I remember the pivotal moment when I doubled over in the grocery store and knew it was time to address the pain I’d been feeling for years. I always brushed it off as menstrual cramps and popped Motrin to alleviate the pain. This day was different, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I left my cart behind and drove straight home. I made an appointment with an OBGYN, which became the first of many doctors until I found one who really listened to my concerns.
I have a history of migraines, which complicates matters when it comes to endometriosis because the control of the disease is fueled by birth control pills. Doctor after doctor kept offering only one resolution. Birth control. When I’d mention my migraine history, they would always respond by saying I was too young to be considered a candidate for a hysterectomy. I was 40 and done having children, but it wasn’t something they were comfortable performing at my age. I kept pushing on and finally found a doctor who understood my pain. We spoke very openly about the procedure and how other women had felt about having a hysterectomy. I admired his honesty and was touched by his concern for my well-being. He knew exactly what I felt and trusted my desperate need to be understood.
A few weeks later I went in for an exploratory surgery. I had endometriosis. A week after that, my doctor scheduled me for a hysterectomy with the agreement that one ovary would be left, so I wouldn’t go into menopause. I was very lucky that the ovary saved didn’t have any visible signs of endometriosis.
I recovered within weeks after the surgery. The following year I was pain-free and also found my migraines had drastically decreased! The icing on the cake was not having mood swings! They all but disappeared! I don’t feel like I’m any less of a person for losing the ability to have children; in fact, I feel more alive than ever! It’s been nine years since my surgery and I still feel great and have yet to go into menopause.