This is a story from Breanna who developed stage four endometriosis really quickly, leading her to need a five-hour surgery. Luckily, she was able to become pregnant after her surgery
Breanna’s story …..
I am 28 y.o. and was diagnosed with endometriosis in August. Things happened very suddenly and severely for me. On the 4th of July I experienced my first extreme pain. I had had only moderate menstrual cramps throughout my life and never anything significant enough to affect my daily activities. During college I had a few bouts of what I called "death cramps". They would coincide with my period and would only last for an hour or so then go away not to return for another couple of months.
I started taking birth control primarily for acne control. In retrospect, this probably held my endometriosis at bay for a little while. In September I stopped using the pill in preparation for trying to get pregnant. My husband and I started trying in June, about 9 months after stopping the pill. I didn't notice a change in my periods or cramps, everything continued status quo.
That July was the first pain that drove me to seek help. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced.
It came out of nowhere and would stop me dead in my tracks. I went to my gynaecologist who simply wanted to put me back on the pill. This is definitely not what I wanted considering that I was trying to conceive. I ignored it as long as I could, then after an almost crippling episode that occurred during work, I went to see my PCP (no longer trusting my gyne).
He ordered an ultrasound immediately. He suspected either dysmenorrhea or endometriosis. The results showed two large mass filled cysts in my left ovary and one in my right. My PCP referred me out to a gynaecologist that he trusted so I went reluctantly but unable to handle the pain that was now coming daily and frequently. He ordered another ultra sound that showed the same results, each ovary was approximately the size of a softball. I was referred to an endometriosis specialist (I felt very fortunate to have one in my hometown of Pittsburgh).
He did an internal exam not believing that I was even a candidate for surgery because of how quickly my symptoms had developed.
After poking around for a minute and almost getting kicked in the face for the pain he caused, he agreed that I was a candidate. I begged him to do what he could to preserve my fertility. I had laparoscopic surgery in October that lasted almost 5 hours. The surgeon removed the endometriomas and all of the endometriosis that had grown on my uterus, fallopian tubes, colon and in the pelvic cavity.
He told me he had never seen a case that "sprung up" so quickly and that I was actually in Stage 4. I had been told by more people than I can count that I'd most likely never had children due to the severity of adhesions and damage that had been caused to my ovaries. Well, I am happy to report that doctors aren't always right!
I am now 7 months pregnant! I conceived just one month after my surgery. I haven't had any major problems or complications thus far, minus 2 severe pains lasting about a half an hour each when I was 5 weeks pregnant that took me to the ER for fear of miscarriage.
Doctors assume that it was just some adhesions and scar tissue tearing. Just recently though, I've started to have what I think is ovarian aches that are very similar to what I had prior to my surgery. It's making me very nervous as the pain is severe and takes my breath away.
It isn't frequent, but it's often enough to be scary. My midwife isn't concerned and thinks it is just ligament pain. I believe that it's related to the endometriosis which I know is supposed to be kept at bay during pregnancy.
I'm a little confused and concerned but feel so blessed to be pregnant that the pain just seems to be of less importance right now. Can endometriomas form during pregnancy? My thoughts and prayers are with those who are still suffering and those trying to conceive...don't give up!