I am a month away from getting my excision surgery and I wanted to share a few things that I have been doing in preparation for this surgery. Excision surgery is the pinnacle of my healing journey and I hope to feel a thousand time better after it. I am hopeful of the opportunity for a pain free life without having to take hormonal medication, as well as starting a family.
With endometriosis this is a surgery that you will become very familiar with as it is the only “curative” treatment. I am very careful to use the word curative because there are many cases where pieces of the endometriosis implants are left behind, and the illness symptoms may come back. Surgical excision is the only procedure that eradicates the endo in your body and that is why it is the cornerstone of beating this illness. There are two procedures available for women with endometriosis which are ablation and excision surgery. Ablation only cauterizes or burns off the surface of the implants while excision cuts as deep as needed to remove the endo implants. Ablation surgery is superficial while excision surgery goes deep into its root. Both procedures are done laparoscopy, but excision surgery has a higher chance of success.
I waited for this procedure over two years since my first laparoscopy surgery where I got my diagnosis. I waited because I wanted to get it done with the best doctor possible and that meant being in a wait-list until the doctor that I wanted was available. Once the doctor took my case, I realized the severity of my illness and it turns out my illness is so advanced that it already penetrated my colon and I will also need a colon reception surgery. Because two different parts of my body are being affected by endometriosis, the surgery is going to require two different doctors. My gynecologist surgeon which specializes in endometriosis and a colorectal surgeon.
The preparation for this surgery started since my diagnosis over two years ago and I am ready for what is to come. There are three pillars that are essential to work on before the surgery: nutrition, exercise, and mindset. The combination of the three pillars have changed my life and it has reduced drastically the symptoms of this illness. Without a combination of the three I would be very scare to go into surgery. Being mentally and physically prepared is important for a successful recovery.
The first change in my life after my diagnosis was the way that I was eating. It was not a drastic change at first but little by little I started cutting back on all the foods that I noticed where causing me inflammation. It took patience, journaling, and courage to leave behind the old habits to embrace healthier ones. I reduced the consumption of red meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed food. Now, I only eat a plant-based diet and the meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and everything delivered from animals was left behind with my old self. I didn’t go vegan from one day to the other, it was a process of a lot of learning, I made sure that my body was not going to be depleted from vitamins by switching to this way of eating and I experimented little by little until this way of eating felt right for my body and my needs. A vegan diet reduced my inflammation drastically and it allowed me to have more pain free days than ever before.
The second change in my life was exercise. I started to move my body everyday for 30 minutes minimum, even when I was in pain. At first it was painful, and my body was fighting me every step of the way but like everything else in life that you do repeatedly, it became a habit. If I had pain, I would do yoga and in the days that I was not in pain I did more challenging workouts. Little by little I started breaking the barriers of what it was possible for me to do and eventually I was doing full hit classes of over an hour. The feeling of gratitude towards my body for allowing me to move without pain is what fuels my motivation to workout daily.
The third change was my mindset. I stopped the narrative of the victim! Yes, it is harsh, but it is also the reality of what got me out of bed. I was a victim for many different reasons like a broken health system, a broken society that dismisses women pain, and many other reasons but once I got a diagnosis I had to change the narrative of “why is this happening to me?” to one of “what is this teaching me and what can I get from this experience?”. Yes, I suffered greatly for many years but that helped me be the woman that I am today. I am stronger, empathetic, transparent, resilient, and an advocate; all because I had to live with pain because of an endometriosis misdiagnosis for most of my life. There are many if’s as well in my story, “if doctors could of heard me earlier maybe I wouldn’t be were I am today waiting for a surgery, not being able to have kinds, with a healthy colon, etc.…” but the reality is that I am where I am because I am supposed to be here. The struggles and lessons learned prepared me to be here and I must be grateful for that. No blames, no looking back and just being grateful everyday is what changed my life. I used to be at the mercy of many circumstances but not anymore, I am the driver of my own life and I dictate what happens to it. Be conscious of how you speak to your body and be grateful to it no matter what because it is the only body you have, and you must love it unconditionally.
Because my stage IV endo was so aggressive, I was asked to take Norlutate in a small amount daily which is a progestine. I refused at first but as my doctor explained to me in detail why they needed me to take it so that the surgery could be more successful, I changed my mind. I started with the holistic route and it helped me greatly but in preparation for my surgery I had to combine it with the Norlutate. My colon was bleeding for a week before my period was going to start and I literally had to spend a week inside the bathroom before my actual period started. Norlutate took that away, it does not cure endo but for me it gave me quality of life with small side effects. It is not a perfect drug but for me it helped greatly and with all the options out there this seemed the least invasive to my body.
I am now preparing for small details of the surgery like buying comfortable clothing like pajamas for the hospital and looking into everything that I am going to take for a week stay. Since there is Covid19 I am preparing for not being able to have company as I heard that only the person getting the surgery can go in. I am a little scare about that because I am stronger with my support system like my parents and husband but if that is the case I will manage. I am looking for recommendations of what to take to the hospital or any recommendations that you guys might want to share with me!
Thank you for your support and until next time!