Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taking that Step.

As in, I'm seeing a surgeon.  We've pretty much exhausted all other options.  My MRI was normal.  However, some things don't show up on MRI.  What are those things?  Adhesions....and endometriosis.  My friend (and cousin via marriage) Tatiana pointed out that my pain seems a lot like hers was when she had pelvic endometriosis.  Her pain was worst when jarring around.  Until she mentioned this, I had never even considered endometriosis, though I had been considering that it had to be some kind of adhesion.  Something is just stuck together in there.

For those of you who aren't familiar endometriosis, it occurs when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, generally on pelvic structures.  It causes adhesions and pain, particularly with movement (as the adhesions pull).  Endometriosis can, however, occur in other parts of the body.  There is even an animal called Diaphragmatic Endometriosis (DE).  Basically, the endo grows in and around the diaphragm, causing adhesions.  The main symptoms are upper abdominal pain radiating to the back and shoulder (hello!), and endo is triggered by pregnancy (hello again!).  I read an article about DE written by a Dr. Redwine from Bend, Oregon.  He described the presentation of DE in five women.  One woman described her pain as a side stitch.  That's how I'd describe my pain--severe, severe side stitch-type pain.

So how is endometriosis diagnosed?  Laparoscopic surgery.  It can be treated then, too.  However, DE cannot be treated laparoscopically.  A laparotomy (in which the abdomen is cut wide open) is required.  This is because the adhesions are behind the liver, which must be displaced in order to remove them.  That would require considerable recovery time.  In addition, endometriosis can come back.  It's fueled by estrogen.  So a hysterectomy may be needed.  That's fine with me, as Rowan is my last baby.

Now, I'm not saying I have DE.  I've never had pelvic endometriosis, and I don't know if that's a prerequisite for DE.  But it's possible.  And I am confident of one thing:  I NEED surgery.  Someone needs to at least take a look around in there.  My abdomen hurts all the time, and the pain becomes unbearable while running.  Something is pulling on something else.  As I've long said, this is going to require a cut.

I've made an appointment with my OBGYN (who delivered Rowan), but I can't see him for two weeks.  In the meantime, I'm waiting on a call back from a general surgeon.  I'm not sure exactly who I need to see.  It may be that the general surgeon needs to do an exploratory surgery, and the OBGYN may have to go in later.  Anyway--no one will cut on me until after Eugene.  I've come too far to let that race go now.  But as soon as it's over, I'm ready.  Let's do this.  Whatever it takes--get rid of this beast.

Now, onto running.  I ran 13 miles today.  I wore the TENS and used it the whole time.  I just needed a semi-comfortable run.  And that's what it gave me:  not great, but not the horrific pain.  The wind was VERY strong, just as it was on Sunday's run.   I ran out in the county, and the hills really got to my legs.  I probably should have run on something more flat.  At around 11 miles, my left groin began to hurt a little, as did my left hamstring and both my quads.  I worry, in that array of pain, only about the left groin.  My left groin, in August of 2009, sidelined me for 4 months.  Now, it didn't feel like that (no way could I have run through that groin pull once it happened), but it's talking to me a little.  I have to listen.  I have tomorrow off, and 13 more on Thursday.  If the groin is still sore, I'll cut that back.  And definitely running on flat stuff.  This groin has actually been talking to me for a few weeks, but usually after my long runs.  This is the first time it happened during a run.  I suspect it is just soreness and will go away, but I'm not risking anything.  My TENS won't help that.

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