A week ago I went into surgery to have a portion of my colon removed due to a large growth that was suspected to be endometriosis. I came to this conclusion after almost 2 years of worsening GI symptoms around my period including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, excruciating pain, and rectal bleeding.
I began my serious investigation of these symptoms at the start of this year. I first visited my gyn surgeon due to the cyclical nature of my GI symptoms (they primarily occurred only during my period), then was referred to a gastroenterologist to rule out GI related disease.
My colonoscopy revealed a large growth about 2 inches in diameter. I awaited the biopsy results for what felt like a lifetime, and thankfully received the news that it was not cancerous. Next came blood work and more imaging, which ruled out autoimmune disease.
So, I went back to my gyn surgeon stating that all GI disease was ruled out and he referred me to a colorectal surgeon. We scheduled a laparoscopic colon resection surgery to remove the affected area of my colon, and also scheduled my gyn surgeon to be present to remove any additional endometriosis growths during surgery. Then COVID happened and my surgery was cancelled.
Thankfully, we got it rescheduled a month later, but unfortunately I would have to experience my first in-patient surgery and hospitalization without the support of my loved ones due to COVID-related visitor policies. I was anxious and scared, yet excited to finally get some relief.
My colorectal surgeon successfully removed the affected part of my sigmoid colon, and my gyn surgeon successfully removed one spot of endometriosis on the front of my uterus, and one on the back. After surgery, however, I had vaginal bleeding. So. Much. Bleeding. Over the course of several hours, doctors attempted multiple drugs including hormones to stop the bleeding. They didn’t work. Then, they inserted something in my uterus (while I was awake) to stop the bleeding, and that didn’t work either. During this time, I was also given a blood transfusion.
Around 12 am I received the news that my gyn team would need to go back in to find the source of, and stop the bleeding. They performed a D&C to stop the bleeding, but still had no idea why I bled so much to begin with.
Luckily, the bleeding stopped but I still had dangerously low hemoglobin, so I received another blood transfusion. The next day (or the day after that?), my doctors did another blood test to make sure my levels were stable enough to send me home, but we found I was low on calcium, magnesium and potassium. I needed to receive IV’s of these minerals before I could go home.
I’ve now been home for several days and I’m feeling stronger and healthier each day. I’m grateful for an amazing medical team and incredibly supportive people in my life reminding me how much I’m loved. I’m especially grateful for my post-op nurse Tracy who was adamant that my bleeding was not normal, continued calling my medical team to examine me, and who held my hand as I cried in fear and screamed in pain for hours. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
This was my 3rd (and technically 4th, I guess) surgery for endometriosis and I pray to God my last. Endometriosis is a shitty, misunderstood, underdiagnosed, debilitating chronic disease that deserves much more education and funding for research as it affects 1/10 women. Now that I have *hopefully* moved past the most difficult and painful part of my own journey with this disease, I look forward to getting back to sharing more and educating ya’ll on women’s health and wellbeing.