An All Too Common Diagnosis Among NJ Women, Kelly’s Journey
This story is one part of an ongoing series where NJ101.5 news reporter and anchorwoman Kelly Waldron chronicles her experiences after being diagnosed with Endometriosis. Follow "Kelly's Journey."
We usually share our most personal business with our loved ones, our families and our closest friends. It's not typical for many of us to go online or to the social media sites we belong to and let everyone in on matters of the heart or matters of health. I just turned 40 and I have recently discovered that I may have endometriosis. Now, this isn't something that I would normally share, but I know there are many women going through the exact same thing and because of that, I believe it's important enough to tell my story.
I've written many times about my two children. I have a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. It took me over a year to get pregnant with my son. It didn't take as long with my daughter, about four months. But, my husband and I did try to have a third. After three years of trying, we realized, it wasn't likely to happen. Looking back, I am so grateful I was able to even have my children. Many woman who struggle with endometriosis also struggle with infertility, so I feel lucky and blessed that I was able to bear children.
During the time we were trying for a third, I began having severe pain on the right side of my abdomen and it always arrived with menstruation. I also had severe bleeding every month as well. When it came to the pain, it wasn't typical cramps. I would literally wake up in tears, writhing in pain with cold sweats and then the vomiting would start, a direct result of the pain. This would go on for the first couple of days of my cycle. At one point, it got so bad that I was rushed to the emergency room. The diagnosis was a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst which required surgery. When my doctor removed the cyst, she said it was the size of a baseball and while she was able to save the ovary, she had to remove a section of my right fallopian tube.
That was three years ago. Fast forward to this past week. Monday morning at 4:30 am, I was woken out of a sound sleep with the same pain that I remembered all too well. My right side felt like something inside was about to explode. I got the cold sweats, had a severe headache and was on the verge of vomiting. I rushed to get three ibuprofen and waited, hoping it was just typical period cramps. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Finally, after an hour of screaming from the pain, crying my eyes out and rocking back and forth hoping it would help, the ibuprofen finally kicked in and I was able to continue with the rest of my day. But, I knew, a call to the doctor was in store. Of course, they wanted me to come in right away.
When I got to my gynecologist the very next morning, he just looked at me and said, "Kel, you're in a very tough spot." Basically, the fact that I am having this pain once again is most likely because I have another cyst and because the original problem wasn't solved with the surgery three years ago, it's likely that I have endometriosis. Endometriosis can only be diagnosed with a laparoscopic procedure in the hospital. He went on to explain that there is no easy fix for endometriosis. You can have procedures done and you can take medications, but the fact is, it never goes away. Usually, endometriosis has to be treated aggressively by removing the problem. That could eventually mean a hysterectomy.
Now, being 40, I'm still young and of course, my doctor is not one who wants to put me through major surgery right away. And he doesn't want me to have a hysterectomy at 40 either if I can avoid it. So, we're starting as minimally invasive as possible. First, he wants to rule out adenomyosis, which is basically like an endometriosis of the uterus. So, I am having an MRI to check for that. If the MRI comes back negative, then he may want to start me on progesterone medication which could help with the pain that I'm now dealing with on a monthly basis. Basically, it makes your body feel like it's in a constant state of pregnancy. Then, he may want to do the laparoscopic procedure to see exactly what's going on and go from there. As of right now, it's one day at a time.
This may be a lot to digest and it may be a little too much information. But, I have friends who have suffered with endometriosis and similar issues. The more I talk about it, the more I'm hearing of other women who have gone through it or are going through the same thing. I think it's important. I'd love to get any input or information to not only keep myself informed, but to share with others who may need it.