With everyone around me thinking that I was making up my symptoms, or starving myself to death, I started to wonder if I was crazy too. I mean wouldn't you? Every test that I had came back negative, I was eating healthy foods and exercising to try to take care of myself. I wasn't complaining about it all any more, because what was the point, no one believed me anyway. But I must have just been imagining the pain that made me double over or feel like I was going to pass out, and the hours that I would sit and spend in the bathroom with unrelenting diarrhea, having anything that I ate go right through me in seconds.
I was so frustrated! I would pray to be healed and barter with God how I would never do anything wrong ever again if he would just take my pain away, but that night it would make it very hard to fall asleep, and the next morning it would wake me up even before my alarm would go off. Looking back now I am really kind of surprised that I never blamed God for any of it. I was never angry with Him, I never gave up my faith because he wouldn't answer my prayers. I found my faith actually getting stronger the sicker that I was getting. I knew in my heart that there was something terribly wrong, and if I was going to die from whatever mystery illness that I had, I knew that it was all apart of His plan for me.
Many of the women on my Mom's side of the family had endometriosis, with some of them having to have hysterectomies, that came up at one of my doctors appointments. Endometriosis is when the cells from the endometrial lining of the uterus start to grow on the outside of it. I like to use the analogy of a jelly-filled doughnut. The jelly gets out of the middle of the doughnut and spreads all over the other doughnuts in the box, like the crullers or bear-claws. These cells start growing (they don't know why) on the uterus, fallopian tubes, bladder or ovaries. Since there was a pretty good chance that I could have inherited it, my doctor referred me to a Gynecologist.
I had no idea how that could have had anything to do with pain from eating, but I was just happy that it could be the problem and that I could finally be on my way to being diagnosed with something other than being out for attention, and could be treated for it. Everyone had made me feel so bad about myself for so long, that I wanted to find out what was wrong just to prove to them that there was something wrong! Not because I wanted something to be wrong, but to prove that I was right, that I knew my body better than anyone else did, and that listening to my instincts was the right thing to do.
The only real way to diagnose endometriosis is to actually see it, so I had to go to the hospital for a laparoscope. It was quite a simple surgery, day surgery, just in and out, but I was so afraid (and still am!) of needles. I didn't care about the cutting me open part, I started having such a panic attack that I wanted to go running and screaming from the building just thinking about the i.v.. I tried to escape a couple of times right over the head of the gurney but I wasn't fast enough, and I didn't want to let go of my Mom's hand when they wanted to wheel me through the big surgery doors but I had no choice.
Being inside that hallway freaked me out because they just pushed me up against the wall, and left me there to get more and more panicked. As I lay there calculating the opportunity for escape, a clean getaway, an occupied gurney was wheeled out of the operating room. There was a woman sleeping soundlessly on it with a tube coming out of her nose. That's when I almost lost it. I started to cry out of sheer fear, and that was when a nurse came over to go over my chart with me. She showed me her funny watch to try to get me to smile, and it worked. She actually asked me what grade I was in, and happening to have been eighteen and graduated from high school at the time, that made me smile more.
That nurse stayed with me as I transferred myself onto the operating table and let me squeeze her hand as the i.v. was being put in. She really made the whole experience much easier than I thought it was going to be. I felt a sharp pain in my arm, my doctor said "Lights out now Trace", and the next thing I knew I was in Recovery. The surgeon came in to talk to me and said that I did have Endometriosis, it was on my tubes, ovaries, bladder and the outside of my uterus. He said that he cauterized it all (burned it off) and that I should find a big difference in the pain that I was having from now on. He said that he was happy that I now knew what was causing all of my discomfort. I was happy too, but I had a feeling that it was not over.
About three or four days later the surgical pain was gone, but not my "Monster". That was the name I had given Crohn's before I knew what it was. I told my family doctor, my friends and family that not much had changed, that the pelvic pain was gone but not the back or abdominal pains and all of my other symptoms were still there. None of them were very impressed with me, they all decided that I wanted to be sick, and their feelings about me complaining for attention intensified.
So was I cured? Not even close.