If you read my blog, then you know that I am a HUGE promoter of self-advocacy, especially when it comes to your health!!!
My biggest regret is that this time last year, I let doctors and a surgeon pressure me into having my gallbladder removed. (Read about that here.) I paid for a costly surgery, and it’s one thing if it had been necessary and actually had positive effects, but my quality of life went down drastically. Having to go all day without eating, not being able to participate in social outings or even work related functions, getting sick every time I ate even the smallest amounts of food and being confined to a bathroom for hours, constantly feeling nauseous, and having such intense gastrointestinal pain that it hurt to breathe or move, and then when I wasn’t experiencing active symptoms I felt weak and drained from what I had just gone through—this is not the life anyone should have.
It is hard not to become angry when I think about how many times I asked for additional testing to confirm that my gallbladder needed to be removed or how many times I stated that I just didn’t feel like the problems I was experiencing was the result of my gallbladder. Any doctor I spoke to (besides my chiropractor) scoffed at the idea that I had naturally dissolved and passed the small gallstones that had been detected on an ultrasound the year prior to my surgery. They all told me that I couldn’t get rid of gallstones, once they are there, they are there forever. I had asked for another ultrasound or a HIDA scan, but no one would budge. I asked to further explore possibilities in the gynecological realm because I just had this feeling that’s what was going on—not my gallbladder. No one would help me. Instead I gave in to them.
And the result was that I woke up and was told that a perfectly normal gallbladder had been removed from me. Little did I know that my life was going to plummet downward, and I would have to struggle keeping my job and consider postponing my wedding and honeymoon—because I felt like complete shit and could barely function. Honestly, if I hadn’t started this health and wellness journey and stumbled upon collagen and bentonite clay and essential oils, I don’t know what I would be doing. If I am off of my health routine for even a few days, my body diverts right back and I am sick and I fall hard. This may be what I have to strictly follow for the rest of my life, but at least it is natural and I am thankful I found it.
The gallbladder incident wasn’t the sole reason for why I am leery of western medicine practicing doctors. But it was certainly the straw that broke the camel’s back. (Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for western medicine. I have benefited from it, but I have also been on the wrong end far too many times.) I have a long history of doctors telling me things like “I don’t look sick” or “I don’t act sick”. Therefore, what I am saying I am experiencing isn’t true because I don’t look the part. In general, it’s been my experience that doctors are condescending when they speak to me, and my visit is always a one-sided conversation: I don’t hold a medical degree so I have no idea what I am talking about. And natural remedies and treatments are a joke, so don’t dare even bring that up. What I don’t understand is why there doesn’t seem to be any education on alternative or holistic medicine in medical school? Why are schools training doctors and teaching them that it is a bunch a bologna? Food is the best medicine and to me there is no debating this. Our bodies are amazing and I believe they can heal themselves if they are healthy enough to do so. There is plenty of science to back this up. I don’t understand why any educated person would roll their eyes at the idea of someone taking care of their body through natural means. Let’s all just treat our bodies like shit and then take prescriptions, which will hurt us in another way. Toxins and chemicals…obviously that’s the better route to go.
But I am a believer in finding the silver lining in all situations.
I’m still very much recovering on this healing journey of mine, and despite being broken down, I do feel stronger after this experience. I will never take no for an answer again. I will stand up for myself. I don’t have a medical degree, but I know my body. I know my experiences. I know my pain. I will fight you.
One positive thing that came from my gallbladder surgery was that I was able to get a gynecologist to do a pelvic lap while I was under and cut open. I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO GET AN ANSWER. For years I felt that I had endometriosis. Upon waking up I received the actual diagnosis of adenomyosis, sometimes referred to as endometriosis interna.
Adenomyosis is when tissue which normally lines the uterus has grown into the wall of the uterus. The tissues continue to act as the rest of the endometrial tissue does during a menstrual cycle—thickening and then breaking down and bleeding. This causes an enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods.
I was told that it was odd for someone of my age to have this. This was usually seen in middle-aged women who have delivered children and/ or had C-sections. A friend of mine who was a nurse that was present during the surgery said that when the OBGYN saw my uterus, he commented that it was an “old uterus”. After researching online, I soon realized what he meant. The photos from surgery showed my uterus— enlarged and bruised like an ugly piece of fruit. It wasn’t the uterus of a 24-year-old woman. It appeared aged and damaged, perhaps closer in resemblance to a uterus of someone twice my age who had been through the trauma of multiple births.
I may have only been 24, but I knew what my uterus had been through. I had never had a child, but my uterus went through hell every month, and I finally had picture evidence of what I had been living with for the past 12 years. I felt oddly satisfied. I wanted to go back to every doctor I had ever been to and say, “Look at this. See. Does this look normal to you? I told you I was in pain. You called me a drama queen. Look at what has happened. My uterus has deteriorated more and more month after month, and look at what is left.”
I also learned that Adenomyosis affected my fertility. It lowered the chance of conception, but it didn’t end there. The problem wasn’t just being able get pregnant, but I would have a higher risk of miscarriage and premature labor as well. Suddenly my hopes for motherhood dwindled away before they even had a chance to ignite.
I didn’t receive good news that day, but I did receive confirmation of what I had already known for the longest time. I have been able to get closure.
But I am okay. I don’t think of the diagnosis as a death sentence for my fertility. Maybe I will be able to have a baby, maybe I won’t. Kyle and I are both happy either way, and I honestly mean that. Through this health and wellness journey, I have come to terms with so much. No day is perfect. No life is perfect. But I am so very happy.