I didn’t do amazing in biology, in fact in any of the sciences but I do know my body fairly well. I have been living with it now for nearly 32 years. I won’t go into too many details so if your a guy you won’t have to run away never to return, but I will be talking about some lady issues, so please feel free to skip this post if you would like. However, if you have a wife/girlfriend/sister or if you are just friends with ladies maybe this will be of some use.
For as long as I can remember I have had awful; I mean gut wrenching, agony inducing period pains. I was taken to hospital three times as a teenager with suspected appendicitis. It was decided it wasn’t; it was just my monthlys and to just crack on with it. Thankfully at 14 years old, a lovely GP took pity on me and suggested the contraceptive pill, not because I was thinking of having lots of rampant sex at 14, but she thought it would help with the pain, the heaviness and the completely wreck of any kind of routine my “monthlys” were causing. For 10 years, I was on the pill, and I had normal periods with niggly pain but nothing I couldn’t handle. I stopped to try for my babies, and I have two wonderful and beautiful children. I always planned on three, so I didn’t go back on any contraception and just used condoms in the interim. And for the first two years after my little girl I was fine, so I thought ‘yes, my body has fixed itself!’ When poppet was 2 years and 4 months, my entire view of my own body changed. My period pains came back, and every month it got worse and worse. Not only this, but it brought new symptoms, pain when I needed to use the toilet, pain when on the toilet and sharp pains in the middle of the month. It worsened and last July for the first time in my life, I had to have a day off work due to the pain. I have never had a day off for period pains in my life, and it was disheartening and awful. I visited my GP who told me most women suffer with period pains, I should take paracetamol. (You don’t think I wasn’t already?!) I think this hurt more than anything, it reminded me of when you would visit the school nurse and she would just tell you to eat something and see how you feel.
It continued I saw another Dr (have you tried hot baths and heat pads?), and finally my favourite GP visit seeing a lady Doctor whom I thought would take me seriously, How could my own body be causing me so much pain? So I did what any rational woman would do. I tried to ignore it, and power through. My “monthly” as the hospital Dr so lovingly called it back then, was not going to defeat me.
The pain intensified, and November came and I ended up in A&E. The pain was so bad, I was in tears, curled up in a ball trying just to remember to breath, I became worried it was something terribly wrong with me. I was in pain every month, how would I ever know if something was seriously wrong. The Drs thought it could be appendicitis (again), maybe kidney stones or who knows. After a week long stay in hospital and a load of blood tests and finally a CT scan. They found some cysts on my right ovary, 3-4 of them to be exact and one of them was 5cm. I think this seemed quite big, but apparently not. Anywho, so there I thought, my gosh, cysts on my ovary, this must be causing the pain.
However, even though the Drs could not see my appendix to see if it was healthy or not, the Dr in all his wisdom, decided it probably wasn’t the cysts that they could see was causing me issues, no, it was my appendix. And rather than go straight for surgery, lets give her really strong antibiotics, they did however bring in the Gynaecologist team who thankfully said they would see me in a month to check on the cysts once the appendicitis had gone.
I can tell you now for free, this was probably not the best option. The Antibiotics made me feel rubbish, the pain didn’t get better. In fact it was as bad as ever, so back to the hospital I went. I saw another very young, and very handsome Dr, so you know at least I had something nice to look at whilst they pushed and poked me and finally said; “the pain is probably coming from those cysts on your ovary.” And advised I would need another scan and to wait to see my Gynaecologist.
So for another month, I had to live with lots of painkillers and the hope that maybe soon, I would have an answer. Despite feeling rubbish, I powered through and Christmas was still just as wonderful as ever. We possibly didn’t squeeze in as many exciting outings as usual but this year we were really thankful for everything. The children took extra special care of me and gave me lots of cuddles, and made me feel really loved and cared for.
Finally my scan appointment came round, the sonographer heard my story and was surprised I was coming back so quickly for a scan, as usually only one month isn’t enough time to see if anything has changed. She also asked me if I had heard of Endometriosis, which I had, and I was dreading hearing again.
*I probably should have mentioned this sooner, but I didn’t want the Doctors to jump to that conclusion without checking everything else first, and I wondered if my readers had also figured out possibly what could be wrong without mentioning it. I didn’t mention it to the Doctors because in my head I wanted them to tell me it was something else, and it was something they could fix. Here right now, I didn’t mention it, because its becoming quite common for women to suffer, in some form due to endometriosis and it can cause some horrible symptoms and change peoples lives. As a woman until my sister got it, I had never heard of it, so I wondered who out of my readers could see signs before I mentioned it. You see my sister has Endometriosis, and it isn’t nice, and unfortunately there isn’t a cure for it yet. It is also fairly common although quite often undiagnosed, or it takes a long time for a diagnosis. So many women I talk to, have similar issues to myself or my sister, and have either been treated like myself to the “every women has period pain” bit by the Doctor. Some have been put on the pill and this has helped so they have never questioned it. Sometimes Doctors are *funny* and suggest pregnancy as this can help or even sometimes fix Endometriosis, but if you do suffer, you will know sometimes getting pregnant with it, is not that easy. Some like my sister complained for over 10 years, and it was only found when she went in for a different surgery and they discovered her insides were covered in endometrium tissue. And I think for most they live with knowing its probably this, and they just have to find ways of controlling it and the pain and just live with it, which is not a nice thought. So after hearing all these horror stories, doing some research, I was hoping and praying for something else, when I was in hospital, I really did hope it was my appendix with its easy fix of – Whip it out and it’d be over and done with.*
So, yes I had heard of it and I told her about my sister, and we discussed my symptoms. She started to look at my ovaries, and was surprised. As I said, she began by warning me that a month wasn’t long to notice much of change. However, I had more cysts on my ovaries, only small ones but still, more had appeared, and the biggish ones they had called “simple” cysts, and kept telling me were nothing to worry about had now filled with blood and whatever else “Chocolate” cysts fill with. It’s a lovely name for something isn’t it, not really. The sonographer advised that although she was the gynaecologist, she had seen enough of these types of cysts, she thought they were endometrium cysts, or chocolate cysts, and they could well be causing the awful pain. She said she would fill in my notes and send everything over to my gynaecologist whom I would be seeing in a few days.