The other day I posted here about my experience with my most recent surgery for endometriosis. Here’s the second half of how things went:
For background, I was diagnosed with severe stage four endometriosis during my two surgeries that preceded this month’s surgery (these were surgeries # 3 and 4). In both of those prior surgeries, the operating doctors each separately told me that I had the worse case of endo they’d ever seen. That’s not exactly bragging rights… who wants to hear that they have the worst case of [fill-in-the-blank medical thing]? During surgery #3 my severe endo, along with several chocolate cysts, were all removed. Thirteen months later, during surgery #4, all the endo had returned, and then some. Organs that weren’t even adjacent to one another were adhered together. Bad stuff.
Surgery #4 took place five years ago, which is the longest I’ve gone between surgeries. Since then, I have been TTC and have experienced near-constant ovary pain. Jake and I have not achieved any [natural] pregnancies in the five and a half years that we’ve been trying for a baby, nor has my ovarian pain ceased in that time. Then, for several months in 2016, I was having unexplained intermenstrual bleeding. Sex has also been quite painful for me these last few months, mainly around my cervix.
This time around, during surgery #5, Dr. Din and I were prepared to find lots of endometrial implants (i.e. endometriosis), some burst cysts, multiple adhesions, and maybe even some uterine polyps or fibroids thrown in for good measure that might explain my mystery bleeding. But not so!
Here’s what Dr. Din did NOT find:
- No burst (or whole) cysts
- No fibroids
- No polyps
- No endometrial implants
Take a look at that last one again: no endometrial implants. That means I had NO ENDOMETRIOSIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! None. Dr. Din said that possibly there’s some microscopic endometriosis going on, but nothing severe enough that it’s visible.
How does one go from severe stage four, rapidly recurring endometriosis to no endometriosis? There’s just not an explanation. The endo should’ve returned with a vengeance in these five years, just like it returned with a vengeance in the thirteen months between surgeries #3 and #4. My only explanation is prayer. I cannot be convinced otherwise. I believe that God has kept my endometriosis from returning, and I am so very thankful.
Here’s what Dr. Din did find:
- Pelvic Adhesive Disease: Adhesions had stuck my colon to my uterus. The colo-rectal surgeon who was en suite during my procedure removed these adhesions. Dr Din explained that my pain during sex was as follows: Penetration was hitting my cervix, which was then pushing on the adhesions, which were then pushing against my uterus and colon, causing a big messy ball of pain. Yikes! This also explains why I’ve had painful bowel movements for, like, a year.
- Ovarian Adhesions: My ovary was encased on all sides by adhesions. Dr. Din described it as being wrapped in layers of Saran wrap. These were all removed.
- Fallopian Tube Blockage: Here’s the biggie: My fallopian tube (I only have one tube and one ovary) was completely blocked by adhesions where the tube meets my ovary (distal); it was not blocked where the tube meets my uterus (proximal). This explains why I haven’t gotten pregnant: my body was literally unable to become pregnant. Although I’ve been somewhat regularly ovulating, the egg couldn’t penetrate through the dense adhesions. Meaning the egg couldn’t even get into my fallopian tube for a chance at fertilization. This was a total surprise, and there’s no telling how long it’s been blocked. Dr. Din used a procedure called chromotubation during my surgery—which is like an HSG, only better—to verify that I have no further blockages. My 2015 HSG showed that my tube was clear, but Dr. Din chalked that up to a false positive. I’m not so sure about that, and plan to investigate it further.
At least as of this moment, I am fully fertile! That is what I choose to focus on. There is absolutely no reason why I cannot get pregnant on my own for the time being. Yes, there is a very distinct medical possibility that the adhesions/blockages will return in time. Will it be a few months? or a year? No telling. Removal of distal fallopian tube blockage unfortunately has a pretty poor success rate when it comes to keeping the tube open in the long run. But I’m believing for the best; God is on my side! And in the meantime, I’m studying up on different methods and success rates of FT blockage removal.
Besides, it’s not like I can’t have another surgery in the future. In all seriousness. Part of me has already begun prepping for that possibility. I will do whatever it takes to keep my remaining reproductive organs inside my body where they belong.
As far as recovery goes, I have no complaints. I had surgery on a Wednesday and went back to work on Monday. The five days in between I took it very easy.
Pain has been minimal. Sometimes I feel a deep, organ-y pain in my uterus and tube that no medication can touch. And my ovary still hurts exactly like it did before; I’m hoping that will go away once I’ve healed more.
I ended up with four incisions instead of the three that Dr. Din promised; three of these incisions were made over my existing scars, and the fourth is new. The new incision is above where my belly button used to be. Dr. Din took a peek under the hood at my umbilical area and reported back to me that the umbilical mesh which I had installed during my 2008 surgery (surgery #2) is holding up well. I’ve been having umbilical pain the past few days—probably from that area being messed with—but it’s quieting down now. One of my incisions is a bit weepy and sometimes bleeds, so I’ve been keeping it covered lately. Otherwise, all’s been well.
Here’s some pics of the progress I’ve made, from days 1 – 6:
Oh, and I finally pooped today! That only took a week. Ugh. Surgery really backs up the pipes. It still hurts some to go, but that’s because human colons don’t much enjoy being handled and prodded. My pooping pain shouldn’t last long. Aren’t you so pleased that you read down this far?! If WordPress had emojis, I’d absolutely insert a poop emoji right about now.
On surgery day I forgot to remind Dr. Din to remove the epidermal inclusion cysts on one of my scars. Grrrr… That might be something a dermatologist can take care of for me in the future, so no real worries.
My post-op appointment isn’t for another six days. Hopefully I’ll take home some gory surgical pics from the appointment to share with you all.