Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Story: Endometriosis, Part II

To recapitulate briefly, I finished Part I with explaining that I used depo provera for 5 years. It initially is the only substance that brought any semblance of relief. It was also cheaper than birth control pills ($30 a month for pills versus $30 every three months for a shot in the rear). I stopped using depo the spring of my second year of teaching high school.

I had no relief any longer from it, and the fear of what faced me was diminishing with the looming summer months to "recuperate" and balance.

That was fun. No, it wasn't. Not at all. My body was so dependent on the shot that I was thrown into a frenzy the likes of which I can still, 7 years later, remember all too well. I had the most debilitating insomnia one can imagine, coupled with hypersensitivity to noise, light, touch - I honestly felt I could relate to Roderick Usher's malady in Poe's story. When I finally DID fall asleep, a mere creak of floor boards would awaken me and it would take me hours to sleep again. 

On top of the insomnia, my chest grew - in size and sensitivity. My breasts were so painful I had to wear a sports bra every moment of every day. I had to tip toe up and down stairs. I couldn't even hug my husband. 

I had hot flashes and cold sweats. And I was in pain and irritable. Thank heavens we were out of school. On my own, I started journaling the symptoms I had every day and the level of pain (1-10) I felt and where it was located.

I saw the doctor, again, after these lovely symptoms didn't subside before school began, and he told me to start keeping my basal temperature. He also made copies of all my notes to keep in my file. I did as he asked for the next 6 months. I also did everything I could on my own to encourage my natural health - exercised regularly, increased the amount of water I drank in addition to green tea and cranberry juice (I had a kidney stone the fall of my second year teaching. That was miserable!), and ate as cleanly as I could. The sleep balanced more, but I am still an incredibly light sleeper.

After returning to the doctor with what I thought was proof that my body, over a year after halting the depo, wasn't balancing out, he gave a perfunctory glance to my charts and said it looked good. I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what I was supposed to see, but to me, my basal temperature was all over the place. One day I was 96.1, the next I was 99.4. How is that evening out? 

He asked if we were intimate. I said yes. And that is when I got his attention. He asked what birth control we were using. I said we weren't because, let's face it, I was all over the place. There is no way we were going to have a viable egg fertilized; and then his jaw dropped.

Everything I had done. Everything I had recorded and monitored. And the only thing that made him pause was the fact that I wasn't pregnant. Then, the doctor told me he wanted to run fertility tests. 

I thought I could smack him. First of all, why NOW? What was it about not being pregnant that made him suddenly realize something serious was going on? And second of all, what good would that do? Steve and I are rather set against forcing something that isn't meant to be to happen. If we couldn't have kids, we couldn't have kids. I have nearly 200 every year that are mine. Even after they leave my classroom. Why would I waste money and time and stress on tests that will show what I already knew?

At that point, he had nothing else to offer me. He knew I was set against trying another pill, shot, implant, etc. until I finally found some natural balance. So he told me to let him know if anything changed and sent me on my way. I was confused, angry, and dumbfounded. I felt neglected and just set adrift. He did offer one suggestion, though. He recommended that, since we weren't using any protection, to start taking prenatal vitamins, just in case. And it was a big "Just In Case."

Steve and I scoffed and started saving money for Europe. If we couldn't have kids, we would do everything else we'd always wanted to do. But I'm rather glad I listened to that last bit of advice. After another 8 months, my body finally sorted itself out. The first semester of school ended and I felt odd. 

Different. 

Pleasant, even.

The last day of first semester exams, I took a pregnancy test, fully expecting to see the "Not" symbol. Imagine my shock, my surprise, my delight in seeing the two straight lines, instead. We were pregnant. It was wholly unexpected. We had written it all off and were going to Europe. Weren't we?

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