Melissa

Melissa

In 2017 I began experiencing strange pains in my lower abdomen and pelvic region which continued on and off for several months. In an attempt to relieve some of my discomfort, I began massaging my abdomen. That was how I discovered a large mass in my abdominopelvic region. Since I’m a surgical tech and have witnessed many open hysterectomies of enlarged, fibrotic uteri, I thought that was likely what I was feeling.In June of 2018, I went to see a gynecologist. Upon palpating my uterus she told me it felt normal, but, upon my insistence, she sent me for an ultrasound. Within a few hours, I received a call. It turned out that the large mass was actually my left ovary. It had become so large that it reached all the way into my central lower abdominal region. Concerned that it could be ovarian cancer, I was sent to do a CA-125 blood test, and I spent 6 agonizing days waiting to know the outcome. The results showed elevated ca-125 levels, but well below the levels normally seen with cancer. I was then referred to a gyn oncology surgeon.During the consultation with my surgeon, she explained, much to my relief, that she may be able to avoid open abdominal surgery in favor of DaVinci robot surgery. She explained that the mass, which measured 15 cm in length, should just fit the largest available specimen retrieval pouch.On August 7, 2018, I had my surgery. This is when, at the age of 45, I received a diagnosis of endometriosis. In addition to a very large endometrioma that had completely destroyed my left tube and ovary, it was discovered that the scarring and adhesions had done significant damage to my left ureter, resulting in severe chronic hydronephrosis and complete loss of function of my left kidney. I later learned that this is referred to as silent loss of kidney secondary to endometriosis. I still don’t know whether deep infiltration of endometriosis was also involved in the loss of my kidney since I would have to undergo another costly medical procedure that I can’t afford to find out. Looking back, I now realize that I had exhibited many signs of endometriosis (bleeding between periods, irregular cycle, etc) from my teen years on that should have been recognized by my providers, yet it was never even suggested to me. Since my diagnosis, I’ve found it exceptionally difficult to find a GYN doctor whose interest or knowledge of endometriosis extends beyond it’s effects on fertility. Why? Women endo suffer a multitude of ill effects beside infertility. We’re far more than vessels for new life, and it’s long past time we all are provided the same level of care, regardless of our degree of interest in having children. Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded comment/rant.

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