(Fair warning, this is one of those posts that’s a bit more medical than others.)
My first appointment with my NaProTechnology doc was in October. It was so different from other doctor’s appointments! Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, listed to what was going on with my body, he said that what told him was substantiated by the data on my Creighton Model Fertility chart. I learned so much about what was happening with my body that day. I learned more than I had ever learned in an hour (and that includes what I learned in Grad school). I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a grain allergy during my first visit. I felt like a deer in headlights when Dr. C said I needed surgery. How could he know? How could he be so sure? He explained that my chart plus my history screamed endometriosis. Without giving you a life story, here’s what I was dealing with:
- Long cycles that had consistently gone between 30-50 days.
- Pain that began two to three weeks before menstruation and steadily increased in intensity until about 12 hours before menstruation.
- Mood swings that began 2-3 weeks before menstruation and increased in intensity till menstruation. At times they hung around till I was done bleeding.
- 7-14 days of red bleeding plus brown bleeding before and after menstruation.
- Weight gain and bloating that began more than a week before menstruation.
- Constipation that began a week or two before menstruation and got worse the closer I got to menstruation.
- Breast pain and increased breast size beginning more than a week before menstruation. Sometimes it was so painful that it woke me up at night.
- Extreme fatigue bordering on exhaustion for more than a week before my period.
- Contracting Mononucleosis. Apparently that was a sign of how weak my immune system was.
- All of these symptoms lessened during the 15 years I was on the pill and then returned within 12 months of being off of it.
Dr. C said he didn’t know why other doctors had missed this. Knowing what I know now, I don’t know either. All I know is that I went to a NaProTechnology doctor looking for answers and I got some. I was excited and I was terrified.
I couldn’t say yes to surgery before discussing it with my husband, Frank. He is my rock, he is my everything. He has been so supportive on this journey. He agreed that I needed surgery for my health, never mind that it improved our chances of achieving a pregnancy.
We wanted to have the best experience possible with the procedure, so when we were given a choice of surgeons we explored both options. The first was the best available surgeon in our area, but he was not a NaProTechnology surgeon. The second was a NaProTechnology surgeon who was about 4 hours away. After a visit to the first surgeon’s office and a phone interview with the NaProTechnology surgeon, it was an easy choice. I chose the NaPro surgeon. It was an easy choice. Even though I met with the first surgeon in person, he made me feel like a number, like to him I was just a uterus that happened to have a face attached. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s good at what he does, but it felt like I was patient X whom he had treated a thousand times before. By contrast, the NaProTechnology surgeon listened to me. He told me what he would do during surgery. He explained that there were many possibilities of what he might find and then explained what he would do in each situation. He treated me as if I were a unique person, I felt as though he really wanted to help me, the person, not the uterus with a disease.
Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but let me just add, that the recovery time with the first surgeon would have been 4-8 weeks, and my NaPro surgeon said his patients typically returned to work within one or two weeks.
It took a while to get a surgery date. Between the phone consult and the day of my surgery my pain increased tenfold. Two days before surgery I was taking 12 advil, and that was barely keeping the pain dull. We booked a hotel room and drove 4 hours to the Gianna Center, my NaProTechnology Surgeon’s office. I had an exam and an ultrasound.
I have to stop for a moment and tell you how awesome my surgeon is. The guy is as close to Luke Skywalker as any human can be. His office and surgical techniques are state of the art. First it was an ultrasound, then he wanted to do an exam. Since we were in the ultrasound room where the lighting wasn’t good he pulled out a speculum. I’ve seen plenty of speculum before, but this one was different, it had its own light source. You thought I was kidding when I told you he was Luke Skywalker?
Surgery was scheduled for the following day. I was nervous and excited.