Thursday, March 20, 2014

Free From Endometriosis

After days of agony in the hospital, I was permitted to go home.  The ride back was long and painful and admittedly terrifying.  There was great anticipation of getting home and recovering in my own bed.  Yet, there was the fear that something could go wrong, since the doctors and nurses were no longer at my disposal.  Nevertheless, I put on a brave face and prepared for the next stages of my recovery.

It certainly wasn’t as easy as I had imagined.  I got home that evening and really wanted to take a shower, as I hadn't showered since the day before my surgery.  However, I couldn’t get in by myself.  Jonathan carefully and gently held me and eased each leg over the bathtub as I winced in pain.  He said outside the shower, just in case I couldn’t stay standing and to help me when I was finished.  It was a fast shower, as I couldn’t lift up my arms to wash my hair and it made me too sad too look at my absurdly swollen body.

I slept in the recliner that night, since lying flat on my back was out of the question.  Jonathan had set his alarm to go off through the night to bring me all of my medication.  It was that experience that showed me that he was going to be an amazing father, as he cared for me with such love and concern.  He woke up when he heard me crying in the night from the pain, made sure I had my medication around the clock, and helped me take care of my most basic necessities.  Really, I had no idea how he could love me in what I felt was such a pathetic and disgusting state.  Yet, I couldn’t have loved him more.

Four days after surgery, waking up with lumps impressed in my fluid filled skin, I noticed a horrific change to my abdomen.  It was purple.  Not the purple of bruises, but the purple of eggplant.  It wrapped around my torso, from my front to halfway around my back.  It was an odd sight, seeing the beautiful richness of the purple, deepening almost to black, yet knowing it was supposed to be my pale, ivory skin.  Something was wrong.

I was running a fever of 103 degrees.  Way too high.  My torso screamed infection.  I called Dr. Beiter immediately, who sounded deeply concerned.  “Get back here,” was his command.  I told him no.  My home was forty-five miles away, I was in agony, and I was not sitting in a car that long.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t go back!  At the very least, he wanted me to go to a hospital close by, but I again refused.  Couldn’t I just try to bring the fever down?  Couldn’t I put ice on my side?  I had one day.  Ibuprofen and ice.  If the fever remained in to the next day, I needed to go to the hospital immediately. 

Miraculously, my fever went down, but the purple remained.  Dr. Beiter explained that it was just the pooling of the blood on one side.  Although it was truly awful to look at, it was a relief knowing that it was not atypical.  However, my other symptoms were more difficult to explain.  I couldn’t keep anything in my system.  No matter what I ate or drank, even if just a sip of water, went right through me.  I was so weak from the surgery and so weak from not being able to get proper nutrition that my recovery took very long.

Two weeks after surgery and I was still horribly purple, unable to stand up straight, and still going to the bathroom about fifteen times per day.  Dr. Beiter wanted to see me for a follow-up to check on me and explain everything he did in surgery.  My mom drove me back up to St. Peter’s for the visit.  She was so impressed with Dr. Beiter, his knowledge, and his warmth.  According to her, surgeons are not usually so personable and caring.  He was a rare gem. 

He showed us on video my surgery.  My exact surgery!  He showed why I couldn’t go to the bathroom after surgery – my ureter was so covered with endometriosis and the cutting was so extensive, the ureter swelled up, preventing me from urinating.  Dr. Beiter found a significant amount of endometriosis under my left ovary, the side that always gave me such pain.  He pinned the ovary up, cleared it out, and left the ovary there to drop naturally after everything was healed.  The whole surgery was a work of art.  When he finished his explanation it was clear: I was free from endometriosis.

My next step was to get an HSG, or hysterosalpingogram, in the next few weeks.  If there were any blockages IN my fallopian tubes, this procedure would not only show where they were, but should also clear them out.  Once I had this procedure, it was time to start trying to conceive.  Dr. Beiter had said that if it was going to happen for us, now was going to be the time to do it. 

It was game time!  I was so excited, but also so nervous.  What if it still didn’t happen for us?  And what if it did?!  Was I ready to become a mom?  I prayed to God so hard, asked for the intercession of St. Gianna and St. Gerard, and finally, to the Blessed Mother.  Lord, I put my life in your hands.

St. Gianna, Patron Saint of Mothers

Up next, my plan for conception!

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