Thus the “I don’t want to be conscious” pain.

Endometriosis isn’t uncommon.  Some people don’t even have any pain (lucky bastards).  But it can cause cysts and scar tissues, which could lead to infertility problems.  Surgery is an option.  It’ll remove the abscess, which should lessen my pain quite a bit.  Birth control pills will also help.  Estrogen can make this problem worse — which means until menopause/both ovaries are removed, I could still have issues.

Because I’m currently uninsured, surgery isn’t really our first choice.  Right now it’s all about pain management.  Which means for a week or so every month I’m going to have to rely on strong pain killers to function.   I’m also on birth control.  Free samples of birth control.  My doctor has been really great about not ordering more tests than necessary, same with prescriptions.  (Each visit to the doctor is $150.  Each ultrasound is over $800, of that $300 is due that day.  Even with the “uninsured discount”, the bill for my 4-day stay is still scary.)

Having endo doesn’t necessarily scare me.  But it’s an added stress.  And the fact that his pain isn’t really going to go away on it’s own any time soon… that this is basically just a countdown until the next episode of pain… Well, it’s hard.  Beyond the medical treatment, I’m trying to establish an endo support group to help get me through this.

I’m so tremendously grateful for those who’ve helped me thus far.  From my family, friends, and even medical staff (my night nurse from my first visit, and especially my ER team from this week — all super, caring people)… I’ll get through this.  Slowly and surely, I’ll get through this.