Endometriosis and me, part 3
This is my third post in a series in my journey wherein I discovered I had endometriosis and then elected to have laproscopic surgery to formally diagnose and treat it. Why am I telling my story of endometriosis on a website dedicated to migraine? Well, it’s because of the correlation between endometriosis and migraine in women. Recently I wrote about having been diagnosed with endometriosis after years of suffering through painful periods, pelvic pain, and mittelschmerz (pain during ovulation). Many women who have been diagnosed with migraine have also been diagnosed with endometriosis, and vice-versa. You can read a little bit about that here in my colleague Diana Lee’s article, and you can read even more in Dr. Hutchinson’s book. Since so many women with migraine do have endometriosis and may one day need to decide whether or not to have surgery to formally diagnose and treat it, I thought I’d tell my story here.
Okay, now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about life after laproscopic surgery.
My gynecologist had told me that women’s recovery times varied—that some women were back on their feet after just a few days, whereas others needed a couple of weeks to get back to what they felt was “normal.” Considering my other health issues (psoriatic arthritis and migraine, of course!) and my natural desire to get back in the game before my body is really ready, I made a smart choice: I took a full ten days off work at Avid Bookshop and made sure I had backup staff to cover my shifts in the week after returning to work in case I was too exhausted to be at the bookshop for long periods. I also made sure to schedule no formal meetings from the two days before surgery to a full three weeks after. Doing this quelled my anxiety in a very meaningful way—I’m very grateful to own my own business and be able to make my own schedule, plus my employees are very generous and helpful when it comes to my health.
The day of the surgery I was feeling pretty rough and totally out of it. Thankfully, whatever painkillers they gave me took care of any day-of-surgery pain, but that’s not to say I felt comfortable. The nurse couldn’t sign my discharge papers until I successfully urinated, and I made at least five very slow trips from the hospital bed to the bathroom (a distance of about eight feet) and wasn’t successful until the very last trip when I dripped a tiny bit of pee into the bowl. This lack of urine was supremely frustrating, because I wanted nothing more than to be in the comfort of my own home, and my bladder felt overwhelmingly and terribly full. Like, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like I had to pee so badly in all my life.
Once I was discharged and placed in my deluxe sickbed (courtesy of my wonderful then-fiancé, now husband), the dramatic needing-to-pee sensation lasted another few days. DAYS, I tell you. It was rough, you guys, and I hobbled to the bathroom multiple times a day only to realize I couldn’t pee or that there was no urine in me. In my haze, I didn’t quite put two and two together despite what the doctor and my boyfriend had told me: once they were in my abdominal cavity during the surgery, they found endometrial tissue on my bladder, which they successfully removed. That said, there was some healing to be done in that area, and I could expect discomfort and a strong sense of needing to urinate even if my bladder wasn’t full. It made me much less stressed about my recovery to realize at last that my bladder wasn’t broken and that this needing-to-pee sensation was expected and would eventually pass. (It did go away a couple days later.)
Despite my leave from work and my partner’s help (as well as my family’s great assistance and close friends’ encouragement), it would take me longer to feel back to normal than I had expected. More on that next time.
Have you ever been diagnosed with endometriosis? What sort of treatment did you pursue? For those of you who elected to have surgery, what were the first few days of recovery like for you?