It's been eight days since the surgery, eight days that have reshaped my understanding of our future and whether living abroad again soon will play any role in it. Warning: this post is going to be absurdly melodramatic and contain lots of lady-health talk. [If you're not into that stuff, just skip all the text, watch the embedded videos, and call it a day.] I know my mom will scold me for putting all this online ("it's there forever, Katherine!") but many, many women have shared their experiences with this on the internet and it was SO HELPFUL this past week. Maybe today's post will help someone else going through a similar situation.
The good news is the procedures ended up being the best-case-scenario versions: a laparoscopy and an ovarian cystectomy, meaning outpatient, tiny incisions, and all organs left where they'd prefer to be left. I didn't even feel that nervous; once in the pre-op room, there was nothing to do but lie there and accept what was happening. Then be wheeled into the OR, given "just some oxygen...", and wham. Out cold. Those guys know their drugs!
|Why smiling? I have no idea.|
- texting with friends and reading designated "recovery" books-
- and things are pretty much back to normal.
What's not over, though, is what the doctor found. She confirmed that it is endometriosis, something "suspected" to be an autoimmune disorder and otherwise known as the-big-bad-wolf-of-delayed-childbearing. Back in March I was pretty freaked out by this possible diagnosis (see below video)...
... but then calmed down, because really- if someone else has to tell you that you have a non-lethal disease that you'd never suffered much from nor suspected, then you're already way ahead in my book. And if you feel pain with this thing, you seem to feel the pain big time, so I feel lucky to have mostly escaped that. I decided it wouldn't be much different than any of the other scars I already carry around. Everyone gets something sooner or later and this particular disorder is staggeringly and unfortunately common- as in affecting up to 10% of women.
But the vocabulary of our medical system is not as tolerant. They call it "a disease", "a problem", something that must be addressed asap. Maybe they're right, I don't know. In short, endo is when tissue starts colonizing areas of the body it has no good reason to lurk in while the trusty immune system is away on business and unavailable for comment. My doctor has a plan all mapped out: first a Big Drug (used to treat prostate cancer in men and induce menopause in women, yippee) then cross-your-fingers-and-hope-you-get-preggers-right-away-cuz-if-you-don't-use-it-you-lose-it. We have always wanted children, although with the tagline in the future, but now it seems like time is running out. Or perhaps, it already ran out. Or didn't. On the scale of I - IV endo, I'm at the very latter end. No one knows what this actually could mean: the numbers don't necessarily correspond to pain or bliss or fertility or infertility. Maybe we'll get the big family we always talked about.
(video: this is what parenthood is like, right?)
Or maybe we'll end up having lots and lots and lots of Sunday afternoons with just the two of us. Hard to say. In the meantime I sure feel like this: