Another Surgery is on the Calendar!

2020 Calendar with May 13 circled

I had a wonderful visit with my surgeon, Dr. Mel Kurtulus, this past Tuesday. It was a follow-up appointment to discuss last week’s ultrasound results and my ongoing complaints of pain and, what I suspect, is a return Endometriosis.

Due to my documented location and severity of pain, another surgery (at my request), the doc is agreeable to performing a “peek under the hood” as we like to call lit. So, the date is May 13, 2020. Surgery Number Five since my 2014 diagnosis.

What’s gonna happen depends on what he sees once he’s inside, but here’s the plan:

  • Excision of any Endometriosis lesions;
  • Removal of any adhesions;
  • Removal of any ovarian cysts;
  • Removal of the left ovary (again, at my request as this has been my Endometrioma problem-child); and,
  • A routine check inside the bladder (Cystoscopy).

If, and ONLY if, it is warranted by either my insane tracking (and soon-to-be more in-depth journaling of my quality of life while suffering from any uterine cramps): the uterus and cervixes (that’s right; there’s two) may be removed. Due to the risks and complications such an addition to the above list of surgeries may pose, we’ve opted to wait until the surgery is either absolutely medically necessary by destroying my quality of life or go in and remove the uterus and cervixes at a later time. But again, he may deem the procedures medically necessary depending on what he sees once he’s inside me. Won’t know ’til the day of, but right now I’m bankin’ on I’ll have my uterus and cervixes for a while longer.

I accepted the risks and reasons we discussed in not performing the hysterectomy this May. And am super grateful he took the time to explain them all. Although, the discussion is not off the table yet; remember, if my journaling shows that it’s severely impacting my Q. of L., then it may sway the decision! Time will tell.

So, what goes on during these surgeries? I know that any EndoWarrior reading this blog knows. But what about those who haven’t gone through it? I feel like now would be an appropriate time to cover that.

I have only ever had robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgeries for my Endometriosis. So I can only attest to my experiences. Robots? Yes. Robots. Well, one big spidery-lookin’ robot called the DaVinci. Let me preface this with I AM NOT A DOCTOR…this is purely my understanding of what has happened during my surgeries. If you’re a medical professional reading this and want to correct anything, please let me know.

Doctor and assistant with da vinci robotic surgery equipment

Itty bitty tools are controlled by the surgeon who is sitting several feet away at a computer console with joysticks, for lack of a better word! These tiny tools can be precisely maneuvered and manipulated and the zoom-in capability of the camera is terrifying! But amazing!

Da Vinci surgical tools
Robotic general surgery: Current practice, evidence, and perspective – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available on:

So, he sits at the console. The OR staff assist with ports and moving equipment, etc. And the anesthesiologist does his own thing; they all work together to make sure I’m well cared for and not dying on the table…

Davinci robotic system, table, console, tools, screen

Speaking of the table, I’ll be on it, tied down, covered in a drape, and put up in the not-so-typical gyno-stirrups position (aka Allen stirrups). The OR staff will likely add some tools like a uterine manipulator, a catheter, etc. Then the incisions will begin.

If history shall repeat itself (based off of 2014, 2016, July 2018, and Nov. 2018 op reports):

An small incision at the belly button allows for a small tube to be inserted into my abdomen and CO2 gas pumped in (I’ve had as much as 3 liters of gas for my surgeries). Inflate the belly! “Why?” you ask? So the gas distends the belly, shifting the organs around, and giving the surgeon a better visual of EVERYTHING going on inside. And then when the table is tipped slightly at an angle, most of the free organs shift a wee bit more, allowing greater access to the pelvic cavity.

A clear balloon filled with helium and feathers

Once proper balloony-big-belly has been achieved, a device called a trocar is placed into the incision of my belly button. Think of a trocar as a hollow tube where the camera and surgery tools can be slipped in without screwing with my incisions. More incisions to the right and left of my abdomen will be made, the number depends on what’s needed during surgery. I’ve had two, three, four, and five in the past. More trocars are placed in each incision.

A camera is inserted usually through the belly button trocar, an inspection is made and, (in my case) the Endometriosis and adhesions are visualized. I’m then tipped backwards and somewhat upside down; a position known as the Trendelenburg position. Again, this allows greater access to the pelvic cavity and the surgeon works his magic.

Is it quick? Nope. Sometimes it’s a 2-hour surgery; sometimes it’s a 4.5-hour surgery. And for others? It can be much longer…It all depends on the sheer number of lesions, the presence of adhesions, and a myriad of other factors including if there’s any organs involved, etc.

Endometriosis lesions can take a variety of shapes and colors. They may look like little freckles, or large blisters, or just stains inside the body. And the colors can range from clear, to pink, to red, to brown, to blue, to black and anything in between. It’s not an easy task, and again takes an experienced, skilled surgeon to recognize and remove the lesions.

graphic that reads excision of endometriosis is the gold standard

Now that they’ve spotted the Endometriosis, they go about handling it. Excision is considered the best way to remove the lesions: cutting them out. Not all surgeons practice excision. Others may just burn the lesion, which may lead to leaving the root of the lesion beneath the surface of the pelvic tissue or organs. Scarring is also more likely to occur. Excision is when they cut out the lesion in its entirety, and remove a margin of healthy tissue around it. Is it a guarantee the illness won’t come back? No. Unfortunately. Even the best-trained experts have cases of recurrence with their patients. And, if you’re reading your op report(s) and see that a heat tool or laser was used during your surgery, please don’t automatically assume it was ablation. Call your surgeon and ask. Some heat tools can be used during excision as a way to cauterize the area.

graphic depicting difference between ablation and excision (burning versus cutting)
Detail,”The Endo-Graphic” by Sarah Soward.

Once the surgeon has completed their task, it’s time to close you up. Equipment and materials are removed, counted, recounted, and recounted. Trocars are removed. The gas is expelled as best they can. Now this part is interesting. Trapped gas can be insanely painful during surgery recovery. It’s not like you can just fart or burp it out. The CO2 gas either 1) causes immense pain because the gas is hanging out inside the pelvic cavity (not inside the stomach or intestines like normal “gas”) or 2) the CO2 gas has damaged some nerves along the way. There’s back-and-forth debate about what causes that insane shoulder pain after a laparoscopy. But my surgeon has employed a new trick and has named it the “Lisa Special” after I asked him what he did that was so different after my second surgery. All of my girls who go to him request it. And all of them have marveled at the difference compared to other surgeries they’ve had.

The Lisa Special: Before that last incision is closed, he has the anesthesiologist inflate and deflate the lungs a few extra times…like deep breaths…and it helps push out a lot of the remaining gas that’s hiding along the nooks and crannies of the pelvic cavity. He told me once that he even heard the gas escaping from the incision. I hope it sounded much like a farting balloon.

And then? The incisions are closed and the recovery process begins. Endo excision is not an easy ordeal. It’s not simple. It’s not easy. And the recovery and healing take a lot of time. And it can be painful.

For me, my minimal recovery time off of work is two weeks. Sometimes I wish I had three weeks. But the restrictions aren’t lifted for a few more weeks after that. No bending, no squatting, no pushing, no pulling. I can’t lift anything heavier than a half-gallon of milk. No driving for the first two weeks. It’s intense. And let’s not even discuss the pain of the recovery itself, or the shoulder pain if there’s any CO2 gas left, or the agony of not being able to get comfortable to sleep, or the need to get up and take tiny walks around the house every few hours.

And the hardest part? Watching friends and family go through it with you. The fear, anxiety, nervousness, pain, and heartache. But we’re all in this together. And I’m super grateful to those who help me during my recovery time. Fewer things are more degrading than not being able to get out of bed, sit on the toilet, or even walk around the house without someone there to help.

I’m ready for this surgery. And I’m not. I find myself dwelling on “I can’t believe I’m having another one…” and “What if he doesn’t find anything?” And those thoughts put in my a quiet, introspective, sad mood.

My husband reminded me last night that I say “What if he doesn’t find anything” before every surgery. And every time, he does find more Endometriosis and scar tissue. So I need to remind myself that I know my body, I recognize this pain, and something is wrong.

Even if he doesn’t find Endometriosis, he’ll find something.

I hope.

I’m using up all of my vacation and sick days for my recovery. So he’d better find something

PS – A few of my EndoWarriors and I have decided to name my left ovary since it’s coming out: “Ophelia”…aka “I feel ya”. Another EndoWarrior (you know who you are, Stalker) I know has suggested a bon voyage party for Ophelia. We’ll see how I feel closer to May…but I’m amenable to the idea. Now? To revisit the “Tips and Tricks” before and after surgery and buy a new muumuu!


~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research. Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa

Today is my one-year resectionversary!

One year ago today, I had my bowel resection surgery to remove to visible lesions of Endometriosis off of my small intestine. A section of my right intestine, as well as appendix and cecum were also removed. All biopsies came back as Endometriosis, including microscopic Endo on my appendix, and cecum.

I documented my healing process with photos! If you follow my personal page on Facebook, you already knew that. BUT I made a one-year anniversary video of my healing process!

How has my quality of life been since my surgery? Once my body recovered from the trauma of the surgery, it’s been pretty awesome. I mean, I’ve had to make some adjustments to diet, monitor my alcohol intake, stumble along the way.

BUT…I haven’t endured a single painful poop since my surgery! In the past, it’s felt like I poo’d glass and razor blades and barbed wire. The guts felt like they were packed with the sharp objects and just cutting along the interior as I poo’d.

That is long gone. Good riddance. Never come back.

I cannot say it enough: Thank you Dr. Schultzel and Dr. Kurtulus for your expertise, professionalism, and genuine desire to help your patience!

And my words of advice to you? Always track your symptoms. Write them down. Voice them to your doctor. Bring in copies of your pain journal. Find a doctor knowledgeable in Endometriosis and excision. Pursue answers and proper treatment!

Here’s to hoping the rest of my body stays Endo-free, too…

My First Colonoscopy

If you’re in the Southern California area and need a colonscopy, may I recommend The Endoscopy Center in Encinitas with Dr. Seeger? Everyone there was incredible and super friendly! What I was afraid would be a painful experience wasn’t painful at all. And it was sooo easy. Truly the hardest thing is drinkin’ the bowel prep and enduring a few hours on the toilet.

Why did I need a colonoscopy at 40 years old? My colo-rectal surgeon sprung it on me: one is needed a year after a bowel resection; just to make sure everything is okay inside.

Okay, on with the findings: a small polyp was discovered inside my sigmoid colon and removed for biopsy. The rest of my guts looked great! Wanna see?

Continue reading

My experience with a bowel prep

Do you have a bowel surgery coming up? Maybe just a colonoscopy? Or something else to do with your guts?

Either way, you likely have to endure a bowel prep: drink some nastiness and spend the next few hours glued to the toilet.

I had my bowel resection in November of 2018 and had no idea what I was in for with Suprep Bowel Prep Kit. And now I have my very first colonoscopy on calendar for November 8, 2019 (just to check and make sure everything is decent and runnin’ smoothly in there). I was also told I’d be enduring the same bowel prep! Yay! Yay? Just kidding.

So I got home and scrambled for my notes from last November. Just how bad was the experience before? I had been messaging a friend of mine who kept me company during the ordeal. And rather than just read them while laughing and get a sense of what to expect in a few weeks, I thought I’d share them.

I mean, who knows – you may very well have ended up on this page because you, too, were searching for “what happens in a bowel prep?” Brace yourself…my notes are coming! And if you make it all the way to the bottom (there’s a pun in there somewhere), I’ll list a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way to make this process a little more bearable.

Shortly after 4:15pm, on November 25, 2018, I downed my first round of Suprep. The second dose was at 10:00pm. Following are my notes (aka, texts to my friend):

Prior to the poop-fest, I weighed myself right before drinking Suprep: 169.5 pounds. I was curious how much poo and water weight I would lose after it was all over. Stay tuned!

Image result for round 1 fight
Clock 4:16pm

Drank first round of Suprep

Right click to save me!

OMFG that’s the most amazing torrential downpour of liquid shit I’ve ever experienced!!!!! 35 minutes after consumption and round 1 of ?? is done!

Right click to save me!

I’m still pooping…confirmed: no visible plunger in this bathroom lol

Right click to save me!

Round 2 !!!!!

Right click to save me!

Ooooomgggg round 3. I didn’t even have to leave the toilet from round 2! Just when I was about to wipe: nope. Seriously amazing pooping!!! Like a high pressure water hose!

Right click to save me!

Round 4!

Right click to save me!

….round five….literally as I’m wiping my ass with a baby wipe. HAAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAAA caught me by surprise.  ALMOST CLEAR!

Right click to save me!

Round 6 and 7! 7 was far more violent. I wish I could describe the sensation of pressure washing the inside of the toilet with my butt juice!

Right click to save me!

Round 8 done. I’m not even gonna wipe anymore. Just sit here. It’s like ..what…30-45 seconds between pooping? Pooping isn’t even a fitting description anymore.  I AM getting up for most times. Barely made it back in time for round 9. I think I’ll sit here til round 10

Right click to save me!

There goes round 10!  It’s amazing ’cause they’re all like the same amount of liquid poo. Like there’s a measuring system in my intestines and a shutoff valve, a pressure build up, and RELEASE!  …This bathroom is fucking freezing

Right click to save me!

Round 11!!  IT’S AMAZING!  No cramps or anything. Just a sudden urge to spew water from me bum

Right click to save me!

Almost didn’t pull my pants down in time for round 12! I think I better live here for a minute or two

Right click to save me!

Round 13!!!

Right click to save me!

Where the heck is round 14?

Right click to save me!

There’s 14!  …Oooh mum brought me her fuzzy blanket! I’m warm!!! And my asshole is killing me LOL! Vaseline and all. Omg.

The question was posed, “What if your mom has to go?” – referring to the one-bathroom AirBNB suite we shared for the evening.  My response?  “She’s screwed!”

Right click to save me!

Round 15 took a while haha

Right click to save me!

Omfg. Round 16 made up for 15’s delay!

Right click to save me!

I’m waiting for 17…There it is! I knew it was comin’!

Right click to save me!

Jim says hi. Oh…and ROUND 18!

Right click to save me!

Round 19! Soooo close to 20. I wonder how many til I stop. Then I gotta do another round of Suprep at 10. Omg.

Right click to save me!

Noooooo round 20!!!!! I think I’m done!

Image result for finish flag

Finished! 2 hours and 45 minutes after taking Suprep! 19 horrendous rounds of liquid-shits. And I now weighed 166.8 pounds. 

I had a few hours before having to begin the next dose of Suprep. I think Mum, hubby, and I just watched TV…and then, it was time. I dreaded the late-night start because all I wanted to do was go to sleep, but noooo, I had to poop instead.

Image result for round 2 fight
Right click to save me!

Down the hatch! (Second round of Suprep)

Right click to save me!

Roooound 1!!!!

Right click to save me!

And 2!

Right click to save me!

Insert Round 3 here. Omfg that one was fierce!

Right click to save me!


Right click to save me!

Round 5 was soooo loud I nearly vomited. Sounded just like a solid vomit

Right click to save me!

Oh God, round 6 didn’t wait long

Right click to save me!

#7!  I’m not even wiping anymore. Or flushing. Just sitting here, waiting, shitting, waiting, shitting, waiting lol

Right click to save me!

Omg 8 was amazing. This poor toilet

Right click to save me!

Round 9!! Is it over yet?


Right click to save me!

10!!! I thought I was safe so sat on the couch and had to run back in here….

Right click to save me!

11. Think we’ll top 20?

Right click to save me!

12! I feel like it’s been so much more than that …

Right click to save me!

….I think it stopped

Right click to save me!

That was a lie. Round 13 gurgled only after I laid down to rest. My poor bleeding butthole. Back in bed though. And btw…if I didn’t already say so….it’s clear

Image result for zzz

I slept straight through! No terrifying episodes of shitting the bed or getting up all night to poop! I thought I was in the clear. I was wrong.

Image result for sunrise

I wake up at 4:00 a.m.

Right click to save me!

Big ol gentle liquid poo.

Right click to save me!

Make that two giant liquid poos

Right click to save me!


Right click to save me!


Right click to save me!


We then had to head out to the hospital for my 5:00am check-in.  I used the restroom once before they sat me down (so, round #6)


Image result for poop emoji hospital

and AGAIN while being prepped for surgery.  Yep, my little booty waddled down the hallway with an IV in my arm, the surgery cap on, and sportin’ the beautiful hospital gown (round #7).  I oftentimes wonder if I shit during surgery? Guessing not.

Image result for tips & tricks

If you made it all the way down to the end of this blog, you’re amazing! I hope you had a good laugh. I know I did while I was reliving the memories! Alright, the promised tips & tricks I learned from my first bowel prep experience:

  • Follow those darned prep instructions. To the letter!
  • If allowed, drink the prep cold. THROUGH A STRAW. And as quickly as you can stomach.
  • Chase it with ice cold water or gatorade. Or suck on a lime between sips (if your doctor says it’s okay).
  • Invest in some comfy, soft, gentle, pampering butt wipes. Be careful, though, you may not be able to flush them with some plumbing systems. Just bring a small trash bag to be safe and haul that shit (literally) out when you’re all done.
  • That being said: don’t wipe every time. As you read above, some of the bouts o’liquid-poo are so close together, wiping made no sense. You’ll help save the environment, and the tender flesh of your bumhole.
  • Vaseline is your friend. TENDER bumhole!
  • Continue to drink water as instructed by the bowel prep instructions, but also make sure you don’t drink any after you’ve been commanded NO FOOD OR LIQUID before your procedure.
  • If you do end up falling asleep before you feel you’ve completed voided your liquid-bowels, make sure you get up a little earlier than planned to allow extra time to clear ’em out.
  • Bring a good book. Or your phone/tablet.
  • Bring a blanket!
  • Keep a positive attitude about the whole darned experience.
  • And treat yourself to something soothing when you’re back on your feet…you earned it!

Good luck with your prep! And whatever reason you’re having to complete it!

Blood and Poop and Headlamps … OH MY!

Proctoscope, gloves, and a blob lube
That’s gonna go…where?!?

So, over the past two months, I’ve been experiencing some bleeding when I poo. I’ve taken several first aid and civilian medical classes, so I knew it wasn’t anything to worry about: the color and texture was well within the “don’t freak out” range.

I noted these incidents on my food & symptom journal and booked an appointment with my PCP to discuss and get a possible referral to my PoopChute doctor.

Although I blog about poo and guts and all kinds of other lovely and taboo things, going into the doctor’s office to actually have them examine my bunghole is not my idea of good time. It’s even more horrific than having to buy pads or tampons when there’s only male cashiers…although I finally grew out of that trauma in my 30s.

Continue reading

Saying Farewell to an EndoSister

Kristen Cavanaugh
Kristen Cavanaugh; Oct. 3, 1985 – June 27, 2019

Written by Heidi Baurmann, Speaking on behalf of all of our Bloomin’ Uterus sisters.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce one of our own has lost their battle with Endometriosis. Kristen Lynn Cavanaugh will always be a part of our Bloomin’ Uterus Sisterhood.

Kristen found me on Facebook in March during Endometriosis Awareness month. In the little time I knew her, it was obvious what a strong advocate she was for us all, sharing her story openly with the community & supporting chronic illness sufferers.

On Wednesday, June 27th, I was devastated to hear the news that Kristen had lost her life due to medication complications (the medications are listed at the end of this blog entry). It feels so unjust to loose a sister this way. Kristen’s friends and family are focusing their energy on spreading awareness in hopes to help others who are suffering in pain.

In loving words, her mother writes, “Kristen had a passion for helping those with chronic illnesses, and through her small business of health care products, she reached many women who suffer with endometriosis and fibromyalgia.“ Here is the link to her obituary.

Her dear friend opened up to me about her great sense of humor & expressed that what she “loved about her was how selfless she was. She quit a 6 figure job at DISNEY, to make boxes for each endosister. She carefully thought of each item while adding them to the boxes. She had such a big heart.”

Her family is asking for donations to the Endometriosis Foundation in her name. (There is a section where you can state who you are donating for.)

Here are the links to her Instagram endo page as well as her personal page, if you would like to say some words on her behalf.

Kristen will always be remembered in our hearts as a woman who fought hard & gave back. I hope you are looking down at all of this love and smiling. We send love to her family & all those who are feeling her loss.


Update: July 9, 2019: Suzie, Kristen’s mother, has given us permission to share the medications that Kristen was prescribed, which may have contributed to her death. We are sharing this information with you to implore you to verify with your physicians (and do your own research) regarding any potential drug side effects or interactions.

On June 24, 2019, Kristen was prescribed Dilaudid, Valium, Xanax, and Ambien. Suzie wants to stress to you that these medications, if taken together, can cause respiratory distress. Kristen and her family were not made aware of this danger. She would like to remind each of us that, “combining those meds is very dangerous.”

If you’re worried about your multiple over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and/or herbal supplements having potential risks (or even death) when taken together, please talk to your doctor. And you can check out drug interactions on this amazing database.

Endo Diagnosis: Five years ago today

cake with a big number 5 candle on it
Birthday Candles by Andy Eick

My calendar has been reminding me every day this week that today is my five-year diagnosis anniversary…and I’m a maelstrom of emotions.

Sad. Happy. Angry. Vindicated. Excited. At peace. Hopeless. Blessed.

Years of pain, telling my doctors, taking meds, cancelling plans, missing work, and accepting it as normal. And five years ago today, I learned the cause of my pain had a name: Endometriosis. I never would have received my diagnosis if it weren’t for a series of ultrasounds, a competent doctor whom I now cherish, and the appearance of a persistent cyst on my ovary:

Feb. 2013: pelvic ultrasound

May 2013: pelvic ultrasound

May 2014: pelvic ultrasound – possible dermoid cyst

May 2014: pelvic MRI

June 30, 2014: exploratory, diagnostic, and excision surgery! SURPRISE ENDO!…not a dermoid cyst.

Sept. 2014: pelvic ultrasound

May 2015: pelvic ultrasound

Feb. 2016: flexible sigmoidoscopy to check out bowels due to pain

May 2016: pelvic ultrasound

July 2016: pelvic CT

Sept 2016: 2nd excision surgery

May 2017: pelvic ultrasound

August 2017: pelvic ultrasound

May 2018: pelvic ultrasound

June 2018: pelvic ultrasound

July 2018: 3rd excision surgery (Endo remained on small intestines to be dealt with ASAP by colo-rectal surgeon)

Nov. 2018: 4th excision surgery and bowel resection

April 2019: pelvic ultrasound

Pending July 2019: pelvic ultrasound to monitor a possible endometrioma…

The journey continues…and the spinning maelstrom of emotions also continue to fester: Sad. Happy. Angry. Vindicated. Excited. At peace. Hopeless. Blessed. Now with the possibility of the disease already being back already, add on: Scared. Nervous. Hopeful.

But my favorite part of today’s five-year anniversary? It led me to my Sisters and fellow Warriors, has given me new friends, and it’s brought me so much closer to my family. Endo given my a voice and purpose. It’s united all of us: Warriors and our Support. And we all fight together…not only for our own survival, but for one another.

Happy Big 5, Endo. Thanks for everything. ❤

My First Mammogram

Mammogram machine
Image by Elías Alarcón from Pixabay

Soooo…I’m 40 now. And for my birthday, my gyno had me run to get a mammogram. My baseline mammo. My first. Ever. I’ve had an aunty diagnosed with boob cancer, so I take my boob-health very seriously.

All I’ve ever heard were horror stories of pain and discomfort and smashed-thin tatas. “Take an Ibuprofen about an hour before the appointment,” I’d heard from various well-experienced womenfolk of mine.

Did I? No. I completely forgot…Crap.

So how was it?!?

I checked in about 20 minutes early and was given a wrist band with my identifying info (which I forgot I was wearing ’til 9:00 that night). I was then escorted to a room with a wall of lockers and an opposite wall of dressing rooms, asked to disrobe from the waist up, and to put on a thin (yet comfy) bathrobe. My sweater and bra were locked safely away in a locker (the key was secured to a bracelet around my other wrist) and I was asked to wait in a lobby nearby. There I sat for another 30 minutes with various gals of various ages, all of us wearing bathrobes, and either reading magazines or perusing smartphones. “For the comfort of our patients, no gentleman allowed” read a nearby sign. It made me smile.

“Lisa?” My name was called by a short, portly woman and she explained she was my mammogram technician and walked me to another room…where I saw a machine similar to the one pictured above. Okay…I don’t know what I expected, but not that. While she explained the procedure, and calmed my fears of “is it going to hurt much?” I tuned out and just wondered where my boobs went on the machine: On the black surface? In the little plastic basket? WHERE? What’s the clear window for? Well…I learned quite quickly:

If you’ve never had one before, here’s what to expect (at least what my experience was):

  1. Pop your right arm out of the bathrobe, so that the right half of your torso is exposed;
  2. Stand facing the machine.
  3. The technician will adjust the machine to place the black tray at your under-boob height.
  4. Here’s where it got fun. The technician moves your body around a bit so you’re positioned on the black tray with the right boob. The clear shield? “Turn your face toward me and push your face up against the shield.” The right side of my face smashed flat against the plexiglass window and she fondled my boob into place. If you’ve ever photocopied your face before…you know the feeling (well, maybe not of the technician placing your boob at the correct angle)…My first thought? “Oh, her hands are WARM!” The next thought? The black surface of the machine was ALSO warm. Perfect.
  5. “Don’t move.” The technician left me there, in an awkward pose, as she stepped behind their protective computer wall thingy. “Breathe like normal,” she called, while the machine made a few noises, gently smooshed my boob, and it snapped a few images. “Take a deep breath and hold it,” she called out as the machine snapped a few more images. “Aaaand…breathe.” All the while, a fancy-schmancy portion of the machine spun above my stationary boob and took the images. Was kind of soothing to watch as I waited for the tech to finish.
  7. I repeat, IT DIDN’T HURT AT ALL! “Um, was that it?” I asked. “Wearing my bra is more uncomfortable than that…” The only discomfort I had from the machine was where my ribcage met the black surface- an unfamiliar pressure as I leaned up against the edge of the boobsmoosher machine.
  8. Wash, rinse, and repeat for the left boob. Again, no pain.
  9. The actual mammogram portion took less than 10 minutes…maybe even closer to 5 minutes.

And that’s it! She advised me that the radiologist would look at the images that afternoon and I would be receiving a letter in the mail in 7-10 business days.

I nearly shouted in excitement how it didn’t hurt one bit and there was so much hype that I was ready for catastrophic pain. She shrugged, smiled, and said “It’s never hurt me either.”

My theory? I either got a REALLY gentle machine that cared about the well-being of my boobs, or a technician who placed them super-carefully, or my boobs are less sensitive than other women, or small tatas hurt far less than big boobs on the smoosh-machine.

My mum had me look into the mammograms they do these days where you don’t have to get smooshed. I called around; my insurance only covers the smashable boob machines. A few non-smashable mammograms are available in San Diego, but only for women who have been diagnosed with aggressive boob cancer and need extra special eyes and images.

The tech advised me that mammograms are a yearly occurrence. Do I look forward to doing it again in a year? Sure, why not? I get to wear a comfy robe, stare at my phone for a while, and have warm hands on my tits. Going to the pap smear is far more uncomfortable for me than a mammo. And the hour-long wait in traffic to get home was even more painful.

Oh…and a word of advice: if you do schedule your mammogram set it for the warmer months! She said in the winter the machine surface doesn’t retain heat and it’s REALLY COLD. So, I’ll be doing mine in the spring/summer months in the future!

And next year? Next year I get to have my first colonoscopy…stay tuned!!!

I hope you’ve having a GREAT day! If you’ve had a mammogram, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts! What made it particularly awful or great? Drop me a comment below or shoot me a note. And here’s to hoping my experience dulls some fears if you’ve got an upcoming first boob-smoosh appointment.

A Life-Saving Trip to Urgent Care

Emergency room sign

While not Endometriosis-related, I feel this story needs to be shared. It may help someone make a similar decision…and save lives.

A longtime friend of mine whom we shall call Johnny Doe recently had a terrifying experience that almost killed him. And, had he not eventually decided to go to urgent care…he’d be dead. He’s allowed me to share his tale here with the world .

So, pay attention to your bodies. And do get medical care if you need it…I’m glad Johnny is still with us today…and has a renewed passion for living. Stay with us for a long while longer, Johnny. ❤


So here’s what happened. I had been sick for the past 3 or 4 months. Possibly longer. I thought I was just getting a series of colds and flu. But it slowly got worse. I started eating less because food just became gross. I lost 30 lbs. I became increasingly physically exhausted. I started having an increasingly difficult time thinking… things stopped making sense. I started getting these very intense shivers, like I was freezing cold, and then i’d vomit. That started happening increasingly often, and when it became a couple times a day, that’s when I decided to go to urgent care.

By this time, I could barely walk, because of exhaustion. I guess I looked like death, because they took me back quickly. Blood test showed that my sugar was over 500 (i’m diabetic) and that my kidneys had stopped functioning because of a very severe infection. By then, I was kind of out of my head, and things happened fast. The catheter bag had a small amount of dark red urine and nothing more coming out, and so they decided I needed dialysis. So those months of colds and flu that I tried to ignore, was actually me being poisoned by my blood because it was no longer being cleaned by my kidneys. My blood had effectively stopped bringing energy too.

I do not remember getting the hemodialysis catheter put in my chest. I just looked down, and I had tubes coming out of the right side of my chest, and a couple extras in my forearms and in my right thigh. When things happen out of my control, I tend to go along with it. So I was in the mindset of do what you have to do to get through. But even then, it was like getting slapped by a buick. I was stunned.

It wasn’t until hours later, when I was in the hospital room, that all the discussions with the doctors started to really sink in. My kidneys were dead, and my life was dialysis to stay alive. I panicked pretty bad, and got really depressed. What was I going to do for work? Could I work on my car anymore? What is my life going to be like now? I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, while they tried to get a handle on the infection. They even thought it was cancer, I had a lovely and very painful bone marrow biopsy done. Came out ok.

To be totally honest, I enjoyed the hospital stay. No stress of work or home, got to lay in bed and sleep all day, food was brought to me. I eventually was able to eat some of it too. I was stunned that I had no energy. I could barely stand up. I basically had to build up the strength and energy to walk. That really knocked me for a loop. I got healthy enough that they sent me home. After the second day, I started vomiting and shivering again, so I went to the emergency room. The infection returned with a vengeance, and put me back in the hospital for a couple of days. New super antibiotic, and I started feeling better.

I now go to a dialysis clinic. It was 3 times a week for 4 hrs a time, but has been cut to 2 times a week, for 3 hrs. It’s not bad. Nice, friendly people there. You sit in a recliner, and they connect a couple of tubes from a machine about the size of a filing cabinet to the tubes coming out of my chest. Then you lay back, and watch TV. I bring a laptop and read some internet and then nap. It doesn’t hurt or anything, but I sometimes feel some weird random light cramps. Considering my blood is being pumped out, cleaned, and pumped back in, i’m ok with it.

My time was cut back, because my kidneys started working again. I’m currently at 30%, and if they continue to improve, I won’t need dialysis again. I’m what’s called “acute failure”, meaning my kidneys didn’t fail from genetic problems, or over use or abuse, but from an outside cause… an infection. I’m one of the very,very lucky few. I suspect they’ll fail eventually because of diabetes, but hopefully in the far future.

To be honest, this whole experience radically changed me. I smell and taste things differently now. I eat healthy and love it. I now have a desire to take care of my health, and I lost a lot of fears about the future and getting older. I faced a lot of things I was running from. I was terrified of dialysis, but I learned to accept it, and now i’m extremely grateful for it. It’s a wonderful, incredible technology that can literally save your life.