Phase 2 and My Secret Weapon in the War With My Uterus

We join our heroine as she is on her way to the hospital in the next phase of a battle plan in the war against her uterus with a secret weapon in her arsenal.

To recap, I have had problems with my menstrual cycle for the past year. In June 2018, I had an operation to remove a polyp in my endometrial lining that was giving me chronic pain and longer, heavier than normal periods. To stymie the heavy monthly flow, we inserted an IUD.

While the IUD reduced the length of my monthly cycle, it didn’t reduce the intensity. However, the “knock me down and make balloon animals out of my internal organs” cramps were reduced. I figured it was a win.

In February, my uterus came out guns blazing. My periods were heavy — 17 pads and two tampons in one day. One. Day. My menstrual cycle was lasting 14 days. 14. Two weeks. 50% of the month I am bleeding. I became the unofficial chief investor in Kotex.

While this doesn’t make for a fun month for anyone involved, the bigger issue was my iron levels. I was taking supplements, and losing more iron (ferrins) than I can make. My body is making me anemic. I have low energy and suffer from light-headedness. There are times when I can’t breath and my irritability was high.

Done with my entire reproductive organs and lack of energy, I went to the doctors who decided it was time to escalate our battle plan.

For a full debriefing of the war up to this point, CLICK HERE.

This morning, I was scheduled to have an ablation. An Endometrial ablation removes the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. In most cases, this will stop periods or at least return them to normal (or very light). Thus, giving my body the chance to produce ferrins and take me out of the probable anemic range.

However, entering this stage of the battle plan, I find that I have a second weapon I wasn’t aware of when my uterus declared war: my tribe.

When I posted the original post, I had several people reach out to me, in person or online in two ways:

“I hear you. Fighting the same battle.”
There were several friends and family members who reached out to me with their own uterus war stories. Several have had surgeries, taken medications or even had an ablation. It is powerful to know that I am not the only one. That this isn’t in my head. That it isn’t just PMS. That it is more than just a period. It is powerful to know that I am not alone. Thank you Ashley, Paige, Donna, Juanita and Brenda for sharing your stories.

“Oh my goodness!”
People’s surprise, shock and even sympathy at what is going on validated to me that it wasn’t just a period. That it isn’t normal. That it is something more than just a regular period. Even if they couldn’t relate, it was nice knowing that they heard and were cheering for me. Thank you for your positive vibes: Judy, Heidi, Cecelia, Verna, Devon, Kate, Sheila, Evelyn, Danielle and my husband.

I am hopeful that this may be the final battle. It may not end my periods — but they may not be the central fixture in my life.

As one chapter ends, I have discovered a new chapter. I muddle through life, bit by bit, but not without the help of my friends. Their wisdom, courage and insight help to guide me through the difficult patches. Sometimes the nuggets of knowledge come in the form of sought after advice while sometimes it is tucked into a story they are sharing or a random post on Facebook.

I will be sharing posts and these nuggets once a month in “Help From My Friends” posts. Look forward to them!

As to the surgery — It went well. I’m back home and recovering with the best nursing staff ever (my husband and our fat cat). I have a follow up appointment with the doctor in 4 weeks. However, I have a feeling the period scheduled for next week may be cancelled.

Road to Recovery: Pumping (Up The) Iron & Polyps

13176171 - conceptual road sign indicating a winding road to recovery“You are dealing with a unique mix of issues and symptoms.”

After blood work and a pelvic ultrasound, my gynecologist laid out a couple of plans to help me get back onto the road to recovery.

As I have learned, a bit of hope, home cooking, and teamwork goes a long way!

According to my gynecologist, a lot of my symptoms were stemming from chronic pain (caused by an endometrial polyp) and chronic fatigue (iron deficiency).  The mix of the two is enhancing my irritability and reducing my ability to handle what would be normal everyday stress to me.

His suggestion was two-fold:

  1. Remove the polyp to reduce the constant cramping
  2. Install an IUD (An intrauterine device; a small, often T-shaped birth control device that also reduces or eliminates periods) to reduce my menstruation cycle (even without a polyp I have heavy and prolonged cycles). This will give my body a fighting chance to raise my iron (ferritin) above symptomatic levels (over 50; mine is hovering at 15).

RoadtoRecovery3My general practitioner agreed with the gynecologist and proposed a plan to increase my iron, hiring my dosage for the next three months to raise the levels. Then we evaluate the lethargy, energy and emotional stability for three to six months.

If I am still struggling, then we will consider further investigation or even possible (really) early menopause.

My surgery to remove the polyp and insert the IUD is scheduled for this Wednesday.

The glimmer of hope that I may be back to my normal sense in a few months has made the reoccurring setbacks and pain more bearable.

The new iron routine has helped to increase a bit of my energy lately. Last Wednesday,  I had one of my most productive days since March. I wrote blogs, had breakfast with a friend and even went grocery shopping. All in one day!

The hubster and I are working to incorporate more iron into our diet. He is making steak and bean chili to boost my levels wtih his skills! I have started using Gluten-Free pasta (turns out, pasta made with white bean or chickpea flour has 15% of daily iron allowance) and adjusting my morning routine to accommodate my iron supplement.

Teamwork. We are learning.

Three to six months, I’ll be back to myself.

17002121 - your recovery green road sign over dramatic clouds and sky.