At the end of November 2016, I had an appointment with my doctor at the Good Sam Free Health Center. I told him of my plans to try some natural alternatives. He agreed but wasn’t so hopeful. So we made a deal. I’d get another CT scan in January to see if anything had changed.
For the next 3 months I focused on healing my physical body as well as my emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. I knew to have any chance of curing the endometriosis, I had to get to the root cause of why this was showing up in my life and at this time. I worked on bringing light to areas of my life that I had kept hidden, even from myself. My engrained reaction of feeling responsible for other people, my shame of being a woman, my anger of being on this spiritual path, my anger at those that have hurt me and let me down, my anger at myself for not always protecting myself, my resistance to releasing the past, my tight-grip on what I thought my life was supposed to look like now, my resistance to accepting what had happened and where I’m at currently.
This was a time of going deep into who I am, what I believe in, what supports my faith and what matters most to me in this lifetime. It was not easy and it continues to not be as easy as I would like, but the deeper I go, the more strength I find deep within my being. More strength to speak my truth, to stand up for what I believe in and to stand more courageously in who I really am.
I coupled this inner emotional, mental, and spiritual work with a mixture of acupuncture, reiki, shamanic healing, angel work, yin yoga, castor oil packs, painting, drawing, creating pottery and eating a mostly vegan diet. I began to notice a shift in the kind of people I was attracting into my life – an eclectic group of strong, loving, gorgeous women. They (you) have been unbelievably supportive during this time in helping me to learn more about what I’m capable of and how loved I am here on this planet. It’s been remarkably comforting and every time I think of these amazing friends, I am in awe of how quickly this powerful formed to support me.
So after months of hoping everything would shrink and wishing that I could avoid having surgery, I went in for a second CT scan in mid-January. My doctor called the next day. The fibroids had grown in size and he recommended surgery as soon as possible, before they turned into something worse. I agreed and went to meet a resident doctor at the Faculty Medical Center at Good Samaritan Hospital.
I had never been to this area of the hospital before and as soon as I walked in, I noticed a striking difference. The waiting room was outdated, the few toys for children were worn and dirty. I went in the bathroom for a urine sample and there was a bloody bandage on the floor and the exam rooms had broken blinds, dingy lighting and grime on the walls. This was not the care I was used to, because I, gratefully, had health insurance for the majority of my life. This area, I found out, was where Medicaid participants could get care and people paying out of pocket could a discounted price by working with resident doctors.
I met with a resident surgeon who was thorough but kept coming back to the last CT scan showing a mass inside the fibroid. And again, the cancer word came back, as did the possibility of having an oncologist surgeon attend my procedure. I began to feel heavy again. I was frustrated that all of the work I’d been doing hadn’t been visible in this last scan and now we were talking about cancer again. I was angry that my work appeared to be counterproductive – growing masses and possibly cancer. At the end of the talk, I agreed to having surgery. The doctor said he’d present my case the next week and I should here from him with-in two weeks to schedule my surgery. I didn’t really connect with this doctor, but I liked that he explained as much as he could and even drew some diagrams for me.
After 2 weeks, I heard back from him. It was a Wednesday and he had just gone ahead and scheduled my surgery for the next Tuesday, Valentine’s Day without even telling me who’d be in the surgery or what the plan was.
“Uhhh… well, I’m going out of town that day. I’m going to California to visit my sister. You said that we’d schedule it after you called me back with the game plan, so I didn’t think this week-long trip would be a problem” I explained.
He seemed annoyed. “Well do you have any other trips planned?”
“No. You had said it’d be a month out, so I didn’t even think to tell you this would be an issue.” I said. I was trying not to cry while sitting in a little Indian restaurant, previously enjoying some paneer. He abruptly got off the phone with me and said he’d call back. I could feel the tears begin to slide down my cheeks. Maybe I don’t want this guy leading the surgery. He was kind of a jerk and not very communicative. Why is this so freaking frustrating?! Why is this happening?!
At that point it became obvious I wasn’t ready to undergo surgery yet.
I flew out to San Francisco as planned and tried to leave all of my worries in Cincinnati. The next week, I received a call from the Good Sam Health Center. The social worker asked if I had the surgery which was scheduled for Valentine’s Day. I explained to her I was traveling so I couldn’t and I hadn’t heard back from the doctor yet. She called the residents’ nurse to check with them. While I was on the line with them, I asked who would be leading the surgery. I was told it’d be the gynecological team and not even the doctor I saw last. I asked her to set up an appointment with them, which she did.
As I hung up the phone, I was pissed that they would have had me go into surgery and not even consider that I’d like to meet the team that’d be cutting me open beforehand. It made me doubt with this whole process, but I tried to keep an open mind for my meeting with the next surgeon.
Luckily, my acupuncturist gave me a sheet about preparing for surgery with a list of vitamins, homeopathic medications and recommended books. I ordered one called, “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” by Peggy Huddleston. It helped me to understand the whole process of surgery and where areas I could be more proactive about my health and wishes. It also included a CD with mediations to help you relax and visualize the outcomes you want after surgery.
I started to feel empowered again while reading this book and listening to the meditation. I brought my long list of questions to the next appointment. This doctor was youthful, attentive and kind. She listened to all of my questions and requests and had thoughtful responses to each one of them. I felt safe and respected with her. She said she was the 3rd year resident on the team and that the 5th year resident would be leading the surgery. Later that week, I heard from the 5th year resident surgeon. She was very honest and thoughtful on the phone, as well. I finally felt like I was in good hands. But then she mentioned me going to see a fertility specialist again, incase I still wanted to consider trying to freeze my eggs. She explained that during the surgery, they may have to remove both of my ovaries and that they wanted to make sure I had gone through all of my options beforehand.
For the next week, I debated this option. And I kept coming back to having children naturally or making the decision to adopt at some point. I find the possibility of women freezing their eggs to be implanted at a later date an incredibly remarkable miracle of our current medicine, however, I know that this is not for me.
While at meeting with the reproductive specialist, she explained that they couldn’t even freeze my eggs now anyway, because they weren’t able to locate my ovaries. After another vaginal ultrasound showing the big blob and maybe a speck of my uterus and I was feeling confident in my decision to have surgery with this team as soon as I could.
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