I wrote a post about my struggle with endometriosis that was published on xojane last week. Can I just as an aside say “squee” for writing for this publication that has been a favourite of mine in all its incarnations since Sassy? I was really moved by the positive and supportive comments I received and all the links to information that people took the trouble to post. Thank you all so much for your kindness. You have no idea how much it means to lonely old me.
I thought I would post an update about my health since so many people took the trouble to ask. I went for a trans vaginal ultrasound that I still haven’t seen the results from yet but boy fucking howdy, that hurt. The technician was very professional and warmly apologetic, she kept murmuring “so sorry, honey” as she probed my insides with what felt like a gorilla arm. “It’s a terrible, terrible disease,” she said after she finished. Her sympathy made me cry harder, and I was already bawling. It took me a while to collect myself as soon as I was able to walk again I made a beeline to a boutique across the street to soothe myself with pretend retail therapy. (This is where I browse in a store and plan purchases until I’m numb and have forgotten whatever it was that sent me into the store in the first place.)
The day after my ultrasound I had an appointment with my gynaecologist. She was, as ever, in a great hurry, but I had made a list of questions and issues I wanted addressed before I saw her and I was able to go through all of them.
The last time I saw her she had given me a prescription for Lupron, a hormone injection that tricks the body into menopause, and for other hormones I would need to take if I went for the monthly injections. I spoke to my family physician at length before I decided not to do the injections. I am prone to depression and mood swings and am in treatment for that and didn’t want to inject myself with something that would most likely affect my mood and is a treatment I wouldn’t be able to simply stop taking if it affected me adversely. An injection, once in, doesn’t come out but gradually wear off.
This time when I saw my gynaecologist she asked me if I had been treated for nerve pain. No. Not ever. Not once in the more than two years since I developed this pain. She prescribed Amitriptyline which is an anti-depressant that also works on nerve pain. She advised me to try it for a few weeks to see if it helped and if it does, to increase the dose every two weeks until I’m at a maximum dose. I double checked the drug with my pharmacist and psychiatrist before taking it to make sure it wasn’t contraindicated with any of my other medications. I haven’t taken an anti-depressant for any reason in a while so I’m curious to see if or how it influences my mood.
Then we talked about what to do if the medication doesn’t work. If I take it for two weeks and see no improvement in my pain, I’m to stop taking it. Then I’m going to try the Lupron while being monitored closely by my GP and psychiatrist. If the Lupron works and the pain decreases, then it’s very likely a hysterectomy, which is what the Lupron mimics by emulating menopause, would put a stop to endometriosis.
Even though I have a child and don’t plan on having any more, I am more than attached to my uterus and don’t want to have such a vital part of my body removed. The idea frightens me. I know it’s a measure that’s worked for lots of women so I will probably do it if nothing else works. My gynaecologist did, at some point, discuss using a Mirena IUD so I would try that before a hysterectomy. So while I do have some options lined up, they’re rather grim. Please cross your fingers for me that the new drug works and I don’t need to have my lady parts chopped out.