Where to start, where to start? I suppose for you readers it starts when I first mentioned I haven’t been feeling so fantastic, back in December. And from there things quickly spiraled downward with hospitalizations, surgery, medications and horrid side effects, breakdowns and visits to seemingly every doctor in town. I received numerous tests and diagnosis that didn’t seem to fit and tried drug after drug that didn’t help my pain. I’ve been in agony, and was starting to think that I was going to have to learn to live with chronic pain. But I desperately wanted answers, answers that made sense and rang true and I fought for them. And finally, I know with certainly what is wrong, what is causing this awful pain.
Let’s go back to the beginning then, on that sunny Friday in September when a beautiful baby boy entered the world. What did I share about his birth? Not much, but I’ll tell you now. You guys know me, I’m not a big gal. On that Friday, I birthed an 8lb 7ounce baby after 3 hours of pushing. And when he finally came out, he did some damage. I remember holding Devan while being stitched up and after 45 minutes requesting to know what exactly was going on down there. You tore pretty bad, I was told, but don’t worry about it now. Well, I worried about it plenty when I got home. I moaned to my mom that she should have warned me how horrible childbirth was. How I lost my bladder control for weeks, how it hurt beyond belief to stand, to walk, to sit, to be awake. How I would spend weeks relying on a sitz bath and frozen veggies for a small measure of comfort. It was horrible, but I though that was what childbirth was all about. By six weeks I could move about without as much pain and eventually things returned back to normal except for the burning hip pain that I first experienced in the third trimester of pregnancy.
I went about life: moved, lost a job, found a new one, lost a pregnancy, and became pregnant with Leah. The first half of my pregnancy with Leah was characterized by vomiting and nausea, and so I barely thought of anything else. But as the second trimester drew to a close I started having intense pain through my hips and pelvic area. I was told it was normal and so I relied on my heat packs, thermacare wraps, and lidocaine patches to get through the days. At 40 weeks and 2 days, Leah Ellen arrived at 8 pounds 6 ounces. Childbirth was substantially easier this time around, but I still experienced a level 2 tear. I was thrilled to have an easier recovery than the first time though, no loss of bladder control and only a week of discomfort before I started to move around better. I even walked to the park less than a week after her birth, where it took me months to be able to walk any distance comfortably after Devan was born.
But here is the thing- I have never felt like myself again after Leah’s birth. For awhile, I thought it was still recovery from childbirth. Then I blamed hormones and sleepless nights. And then I saw an RN and was told it was an infection. And finally in December, with pelvic and hip pain so searing that I could think of nothing else during the day, I knew I needed to find some answers. That’s the part of the journey that I shared to lets skip ahead to what you all want to know- what is going on.
First of all, I don’t have Fibromyalgia. I have Endometriosis, but lots of women do and it is not the cause of the pain. I’m not crazy, I don’t have chronic fatigue, or pelvic congestion syndrome, or IBS, or internal cystitis. It has nothing to do with my hormones, or my thyroid, or my cycles, or my diet. I thought that doctors were taught to look for the most straight-forward answer and not the rare diseases and I think that certainly would have helped in my case. Because the answer was obvious, and easy to find when the specialist knew what to look for.
So pardon me for putting this so plainly, or embarrassing any guy who doesn’t want to read this, but simply put my two big babies pretty much just completely destroyed my vagina. Well technically, my pelvic floor. I have been walking around the past few years with bilaterally torn pelvic floor muscles, and was told I experienced a level 4 tear with one of the births that did not heal properly and I have residual scar tissue. My pelvic floor muscles have not healed at all, are in a constant state of spasm, and are causing me mind-blowing pain whenever I do anything. It makes sense, and I feel relief and validation for finally knowing what is going on.
The best news ever is that I’m not going to have to live with this pain much longer. And there are ways to fix this and it is going to solve my pelvic pain and my hip pain. And that my lower backaches and shoulder aches are referred pain and should go away when my muscles heal. I won’t need maintenance medications, or anything long term. I’m going to feel better in a matter of months. I am ecstatic!!
I thought for a fair number of days whether to share or not, but I did because so many of you have been pulling for me. And because I’ve learned this isn’t all that uncommon. And maybe someone else has been though this and will feel a little less alone. I’ve lost a lot of family time due to this and the truth is I have had a really hard time, and just hanging on has been a challenge. The process has been exhausting, demeaning, embarrassing, painful, and expensive. And I’m one of the lucky ones, who found my answers relatively quickly.
Now I am going to start the healing process, it’s time to move forward. I look forward to a life without chronic pain and worry. I’m ready to be present for my friends and family. I’m ready to talk about some other topic on this blog! And if the major life changes that I suspect are in store for me do in fact come to pass, I suppose I am ready for that as well. Just like I’ve been saying all along, Spring is almost here and life is again very, very sweet.