I wanted to change up the blogging aspect of this post. Lately it’s been about our journey towards IVF and I am so grateful to be sharing that with you but I wanted to see what questions you all had and I can answer them for you! So here we go!!
Q: What is Endometriosis? I’ve never heard of it.
A: Endometriosis is a condition where the layer of tissues that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. Basically, when a woman has her period each month the lining is supposed to shed; it doesn’t and comes back to gets stuck to parts of our body that we need, like our ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other organs but is is very rare for it to spread to other organs. There are also four stages of endometriosis, stage 1-4. I have stage 4. I am one of the unlucky girls because my endometriosis had spread to colon. More on that in another question.
Q:What symptoms did you have and how did you find out you had endometriosis?
A: During my time of the month I would get really sick. So sick in fact that I would throw up for days on end, have a migraine so bad I couldn’t work, and the cramps were so bad in my back and pelvis that I couldn’t walk. Finally after trying to fight it off I went to the OB and he told me there was a possibility it could be endo (endometriosis) and the only way to detect it is through a laparascopy. I didn’t hesitate and two weeks later I went in for surgery. Each person also varies with their symptoms but most times they are very similar in each case.
Q: How do you find out you have it?
The only way to find out you have endo is through a laparascopy. It’s a laser guided by a robot to look through your stomach, uterus and surrounding areas. I found out I was stage 4 at the age of 26. I was also told that day after surgery that I was infertile. I was stag four because there was so much scar tissue some of the pictures were unrecognizable as to which organ the doctor was looking at. During that time they also found that my entire left side was non-functioning. Four weeks later I had another laparascopy because the pain isn’t getting any better. March of 2016 I had my entire left side removed. They also saw an anomaly. My color and uterus were fused together with scar tissue, So they had to take those apart and put them back where they belong.
On average a woman goes 10 years without finding out she has endometriosis because there is no current testing that we have to detect it early.
Q: Isn’t it just bad cramps?
A: No. No. and No. I would take cramps any day than deal wtih endo. Endometriosis is more than just cramping because you are dealing with endo every day of the week, not just when you’re on you’re period. So no, endo is NOT JUST cramps.
Q: What are the stages of infertility?
A: For me there are several ways to interpret this. But for me there is grief that comes along with being an infertile woman. I think the five stages of grief fit perfectly with the stages of infertility.
- Denial: No woman wants to be told their infertile so they don’t believe it. They keep to their scheduled nights of having sex but after so long of not getting pregnant you wonder why and realize your in the stage of denial.
- Anger: I know I was angry for a long time. I wanted to know why this wasn’t found sooner, what could I have done to prevent it. But the reality is I couldn’t have done anything differently.
- Bargaining: You start to bargain with God or whomever you believe in. If you give me a baby I promise I won’t buy another puppy.
- Depression: This stage is the hardest. The is when everything is stating to sink in. You may never have children, Or depending on what parts work and what don’t surrogacy and adoption may be the only opions.
- Acceptance: I’ve come to accept my endometriosis. I’ve only been diagnosed for about three years. And in that three years I went through the stages of grief. My husband watched me on my weakest days say why me? why us? But I have to realize that when I can accept that I have an incurable disease I can educate others on how they can be supportive to those who don’t have children and want them to be happy.
Q: Why Me?
A: I can not tell you how many times I’ve asked this question. So for anyone going through infertility, it’s okay to say why me? It’s okay to stay in your sweats and grieve a little. I know I have. Today I was having a rough flare up and started crying asking Russell for reassurance. But yes ladies, its okay to say why me and have a pity party.
Q: Why do we have to hide our endometirosis? And who projects this? Self or Others?
A: This is a great question. I think because endo has to do with our lady parts and lady parts are a taboo subject we just don’t talk about it. We have our groups to be able to lean on our girls when when need it. I also think others are still ashamed of their diagnosis and they don’t want people to think less of them. I think part of endo not being normalized has to do with those of us who have the disease to talk to. I also think it’s others not wanting to talk about women’s reproductive systems because again they are taboo topics. But the more we talk about endo the more knowledge we put into the world.
Q: Why do we have to pretend to be strong?
A: We only have to pretend to be strong if someone doesn’t know what you’re going through. If we are more open and unapologetic about what we are going through we don’t have to pretend to be strong. We are bad ass women who are fighting each day to get our bed and do simple tasks without getting winded or feeling like shit after. Today I told my husband I wasn’t strong today and he said it’s okay you need rest. The house can wait. We need support systems like that in our lives, not people who are going to bring us down.
Q: Is it normal to gain weight?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Like I said previously I’ve known about my endo for two years. We have been working with an IVF specialist since last year and I was put on all these different types of medications. I’d say the weight is gradually coming on but its there. I weigh 135 pounds because of the endo and all the treatment. I know I’m going to have to put in the work and gain the weigh if I want a baby but it still sucks.
Q: Does pregnancy fix endo?
A: Yes and no. Yes because when you don’t have a period you can’t shed the lining of your uterus, which means scar tissue can’t get stuck in places it shouldn’t. But there is always a chance for smaller pieces to get stuck so there is that. Plus once you give birth your body is taking time to get used to having a human come out, get your hormones situated and then think about what to do. Pregnancy can definitely help lessen that chance for endo resurface. Endomtriosis never fully goes away. But we are hoping that once we are able to get pregnant the flare ups and back pain will go away.
Q: Have you thought about a surrogate?
A: No. My uterus is healthy (a little tilted) but can carry multiple babies. I am not worry nor have we even though about surrogate. In my mind thinking of using donor eggs, surrogacy, etc is like me saying I give up, which I refuse to do.
Q:How has this affected your relationship?
A: Russell and I have been married for 14 months. He has become my care taker. He makes sure I’m comfortable. He makes sure I have ice and heating packs when I need them. But going through this has made us better communicators. We talk so much about our future plans. If being diagnosed with this disease has taught me anything its like is too short to do something you don’t love. We plan on traveling more. Having babies and just doing what we want to do. We want to experience other cultures, build businesses and most importantly, be happy. There have been tough times too though. When we did the two IUI’s and the test came out negative I thought I was going to have a break down. After the second one we decided IVF would be the next step because IUI’s are too expensive and I want to spend my money on actually making babies. We have had bad days when we can’t agree on a decision. We have bad days when i can’t seem to get out of my funk and constantly ask ‘why me’? But in the end the good days out outweigh the bad.
Hers’s to hoping 2018 brings the Lions a Playoff Win, less pain, more happiness, and a couple of little humans to add to the Young household!
Let me know if you like Q&A. I’m thinking doing another one!
Until Next Time