Life update

It seems I write only every 2-5 months, now.

The reason is that I don’t feel I have anything new to add. I’m still in pain after 2 surgeries. I’m still dealing with complications of fibroids, and I’m still refusing to take hormonal or GnRH therapies. I’m still refusing to have a hysterectomy. And doctors are still telling me they can’t help me if I won’t continue to be their guinea pig.

Nothing has changed.

It’s depressing.

I’m waiting for menopause in a last ditch effort to see if my symptoms dissipate.
If symptoms do not abate with menopause, only then will I consent to a hysterectomy. Unless, of course, something life-threatening develops in the interim.

I am on Day 7 of my latest menstrual cycle. I made the mistake of drinking coffee on Saturday, which brought back the bleeding and cramping. Then it went away. Then this morning, I drank coffee again, and the pain and bleeding returned. So now I’m lecturing myself about cutting out coffee again. Ugh.

The fibroids LOOOVE coffee. It really gets their party going, I’ve noticed. So I need to stop drinking it again. This is going to be difficult, but it is necessary. Wish me luck.

While we’re on the topic of cutting out fun stuff from one’s diet, let me just state for the record that cutting down on or cutting out alcohol entirely does JACK SHIT for easing up your pain. I know, because as of this month, it has been a year and a half that I have abstained from all alcoholic drinks. And I’m still in just as much pain. So THAT dietary rule is bullshit. What you SHOULD know about that dietary rule is that drinking alcohol while in a pain flare, or near the start of your pain flare, will CAUSE your pain to spike horribly. That is why Experts tell you not to drink booze. But the way they phrase it is to cut it out entirely. What you need to do is just note your windows of opportunity, and try drinking outside of your pain flares. If that makes sense. I know some of you out there never get a respite from the pain, while others, like me, have windows of pain-free or low-pain time.

Today is a rough day.

I had a moment of panic in the bathroom today at work, when I discovered I’d started bleeding heavier than yesterday.

My period was supposed to be done last Sunday, but I started spotting bright red again yesterday.

Today, the blood was dark brown with debris – the so-called ‘coffee ground’ blood. At this point, I finally acknowledged consciously that something is wrong. I suspected once again that I’m dealing with an ovarian cyst. This is something that, in the past few months, I’ve given brief attention to, but pushed it out of my head. Today, I was forced to acknowledge it as fact.

So I looked back in time and realised that this endometrioma or cyst has been in the works for the past six months – since probably November, 2013.

Nov. 4, 2013: 5 waves of intense pain – 7 on the pain scale. Nausea with evening pain flare. Took half a vicoprofen.

Dec. 1, 2013: Nausea, extreme fatigue, shakey legs. Mild to moderate pain. Dark brown flow, turning to red.

Dec. 29, 2013: Bedridden. Puked from pain. 8.5 on pain scale.

Jan. 21, 2014: Moderate uterine and ovarian pain.

Jan. 22, 2014: Moderate bleeding and cramps. Severely fatigued all day, w/ fatigue lasting through Jan. 24.

Feb. 16, 2014: Debilitating pain. Did not note whether mostly ovarian or low back. Bedridden for part of the day on the 17th.

On May 2, 2014 the pain ebbed and flowed. I felt better after work, but then on the way home from hanging with friends, I was crying from the pain, which was mostly on the left side, radiating down my left leg.

May 3: intermittent moderate pain, especially in the lower back.

May 4: Low back pain mainly, but also stabbing on both the left and right side ovaries. The bleeding was subsiding, so I thought I was done with my cycle. That night, the pain cranked up to a 7.5 on the pain scale, and I laid on the floor on my back, crying, while my S.O. looked on helplessly.

May 5: pain and bleeding subsiding.

May 6: my entire back was locking up at the end of the work day. Then shooting pains down side of left leg, then right leg, then pelvic. I started bleeding bright red again.

May 7: ‘coffee ground’ discharge – a mixture of new and old blood, so much that I thought I started my period again. As the day wore on, I got more locked up in the pelvic and low back region again. I had to take 600mg Advil, then half a Norco, by 12pm.

My S.O. convinced me to see a GYN TODAY, so I called and got an appointment.

At the doctor’s office, I got a transvaginal ultrasound done (I’m a serious veteran of that wand, now). This ultrasound revealed a 4cm fluid-filled sac on my left ovary. The GYN also noticed a dark spot at back of my uterus; she said it could be the left ovary attached at back of uterus. I had her look at my previous surgery reports. She thinks it is most likely adhesions pulling the left ovary to back of uterus once again, and that I have either a large cyst or an endometrioma on the left ovary.
However, she urged me to go to ER for a doppler ultrasound and a uterine biopsy, because she is concerned about torsion, which can be dangerous, and she is concerned that the cyst is 4cm in size, which is the threshold where doctors get freaked out about cancer.

However, I am going to wait on it, based upon previous experience w/ cysts and endometriomas.
(See http://www.livingwithendometriosis.org/steph/2008/11/status-on-ovarian-cyst/
and
http://www.livingwithendometriosis.org/steph/category/ovarian-cysts/)

I also told the doctor I’m not comfortable going to E.R. because of an incident once where I went to the E.R. and instead of listening to me and reading my surgery reports, and just making me comfortable with an IV of drugs, they made me wait the pain out, then forced a pelvic exam, stirring up the bees nest again.

Today’s GYN doctor said that as a patient, I have the right to refuse a pelvic exam and ask only for the doppler ultrasound. She says I can request that first and then opt to have a pelvic afterwards, if something significant is found on ultrasound.

Just to make her stop trying to sway me, I did promise the GYN that if the pain gets any worse, I will go to the E.R. and request the doppler ultrasound.

I am feeling very defeated today at today’s news.

Not a day goes by where I don’t curse myself for not sticking to a caffeine-free and sugar-free diet since my last surgery in 2010. I have been able to successfully cut out red meat and pork, but the other two are just too much to ask for, apparently.
I also know that I cannot blame my diet alone on my pain. I know full well that I have abnormalities on chromosomes 1, 7, 9 and 12, and that endometriosis has been with me since I was created. I know this. I know that diet alone is not going to stop the pain. So I need to have a happy medium – not feel guilty about ingesting caffeine and sugar, but not going hog-wild with the two, either.

But cysts and endometriomas will still happen to me. It’s the nature of endometriosis in general, and specifically the nature of how endo affects MY body.

I’m just tired. I’ve been battling this goddamned illness for 29 YEARS.
I’ve had two surgeries. I don’t want any more surgeries. I know of women who have had over 20 surgeries and they’re STILL not any better. In fact, some are worse off! So I don’t want any further surgery. I just want to try to make it to and through menopause, and see if that burns the disease out.

But dear gods, I am so, so tired.

October absentia

I went the entire month of October without a new menstrual cycle. The lengthening in time between my periods over the past year has really been interesting.

I got my period on September 30, and then it didn’t appear again until November 2.
And just like in September, where I had pain a week before my period, it happened again in October. I had moderate pain for one day and then no period until almost two weeks later.

Yesterday was moderate pain. Today was heavy pain. It just kept getting worse. Finally, after work, I broke down and took half a Vicoprofen because I was getting nauseated from the pain. It took about 45 minutes to kick in, and now I’m happily dissociated. I hit 7.5 on the pain scale today.
The blood started off dark brown, then turned to bright red, then tapered and hit a thick dark brown again. That coloration, combined with the nausea, makes me wonder if I’ve got another ovarian cyst. And of course, the intermittent pain I’ve experienced over the past two weeks is on the left side – the same damned ovary that was discovered tied to the back of my uterus twice during surgeries. The damned endo has likely tied up the ovary again.

I haven’t done too well in the past year with documenting my endo flares. I’ve had other things on my mind, like intense grief. But I’m FINALLY getting past it. Finally. You have no idea. I can feel it easing up. Soon, I will be back to paying attention to the endo and modulating treatments and diet accordingly.

My doctor said I could increase the gabapentin during pain flares, so starting today I began taking three gabapentin per day (100mg each) instead of the usual two. Unfortunately, it did not really help with pain relief. I consumed 1,400mg ibuprofen today before taking the vicoprofen, and I’ve had a heating pad on me several times today, even at work.

I’m down to my last two vicoprofen pills. I’m brand new on my school’s health care (Kaiser), so it will take awhile to see the necessary doctors to get a renewed prescription. :/

I wonder if Halloween season had anything to do with the increased pain. My sugar intake has been UP this past month! On the To Do list – cut sugar from the diet again.

So that’s yer update.

Earlier cycle is also more painful

I’m not handling reality well at the moment. I didn’t even mention the pain flare on facebook until today, because I couldn’t convince myself that this is really happening – I’m ten days early – it’s a full menstrual cycle and I’m in Day 3 of it already.

Shit got real today at work, when I hit a 7 on the pain scale.

This is what the pain was like on the Allie Brosh pain scale:

alliebroshpainface6

My GYN office called me back today; they said it *could* be perimenopause, but to continue watching my cycle for the next 3 months before coming in for a consult. I’m to watch for obvious signs like night sweats and hot flashes on top of very early or very delayed periods.

I have taken a half a Tylenol 3 twice today, and I have ingested 1,200mg of Ibuprofen to try to manage the pain. But here’s the thing…

Ever since being prescribed Neurontin, I have started experimenting with forbidden foods, just to see how far the medical benefit goes. Do I remain pain-free for longer periods of time, despite regular caffeine intake? Do I still get immediate pain flares upon ingesting corn syrup?

I have not gone about this in a purely scientific way, mind you. I have been taking more mental notes than anything, really. But I thought it was time to tell you about it, and to start taking down notes.

Dairy – seems okay, whether during endo flare or not.
Caffeine – ok unless endo flare, then same old death
Chocolate – ok unless endo flare, then same old death
Corn Syrup products, including Pop – ok unless endo flare, then same old death
Alcohol – seems okay, whether during endo flare or not.

Today I had caffeine, chocolate and corn syrup (Sprite pop) while at work. I hit a 7 on the pain scale, when I normally top out at a 6 on the scale since being on Neurontin, so the message seems clear: continue to avoid the usual suspects during an endo flare.

Here’s hoping tomorrow (Day 4) will be mild, and I’ll definitely be eating better.

No work missed so far in 2012 ;)

I made it through work today! It took 1,200mg Ibuprofen and half a muscle relaxer (the back/neck are still locking up, but not all the time), but I made it! YAY!

And then I took my husband out to sushi dinner, cuz today’s his birthday! The owners made him a special dish:

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Now that the endo flare is over, I’m golden until the end of the month. Gotta be strong and adhere to the goals:

  • Go sugar-free again.
  • Do a better job from abstaining from alcohol again.
  • Be serious about gluten-free baking at home, so I cut down on processed foods.
  • Start biking to work every day again.
  • Keep posting more positive entries – what I can do, as opposed to what my limitations are – and post between cycles, as opposed to during or right after an endo flare.

 

I have a few additional goals:

  • See if I can manifest the idea I had recently to gift fellow endo sisters, to share positivity and love.
  • Make a video update on how my life has been since surgery in December, 2010.
  • Finish editing and then upload two more humourous videos I’d done in the past year or so.

Happy New Year!

Holy Moly, how did we roll into another year already?!?

Rather than chronicling all the bad stuff, let’s catch you up on some good things:

My uptime (no endo pain) began on December 14, and continued for 15 days!
December 22 was the last day of work for the winter break, and I got to spend good quality time with my husband and our local friends. I don’t normally celebrate winter holidays with family, because I live clear across the country from them, but I did get to talk to my family by phone. I even got to attend a party with my Michigan friends via Skype!

applestoapplesviaskype

a very skype christmas

 
Giftmas, as I call it, was happily low-key. I am quite loved by my students and workplace, as there were a great many gift cards, hand-made gifts, and other wonders! From the gift cards, I received a bounty of new books to read. My husband got me a digital EMF detector, because I like to ghost-hunt, and because I’m also sensitive to EMF, so reducing it or avoiding it early and often is key for my well-being!

We spent Dec. 25 at a friend’s house; they are like family, so it is a relaxing, cozy environment. We went dancing on Dec. 26, and for New Year’s Eve, we went to two local bars to celebrate with friends and acquaintances.

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My husband and I also watched a lot of Rome – an HBO miniseries. Our friend loaned it to us on DVD and we’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. I’m a bit of a history nerd, so we’ve been watching the series with the historical captions function activated. :)

During the endo uptime…actually from day 1 of the endo uptime…the discs in my neck pinched a nerve, and I have been dealing with that since December 14. It was the second time in a month that the discs pinched on a nerve in my neck; the same happened back on November 20, but the pain only lasted 3 days before righting itself. The pain this time was so bad for so long, that I missed 3 days of work. I spent all of winter break moderately to heavily medicated on muscle relaxers, Tylenol 3 and Advil. The doctor wants to do cortisone injections, which I put on hold until I got the results back from allergy patch tests to see if I have a sensitivity to cortisoids (I don’t, according to the patch test). My Ma had a really bad experience with cortisone treatment, and she and I are both highly allergic to penicillin. Because I share similar allergies to hers, I wanted to be tested before undergoing further treatment.

The joke during this time was that although I had pain, it was nothing compared to the endo pain!!

Excerpt from Facebook:
Definition of stubborn: driving self to doctor & errands on Tylenol 3 & Soma (pinched nerve is worse after trying new neck pillow). HEY, this is nothing compared to endometriosis pain! lulz
-December 30, 2011 at 1:05pm

 

I’d love to have muscle relaxers for each endo flare, too, but A) they’re addictive and B) they make me fat and depressed, so I usually steer clear of muscle relaxers unless the discs act up.

Of course, now that I’m cleared for cortisone injections, my neck decided to ease up! It was the longest period of time that I can recall pinched nerve activity. It was pretty brutal.

On Dec. 26 and Dec. 31, I wore eyeliner when I went out with friends, but for some reason, my eye hated the same eyeliner on NYE. Two days later – that’s today – I developed pink eye. It’s the SIXTH TIME since October 3, 2011 that I’ve had pink eye, all of which started around the time I began using Maybelline Great Lash mascara. I got a chemical and environmental allergy panel done at the end of December, and it did come back as suspect for sensitivity/allergy to cosmetics ingredients. I say suspect, because one doctor said YES it’s positive, and one doctor and one nurse said NO, it’s inconclusive. Damned doctors. No, of course there was no blood test – only skin patch test.

allergy-armpricktest12232011
allergypatchtest12282011

allergypatchtest12302011

 
So although I’ve been sick with one thing or another throughout December, I am still happy to report 16 days of consecutive uptime between menstrual cycles. There is positivity in there, I swear!

I also went to the dispensary during winter break, which has become famous overnight, as it’s now part of a television series called Weed Wars. I re-signed up for acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic, yoga and the alexander technique. Most of these services are now experiencing a 3 month wait due to recent fame for the dispensary, and of course it’s wall-to-wall people at all hours, now. I’m really happy for the dispensary, and also feeling a bit selfish for wanting services sooner. ;)

I will finish my New Year’s entry with a list of goals for 2012:

  • Go sugar-free again.
  • Do a better job from abstaining from alcohol again (I know, that few-times-a-week glass of wine is awesome tasting and relaxing, but may not be doing your cramps any good!)
  • Be serious about gluten-free baking at home, so I cut down on processed foods.
  • Start biking to work every day again.
  • Start posting more positive entries – what I can do, as opposed to what my limitations are. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, but just not all negative chronicling all the time.
  • See if I can manifest the idea I had recently to gift fellow endo sisters, to share positivity and love.

Early December cycle

Last night, I developed uterine cramps after eating pasta alfredo with Langostina tails for dinner.
I also had a cup of caffeinated tea with dinner. The pain started on the way to a concert, and got worse throughout the night. Standing or sitting did not matter, the nerve pain stung and radiated from the uterus, settling in the lower back, causing debilitating pain by the time I left the Peter Murphy concert. I descended the stairs of the concert venue slowly, wincing with each step, clutching the railing.

By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs and was out on the street after the concert, I was nauseated from the pain. On the way home, every time the gravity changed in the car (turns, changing lanes, curving highway), the inflamed nerves screamed, and I cried out in pain.

However, once I got home, I refused to take meds, because I wondered if it was my kidneys acting up. Other organs are easily afflicted by endometriosis, and if the kidneys were suffering, then adding pain meds might make things even harder on me to process. Instead, I used an exterior pain relief gel, and did some Chi Nei Tsang around my pelvic cradle to see where the pain was coming from, and how it was radiating out.

Though the stinging, burning nerve pain felt like it was in the sides of my pelvic bones, in my lower spine and radiating down my legs, the Chi Nei Tsang helped me realise that the originating source of the pain was actually in the uterus. It was so inflamed that the nerves broadcasted a pain party to the entire pelvic cradle. It grabbed hold of the trunk of nerves in the pelvic cradle and shot down the sides of my legs, almost to my knees.

The pain relief gel comes from NationalAllergy.com, and it is called Super Blue. I rubbed that on my lower back, and then situated a heating pad over my pelvis.
Further, I moved my body slowly to figure out the best position for rest. It was one of those times where I wished I had my old futon mattress again, because our bed was far too soft given the level of pain I was in.

Last weekend, I had developed pelvic pain on three occasions right after drinking coffee, so I have since gone back to drinking caffeinated tea, and only in moderation; one cup at a time, and not every day. I had not recently developed pelvic pain with the tea, so I’m suspecting the langostino shellfish as the culprit to my pain. Shellfish is said to contain lots of dioxins, which feeds endometriosis growth and flaring, though there has not been any in-depth studies that I know of to show you to prove this. It’s just one of those things that I know to be a solid suspect, based upon my pain history when consuming shellfish, especially at or near my cycle.

This morning, I am running late for work, and the stinging pain resumed once I crawled out of bed. I will be taking 800mg of Advil gelcaps to get through the day. I am two to three days away from the onset of my next cycle; george will be here by Wednesday or Thursday, in time to ruin weekend plans. However, I have a consultation with a tattoo artist about a design I want on my upper back, so I plan to be there, drugged to the gills or not.

Missed 1 day of work in August…

So I made it to the end of August. I only missed one day of work (on August 8, during the last cycle).

I’m starting off September by missing half a day of work on the 1st. I am likely to miss the entire day of work on September 2nd. I cannot reach anyone to sub for me for the whole day, though one teacher said she’d cover me for the early morning daycare-before-school-starts shift.

Yesterday was the first day of george. Right as I was about to go out the door to work, the cramps began, so I did actually take 600mg of Ibuprofen before work. Then I began spotting while at work, but I still made it through an entire work day.

The pain ramped up last night while I was at a friend’s house checking out their place for party space for my upcoming birthday. I took half a Tylenol 3 but the pain and bleeding kept ramping up. When I got home, I think I took a whole Tylenol 3 and went to bed. I can’t remember.

This morning, despite the pain and bleeding, I ingested 600mg of Ibuprofen again and went in to work. I lasted til 10:30am, when I could stand it no longer and took a half Tylenol 3.

An hour later, with the pain still ramping up and nausea also welling up, I quit five minutes before my lunch break. I went in search of people to fill in for me for the rest of the day. I shuffled around the building, found two people to help me out, and listed the gaps in coverage for the secretary to help figure out the rest, and I came home.

I ate a full Tylenol 3 with my lunch at 12:30pm, and was bedridden from 2:30pm – 7:30pm.
Whoops, this means I completely missed the appointment with my shrink.
I’ve been groggy and couch-ridden for the rest of the night. It’s 9:38pm now and I’m just now entertaining the idea of dinner. Normally I’m prepping for bed by now.

I’ve already notified everyone’s voicemails that I likely won’t be in tomorrow.

Sad, disappointed and depressed describe my current state of mind. I wasn’t bedridden in February, March, April, May or June. I was couch-ridden from the pain in July and August, and now officially bedridden and couch-ridden in September.

The caffeine and sugar have got to stop. I’ve said this before. I know what a huge challenge this is for me. I might even need to go vegetarian again. My caffeine intake rose sharply at the end of June, so I am definitely blaming my rekindled addiction for part of the pain. Caffeine is a known inflammatory agent. I reintroduced white meat (birds only) towards the end of May or sometime in June. I’ll cut caffeine and sugar, first, then wait a few months to see what all evens out before deciding if meat has to go again, too.

Stress management is also key, but I’ve already set that in motion with the Alexander Technique and Yoga classes, and the monthly acupuncture (too bad I can only get monthly acupuncture through the dispensary, but I’ll work with what I’ve got available). I just need to remember to also add in the daily progressive relaxation tips again.

This too shall pass.

Entering end of August downtime

During this month’s uptime, I accomplished the following through the Prop 215 dispensary:

 
During this month’s uptime, I accomplished the following:

  • spent several hours aboard the U.S.S. Hornet walking around, ascending and descending stairs, and sitting on hard floors
  • attended two going-away parties back to back
  • got reeeeeeeally drunk
  • went to the circus for father-in-law’s birthday request
  • bicycled to work three days in a row, for a total of 8 miles
  • went for walks
  • continued my yoga lessons nearly every night before bed
  • helped pack away a classroom of its summer theme and helped prep it and another classroom for the coming school year

 
Along with the getting drunk part, I also ingested more caffeine and more sugar than I should have allowed myself to do. I felt stressed out this whole month. My sister-in-law was hospitalised with a pulmonary embolism (she’s now home and managing it with medication), and the aftermath of my drunkening had me seriously in the doghouse with my husband, and had me feeling very depressed for a whole week. Oh, and both of these things happened the same exact week. Being on the U.S.S. Hornet was draining, because it required heightened psychic sense (we were ghost hunting), and there was some national news that triggered me emotionally (also in the same week as my sister-in-law’s hospitalisation). The week of August 14 – 20 was a really bad week.

Despite the emotional roller coaster, I experienced SIXTEEN, count ’em 16 pain-free days in a row! Sixteen consecutive pain-free days!

WOW! I definitely have a trend showing itself five months after surgery!
From May to June’s cycle, I had 20 consecutive pain-free days.
From June to July’s cycle, I had 17 consecutive pain-free days.
From July to August’s cycle, I’ve had 16 consecutive pain-free days.

This is AWESOME.

What’s even better is that no matter what I’ve done to myself diet-wise, the number of pain-free days has barely wavered. Not that I’m gonna go on a booze, caffeine and sugar binge from here on out, mind you. That shit still affects my mood something fierce.

I will say that this month’s PMS has been HELLISH. Perhaps that is tied to the poor diet. I’m angsty, depressed, angry, weepy, and desirous to claw myself out of my own skin. I feel like a three-year-old who can’t tell you what the trouble is and who resorts to screaming and kicking everything in site.

The libido thing is about the same as it is for many women with endometriosis – I enjoyed three intimate days this entire month. There were three in July, two in June, one in May, two in April, two in March, FOUR in February, and three in January. None of that has changed much since surgery, because due to endometriosis, I’m also diagnosed with dyspareunia, which happens with deep penetration. The cramps can often last for days, and the deep cramps not something I want happening between cycles, during my “uptime” or my sacred pain-free time zone. Thankfully, truly thankfully, I have a life partner who understands and respects this, as rough as it can be emotionally for him to have to deal with on his end. My husband is a super hero. We’ve been together for 11 years, and have been married for almost three. :)

I fear today may be my last day of work before I’m stuck at home in pain again for a day or three. I’m hoping I won’t miss work at all this week. On Monday, I required 600mg of Ibuprofen to get through the workday. On Tuesday, I required 1,000mg of Ibuprofen. Both days, I woke up feeling like a Mack truck ran over me. My muscles have been tired, my joints have been aching. I have increased my calcium/magnesium intake, and I’m trying to add more green vegetables to my diet for iron. I should be taking my iron supplement – I’ll do that at lunch today.
So far today – Wednesday – I have not needed to take ibuprofen. I’m heading off to work right now. Wish me luck!

August downtime

On Sunday, July 31, I was driving with my husband when suddenly my lower back screamed in agony, leading me to cry out in a high-pitched wail mid-sentence. The stabbing pain lasted less than 30 seconds and was gone without a trace. What the hell!?

The very next day, PMS set in just over a week before I was due, in the form of Cleaning All The Things™Allie Brosh. The day after that, I got left side ovarian stabby pains, which lasted for two straight days. I ate a lot of Ibuprofen.
At this point, I knew the party uptime was over. I actually became quite depressed about this.

Befuddled by my depression, knowing I have dealt with this illness for almost 26 years now, I wrote the following:

Dear Steph:
You must acknowledge that you have entered Downtime. You are not lazy, you are not slacking – it is just time to go. You cannot fight this. You are Persephone. Just go to the Underworld quietly and do your time, as you have done for two and a half decades. You will emerge again – you always do. Stop thinking diet or depression or laziness might be bringing on the pain. It’s none of that. Just go under and do your time. Look out the window or go outside and enjoy the sunlight for one more day, but mark my words, by the end of today, you will either go of your own power or I will take you forcibly. Stop whining – you’ll be back by Monday. Sheesh. Be thankful that it’s only a cumulative of 3 months out of every year you spend in the Underworld. It could be consecutive. You don’t want that, do you?
-Hades

Still getting left side stabby ovarian pain, and having struggled through a hypoglycemic morning, I got my ass up off the couch and said, “FINE! I will go and enjoy the sunlight for one more day, you bastard!”
Well, I said a lot more cuss words than that, but you get the point.

I put on some sweats, a tee shirt, bicycle arm warmers, knee braces, bike helmet and off I went for a bicycle ride while my laundry was washing.

Here's me telling endo what it can do with itself.

Here's me telling endo what it can do with itself.


Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), a pretty but invasive plant on our shoreline.

Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), a pretty but invasive plant on our shoreline, along with Spartina alterniflora x foliosa (smooth cord grass), another horrible invasive, in the background.


My highest speed that day was actually 17 M.P.H.  -pretty good for one on the verge of an endo flare.

My highest speed that day was actually 17 M.P.H. -pretty good for one on the verge of an endo flare.


 

After two days of stabbing pain, I then spent the next four days dealing with hypoglycemic attacks while my body went down the drain hormonally.
Despite all that, I still managed to exercise every day that week leading up to menses. I weight-lifted, I did aerobics, I bicycled, I cleaned house like a rabid meth fiend. After the bicycling, I got nauseous and weak in the way that only I know means it was pre-menstrually-related.

On Friday, August 5, the vaginal mucosa turned pink, and I knew the do0m was upon me.

So naturally I went dancing.

I wanted to go out to a club, but I could not predict how rapidly my body might go downhill, and besides, I’m flat broke financially after the traveling I did this summer, so I stayed in and held Club Steph:

Club Steph: A Gothic Nightclub Of One, held irregularly.

Club Steph: A Gothic Nightclub Of One, held irregularly.


 

In short, I went to the underworld to do my downtime kicking and screaming, like I always do. After dancing, the nausea set back in. Nausea has been big during this menstrual cycle, making me think I have another ovarian cyst.

Regarding the kicking and screaming…before my second surgery even happened, I had regressed to a crying, sputtering three-year-old, throwing a fit every time I was about to go into downtime again. After 25 years, I’d just had enough of it. I was no longer stoic, I was no longer accepting of my fate, or even willing to work with what uptime I had each month.

I had a lot of hope that the second surgery would give me more uptime, and you know what, IT DID, but not enough so that an employer would notice. This is what keeps my stress level up – the fact that I know there was some benefit to both surgeries to my quality of life, but yet it didn’t make enough of a difference to employers. I had to call in sick today, and I wonder if I’ll be well enough to go in tomorrow. This of course makes my employer unhappy. She has stated to my face that she is concerned about putting me in a head teaching position because of my illness. Because she has not denied me of the position yet, I cannot take action. Because all of her discriminatory remarks as regards my illness have been verbal, I don’t have much solid proof of things to take action with, and so I am in a constant state of mental anguish and a feeling of gross job insecurity.

In order to feel a bit more justified and dignified, I went back through the past five years’ worth of data on my menstrual cycles. It looks like it wasn’t until December, 2008 that I caught on to the idea of trying to pinpoint when mittelschmerz was happening.
Though I had caught on to the idea of tracking my uptime between cycles in November, 2007, it remained an abstraction. It wasn’t actually until August, 2010 that I actively employed this tactic on my calendar.

We already know that my first surgery in 2007 barely helped me in the grand scheme of things. Sadly, I did not have the tracking discipline that I now have going on, and I use the term ‘discipline’ loosely.
All I remember from the 2007 surgery is that it felt like I gained a week of uptime back in my life each month. This means that instead of getting pain and other symptoms two weeks before menstruating, I was, after surgery, only experiencing pain a week to a few days before menstruating. This meant that my uptime between cycles had lengthened.
Once menses hit, however, I was still bedridden every month and missing work. That part hadn’t changed a bit.

I wanted to find out if my second surgery fared better, so I have spent the last two days going through my calendar and my blog posts to gather data. Again, record-keeping was crappy in 2008 and pretty much non-existent in 2007 going by calendar alone, so I just focused on the past two-and-a-half years’ worth of data.

You can see immediately that surgery provided benefit where job loss and uptime is concerned. The fact that I’m still missing one day of work per cycle is still troubling to my employer of course, but dammit, I’ll take what I can get. Check it out:

george uptime & days off work, 2009 to 2011

 

It’s not much, but it’s what I have to work with. And I did all this data compiling while stoned out of my head on Tylenol 3. Too bad I am completely useless in my current line of work when I’m on the Tylenol 3. Maybe I should just go back to tech work and find a job working from home full time.

One last thing that is very important to note for my morale:

I had my second surgery in December, 2010. Upon recovery, I was not bedridden from endometriosis in February, March, April, May or June. I was couch-ridden from the pain in July and August, but there has been moderate nausea with these last two cycles, and as I keep saying, I think there’s an ovarian cyst going on, on top of the endometriosis. But I have not spent 12+ hour days in bed in my pajamas with the heating pads on me at all hours of the day and night like I used to before surgery. This is a vast improvement over the first surgery I had in 2007.

There is still hope that my condition will improve. I just need to get back on track with the dietary restrictions. I lapsed from May onwards due to graduation, travel to see family, and general summertime fun. I need to cut sugar and alcohol again. It will be difficult. I will cry again. I will wail and gnash teeth over it like I did last time, but I’m doing this to further the benefit of surgery.