I went into hospital on the morning of 6th November 2017 for my surgery, feeling excited about the prospect of being fixed and planned to get pregnant soon after. Fortunately, as I work in a hospital I was not too worried or scared about the operation, as I knew it was very common and I had a great team of people looking after me. I had done a lot of research into endometriosis and decided that I couldn’t possibly have it severely as I didn’t have severe pain or excessive bleeding. So I assumed all would be ok, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When I woke up after the surgery my husband soon came to my side and although feeling a little worse for wear I was keen to hear the good news that the cyst had been removed.
However, this was not to be the case. My surgeon informed me that the endometriosis was a lot worse than anticipated and that he had been unable to remove the cyst, which was 5x6cm in size and covered the whole of my right ovary!!!!! He said that I had severe endometriosis on my bladder, ovaries and pouch of douglas (just google it!), my left fallopian tube was completely blocked and everything was very sticky, making the surgery difficult. He was unable to completely remove the cyst due to the risk of damage to the ovary and both my ovaries were stuck to things they shouldn’t have been, making them difficult to access.
This was not the news we had been expecting. It was difficult to take in all the information at the time as I was still recovering from the anaesthetic, but I remember my consultant saying that it would likely be very difficult for me to conceive naturally and that IVF may not work as they couldn’t access my ovaries to collect any eggs. This was naturally a big shock to us both and caused immense upset. I felt like this couldn’t be happening and it was a bad dream I was going to wake up from any moment. But I was very much awake and this was real life. My consultant said I couldn’t go home and he would see me in the morning, which made me anxious as I had never slept in hospital overnight before (except on a break at work!!).
Chris then had to leave me as visiting time finished and I spent the night in an emotional state, not able to speak to anyone on the phone as I was too upset. I went over and over in my head how this could be happening to me and what I had done to deserve it. I could not possibly understand the reason why this had happened. I felt like my hopes and dreams of becoming a mum had been shattered in a moment. How could they have sent him home and made him leave me in the state I was in? All I wanted to do was go home, hide under my duvet and pretend this wasn’t happening…..and probably eat some chocolate!
The following morning, after very little sleep and puffy red eyes, my consultant came back to see me with a new plan. He felt that by inducing menopause for a few months the endometriosis should settle down and be easier to remove. He described endometriosis as burning embers in a forest fire, which when the wind blew (period), made the embers angry and they grew bigger. Everytime a period comes the endometriosis gets thicker and more sticky. This made it much easier to understand. His plan was to repeat the surgery in a few months, hoping that a medically induced menopause would improve the chances of removing the cyst & endometriosis and help to get the ovaries back to their normal position. He said that there might be a possibility I would be able to conceive on my own, even with one tube, if the surgery was successful but that IVF would be highly likely to get me pregnant. IVF would only be possible if he could remove the cyst and unstick the ovaries so that they could be accessed. So basically everything was subject to the next surgery and how successful it would be.
An induced menopause comes in the form of a tablet being injected into your abdomen that dissolves and releases hormone over a 28 day period, I call it my implant, but its real name is Zoladex. I would need to have a total of 4 before my next surgery. I did not totally understand the menopause as this stage and agreed to have the implant prior to discharge from hospital without much discussion, trusting my consultant totally and willing to do whatever was necessary. The nurse told me I would likely get some of the symptoms of menopause and the hormone could cause depression in some women, I stupidly didn’t think this would be an issue for me. As you can imagine, in an already swollen and sore belly, a large injection was not the most ideal situation. But it wasn’t too bad in the end!
So we left the hospital feeling upset and confused. First being told having a baby was probably not likely, but then getting more positive news that there was hope if the second surgery was successful. We had a silent journey home as neither of us really knew what to make of the situation or what to say to each other. I was absolutely devastated and felt like I had been through the surgery for no reason. Chris was of course extremely supportive and being his positive self, he told me that everything would be ok, but I felt I had let him down and it made me very upset. There was nothing wrong with him…..it was all me and I felt bad for him. He hadn’t asked for this and he wanted a baby just as much as me and I couldn’t give him one. My body had failed me.
The most scary thing for me was that all this had obviously been going on for years inside my body and I had no idea. The endometriosis must have started to develop years ago and has been gradually getting worse. It seems strange to me that something this severe could be happening without my knowledge. My understanding of the female anatomy was clearly not as good as I thought it was! I will try to be more aware of my body from now on, listening to symptoms instead of ignoring them and taking care of myself in the best way I can.
Sincerely, Shelly x