The Inside Story

Warning: This isn’t my typical lame humor post. In this one things get real. And graphic. I’m talking about (gasp) female reproductive health issues! Feel free to close your eyes and run away screaming. I won’t take it personally.  

Okay…are they gone? What? You guys are still here? Look, I’m not kidding. This isn’t the good fun reproductive stuff, it’s the uglier side about pain and disease. Fine, stay if you want but I tried to warn you…

Once upon a time I was a young girl who suffered agonizing pain during periods. I ate Advil like candy and spent several days every month writhing in bed with a heating pad on my belly. It was difficult to get up and walk around, much less go to school. People told me this was “normal” and that I was being a baby. I believed them and sucked it up.

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Funny, this is exactly how I looked when I had bad cramps.

In my late 20s I met my husband. We got married, and not soon after we decided to try to get pregnant. I felt becoming a mom was my destiny, a lifelong yearning rooted deep in my bones. We tried for over a year with no luck. Around this time I started to have strange vague symptoms: bloating, pelvic pain, urinary, digestive issues. I saw many doctors over several years. One said I was “depressed”. One told me I had IBS. Another said it was stress-related.

Well, I thought, if they think it’s all in my head, I must be crazy. I trudged on, trying to live my life while ignoring that nagging feeling something was very wrong. Finally, feeling humiliated and defeated, I gave it one last shot and saw a Nurse Practitioner. She patiently listened to me and gave me a pelvic exam. The next words she said changed my life: “You have a large mass. I’m sending you for an ultrasound immediately.”

During the ultrasound I wasn’t scared. I felt pure relief. That may be hard to understand, but when you’ve basically been patted on the head by doctors for so many years, when one finally believes you, and there’s proof something IS wrong, it’s like a godsend.

The ultrasound tech was very quiet for a long time. Not a good sign. Then she kept asking me if I had to use the bathroom. Finally, she left the room to get a doctor. Yikes. After several minutes, they returned. She finally turned the ultrasound monitor toward me and pointed. “See that?” she asked.

“What? I don’t see anything.” It looked all black to me with no discernible shapes that resembled organs.

“That is a mass. It is so large it’s covering all your organs. Your bladder is flattened. I’m surprised you can hold urine at all at this point.” She put her hand on my shoulder.  “Are you all right?” I was surprised at the technician’s warmth and kindness. It was probably the most compassionate interaction with medical staff I had had in decades, aside from the NP.

It turned out I had a large ovarian cyst, about 15 cm in diameter, or six inches, roughly the size of a soccer ball. I know, crazy. Why couldn’t it have been a baseball? Why not fruit of some kind? Pomegranates are nice. And how in the hell did I not know it was there? I suppose I thought I was just gaining weight or very bloated. Not to mention the rest of my abdominal organs were all squished to make room for this… thing. As much as I was happy to know what was wrong with me, I felt like a total freak. Like I should be on the cover of one of those old Ripley’s Believe it or Not! books: “Woman lives with giant tumor for months and doesn’t know it!”

Soon I met with a wonderful  OB/GYN (who went on to deliver both of my babies) and he said I had to have major surgery as well as a biopsy of the cyst to rule out cancer.  I was 31. My gut reaction? (pun totally intended) Get it out now. What in hell are you waiting for?

It was during this surgery that my doctor made another startling discovery. I had endometriosis. Everywhere. To put it simply, it’s when the uterus lining for some reason spreads and grows in other places it shouldn’t. Then every month it bleeds and becomes inflamed as if it were inside the uterus. And it was all over my bowel and my bladder and my ovaries and my fallopian tubes and oh, let’s just say it was all over the goddamned place.

Huh.

So I had one obliterated ovary, one disintegrated fallopian tube, and the stupid giant cyst thing removed. It was benign. “But doc,” I cried. “Can I still get pregnant with only one pathetic, diseased, lonely ovary?”

“Yes,” he said. And I believed him.

After several miscarriages, (and along the way another diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder to boot, called the MTHFR gene or as I like to call it, the Motherf—er Mutation ), I eventually had my two babies. I’d even go so far as to call them miracles.

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Unfortunately, the endometriosis didn’t go away entirely. (Maybe you’ve seen on the news this week that actress Lena Dunham knows what that’s like.  I wish I knew who in the hell she is.) For years I tried several IUDs and drug therapies to keep it at bay. For some reason, the endo didn’t get the memo. To say I was in constant pain is an understatement.

After much deliberation, I had a partial hysterectomy at 39. Worst surgery of my life.  And that was my fifth one. When my surgeon, in her words, “got in there to look around” (a phrase that makes me think of someone opening a suitcase and rummaging around for some socks) she discovered a horror show of Stage 4 endo. It was just a mess of adhesions and nodules and lesions, oh my. My organs — my bladder, uterus and bowel — were stuck together, some of them frozen in place, most of them crunched and flattened. What was supposed to be a quick 45 minutes turned into nearly 3 hours. She had to call in another surgeon to help her excise everything. I think there may have been a chainsaw or a weed wacker involved at one point. And to top it off, I was bleeding somewhere after the five incisions and they couldn’t stop it. Apparently, a nurse came out and told my husband it was “touch and go” at one point.

“It was a pretty hairy situation,” was how my surgeon put it later on when she sat by my hospital bed. “You really had us worried. You gave me a run for my money.”

Well. It’s how I do.

But I lived through it. I’m sure you guessed that part already. I even came home after a few days and managed to take care of my two year old not long after the surgery, a point I like to bring up to my husband whenever he has a cold. So, all in all I had a few good healthy years and felt like a new woman again. Until I felt like crap again.

Which brings me to today. It’s been over 6 years since my last surgery and you guessed it, another one is coming. I didn’t make this decision lightly. My doctor is open to alternative medicine and last year put me on a strict diet to curb the endo. I tried herbs, vitamins. I’ve seen chiropractors to help with my lower back pain.  I even tried Lupron last summer. (A horrible, terrible, no-good chemo drug used for men with prostate cancer. Too bad I’m neither a man nor do I have a prostate.)  I’m going to start seeing an acupuncturist this month. I’m not sure what’s left to try. Maybe a full body transplant? Give me Sofia Vergara’s.

So, another surgery it is. Will it finally cure the endo? I’ve read good things and bad. Mostly, the answer is maybe. Honestly, I have run out of options at this point. And chronic pain tends to wear you down enough to make you actually want to have major surgery. I admit I’m a little scared shitless this time. I suppose this is why I’m writing about it because it helps me gain some distance from that fear brewing in the back of my mind.

Last week, my doctor said it’s time to take out my remaining sad ovary and clean out the endo again, except this time I’ll be plunged into instant menopause. I don’t know about you, but just the sound of that gives me a hot flash. And to top it off, because of the extensive bowel endo I had last time, there’s a possibility of a bowel resection. (Oh, my god! I swore if there were anything I would never write about on this blog it would be a bowel resection!) She’s going to have a general surgeon on standby just in case they decide to yank part of it out. If they don’t, well, there’s a good chance I’ll end up with another surgery just for that in the near future.

“Oh, hell,” I told her. “Just take it all out! I don’t need no stinkin’ bowel! Could you give me a good tummy tuck while you’re at it? Maybe inject all that excess fat into my boobs? I swear I have a punch card somewhere that says Buy 6 Surgeries, Get One Free.”

The best part was when my surgeon, someone who’s been doing this for decades, said to me, “I’m not gonna lie, I am dreading your surgery. Dreading. It.”

When I told her, “that makes two of us” she responded with, “Yeah, but you’re the lucky one! You’ll be asleep! I’ll be awake!”

Good point. Let’s hope so anyway.

Thanks for reading this long, long, graphic TMI reproductive history of mine. I just had to get this out and let you all know I’ll be taking a very long break and won’t be around much. At least I get to lie in bed for a few weeks and read, right? But before I go, let’s review a few key points to ponder:

  • Always trust your gut instinct.
  • Always get a second, third, and in my case, seventh opinion.
  • Always make sure your surgeon is fully awake during your surgery.
  • Take care of yourself because it’s all you got, ya dig?
  • Tell me again, who in the bloody hell is Lena Dunham? I’m stumped.

After it’s all over and I’m fully recovered, maybe I’ll come back here and start blogging about silly stuff again. And if you care to send some positive vibes, say a little prayer, or just say to yourself, “Damn, girl! See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” I’d appreciate it.

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Endometriosis, Women’s Health

Endometriosis Awareness Month, What Are The Symptoms Of This Commonly Misdiagnosed Disease

The Personal, Painful Ordeal of Women with Endometriosis

Endometriosis.org, global forum for news and information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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129 thoughts on “The Inside Story

  1. I almost ran away, but since you have regaled me with your humor all this time, I just can’t desert you now. Sorry you have to go through all this again, seems like 6 surgeries ought to be the quota for anyone’s lifetime. You’re a brave soul and especially so to put it all out there. But we’re glad you did because now we can pray for you and be thinking about you while you heal.

    Bless you. I’m already looking forward to your first lame humor post when you return!

    1. Aw, well bless you for sticking around. Y’know I really debated posting this one but it felt so good to get it all out into the open. I’d hate to know of other women suffering out there who might be able to get the help they need.

  2. I had stage 4 Endometriosis when I was 27, I’m 30 now. My doctor described it as a war zone. I have been lucky so far, just the occasional ovarian cysts. Not as big as soccer balls, and they usually go away after a couple cycles. I am hoping the Endometriosis doesn’t come back, but I have a ways left of my reproductive years so I doubt it.

    1. Ugh, that’s awful. So sorry you know what that’s like. War zone is right. My doc said that even though they tried to clean all the endo out, it was nearly impossible to do in the time they had during surgery. I wish I had gotten a diagnosis when I was really young, maybe I could have prevented the progression and the years of pain.

  3. Aw, Darla, it pains me to read this. You be strong going in, witty coming out. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story.

    Mine is similar to yours right up until the hysterectomy. I was I told I would never conceive, and even if I did my damaged suitcase would not be able to carry an infant to the finish line. Well, you know how that turned out.

    As for menopause, it ain’t so bad. I’ll take the hot flashes (can’t strip down to undies fast enough!) of doubled over craps once a month ANY day. Plus menopause is seriously fun to read about on humor blogs.

    Will be thinking of you as get through this. You have an amazing family and you’re an amazing lady. Be well!

    1. Aw, thanks, Shan! And also thank you for making me giggle with “even if I did my damaged suitcase would not be able to carry an infant to the finish line.” I am THRILLED that maybe menopause ain’t so bad. You’ve given me hope. I have a really good air conditioner so I think I’ll be good to go.

  4. I read your post after reading another article about how women have been patted on the head by the medical profession for centuries when it comes to pain. So sorry that you have had to go through all of this. I’m terrified of most medical things and having a child ended up being a bit of a miracle for me as well. Hug your family close, get plenty of rest and you can regale us with more awkward medical stuff when it’s all done. Here’s hoping for success and relief and really, really good drugs, Darla.

    1. It’s so infuriating. Especially the one doctor (a woman mind you) who literally wrote on her prescription pad the title of a book on depression. Hell yeah, I’m depressed! Wouldn’t you be when your entire insides are bleeding and on fire every month?
      I’m also not too keen on medical stuff, well medical stuff when it’s being done to me (I have my medical assistant degree). But thankfully I am keen on people waiting on my hand and foot for a few weeks. Silver linings!

  5. It’s all in your head … I heard that a lot. I’ve been trying to write about it but I am afraid I will be mad about that for the rest of my life. Oops. I forgot this isn’t about me, is it 😦

    My advice? Milk it. You’ve been through this before. You survived and wonderful things happened. That’s the plan, and you know what? Worrying that things will turn out differently won’t help a damn bit.

    I don’t have a clue who Lena is, but I do know Doris. And she’s the one you need to have running in your head. Here, I can help (please don’t cut me out of your life for doing this).

    You got the whole ‘sphere rooting for you and sending good karma your way.

    And please — if anybody tells you horror stories about surgery — give them an extra punch for me.

    1. Love that song! I thought of you when I wrote about my bowel. (I bet that’s something no one’s ever said to you before!) I was so angry about my cyst being misdiagnosed for so long, I wrote several letters to a few doctors venting my frustrations. I know doctors aren’t God and can’t know everything, but dammit, they could have at least taken me seriously. Funny how the one who did was a NP. NPs are awesome. I made sure to write her a long letter thanking her for finally listening to me.

      1. I swear in my next life, nobody is even gonna know I have bowels!

        But seriously, if they end up working on your bowel, you will do just fine. You can live normally without much of it (they took my entire large intestine out and didn’t even let me say good-bye!). Bowel surgery has become relatively routine and they know what they’re doing. It will be a pain in the ass, natch, but you know that and I had to say it. But it sounds worse than it is — or worse than you will remember it.

        The all in your head stuff really is the only thing I remain bitter about from my ordeal. For years they kept telling me that it was all stress, all in my head. They sent me to shrinks and made me think that my medicine wasn’t as important as relaxing was. What a crock. I finally had to scream: “I SHIT BLOOD AND IT’S NOT COMING FROM MY EARS!”

        You will be fine. But after the surgery, have Jim pop up a post letting us know that you are flying high on opioids!

      2. Oh THANK YOU so much for letting me know that about the bowel stuff. (I still giggle just typing that sentence out) When my doc mentioned the resection, she kinda glossed over it and I was like, “whoa, whoa, whoa! Back it up. What’s this about my bowel being removed?! I’d like to keep it thankyouverymuch” I do take comfort in knowing she has another surgeon that would deal with that as it’s definitely not her area of expertise.

  6. Endo issues – the bane of my existence. However, I did the full ‘hysto’ (that’s what us veterans say, by the way Welcome to The Club) and other than a few menacing side effects, it was the best thing I ever did. I didn’t have the looming bowel obliteration hanging in the balance though. Instead I went with the bladder repair option and that my friend has enabled me to laugh at your humor without reserve! We are with ya on this journey – armed with those fancy fans rich ladies used in the south to curb hot flashes.

  7. I really hope your surgeon is wrong and it will all turn out peanuts for her so you won’t lie in the theatre too long. Unless you are an actor, the theatre is never a good idea!
    Lena Dunham (born May 13, 1986) is an American actress, writer, producer, and director. She is best known as the creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls (2012–present), for which she has received numerous Emmy award nominations and two Golden Globe awards. Dunham’s work on Girls also resulted in her being the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series in 2013.
    I thought you should know before you go into theatre – Dunham is AN actor!

    1. Thank god I know who Lena is now. My doc did say there’s a possibility she’ll get in there and find not much. It’s impossible to know until she does unfortunately. Fingers crossed all I get is the full hysterectomy.

  8. Aww my love, this is not fun! (Even though you did make it fun in places). How awful that nobody took you seriously for so many years. I also don’t think it’s very good of the surgeon to tell you that they are dreading doing the surgery, it hardly instils confidence does it. Not in the same league, but a week or so back I went for a health check at the doctors (here in the UK we get called for a heart-health check every five years after we hit 40), and the first thing she said to me when I went in was “I just want to tell you that I think these health checks are a waste of time.” As I say, not in the same league as yours as I’m not having anything done, but I’m just making the point that I think health practitioners should keep their feelings about things a bit more to themselves maybe, and put on a more professional front for us.

    Anyway, I will certainly be thinking of you lots, and sending you good wishes. If you get a chance, find a way to let us all know how you’re doing, although I’m sure you will be doing absolutely fine.

    1. THanks so much, V. Normally, I’d find my doc’s comments unsettling but she really tells it like it is. I’ve known her for a long time and she’s my age. She gets me. I’m from Maine and here we love brutal honesty. She did add that maybe she’ll get in there and it won’t be so bad. There’s really no way to know and that’s what sucks for both of us.

  9. So many good thoughts and prayers and blessings and whatever you need headed your way. Thank the goddess above for that nurse practitioner. I see one as my regular physician, and the difference between her and a regular doc is amazingly wonderful. And kudos to your surgeon for being up front about her trepidation on this. She is not acting like this is nothing to be worried about, making you feel foolish for worrying.

    Why do men think that women should be in pain every month, that it is normal???? It never is. So glad that you finally found someone who believed you. I hope this is the last surgery you need and that all goes perfectly well.

    1. Aren’t NPs incredible? I’ve worked with both doctors and NPs and they are by far the most compassionate and kind people. They listen and look at the patient’s entire history. I see an NP as my PCP now.

      I also appreciated my doc’s blunt honesty. She’s been in my abdomen before so she knows what she’s talking about. It certainly won’t be any walk in the park. I just hope this is the LAST ONE forever. I’m getting too old for this shit.

      1. It does amaze me how a NP can be so different from a doctor – and it is the compassion and empathy. They must drill it out of people in med school.

        It sounds like the surgeon is really prepared for most anything, which is good. I hope they get it all out this time, and don’t have to take out anything unplanned.
        Yes, you will get instant menopause, but really, that is better than living with what you currently live with.

  10. So many good thoughts and prayers and blessings and whatever you need headed your way. Thank the goddess above for that nurse practitioner. I see one as my regular physician, and the difference between her and a regular doc is amazingly wonderful. And kudos to your surgeon for being up front about her trepidation on this. She is not acting like this is nothing to be worried about, making you feel foolish for worrying.

    Why do men think that women should be in pain every month, that it is normal???? It never is. So glad that you finally found someone who believed you. I hope this is the last surgery you need and that all goes perfectly well.

  11. To echo so many others already, stay strong, take a deep breath and know that this is going to be just fine. And menopause isn’t the worst thing in the world – sort of freeing for some of us! I’ll be looking for more of your fantastic humor which comes through no matter what you write here!

  12. Well. Still pretty damn funny, you know:

    “But I lived through it. I’m sure you guessed that part already. I even came home after a few days and managed to take care of my two year old not long after the surgery, a point I like to bring up to my husband whenever he has a cold.”

    Thoughts and prayers for your speedy recovery; a confident, peaceful calm throughout this; and for your family.

    It will be fantastic to see your name pop up again in my inbox on the otherside.

    1. Thanks, Matt, for your comforting kind words. I appreciate it. It’s funny, but as much as I’m wigging out, it’s mostly because I’m not good with pain. I am actually very calm about the surgery itself. It’s the aftermath that makes me shudder.

  13. People with a gift for writing are few and far between. You are a very special person to so many of us. Please take a deep breath, plunge into the deep end, and then surface again ASAP. We’ll be sending healing thoughts your way…

  14. Oh crap. Sweetie, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this long, drawn out process with all the pain and uncertainty. If you look up in the sky and see what look like white doves winging their way to heaven, that will just be my prayers going up that all goes great with this, your LAST surgery.

  15. Oh sweetie. You are in my thoughts and prayers. There can be no doubt that your babies are miracles, and so are you. You’re so strong. To keep going, keep asking…that’s takes something special.

    1. I guess it’s more of that ol’ Maine stubbornness. I wish I had been more persistent and stood up for myself when I was younger. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, I appreciate it.

  16. How the hell do you do that? Write about something so freaking scary and still get me laughing? Pure raw Maine talent. I can just hear you now, years in the future, regaling throngs of adoring fans with your story of comparing surgery to yard work and plumbing, a la Tim Sample (I hope you know who he is or that won’t make sense- he’s on YouTube just in case).

    I know you know all of the documented benefits of getting Reiki during surgery, so I am assuming you’ll have Meridith Kendall or some other person help you out there. Sounds like your surgeon could use some a Reiki too. And make sure you have help for afterwards. No running around 2 days out, for anyone or anything. Get a bell or a bullhorn to summon the minions or whoever. In any case, I hope it all goes swimmingly.

    1. Will do, Susan. I have a little bell I will ring constantly.
      Reiki is a great idea. I might have to see Meredith soon for a Reiki share. I am getting acupuncture later this month and I’m very excited about having needles shoved into my lower back.

  17. Kim

    I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with all of this for so long. Three of my dear friends have battled endo and are all in different stages of treatment. Two have had surgery to remove some of it, one of those went on to have a total hysterectomy. The other is considering it. The third doesn’t have it as badly as the other two, but it is enough that it has caused some fertility problems. I know about the pain and the frustration it has caused all of them, and the misdiagnoses and medical dismissals that occurred over the years. I’ll be thinking about you as you have this surgery and for the recovery, and hope this will not only be your last surgery, but that it will be what helps you have pain-free days and years ahead!

    1. Thanks, Kim. It’s a fairly common disease. My guess is many women don’t realize they even have it because the only way to definitively diagnosis it is through surgery. I certainly hope this is my last one. I think it will be.

  18. I’m so sorry you have to go through another surgery, after everything you’ve been through so far, but I’m hoping this will be the one that fixes everything. I’m so glad you wrote about your condition; not only because, as you say, it helps you process what’s happening, but I’m sure your words are going to help other women who are going through something similar, or indeed any of us who are coping with medical challenges (you can’t seem to get through life without them – I know, I’ve tried!). Your humor is such a gift to your readers, and I’m betting you’ll find a way to find the funny even in this situation. I’ll be thinking of you, and looking forward to your post-surgery posts! (PS. Take it from me, menopause ain’t so bad – it’s like a new lease on life, where you don’t have to plan everything around your period!)

    1. Thanks, Maureen. I really can’t get through life without finding the funny in things, even the bad things. And I’m kind of looking forward to menopause in a strange way. Like another chapter in my life is over and a new one is beginning. I’m ready for it.

  19. Why is it that after just starting to read about your symptoms I thought to myself, “She must have endometriosis,” but so many doctors failed you? So unacceptable, but it is what it is. You have a great attitude and hopefully this surgery will be the end of your problems. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and hope you have a quick recovery!

    1. It is incredible to think so many doctors were stumped with my condition. I think nowadays maybe it’s more prevalent and therefore easier to diagnosis. Thanks for your kind comments. I think this is the end of the road for my endo.

  20. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll be thinking good thoughts about your bowls, Darla. In all seriousness, take all the time you need. We’ll wait here for you. Unless you’d like me to scrub in. I’m pretty good with the “operation” game. But if your nose lights up I’ll probably faint. You’re a wonder and a treasure, girl. You got this. And all of our support. Really. I took a vote.

    1. Well, just knowing you are having good thoughts about my bowels makes me feel totally at ease, Ned. (And that you’re not my surgeon helps, too.) Thank you for the support and kind words. It really helps to know so many people are out there are sending my bowels positive vibes. Did I say the word bowels enough in this comment? No? Bowels, bowels, bowels. The more I type it the stranger it looks to me.

  21. Dana

    Sending copious amonts of positive energy and love to you!!!

    ♡☆♡☆♡ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆ ☆♡☆♡ ♡☆♡☆

  22. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through another surgery, Darla. You are so brave, strong and witty — finding the humor in difficult situations is a gift. I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery!

  23. Wow, Darla! That’s a crazy story! Thank you for sharing it. It’s unbelievable the things doctors can miss, and they’re always so confident that they’re right. I’m glad you kept looking for answers and eventually found them. Completely unfair that you’ve gone through so much and you’re still in pain. I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for a quick recovery and complete healing for you.

    Your children are beautiful. The best part of your story.

    1. The sad part is, most women with endo spend an average of 10 years trying to get diagnosed. I realize doctors aren’t God, but they could at least take women seriously when they complain of certain symptoms.

      And yes, my kids are my life and I am beyond blessed to have them.

  24. I will hold you in a positive light for healing and peace of mind. I’ll kept the good vibes coming until you’re back.
    I know the frustration of going from doctor to doctor with no answers, it’s awful! I went to a rheumatologist because my entire skelton hurt and the doctor said “you look great why are you here?” As if I was going door to door for the hell of it … In the end I had 5 strands of Lyme diagnosed by a Nutritionist.
    Hold on to your sense of humor, it’s still the best medicine around!

    1. Ugh, that is terrible. Thank god you were finally listened to! I went to so many doctors over the years. I think at one point I saw a rheumatologist even for the pain. Each one just shrugged and sent me on my way. Unfortunately, doctors are in a hurry now and most can’t spend the necessary time with each patient. Sad, sad, sad.

  25. I’m in awe of your strength and positivity! You turned this into a humorous post! I have to say this “I so admire your guts!” (Pun intended) a true fighter you are!
    You go get all that bloody crap out and come right back into this blog….we’ll be here praying and waiting for you!

  26. Oh, Darla– so much to deal with! I have a soft spot for stories about the female reproductive system, and yours is quite the heart-wrenching tragedy. (Though I’m positive it will have a happy ending, so there’s that!)

    Menopause– apparently psychic powers go way up when you don’t have to deal with the constant fluctuations of sex hormones, so you have a superpower to look forward to! Milk it, yeah!

    And in all seriousness– I will be keeping you in my thoughts and sending you healing energy from afar. (I actually do this semi-professionally now, so I’ve totally got your back.) May this be your final surgery and a new lease on life! xo

    1. Hey, Dana! Good to see you. 🙂 I’m not surprised you’d relate to this post. How the hell are you?

      And you say psychic powers go way up? Well, then. I already have strong psychic energy in my life (have since I was a kid, I’ve even seen dead people like Long Island Medium, lol) Plus I’m Reiki Level 2 certified so dayum, bring it on I say! I would LOVE it if you would send me some healing energy. My surgery is on March 31st (hint, hint)

  27. Oh my goodness Darla, WTF?? How much can a woman take of this caca? I am so sorry you are having to deal with these issues once again and have to have surgery. 😦 I know what it’s like to have a body that betrays you and one you cannot rely on and it sucks! Keep smiling and laughing because that’s what gets us through the crappy times. Please let us know how the surgery goes, if you can. I will be thinking of you (when is the surgery?) and would love to pray for you particularly on that day. We’re all here for you! xoxoxoxo

    1. I firmly believe that laughing and smiling WILL get me through most anything. I have faith I will have a good surgery and recovery quickly. I’m actually looking forward to being my normal self again (well, as close to that as I can get anyway…)

      My surgery is March 31st. I would love if you said a little prayer that day. Mostly for my husband who is already a nervous wreck. Thank you!

  28. You should get a surgery punch card, like they have at Starbucks. Nine surgeries and the tenth one is free. I actually didn’t know what “resection” and had to Google it. How lucky am I, that I didn’t know what that meant? This is another one of those “remind me to stop complaining so much” posts.

    I’m a little pressed for time this morning and didn’t have time to peruse this post. I was going to glance through to get the gist of it. But it was so compellingly written and so interesting that I had to pour over every word. Now I’m late. Now I’m late!

    I thought I’d end this the way I always do; by turning it all around and making it about me.

    1. Ooh….yikes. Sorry about the bowel google. I did that too and found plenty of graphic surgery photos. Which don’t bother me at all (I was a medical assistant for a bit). But also I’m sorry you’re late! For work?? Well, then, you are most welcome.

  29. Darla, you are a wonder, a walking miracle, and a damn hilarious lady! I am sending all the love and light I can muster over to you right now. There’s no way in hell the internet can afford to lose that sparkling sense of humor – especially when there’s so much ‘trumpiness’ to laugh (when not crying??) about! (Tell me a hysterectomy doesn’t affect any funny bones, please!)

    I’m rooting for the doc, and no dread required. You know we all love you and will miss you while you recuperate. Please let us know how you’re doing.

    Much love,
    C

    P.S. I loved hearing the story of your miracle kids! Beautiful mom, beautiful kiddos. I just became a grandmother, myself. Rowan Gerhard saw fit to enter the world on my 52nd Birthday! Thing is, I told my daughter that I’m not really used to leaving my Birthday presents behind… Ah, well, when the economy tanks, I’ll just move in with her, then I’ll have my present with me 24-7. To hell with a job. 😀

    1. Thank you for all the encouraging words. This sound so trite, but my kids are the reason I’m living. They are both incredibly sweet, smart, and loving kids. It just doesn’t get any better than that. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I cannot wait to be a grandma someday! Congrats to you. I plan on living above my son’s garage and babysitting his kids so I’m all set for life.

  30. Reading this blog post while eating lunch wasn’t the most brilliant move of my life today. But, some featherweight nausea is the least I can endure in comparison to your 25-30 years of hell. If “Girls” is available on Netflix or iTunes, I urge you to watch it during your convalescence. Lena Dunham’s a very talented writer and her Hannah Horvath character, an ultimate jerk millennial, amuses me. Possibly what she’s up to will inspire you as you get through this chapter in your own story. I’m sending you positive vibes from the Big Apple. You’ll recognize mine from all the others’ since they’re the ones that are soot covered.

      1. You do see her naked or scantily clad in all her overweight glory. I view this as a way of flashing the bird at anorexic model-ly types. It’s about messed up relationships, making ends meet and being millennial. It’s also entertaining even to a boomer.

    1. God, wouldn’t being a man be awesome? True story, my surgery is March 31st. Since I am the Queen of April Fool’s jokes, I told my husband I should get on Facebook and tell everyone there was a mix-up with the surgery and now I’m a man. Or maybe I’ll tell people that during surgery they discovered I was pregnant. (impossible since I don’t have a uterus)

  31. I have a vaguely similar history (like kittens are vaguely similar to saber-toothed tigers), so all my best anti-endo juju is coming your way. It will be hard to wait to hear from you again.

  32. I’m sending you all the good vibey things Darla! Drink all the coffee you want and have a Girls marathon.
    Get well soon. I hope to see you back around these parts before too long.

  33. It takes a special person to work at making others laugh while going through something like this! Wishing you all the best, and looking forward to any future posts. But don’t worry about the blog, even though that’s what we do! Positive vibes, and if the menopause thing is early, no worries, it’s no big deal. After what you’ve been through, you won’t even notice it! Take care 🙂

    1. Thank you, I am putting my blog on hold for awhile. In a way it feels good to give myself a long break. And I’m kind of looking forward to menopause now in a strange way. Time to move onto the next chapter in my life.

  34. It seems weird to like this post, Darla, but if anyone can see the humor in a surgery – it’s you. I wish you all the best and know that you’ll come out of it swinging, and joking.

    Also, what you say is true. I told doctors for 10 years that I had a heart problem and I was certain of it. I, too, got patted on the head and told to essentially sit on my ass and do nothing. I was finally diagnosed with heart problems when I had an “episode” and it was caught on an ECG. FINALLY! I’ve had two heart procedures, one restart with defib paddles, numerous ultrasounds and MRIs, and there WILL be another procedure in my future when technology catches up with what needs to happen in my ticker.

    You’ll do great!

    1. Grrr! How frustrating! Sorry you had to go through all that, it sounds like you’ve certainly had your share of medical issues. I think there’s a lot to be said for going with your gut. If there’s something wrong or off with your health, trust that feeling. I didn’t want to give up because I kept thinking, well, I’m the one that has to live with feeling this way, not the doctors.

      Thanks for your support!

  35. My personal theory: God is a man with a wicked sense of humor. After all, women don’t treat each other like this, right, at least not physically. Your outlook, humor and spouse will get you through it, and whatever may result, with flying colors, I’m sure, though of course I’ll add my personal thoughts and best wishes for a speedy and as painless as possible recovery. Finding the right doctor/dentist/hairdresser/babysitter/house cleaner, etc. is always painful (in some way or other) though well worth it if/when you finally find the right one! I know I have followed my hairdresser all over whatever town I lived in at the time.
    I’ve been lucky in avoiding medical issues but I know from the experience of others that if/when you find the right medical person, you hold on to that one for dear life, literally and figuratively. Sounds like you have the right one now so I’ll keep her in my thoughts as well.

    1. You are so right, when you find the right one, you never want to let them go. I’ve been lucky to have three amazing doctors in my life, two OB/GYNs and one pediatrician. As for hairdressers, I finally found the right one just last year. Only took me 45 years, but now my hair looks amazing. Can’t ask for more than that. Thanks for your kind words.

  36. ❤ You've kept your sense of humor through all of this!!! Woohoooo!!!! Good luck at your upcoming surgery…and recovery! Keep us all posted. You're screwed now…I'm stalking you, EndoSister.

  37. I have to say that I cringed a lot during that post, but also learned a lot. Dude, stay well, and thanks for being so honest, I feel like there are lessons here that are very important.

  38. see, i think there is only nei, way too much nei (not enough information) and never any instances of tmi. tmi is a figment of some weird peoples’ imaginations. we should all talk about this shit more. thank you for sharing, because i’m sure so many people will feel less alone reading this, and i hope you also feel like you have a bunch of women praying and chanting and doing other healing rituals on your behalf while you undergo yet another round of shit no one would want to do once. also, i laughed my ass off about you bringing it up when your husband has a cold. also, your miracles are beautiful.

  39. I’m not going to lie to you–that all sounds terrible. I’m sending you positive vibes. In fact I send positive vibes to all my favorite blogs and blog followers every morning regardless of impending surgery, and I always start with you.

    Lena Dunham

  40. Oh, DP! This sucks great big Bieber balls (hmm, that sounded better in my head). And you should totally get a discount on this one. I’ll be waiting on the other side with a giant bottle of gin and a 12 pack of Allagash white.

    Wait wait wait! I mean, like, the other side of anesthesia. Not the other side of, never mind. You’re going to be fiiiine. You can still drink booze after this…right?

    1. I think from now on I’m going to say “sucks great big Bieber balls” ALL THE TIME.

      And we can have an Allagash white together this fall when I see you. It’s on me.

      Also, I love you, Julesy.

  41. I went through menopause and didn’t really get that uncomfortable. It lasted a really short time so I thought it was the anti-cancer drug. My doctor tested me and I am done. Yay! If at any point they find anything suspicious in my lower lady parts, I’ll gladly get rid of them. I don’t need them anymore anyway!
    Hang in there Darla! Email me if you need anything. Really!

    1. That is really comforting to know, Susie. Thanks for sharing that. I’ve read I might have severe mood swings and to be honest, I’m not worried about myself so much as I worry about my poor husband!

      1. Ha! The Tamoxifen I was on for two years gave me terrible PMS of the depressing kind. Every day I woke up feeling bad. When my doc changed my prescription, it was AMAZING!
        The trick to menopause is don’t fight it. Be ready to strip down to your underwear for a while. At night, only wear underwear or nothing at all. Your husband will love it! You may not even go through any of that and no more periods! BONUS!
        I got my period after two years and thought I was dying right before New Years. That was quite a week.
        You can delete the link after reading.
        http://susielindau.com/2016/02/03/the-boob-report-a-comedy-of-terrors/

  42. I am sorry, it all sucks especially the multiple surgeries. The head patting, it is pretty common and all us gender challenged folks ought to come up with some way of helping the medical community over their issues with this one. Plunging into menopause? Actually, you might not. Really, you might not. I didn’t. I had a hysterectomy 1 day shy of my 16th birthday and I have been ‘peri-menopausal’ ever since, I will be 59 this year. I think peri-menopausal means I teeter on the edge but haven’t quite tipped over.

    You are going to be howling at the moon in no time at all. I believe this, truly.

    1. Oh, thank you, Val! I’m not sure if I’ll be tipped completely over or not. I’ve researched surgical menopause and it doesn’t look pretty. The doc is considering not putting me on any hormone therapy either to make the transition easier (or harder??) Either way, I am in the frame of mind that I am DONE with all the “womanly” crap. I just want to be my normal self again. I’ve had my babies, I’m middle-aged, just bring it on already so I can resume the moon-howling!

  43. Sending you big rainbow colored hugs and best wishes, Darla, as you go through this. What a nightmare… that you managed to make funny at times, anyway. I’m holding positive thoughts that this surgery will be the last,and all fall out will be gentle and easy. xox

  44. I had to read all because you asked me to go away. And I both glad and sad to go through. Sad because you had to go through all this and glad as I come to know tht even such a brave and jolly soul exist.

  45. Tom B

    I’m way late to the show, but I just found you. My wife has similar symptoms for many years now. Her doctors call it Interstitial Cystitis (IC) for short. She has the same pain, feelings and surgeries. Everyday is a struggle.

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