August 4, 2012


I've been trying to write a new post about my most recent health issues but it's been hard.  The most recent developments have left me overwhelmed emotionally and physically.  However, I'm committed to be as open as possible (gynecological pun intended) about my health.  There are thousands of women with similar problems and I want them to have as much information as possible.

My awesome specialist Dr. Furr suggested that I see a pain specialist because he had done all he could for me and I was still suffering from debilitating pain.  He has a pain specialist in his practice named Dr. Nieves.  When I went in for the appointment almost 2 weeks ago, I was scared.  I was honestly prepared to hear (and accept) that it was all in my head and I was crazy.

Ovary Necklace
Ovary Necklace by yourorgangrinder on Etsy

Luckily, Dr. Nieves was amazing!  First of all, he was very personable and wanted to make sure I understood everything that was going on.  Secondly, based on a few questions and my chart, he was able to tell me basically my entire pain history!  Not just the pain that I've had for the past 5 years or so, but going back to when I was 13 years old.  It seriously blew my mind and for the first time in years, I actually had hope that there was an end to all this.  He explained that this wasn't an "easy fix."  It would take a lot of patience but the treatments he suggested over time could change my life and make it much easier and even pain-free.

After an examination, he determined that I had pudendal neuralgia and vulvodynia.  He prescribed me four new medications to keep up with (that put my daily total of pills over 20!), some hygiene measures (I'll get into that in a minute--it's pretty hilarious), a referral for physical therapy and planned a procedure called a pudendal nerve block.  It sounds absolutely terrifying but he said I "looked tough."  Er, I don't know how gawky and pale reads "tough" but we'll see.  I told him I want to be sedated for it but he said they usually just do it in the office with local anesthesia.  Ugh, I have to stop talking about this because it's making me nauseous.  The thought of a needle that long going into where the sun don't shine sounds like pretty much the worst torture ever.  Shudder.

The next day I came back for an appointment with Dr. Furr for my final bladder instillation.  He brought in an ultrasound machine just to check on an ovarian cyst he had been watching.  I developed a ninja cyst on my left ovary days after my third surgery in March.  "Ninja cyst" isn't a medical term (yet) . . . I'm simply referring to the fact that literally, every week my ultrasound would be different.  It'd be there one week, then just a sac of fluid would be there the next.  On two different occasions we thought it had broken on its own.  This time, Dr. Furr found that it had doubled in size in less than a week.  He said that  it was so big it could cause the ovary to collapse, cutting off my blood supply.  Dr. Furr said I would have have surgery Friday (this was on a Wednesday) to remove the cyst and the ovary.  He said that since I have such a bad time with endometriosis and cysts that he could remove both ovaries, causing me to have to go on hormone replacement therapy.  He said to research and think about it and get back to him.  When I got dressed and came out of my room, I had two nurses outside waiting to give me hugs.  They knew what I had been going through and how difficult this was.  I was still in shock, to tell the truth.

OVARIAN CYST RELIEF 4 oz. Brown Glass Bottle
Ovarian Cyst Relief 4 oz Brown Glass Bottle by DarcyFromTheForest on Etsy

I talked to my husband about it and prayed.  I felt like I wanted to give ol' Righty a fighting chance.  I honestly believe it's only a matter of time before I'll need hormone replacement therapy.  I emailed Dr. Furr and let him know my decision.  He emailed me back and said that he thought it was a "wise choice."  That gave me such peace for him to say that!  I still don't know what the outcome will be.  I hope that my ovaries are not like the dogs in "Where the Red Fern Grows" where one can't live without the other (yeah, I know I already made that joke on Facebook but I still think it's funny so I had to use it again).

One positive thing about the surgery: my husband had to take off work to take me, leaving us an entire morning until my surgery in the afternoon.  It was July 20 . . . the day "The Dark Knight Rises" came out!  One of the theaters here had morning showings so we were able to make a 10:00 a.m. show!  There was literally only a dozen or so people at the theater so we got a great seats.  I got a bit nauseous a few times in the movie since I hadn't had solid food in two days and couldn't have anything to drink.  But hey, I can't think of a better way to pass three hours than to watch a Batman movie.  : )  It was a fantastic movie, too!

Surgery went fine and I got to go home the same day.  It's been about two weeks now and I'm not going to lie.  I'm really struggling.  I'm still in lots of pain and dealing with a lot of emotions.  I think I didn't have a lot of time to prepare myself for the surgery and I had a lot of leftover feelings from the other three surgeries I hadn't dealt with.  I've been very depressed and vulnerable and I don't like being vulnerable AT ALL.  In fact, I hate it.  I'm so grateful to my family for putting up with me and for my friends who are so patient with me.  I've kind of just exiled myself into my own little lair until I can feel more normal and not cry at random things.  Through this time, I've learned that it's okay to be sad.  I need some time to mourn Lefty and the person I was before this past year.  My future plans keep getting foiled by my health.  I don't think anyone expects to have health problems in their 20s.  It's a very difficult thing to deal with.

At your cervix: funny uterus cross-stitch pattern
At your cervix: funny uterus crossstitch pattern by nerdylittlestitcher
The hardest thing about it having to watch my four year old try to understand why I can't pick him up or run around with him.  I've been sick his entire life.  I've had good days along the way but for the most part, I haven't been what I consider "myself" for him ever since he was born (that's when a lot of the health issues started).  How can I be a good mother when I'm sick?  I don't have an answer for that. Ever since last June, I've either been prepping for a surgery or recovering from one.  Being a mom is physical work and a lot of it I just can't do.  Luckily, I live with my parents which helps a ton.  My mom takes care of him all the time and so does my husband, as well as my in-laws and not to mention the dozens of friends who have taken him in for a day or two.  But I cannot let go of the guilt about my son.  Honestly, how can I be a good mother if I'm frail and sick?  I do the best I can but I never feel like it's enough.

Well, I have more to say but I think this post is long enough for now.  How do you cope with health issues when you have children?

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