Melissa is an avid writer and loves to share personal experiences, so others can learn and grow with her.
Now, later or never?
Now, later or never? This was the question I was faced with three years ago. School, rent, part-time jobs, a boyfriend of one year. A child? Now? No...no way.
"You're 26!" they all said. "Just have one now!"
"No," I said while thinking about how my opportunity could be fleeting.
I wanted kids, right? Did I? I didn't know.
But everything and everyone was telling me that my body was a ticking clock. Not only was 30 approaching, but my uterus was fighting a battle that I couldn't see, only feel every day.
The excruciating pain of the ovarian cysts and the endometriosis tissue sitting on my ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, etc...etc...reminded me everyday of how much time was running out.
When it all began I was a student in my first semester of an interior design program. I lived in the city but eventually moved back to my home town to live with my new boyfriend.
The commute? 2 to 3 hours EACH way. Fantastic, I know. And soon I started to experience pain so debilitating that the idea of staying for the full day of classes to then commute home seemed impossible and basically not plausible. I began to miss so many afternoon classes. I needed to leave before I was unable to stand or walk.
The first ultrasound is done, but I have to wait two weeks for the results. The morning before my appointment and I'm in the hospital getting pain meds in the buttcheek and another ultrasound. 16 hours later and I hear from the emergency room doctor that I had a ruptured ovarian cyst about 2 inches big. (As well as kidney stones.)
Fast forward 6 ultrasounds and an MRI, a terrible gyno and a fantastic new one (thanks to an angel of an ultrasound technician) and I was almost diagnosed with ovarian cysts and endometrious. But which one was it?
A Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where a fibre-optic tool is inserted through the abdominal wall to view organs within the abdomen or to allow a surgical procedure. It can be used to diagnose conditions like endometriosis.
During my surgery, they were able to burn off and drain some of the cysts on my left ovary now reaching a measurement of about 6 inches in total.
When I woke up from the procedure, it was my parents who repeated to me what the doctor told them.
My ovary was compromised.
It didn't take long for me to be back on my feet. It was a minor surgery after all. But it was the mental and emotional hit that kept me on the couch.
I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts AND endometriosis. That's what every girl wants for Christmas.
The doctor told my parents that one of the cures to put endometriosis in remission was to get pregnant.
My boyfriend and I at the time had been together for 1.5 years. And when he got home the night of my surgery, I had to tell my boyfriend, who wanted seven children, that I may not be able to have children or at least not for much longer. My ovary was compromised after all.
Fast forward his basic hallmark movie sentiments and a breakup four months later and I found myself single, potentially homeless (he had his name on the lease) and a broke college student.
Guess I'm glad I didn't rush to have children. But, isn't the clock ticking? What about the remaining ovary?
One Year Later
Here I am now, still single and still riddled with endometriosis tissue all over my reproductive organs and spine and intestines. Here I am with a chronic condition that I could potentially have for the rest of my life.
But I completed school. I found a place to rent, I worked two jobs and I took his cat.
Back then, I couldn't see how I would get where I am now. My health was my main concern and it still is, but that also includes my mental health.
Since my surgery, I learned that my situation was worsening. I now had ovarian cysts on both ovaries, at least 3 inches on each and the endometriosis tissue spread to the right side. My right ovary was reaching its end.
My time was running out. How could I draw out the seemingly inevitable demise of my reproductive opportunities? How could I continue to have a choice?
But oh, according to my gyno - I don't qualify for the government funding of the one-time procedure. (This is Canada, mind you.) But I'm still a broke college student. I don't have $11,000.
It's okay, according to my gyno - his meaning of the word 'compromised' doesn't mean 'dead'.
"Your ovary still works," he said one year later.
"What?" I said after one year of thinking one of my ovaries was dead.
"It still produces eggs and hormones, but the tube is damaged."
Three years of pain, one surgery, one year of grief, one break-up with a boy who couldn't help me through the worst time of my life - and here I am.
And here I am writing to anyone out there who wants to know that you can keep pedalling on.
I found out a month ago that I am cyst free. The birth-control I was put on helped the cysts resolve on their own and my endometriosis can be kept at bay.
I learned with my health, physical or mental - you need to keep fighting. You need to stand up for yourself and demand the best. Get that second opinion. Got that extra mile and you will get so far!
I still don't know if I want kids, but I am no longer stressing over it. And that's all I can do for now.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Melissa McDougall