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….


Lara said...

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

Hope548 said...

That is horrifying! What a scary and frustrating experience!