endometriosis journey

The math doesn’t add up

I don’t know if anyone reads blogs anymore; certainly with Instagram and Twitter taking the main stage for social media. But, to me this is the only place I can fully capture the emotions that I endure throughout these new stages of my journey. I’m struggling with the words though because things are not adding up. Right when I think I have found an ounce of hope, something else throws me off.

When Visanne didnt work the next step was to insert the Mirena IUD. When it was inserted last March (nearly 11 months ago now), I was told that the intent was to normalize my hormones, remove a ‘cycle’ and stop the bleeding. No more ups and downs of hormones, no more intense crashes of hormone and therefore no stage for endometriosis to play on. According to Mayo clinic:

The device is a T-shaped plastic frame that’s inserted into the uterus, where it releases a type of the hormone progestin. To prevent pregnancy, Mirena: Thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. Thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation.”

Aside from the horrible emotional and physical setbacks I’ve experienced with my IUD, moving ahead it certainly did appear to drastically decrease (almost stop) the bleeding but I have always felt a cycle in place. So maybe it was kind of working? One thing was for sure though. The Gabapentin was NOT working. It was absolutely not doing anything for the pain (though it did seem to help with the leg spasms at night). Everything came to a head in December when Dr. Singh called and I felt like I had run out of tools. The list of treatments that I had exhausted well outrun the list of options I had yet to try. And then there it was. A plan A and a plan B. I’ll give to Singh that he never laid it out quite so plainly but this is how my brain interpreted it. Plan A: go on Orilissa for 3-6 months to determine if estrogen, and thereby the endometriosis, was impacting the pain. Plan B: VATS. It was the first time in the last three years that I’ve felt secure about Orilissa and despite the public bashing I proceed to do with Lupron I was ok to take the plunge with Orilissa. The first week was hell. The second week was hell-er and it induced a period. Weeks 3 and 4 are a blur but I an safely say the profound effects of Orilissa snuck up on me when I one day woke up on my left side – something that was impossible to do when I was in chronic pain before Orilissa – and had an a-ha moment that something was different. 4 nights of this in a row and I could safely chalk it up to Orilissa.

I did the unthinkable: I shared my success story on social media. Others who are taking Orilissa chimed in with their stories too and several women DM’ed me about their fears about trying the drug. “Its not for everyone” I told them, while secretly encouraging them to take the plunge. And then… my worst fear. I got a period. I bleeding period. A ‘run to the bathroom with diarrhea’ period. A ‘holy hell my uterus’ period. And on top of that – that, being something I havent experienced in nearly two years – my diaphragm came back. My shoulder tip pain came back. My fatigue came back. My mood swings came back.

One step forward and two steps back.

Some things are just not adding up. Mirena was intended to thin my lining and help reduce my cycle, bleeding and pain. Orilissa was intended to block estrogen and therefore reduce potential spreading and growth of new endo lesions. Together, I should be a pretty pain free, bleed free spot. So why, why 11 and 2 months in am I dealing with the most all-over-body excruciating pain I’ve had in years? The math isnt adding up.

I’m here. I’m showing up consistently. But its starting to get harder and harder to hide the anger. My therapist wants me to work through the anger. She says it impacts the way I deal with the pain and blocks the ability to face it head on. But the reality is that the anger pushes away the depression. Cus depression is a slippery slope. Once I get on that slide I may not be able to find a ladder. So tell me, how does one cope with all these let downs?

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