State of my Uterus
Spoiler alert: it's tilted.
Literally. My uterus is tilted.
This is one of the many fun facts I learned when visiting my new doctor this month. Doctor Cara King was able to give me more answers in a two hour appointment than more than seven doctors have given me in years.
In addition to a tilted uterus, I have been diagnosed with a fascial knot, muscle quivers and spasms, and a weakened pelvic floor. These are things my doctor knows for sure. The lead cause of all of this, she believes, is endometriosis. Since endometriosis is a process of elimination and visual diagnosis, we won't have a 100% diagnosis on that disease until my laparoscopic procedure in 2020.
The silver lining to all of these issues is that I have a treatment plan that (should!) address all of them.
Here's a rundown of my treatment plan:
A daily dose of baclofen, a muscle relaxer and antispasmodic agent
Reoccurring sessions of pelvic floor physical therapy (expect more posts on this!)
Trigger point injections of lidocaine directly into my fascial knot
An endometriosis mapping MRI with contrast
All of this will lead to a laparoscopic procedure that will function as an excision surgery to remove any endometriosis that lives within my pelvis. It will also be a chance to examine the exact tilt of my uterus and if we need to work on a correction plan or if my body has adjusted to nature's little change.
So, here I am - a gal with a plan! And even though the plan is now all laid out and I have a wonderful doctor whom I trust and adore... she revealed a few things to me that my other doctors have missed all along.
Remember that botched MRI I mentioned in Monday's blog post? Yeah, well, that's one of the smudges on this silver lining.
My original doctors (referred to as OG from this point forward to avoid confusion) ordered two MRIs in mid-2019. They did so after constant pushing from me and the demand to finally get some type of answers. At this point, I had brought up endometriosis several times with no real discussion around the topic. When my OGs ordered the initial MRIs, I was under the impression that it was a sign I was finally being heard.
Little did I know, that mysterious call the radiologist had with my OG just minutes before my MRI began revolved around a hernia with no mention of endometriosis. The MRI completed this year gave Dr. King (or anyone else...) no real view into my pelvis or the key areas I was having the most pain.
We had, or so I thought, cleared up any hernia related rumors after various run arounds in 2017. At the recommendation of my OG, I visited a general surgeon under the thought that I had a hernia causing all of my pains. Spoiler alert: I didn't! After a quick external exam, surgeon concluded that no hernia was to be found. But... two years later, my OG told a radiologist to conduct an MRI looking for the hernia that we had proved wasn't there.
So, that was sad.
But, every silver lining has a few smudges, right?
It was these smudges along my silver lining that led me to Dr. King. After my initial consultation and exam with her, we soon realized there were so many other issues that many, many other doctors missed. This isn't uncommon. Research shows that it takes an average of 8 YEARS for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis.
I walked away from that appointment with one important truth: doctors simply don't know what they don't know.
My doctor has an impressive resume that includes residency training at Tufts University, Baystate Medical Center in Obstetrics and Gynecology followed by a Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Magee-Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. She is also a
member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons (SGS), and the The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and was elected to serve as an active board member of the AAGL Fellowship Board as well as the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons Executive Board.
Basically, my doctor is a BOSS.
She's had SO MUCH extra training and education on the specifics of endometriosis, pelvic pain, and pelvic disorders that other doctors simply don't receive. So, within two hours, she was able to create a comprehensive care plan for me that other doctors simply couldn't create.
I'm so lucky. And sore... (I started physical therapy this week and it's a little rough.) But, I'm one of the lucky ones to actually receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan. So many women are still being bounced around the medical system without getting the answers they deserve.
The Invisible Illness series will be published on Mondays and Wednesdays, detailing my journey with chronic pelvic pain and the various treatments I am prescribed. The next post of the series will give you a bit more information about what endometriosis is, pelvic pain statistics in women, and additional background information.