This month, I’ve experienced the following symptoms (moreso the past week):
- migraine w/vertigo and nystagmus
- unexplained weight gain in short period of time
- mood change
- lower abdominal cramping
I attributed them all to different things (mostly gas, exhaustion, and allergies). Then I silently freaked out about why the hell I’m gaining 10 pounds in 3 weeks when I’ve been eating LESS FOOD, and why I’m getting vertigo from allergies, of all things (because my ears have been popping and I’ve had drainage, so that’s the only logical thing – that it’s inner ear, right?).
I’ve been eating a lot of carrots, lately. This is relevant.
BEGIN TMI! (You’ve missed it. Admit it. You’ve missed me over-sharing about my bodily functions.)
Thursday morning, when I woke up, I had my usual morning whizz, and there was a bit of orange on the toilet paper. Like, just enough to notice, not enough to panic over. I seriously assumed it was because of all the carrots I’ve consumed, because it can turn your pee orange (let’s not even talk about the fact that my pee was electric yellow, like it always is in the morning).
Friday morning, the same thing happened. I panicked and thought I had a UTI, and that the cramping I was feeling was coming from an infection (since I just stopped antibiotics 3 weeks ago, it’s not out of the scope of possibility, though it’s unlikely). I had a doctor’s appointment about the vertigo/migraine (because from Tuesday night through Thursday morning, I was worthless from head pain), and I figured I’d just pee in a cup and find out whether it was something I should be more worried about.
Just before I left for my appointment, it happened again. I inspected it more closely (because COME ON, this is a medical mystery, and when have I been one to shy away from the gory details?), and realized with mounting horror that it wasn’t coming from my urethra.
There wasn’t a lot of it, but yeah, I was alarmed.
I went to the doctor and found out that my migraine was completely unrelated to my sinuses/ears, and my doctor didn’t even bring up the weight gain, which I wasn’t really thinking about at that point, but after he checked me out and told me I was fine (giving me migraine medication, because that sucker was BAD and I don’t want it to happen again), the dawning horror of what was happening washed over me, just like when I was 12 and first had spotting.
I AM ON MY PERIOD AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE A UTERUS.
Words cannot properly express how I feel, right now, so I’m not going to talk about how I feel. I’m going to talk about why this is probably happening, and what is being done.
I did call my surgeon’s office once I realized what was happening, and they paged Santa Claus (you know, the guy who REMOVED MY UTERUS), and I’ll probably hear from him today (he works all weekend, but was in surgery late last night, which is why I didn’t hear back, then), and will probably have to go see him on Monday, and lord only knows what will happen after that, but anyway, here’s what’s likely happening:
I have Stage III endometriosis. This means lots of adhesions covering lots of ground and inhibiting normal function of the organs (which is why my surgery required two doctors). This also means quite a bit of endometrium scattered around my abdominal cavity. They removed as much as they could, but endometrium is made up of a lot of little cells, and when they’re disturbed, they can really just settle back in and start growing with the help of regular hormones, just as they would inside the uterus. It would be a heartwarming story of resilience if it didn’t involve internal bleeding.
I still have one ovary left, so I’m not on any hormone replacement therapy. This ovary has been doing just fine at providing the necessary levels of estrogen and progesterone for me. While I’ve had some PMS symptoms and cramping in the past several months, it was never bad enough for me to do anything but laugh at how silly my body is for acting like it can still have babies.
When the vaginal cuff was sewn up (because my vagina is basically a sock puppet right now – there’s no cervix up there, they just sealed it off to make a closed tube), with the blood that comes from surgery, naturally, endometrial cells (which are freakin’ tiny) would have gone unnoticed.
They would have settled into the cuff area, possibly a bit lower (who knows? i won’t, until I have an examination), and over the past 7 months, with the hormones they’re getting naturally from the ovary, the progesterone would encourage growth of the lining; the shedding, up until now, has been so sparse that I haven’t noticed it at all. It’s just now that the endometrial patch has gotten large enough to produce visible blood when shedding.
This happens. This happens often enough that the nurse at my surgeon’s office was kind of cavalier about the whole thing. “Yeah, some women who’ve had bad endometriosis have been known to have bleeding after a hysterectomy…and this would have happened sooner if you’d been on hormone replacement.”
So there you have it.
I’m on my period.
Because my body is a drama queen.
Also, fuck Lyme. Because that’s the reason I’m in this mess to begin with.