Endometriosis and Infertility rob so many people’s dreams. relationships, innocence. Infertility is cruel, heartless and stupid. My biggest failure in life was infertility and failing myself.
1993 – I had just graduated from college, got a job, moved to Wisconsin, engaged to be married and my life was just at the beginning of its next phase. Honestly, I am not sure how my infertility journey began and I am not necessarily sure when I admitted to having an infertility problem. It was a normal doctor’s appointment for that yearly girl checkup. At this point in my life its not like I was an expert at yearly girl check-ups or what it meant when the doctor came back with bad information. Then the call back came that something was abnormal and you needed to come back again for a procedure to check more.
May 7, 1994, my wedding day. It rained that morning and as a typical bride I was so caught up in worrying that the rain would ruin my wedding day when my mom told me that if it rains on your wedding day it was good luck.
The Start of Endometriosis & Infertility
Our honeymoon led us to Disney and a Cruise. This naive farm girl that had just gone to Wisoncon for the first time and rarely left Iowa. That follow up doctor’s appointment not even close to being on my mind. My husband and I had a blast but as I look back I think I was in shock of how big of the world was out there. My box was starting to open and I was thinking anything is possible and my life will be perfect! Little did I know for the battle I was just starting with Endometriosis and Infertility.
Have Kids Now
May 16, 1994, Just returned from our honeymoon and picked up the messages on our answering machine. Yes, answering machine! Cell phones didn’t even exist back then and the coolest thing was if you could afford a wireless phone for your house. The doctor’s office had left a message that I needed to call ASAP. The next day I was back at the doctor for another procedure and being told by the doctor that if I wanted kids I needed to have them NOW. My head was spinning and wondering WTH, I just got back from my honeymoon, this can’t be happening. After many conversations with my husband and my mom we decided that the doctor was dumb, I was young and we would wait to have kids. For the next 2 years, we lived in Wisconsin and multiple doctor visits occurred.
November 1996 My husband was offered and took a job in Minnesota. A job of a lifetime. I remember calling my mom and telling her we are moving to Minnesota and you will finally get grandbabies from me as we would be able to afford a family. We were on top of the world and so excited about our next journey in life. Endometriosis and Infertility were not part of this plan.
Physical Pain of Endometriosis
From here on things are somewhat of a blur as I truly believe I lived in some denial and blocked some parts of this story out so I could handle it. The sad part is I missed years of my life by living from one pain to the next.
The physical pain started out as bad. Menstrual cycles were awful but I just thought this was just me and the way it was. We didn’t have the internet back then or talked about things like this. We decided when we moved to Minnesota we would start trying to have a family. After so many months were aren’t pregnant. What is wrong with me? My mom had 5 kids with no issues. Everyone was getting pregnant. Next doctors appointment another abnormal pap smear. Back then we were told to come back every 6 months and just watch it but nothing to worry about. I told the doctor we had been trying to get pregnant and nothing.
The Start of Infertility
The decision was made to go on Clomid. At this point, I also shared with my doctor that my pain around my periods was getting worse and in between periods I would have massive pain come out of nowhere. The stress she said. Oh, okay. Moving on.
Clomid for 6 months and nothing. I told my doctor my pain is so bad that it is affecting my life. My husband and I would go on social outings and we would have to leave as the pain was paralyzing. One time on the 4th of July we were camping with friends having a fabulous time when the pain took over, throwing up and diarrhea that we had to go home. I told my doctor, she responded that its a side effect from the Clomid. Okay, well I don’t like this stuff but its what I had to do to get a baby. Keep trying Clomid for another 6 months.
In my mind, I wondered if the pain was as bad as it was because I was being overdramatic and my pain tolerance wasn’t good. I need to buck it up and get over myself. This was all my fault. The pain was so bad I was missing days at work. A phone call to the doctor, side effects of the medication and stress. Keep doing what you’re doing and increase your Advil. Continued abnormal pap smears and rechecks.
The ER Visit
Then the night that everything changed happened. Managing the pain at this point had become a routine in a very warm bath to control the pain. This was the night I threw up multiple times in the bathtub and I was so exhausted from the pain. My husband said we are done with this and going to the ER. When we arrived at the ER my temp was 103. I don’t even remember what they said to me that night I just remember that I would have surgery in the morning.
Surgery day. You all will think I am nuts but I honestly can’t remember what triggered them to do the surgery. It might have been a cyst on an ovary from an ultrasound. The surgery was laparoscopy and I went home that day and rested. The next day I went to the doctor for a follow-up or at least I think it was the next day. Maybe it was longer than that as I went by myself. I still kept thinking that all of this was happening because of me. That ist was my fault. The doctor’s appointment my husband didn’t even go with me as I think I had told him don’t worry about it as it was just a follow-up.
A Doctor’s Apology – Endometriosis & Infertility
The doctor who was new to me as we had only met in the ER that night sat down grabbed my hands and apologized to me. “Brenda I am so sorry as the night in the ER I thought you were making up how much pain you were in…. After the surgery, I owe you an apology as I know now you were in severe pain and actually managing it better than you should have been:”
Endometriosis Stage 4
Tears started to flow and he brings his nurse back in. “Here are your pictures of your insides, its a mess and you have Stage 4 Endometriosis.” I have no clue what he is saying or what that means. In my pictures of my insides, everything is glued together. He apologized that other doctors hadn’t listened to me sooner or caught this sooner. The Nurse sat next to me and started rubbing my back and the doctor holds my hands again. The next words out of the doctor’s mouth would change my life as I knew it, “Brenda you will never have kids” What?- Endometriosis and Infertility?
Endometriosis and Infertility are so mentally painful even more than the physical pain.
Failure & Infertility
I have failed at the most basic, common, most natural thing that women are born to do. I don’t need any judgment for that statement as this was in the late ’90s. Back then it was a natural and common thing to think you get married and have a family. This was what I wanted so badly! First, I failed my husband. Second, I failed my parents. Third, I had failed myself. I failed myself in so many ways. The easiest failure is my body. MY BODY had failed me and couldn’t do the thing that every other woman could do. I had failed at letting other doctors tell me it was in my head and at articulating well what was going on in my own body for years. I had completely allowed myself to think it was no big deal and I had failed. Endometriosis and Infertility!
The days to follow were spent in my bed, crying, anger, and depression. Phone calls from friends and family not knowing what to say or do and giving their condolences.
My yellow lab Abby was my best friend and consoler for so many days when I was laying in bed in pain or depressed.
You Know Your Body
What I can tell you all is you KNOW YOUR BODY better than anyone else. It is not in our head and we shouldn’t let any doctor tell us it is. Today, we have the internet, blogs, social media to learn more. Use that to your benefit to be able to articulate to your doctor what is going on and preparing great questions.
Don’t let doctors ignore you for years. If you need to get a 2nd opinion do it. Functional Medicine is an option I didn’t have back then. As women, we own our bodies and we know better than anyone what is going on. Don’t let yourself wait for diagnosis even if it is Endometriosis and Infertility. My journey was long, longer than it should have been so all I ask of you is, trust your body, be informed, ask good questions and don’t let anyone doubt yourself!
More on my journey https://straitontrack.com/autoimmune-disease-frustrating/