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…

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. ❤

Four Years Ago Today…

Photo of Lisa before June 30 2014 surgery; wearing hospital gown and cap lying in bed
Sept. 2016

June 30, 2014: a day I went in to have a cyst removed from my ovary and instead awoke to a diagnosis of Endometriosis.  Answers.  Vindication.  My years of pain had a name.

So, I celebrate this day.

I am writing this on Friday, June 29th since I will be away from my computer on Saturday.  And today (Friday) I just scheduled my third excision surgery.  It will take place on August 15, 2018…almost two years since my last surgery.

June 30, 2014: D-Day (yep, Diagnosis Day); performed by Dr. Mel Kurtulus at the Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

September 21, 2016: Surgery No. 2; performed by Dr. Mel Kurtulus at the Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

August 15, 2018: Scheduled Surgery No. 3 (with the possibility of being sooner if there is an opening in the hospital’s schedule); to be performed by Dr. Mel Kurtulus at the Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

This blog wouldn’t exist without the events that took place on June 30, 2014.

I wouldn’t be seeking answers.  Wouldn’t be honoring my body.  Wouldn’t be connecting with others.

Our Bloomin’ Uterus support group wouldn’t exist.

There would be no annual walks or monthly get-togethers.

I would have no idea about the other women who suffer with me.

No camaraderie.

No support.

 I would still be alone, thinking my pain was normal and that I was weak.

And now I know that I am none of those things.

I am surrounded by Sisters and family.  Warriors!  Our pain is anything but normal.  And none of us are weak.

My life has been made better by being told I have a chronic, incurable illness.  And I have met some incredibly strong people because of it.  May we continue to hold each other high as we make this Journey together.  It’s not easy.  But we have each other.

So, celebrate today with me.

Thoughts for my Third Year Anniversary

yellow birthday cake with flowers and candlse

Three years ago today I went in for a surgery to remove a possible dermoid cyst from my left ovary. A simply, 1.5 hour surgery. Four hours later, surgery was completed. My Mum and Jim were never advised why my surgery was taking so long, didn’t have their questions answered. So it was a very stressful four hours for them. No cyst…but Endometriosis lesions and adhesions everywhere inside my pelvic cavity. And it was a three-week recovery process, but months before I felt good.

Three years ago today I learned I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t weak. All of the pain I’d experienced since my teenage years wasn’t normal. I wasn’t supposed to HURT like that. I wasn’t supposed to miss days from school or work. I wasn’t supposed to bloat up like a balloon. It wasn’t normal to bleed for 10 days.

Most importantly, I learned I wasn’t alone. One in Ten women suffer from this invisible illness. An estimated 176,000,000 (yes, that’s million) women worldwide suffer. Well, we call it an invisible illness because Joe Public cannot see it from the outside. But it can bee seen…from the inside. Invasive growths throughout the body, leakage, blood-filled cysts, spiderweb-like scar tissue that weaves organs together or twist them out of shape. Surgery is the only way to diagnosis the disease…and considered the best way to manage it.

A recent study found that Endometriosis lesions shared cancer-causing mutations. Endometriosis is not cancer…but it can spread like it. For most who suffer from Endometriosis, it’s found in the pelvic region: fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus. But for others, it can be found anywhere: liver, diaphragm, bladder, ureters, lungs, heart, brain, bowels, spine, belly button – there are even cases of people having it in their sinus cavity, their fingernails, muscles, and nerves. The list goes on and on and on.

Some lucky women don’t suffer from the pain the disease may cause. Others suffer several days a month. And, yet, others suffer every single day. And there have been cases of men developing Endometriosis, as well as animals (including a dog!). And so many women are killing themselves because there is no end in sight, no hope for a pain-free existence. What helps one woman may not help another. And they just…let go. It’s ruining lives.

There is no cure. And treatment options can have horrendous side effects, be insanely expensive, or have little to no effect. And none of it is permanent. I had my second Endometriosis excision surgery in September of last year. Two surgeries in three years. Some women have surgeries every year…or every few months. I consider myself lucky.

You may wonder why I post so often about Endometriosis. Why I blog about it. Why it’s consumed my life. This. This is why:

There are physicians out there that are still advising their patients that their pain is normal. “It’s just part of being a woman.” Or “get pregnant and you’ll feel better.” Or “A hysterectomy will cure it.” Or they refuse to perform a diagnostic surgery to at least *LOOK INSIDE* to confirm the presence of the disease. And, yet, some surgeons will cut you open, find lesions, have them biopsied and confirm they’re Endometriosis – and yet fail to REMOVE the lesions. WHY?!? Why would you LEAVE that in there?!? Cut it out!!!!! It’s not doing anything but causing havoc, pain, and internal scar tissue. It will only continue to fester and worsen.

I’m ranting…so today, three years ago, I woke up with answers. And started an endless quest for more. I have a greater understanding of this horrible disease. And have met so many amazing women and physicians along the way. Three years ago was an amazing day.

And I celebrate it today. 

If you know someone with Endometriosis, please be patient with them if they need to cancel plans, or just stay in bed all day, or need to go home early. It can be so debilitating.

And if you suffer from Endometriosis, consider yourself hugged.

Two Years Ago Today

text that reads "endo is such a stupid disease, but your image symbol for endo gives it so much more meaning to me. I am a woman, I have an invisible illness, I still have value, and I am still beautiful. Anonymous."

June 30, 2014…a day that changed my life.

I went in for a cystectomy to remove a possible dermoid cyst from my left ovary.  The surgery was only supposed to last 1.5 hours.  Four hours later, I emerged from under the knife…

And received my Endometriosis diagnosis.  My life hasn’t been the same since.  And I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

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Happy Blogiversary!

cupcake with a lit candle and the text happy one year blogiversary

One year ago today, I started this little blog.  Just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out, have a place to post my research and share fundraisers, and am amazed at what it’s blossomed into!

Thank you, Readers, for helping me make this site into a Home.  A place where people can come for help.  For support.  For each other.  And thank you for your Reader’s Choice topics.  Together, we continue to learn more about this disease and understand that we do not face this alone.

If there is every anything you’d like me to write about, please contact me or drop a comment below.  I am here for you.  Just as you are here for me.

Thank you for an incredible year!

Love, Lisa

One Year Ago…

One year ago yesterday I underwent surgery to remove a cyst from my ovary: a simple, routine one-hour procedure. However, it turned into an exploratory, diagnostic, and excision surgery for a chronic, incurable disease. A parasitic, weed-like infestation created by my own body, blood, and tissue: Endometriosis. The surgery ended up taking four hours. Yes, four grueling hours of worry for my Mom and Jim as they sat in the waiting room, completely in the dark of why my surgery was taking so long.

I’d had no idea what Endo was. But it had something to do with the severe pain I’d felt almost my entire life since my teenaged years. The pain I had grown accustomed to being told “It’s normal,” by friends, family, and the medical community. My surgeon showed me pictures of the procedure, pointed out the unnatural dots that speckled my insides and the web-like scarring which bound organs together, which he had done his best to remove. And said it will come back…

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