Stinging pain, a lack of diagnosis and all of that with concentrated mom stress: Viola, the mother of four, was only indirectly diagnosed with the diagnosis that explained her condition – endometriosis. That changed a lot. Above all, looking at the happiness of having four healthy children …
Nothing worked anymore. The pain had become so severe that I could no longer stand up straight. It felt like someone was sticking a pin in my stomach, just below my old appendix scar. Going to the doctor – which I really wanted to avoid – had now become inevitable. All sorts of illnesses were buzzing around in my head, only one thing I would never have thought of: endometriosis.
Everything had started harmlessly. Some time after my third pregnancy and the birth of my twins, a prick in my lower abdomen started to bother me. Not very often, but when it did it almost took my breath away. A feeling like terrible side stitches that suddenly appeared out of nowhere – and just as suddenly disappeared again. Sometimes they only flew for hours, with a bit of luck for days. But the distances got shorter and the stinging more and more intense.
So I made an appointment with my gynecologist. Who, if not her, would be able to properly categorize and eliminate my pain? At least that’s what I thought. But far from it. She couldn’t see anything, shrugged her shoulders and said a surgeon should see this …
A difficult diagnosis
I beg your pardon? I complain about stitches in my right abdomen and she sends me straight to the operating table? No, not with me! I would rather continue to endure the pain than undergo general anesthesia because of a vague diagnosis. And besides: How should it work with my children? I don’t know any mom (no matter whether four children or one child!) Who can afford to be completely absent for several days. But that is exactly what would happen if surgery were actually necessary.
Looking back, I wonder why my gynecologist didn’t even suspect endometriosis. Not a word was said about this disease, which even makes pregnancy impossible for many women. Because: In endometriosis, the lining of the uterus accumulates outside the uterus and can lead to (chronic) inflammation. So today I know why some of my pain was so unbearable. After visiting my gynecologist, however, I was still completely in the dark.
Pain until the big showdown
So I tried again to ignore the pain for the next few weeks. Everyday life and the constant demands of four children largely prevented me from focusing too much on my pain. That went well for a while. And then it was over.
The sting in my stomach literally brought me to my knees. Standing upright became a challenge, the care of the children was only possible with breaks to breathe. In short: it wasn’t really possible anymore. Going to the surgeon became inevitable and I made an appointment for a consultation.
Diagnosis: How does endometriosis affect fertility?
Endometriosis: the end of the desire to have children?
One of the most common causes of infertility in women is endometriosis. But if the disease is detected early, women can still get pregnant.
Mama has to go to the hospital
In the consulting room of the hospital where the surgeon received me, everything went very quickly. Although he wasn’t sure where my pain was actually coming from, he still had a solution: open it and take a look! I was so desperate that I accepted his suggestion. Just three days later I was at the hospital for an operation.
After a brief preliminary talk, I was given a pill to calm down and was then made ready for the operation. While I was still talking to the anesthetist, I twilighted away and didn’t wake up until two hours later in a recovery room full of beds. Monitors beeped everywhere, a doctor came to my bed and asked me a question, but I had already said goodbye to the land of dreams.
The next time I woke up I was in my hospital room, which I would live in for the next two days. I had put the operation on a Friday so that the children could be looked after by their dad at home without any problems.
When I woke up, I felt a tug on my old appendix scar and cautiously spotted a large white plaster there. Still no one had told me whether the cause of my complaints had been discovered. At that moment I didn’t care either, because the tugging in my stomach painfully reminded me of the time after my caesarean section with every movement. Every turn hurt and the toilet seemed out of reach. But it didn’t help, I had to get out of bed somehow.
When the surgeon who had operated on finally came, I was completely exhausted from going to the bathroom and the previous hours. I let his explanations rain down on me without comment and only listened to one word: endometriosis. How did I ask about I had endometriosis? Yes, he said, a rather large piece of tissue was removed during the operation that left no doubt about the diagnosis.
That surprised me and I asked him why the diagnosis of this disease was so difficult in advance. Especially since it is not a rare form of disease, but rather a considerable number of women suffer from it. Well, he said, that is always difficult to determine when there are abdominal complaints. You have to look directly up to be able to make a concrete statement.
Living with Endometriosis
What should I say to that? I was relieved that the cause of my pain had indeed been identified and eliminated. Even if the diagnosis had been made before the operation, an operation would have been inevitable for me. So I could be satisfied with my treatment. But there was one catch. And a pretty big one.
Endometriosis, the doctor explained to me, could come back again and again. Over time, growths would develop elsewhere in the abdomen, which could only be removed surgically. But not only that: it cannot be ruled out that there were already endometrial foci in my abdomen that had not been discovered during the procedure. My risk of having to go under the knife again in the not too distant future remained relatively high.
Those were not good prospects with which I left the hospital on Sunday lunchtime. It took me a few more days at home to recover from the operation – and mentally adjust to the enemy that might be spreading inside my stomach. Not a nice thought … and yet the feeling of gratitude also spread through me.
I am deeply grateful that the endometriosis did not deny me the best that my body has ever produced: my four children, who were allowed to mature in my stomach until I could finally hold them wonderfully perfectly in my arms.
Do you want to find out more about Viola? At “mama-und-co.de” she blogs regularly about children and the good life with them. As a teacher and mother of four children, she writes with heart and experience about everything that moves us families in everyday life.