I’ve been struggling lately and while I don’t feel like getting into everything just yet, I wanted to talk about the anxiety I have around my upcoming laparoscopy.
My first visit to a gynecologist was in high school. I was at home and suddenly doubled over in pain. Unsure what to do, my dad called my pediatrician who suggested I get an ultrasound. I couldn’t walk, let alone drive, so my sister drove me to the ultrasound where they identified a ruptured ovarian cyst. My pediatrician referred me to an OB/gyn who prescribed birth control to prevent future ruptured cysts.
I never found out what caused it, and as a teen, I didn’t even think to ask. I accepted it for what it was and when I felt better the next day, I didn’t even talk about it because talking about reproductive organs was so taboo. Had I known then what I know now, I would have demanded bloodwork and talked more about this horrific painful experience, so that I could have been educated about what was happening with my own body.
It’s been twelve years since that first ruptured cyst and I wish I could say that was the only one, but I had another ruptured cyst confirmed on an ultrasound in Denver, and a few more suspected ones where I never even made it to the doctor because I couldn’t get out of bed and into the car. The pain eventually passes, but the memory and fear of it happening again stays with me for years.
In a few weeks, I’ll be having surgery so that my doctor can take a look at my reproductive and abdominal organs, to check for damage. The damage could be scar tissue from these ruptured cysts, or it could be endometriosis. It could be something else, and that something else could be benign or it could be something serious. He may be able to remove whatever he finds, he may be able to remove only some of it, or maybe there won’t be anything for him to remove.
Maybe this will be my only laparoscopy, or maybe, like my first ruptured cyst, it will be the first of many.
The reason I’ve become so vocal about my infertility struggle is not for the attention – if you know me, you know I can’t talk about sex or ‘private parts’ out loud without blushing. It’s not for me at all. I do it because nobody gives a damn about female health. I speak out to get this conversation going, because how are we gonna fix it if nobody realizes it’s broken? But this post isn’t about that.
The truth is, I am terrified to have this surgery. With my knee surgery last year, my doctor saw a torn ligament and arthritis on the MRI. He knew exactly what he would find beneath the surface, and what he would need to do to fix it. He performed that same surgery a thousand times, and I was confident that with surgery and physical therapy, I would make a full recovery. Almost a year later, I can last a full day at Disney World without knee pain. I can walk to my car after a long day of errands without limping. Things went exactly to plan.
this upcoming laparoscopy has no plan. I am a planner, so this is difficult to grasp. The doctor is going to go in, see what’s going on, and try to fix what he sees. There are no previously known problems that will be solved. He won’t know my recovery plan until after the surgery. In fact, the appointment to discuss next steps isn’t even until a month after surgery.
I can pray and hope for the best, but if I am being honest with myself, nothing about this journey has been easy and I am having a tough time believing this surgery will be different. I don’t really know what I am hoping for here. Do I want him to find nothing? Yes, because I don’t want to hear that my body is broken yet again. But then what does that mean for our inability to conceive?
so maybe what I really want is for him to find an issue that he can fix. But then there will be a longer recovery time, and even if he ‘fixes’ it, there are still no guarantees it will increase my fertility.
But there’s also a chance that I won’t like what he finds. He could find that my ovary is useless. Or that I have scar tissue covering my organs and will need a specialist to schedule another surgery to remove it. He could tell me that I will never be able to get pregnant naturally, and this journey toward biological children is over. This is the option I am not ready to hear, but it could happen, so I know I have to be prepared.
There is no advance imaging that can help guide him through surgery. Once he goes in, he will be able to see, but not a second sooner. Therefore, the only way I’ll be able to get answers, even if they are not the ones I want, is to go under the knife.
After surgery last year and a car accident this year, I am burnt out from hospitals and doctors and invasive procedures. I don’t want to go under anesthesia and have it be for nothing. I don’t want to deal with painful recovery, constipation and the bowel prep that unfortunately accompanies preparing for this procedure. But, this could be an important step in my ability to conceive, and that sliver of hope makes it all worth the risk.
Although it’s worth the risk, it’s still not something I am comfortable with. Each day is one step closer to surgery, and one step closer to baby Byrd, but it’s also one more day full of these negative thoughts and another struggle to find hope in what feels like a hopeless situation.
Its been difficult expressing myself lately but I am so thankful to have a husband who understands, and who supports me through these hard choices even if they aren’t always in his best interest. although it feels like we will never have our baby, I know I have the best husband in the world, and sometimes that feels like more than enough.