Today marks exactly one year since I had my first laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis and one year since I received my Stage 4 endometriosis diagnosis. Saying that out loud to myself is honestly crazy, and I cannot believe it has already been a full year since surgery! No matter how much time goes by, February 12, 2021 will always be a significant date to me.
During surgery, the endometriotic lesions in my pelvis were excised and the endometrioma or chocolate cyst was removed from my left ovary. Additionally, my surgeon performed a presacral neurectomy, during which a nerve supplying my uterus was cut to decrease my pain, and I received an IUD. Looking back over my pathology reports, I realized ureterolysis was also performed to free my left ureter from significant endometriosis adhesions. All this together has been truly life changing for me. I still will never forget being in post-op and my mom telling me that my surgeon told her “there was a lot”. I will never forget hearing those four words. Those words confirmed all that I had gone through for so many years.
Today I am in a completely different place physically than I was last year. At this time last year, before surgery, I was managing my endometriosis on my own – no meds, no injections, nothing. I was bleeding constantly and heavily. I was in severe pain most days. It was physically and emotionally draining. Sitting here today, I can honestly say that this is no longer the case. I have not had a period since having my operation (because of my IUD), which for me is a huge plus after going through so many years of constant bleeding. I no longer feel debilitating pain every day either, and I am able to go to class and really enjoy my life as a medical student. I truly love it and I am so excited for the future! Right now there are no signs of terrible pain and bleeding in site, so I am going to keep enjoying these good days. I am so very thankful to the endometriosis center in Pittsburgh and my surgeon for providing me with life changing care for my endometriosis.
This upcoming Monday I will actually be shadowing one of the minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons at the endometriosis center at the same hospital that I had my surgery at. I am so excited just thinking about it. One year ago I was a patient in the operating room, and in two days I will be shadowing the surgeons in the exact same OR that I was operated in! I will definitely give an update on how it goes Monday, but today I will be celebrating one year post-op and one year living pain free with endometriosis!