Saturday, December 17, 2011

Double whammy!

Every time I go into the doctor, I have to hear that I’m a difficult patient. I know my doctor has a great sense of humor, but I also know there’s still some truth behind his statement. Now, I live in the Boca Raton area; which means there are A LOT of older, retired people within the community. I have sat in the waiting room and can hear his visits with other (older) patients. I can’t imagine I’m REALLY the worst! Just because I walk into the office with a list of questions, does not mean that I’m difficult. Most of the time I forget to even ask half of them. I feel like they’re always so rushed – I get nervous. I’ve only had this disease for one year. There’s still a lot I can learn. Ok, that spiel was just to preface my recent doctor’s visit. I finally got the approval to proceed with my endometriosis treatment. It was delayed because I developed a perianal fistula. Now that the Remicade has temporarily closed the fistula, I’m ready to party! Me=liar. Anyway, as my doctor said, I’m lucky to have a double whammy! I have both Crohn’s Disease and Endometriosis. I deserve some kind of metal. Maybe this is why I’m a doctor’s worst nightmare – too much to handle?

I will give you a quick Wikipedia definition of Endometriosis: a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the ovaries. Anyway, I’ve done my research which suggests that several women out there have both. Endometriosis still isn’t classified as an auto-immune disease, but is identical in physical symptoms. Most patients with Endometriosis experience symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis and other GI issues. This makes it difficult for me to determine which of the two is causing me pain. The profuse pelvic pain is often confusing. At times, it feels as if it could possibly be abdominal pain – which would be my Crohn’s….right? You’d think I would know the difference between the pain in my female organs and my bowels. BUT they are practically neighbors, come on! Before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, I always blamed my pain on endo (my new abbreviation for endometriosis). I thought it was the only true issue I had. Fatigue, diarrhea, cramps and constipation are side effects of endo as well. So why wouldn’t I think those every day symptoms were nothing more serious?
I had a laparoscopy back in 2008. It was an invasive procedure, but definitely felt like the worst period I’ve ever had. However, it wasn’t until this last year that I’ve noticed my symptoms coming back. It was such a nice relief to have no pelvic pain for close to 3 years. Sadly, endo is like Crohn’s in the sense that there’s really no cure. I could do a million laparoscopies and it would still come back; maybe four months after surgery, or maybe five years. There’s medication out there to slow down the process, such as Lupron Depot that decreases the amount of estrogen your body produces. All right, so what’s another medication? Well, treatments such as Lupron come with a bundle of fun side effects: hot flashes, increased sweating, night sweats, headaches, breast changes, acne, trouble sleeping, and joint/muscle pain. Wow, sign me up! As if my Crohn’s medication wasn’t bad enough. I’m 27 years old and I really don’t feel like going through fake menopause. I can just see myself at 3am running into the kitchen, sticking my head in the freezer. No thank you. I love my mother, but I saw the crap she went through. I am not ready for that. My time will come. For now, give me a break. I already had the mood swings with Prednisone. I want to keep my fiancé, if you catch my drift.
It will be nice to see if there are any improvements with my daily symptoms after the laparoscopy. I know the pelvic cramping will diminish, which is rewarding in itself. But I can’t wait to determine if the endo has been bringing my GI pain as well. The New Year is upon me and this surgery will be a piece of cake…I hope. Cheers (non-alcoholic beverage kind of cheers), to feeling better!

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