Friday, August 04, 2006

My Medical History, Part One

I haven’t really spelled out the medical history that has led up to where I am today, so here it is. Overall, I have been a healthy person, with a few womanly issues. At 13, I found a lump in my breast. I just felt it suddenly one day while taking a shower. Breast cancer runs in my family, so luckily I wasn’t too embarrassed to tell my parents what I had found. The doctor’s ultimate conclusion was that it was just a cyst and that it would go away. We monitored it, and it did go away.

Four years later at 17, I was struck with horrible, jabbing pain in my left side. I though it could be my appendix, even though I didn’t know what side my appendix was even on. My parents took me to the emergency room, and I had a bunch of tests, including my first experience with the vaginal wand on a full bladder. It was a horrifying, uncomfortable experience. They couldn’t get the wand in all the way it was so painful. Both my parents were in the room as I had my first humiliating experience in stirrups. The ultrasound showed a cyst on my ovary. I was told it was no big deal, given some pain killers, and told to go home and rest. I was also told that since I was prone to cysts, I should limit my caffeine intake. From that day forward, I had no caffeine. No soda, no coffee, minimal chocolate. Today I’m told that the whole caffeine thing was a stupid diagnosis. Endometriosis was never mentioned, nor any kind of ovarian cyst syndrome.

At 23, I had my first pap and asked to be put on bcps, since I was getting married in a few months. Everything was normal. I hadn’t had any other cysts, even though the doctor from my cyst experience had said I might have one every cycle. Today I am surprised he did not put me on bcps to control possible cysts like that, but back then there was no Internet for me to scour and I blindly trusted doctors. A year later at 24, I had another jabbing pain and repeated the same cyst experience. This time, the doc told me that his normal recommendation was to put me on bcps, but since I was already on them, he just gave me some pain killers and I went on my way. This time I knew enough to ask about endometriosis, and was told I did not have it.

Every year at my annual exam I brought up my history of cysts and asked if this would impair my ability to have kids. Each time I was told I was fine and would have no problems conceiving. So, I didn’t feel rushed into trying earlier than my planned time of 29. I would be like my mother and grandmother, who each had their first pregnancy at 29. I felt comfortable and confident that me fertility was in good shape and under control.

At 28, I suddenly had a bulge on the right side of my groin area that was the size of an egg. I thought it was another cyst, but the diagnosis was hernia. I panicked because I was so close to ttc. I had surgery to repair the hernia, which was one of the worst experiences of my life. First off, I was very distressed going into the operating room. The anesthesiologist gave me something to calm my nerves, which didn’t work at all. I let him know this, but he didn’t seem to care. Then, I woke up while the surgery was still going on, just as the surgeon was saying, “Well, there is no hernia here, but I do see signs of endometriosis.” I said “What???!!! What do you mean there is no hernia?” The surgeon said, “Oh, hello. You’re awake. Can you feel any of this?” I said I didn’t feel pain, but I felt pressure. He said he was glad I was awake so that he could ask me some questions. I said I’d like to be put back to sleep. The anesthesiologist in the room did nothing to put me back out though. I don’t remember what the surgeon asked me—something about what I felt when he pushed on certain areas. I asked him about what he said about endometriosis. I distinctly said, “Will I still be able to have kids?” He didn’t answer. I was awake the entire rest of the time, and I felt them stitch me up. It was awful. When I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon, he said he removed a hydrocele, and it was benign and harmless. I asked what a hydocele was, and he said a sac of fluid. Like a cyst, I asked? No, I was told. Again, he didn’t answer my questions about endometriosis, just saying he didn’t know if I really had it or not. When I finally got the medical report this year to give to my RE, I saw that the bastard had indeed written “endometriosis” on the report.

To be continued in Part 2….

2 comments:

Lara said...

OMGOD that RAT BASTARD SURGEON!!!! Im moving on to part 2...

Hope548 said...

That is horrifying! What a scary and frustrating experience!