Endometriosis Surgery Update

Endo Woman Repaired

Here it is folks, here’s my surgery update.  The long & short of it . . . the outcome was AAAAMAZING!  It has been 11 days & I’m still not really done floating on the super surprising & very positive outcome.  Based on the surgeons early estimations of what was wrong & what would be required to fix it, the post-surgery results are downright miraculous.  I count myself a very, very blessed woman.  So let’s recap . . .

On May 27th, my husband & I met with the very experienced surgeon we ultimately decided to go with to perform my laparoscopic surgery.  Based on symptoms, physical exam, imaging, & my prior Endo. history, the surgeon thought that I had severe Stage 4 Endo that was in my bowel wall.  He told us that he would use the laparoscopy to assess how serious the bowel involvement was, & if required, I would have to have a second surgery to resection my bowel.  While he promised that he would not preform full hysterectomy on me, he thought my right ovary & tube might also need to be removed.  He further explained that he was concerned it might be in my chest cavity, since 4-5% of his patients with Endo of the bowel also had implants in their chest cavity, a very dangerous situation that can compromise heart, lungs, and/or diaphragm.  The surgeon told us if it was found on or near my heart or lungs a hormonal treatment method would be required.  I would be put on drugs that induce menopause & destroy the implants.  My case was further complicated by my MTHFR gene mutation, which put me at high risk for blood clots following surgery & during the potential hormonal treatment.

It was a scary prognosis to say the least.  I wrote about that fear in this blog post.  I also decided to do the most that I could to help myself.  I learned all I could about Endo affecting the bowel & other organs.  I learned about the more advanced surgical procedure my surgeon advocates.  I learned about the hospital where the surgery would be done & I learned how to read the lab work I needed to assess my clot risks pre-surgery.  I then consulted all my friends in the “alternative” health fields & put together a master plan of supplements & complimentary therapies to help me before & after surgery.  Then I went on vacation, threw myself into my cookbook project, & prayed every day with my husband.

Eleven days ago my husband & I arrived at the hospital at six AM, as prepared as we were going to be for whatever came next.  Literally every member of the surgical team, including a student (lucky me, I got to be a young doctor’s lesson of the day!) came & spoke to me one at a time, each of them acquainting his or herself with the specifics of my history.  Then the surgeon came & spoke to us once more.  It was the most confident I have ever felt about my life in the hands of a health care team.  At eight AM, the anesthesiologist told me she was now giving me something that would “really chill me out” & then . . . lights out.

I woke up in recovery with Nurse Connie.  I was very groggy & out of it, with a terrible sore throat from the breathing tube, but even in that state I was very clear about one thing . . . “If I need to eat to take a pain pill, you need to get my husband.  He has a banana for me.  I’m a Celiac & I am NOT eating a cracker!”  LOL!  I pestered Nurse Connie about my husband & his banana (I’m sure I sounded obscene) at least 30 times.  She finally went & got him & returned with a smile.  “Wow!  Your husband is tall.”  In my still mostly drugged brain I replied, “Yes & he’s handsome.  That’s going to help me when we get old.”  Oh post-anesthesia blabbering!

My hubby walked in, I ate my banana, had some water, & took my pain pill & then he told me the full update from the doctor.  I sat there with tears streaming down my face as he recounted every detail of their conversation.  I did have very severe Endo in my pelvic cavity & due to this the surgery took twice as long as expected, but he was able to save all reproductive organs, even the ovary & fallopian tube he thought may be damaged beyond repair.  Waiting even a month longer would have meant my bowel wall would be compromised, but he was able to remove all the Endo & I would not require a resectioning.  There was no evidence of Endo in my chest.  Even better, he feels that I do not need hormonal therapy of any kind & due to his careful techniques, I have a reasonable chance of staying free of Endo for at least 10 years.  After talking with a hematologist, they had also decided that I did not require blood thinners post-surgery.  It was a shocking turnaround from what we had been prepared for & we were ecstatic.  My husband told me that even the surgeon seemed ready to jump up & down with surprise & relief.  I will meet with him in a few weeks for a follow-up & go over more detail about the surgery & the future.

I walked three times a day every day after surgery.  I stopped narcotic pain killers after day three & only needed three doses of NSAIDS after that.  I have been a little more tired if I try to do too much & had some tiny uncomfortable twinges here & there, but in general my recovery has been awesome.  The supplements I am taking are having a dramatic effect on my mood & healing.  If the external healing is any indicator, then the internal healing must be going really well.  The incisions look fantastic, although after two laporoscopies, I think my belly button is probably going to stay slightly mangled.  And that is okay with me.  I have so much to be thankful for & the battle wounds to prove it.  I think there is light at the end of this tunnel.

About Angie Alt

Angie Alt is part of the blogging duo behind Autoimmune Paleo. She helps others take charge of their health the same way she took charge of her own after suffering with Celiac and other autoimmune diseases; one creative, nutritious meal at a time. Her special focus is on mixing “data with soul” by looking at the honest heart of the autoimmune journey (which sometimes includes curse words). She’s also a world traveler who has been medically evacuated from two foreign countries. Strategizing worst-case scenarios is now something of a hobby. She is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating for All Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. You can also find her on Instagram.

2 comments

  • […] Surgery Update can now be found HERE, at Autoimmune Paleo, where I and my blog partner, Mickey Trescott, now blog.  Thanks for […]

    • Nan says

      Angie,

      Would you be willing to share the name of your doc? I’ve had 2 surgeries already for stage IV endo, which appears to be returning again…only 6 months after my 2nd surgery. I know a doc is a very personal thing to share. But please consider. I’m desperate.

      Thanks for considering. I’ve included my email (which I hope is private, but I’m sure you can see it).
      So glad you had a good outcome. Hope that has held up!

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