What is a Laparoscopy and how is the recovery?

Last Wednesday I went in to have an Laparoscopy completed to do an exploration for endometriosis or other problems causing my symptoms. Endometriosis was confirmed after an hour long surgery.

What is a Laparaoscopy? It is a surgery done by small incisions in the abdomen and/or pelvic region with a camera. It can confirm diagnosis of things like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and tumors or can be done for surgical procedures like partial hysterectomies, lump removal and endometriosis tissue removal.

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I was brought into an outpatient surgery center where they prepped me about 90 minutes before my procedure. They do a pregnancy test, hemoglobin test and start an iv with antibiotics. The doctor and anesthesiologist came back and talked to me before the procedure. My husband was able to come back and wait with me until they took me back into the surgery room.

The path to the room was very cold. The room appeared sterile and bright lights were everywhere. All the nurses introduced themselves to me and made me feel very comfortable. The last time I had a procedure done for my D&C I was asleep prior to entering the operating room so it was weird to be awake while they prepped me.

I came out of my surgery in the recover room with a very sore belly. The nurse kept giving me pain medication until the pain was a 3 out of 10. My stomach looked like I swallowed a basketball. My husband spoke with the doctor after my procedure which confirmed I had endometriosis and an inflamed bladder.

At home I was all set up on the couch. It was advised not to go up or down stairs and stay close to a restroom. I fell right asleep and my husband went to pick up the pain medication and nausea pills. I will tell you that every time I have surgery, I become extremely nauseous. I asked this time for the doctor to prescribe some Phenergen which will not only help you sleep but eliminate the stomach problems. I was given Tylenol 3′s which lasted through the weekend. After that I moved on to Aleve.

I really didn’t notice any pain in my shoulders and back like many people said I would and I think partially it’s because of the pain medication and staying laying for most of the time.

Here are some pictures!

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Now here are my tips for recovery –

1. Make sure you have someone the first couple of days to help pull you up off the couch or the bed. Your abs will be incredibly sore. I often found myself sliding off the side of the couch just to get up.

2. Go to the restroom – it’s going to burn but it helps alleviate some pain and fullness in your belly.

3. Drink lots of non-carbonated liquids.

4. Have food and snacks at home to help you. I basically lived off of Annie’s gluten free mac & cheese, jello and gluten free crackers.

5. You will likely be constipated. I resorted to yogurt even though I have lactose problems just to get my bowels moving. I ate 3 containers of yogurt and never had a loose stool or stomach ache.

6. If you just have the scope done with nothing removed and 1 entry point, I would say 3-4 days is a good time to recover. If you end up having things removed, plan on being out for at least a week.

7. Rest! Don’t try to do anything, even though it’s incredibly boring! I really believe I’m healing faster because I’ve stayed on the couch and forced my body to rest instead of jumping back into things too quickly.

8. Get up and move every few hours just to prevent stiffness.

9. Make sure you have baggy pants because anything tight around your waist will be very uncomfortable. Not to mention I gained 10 pounds right after the surgery and none of my normal pants fit me. So I’m glad I had some baggy pants laying around I could wear.

10. Dont stress. While it’s overwhelming to think about what  is going on, it’s important to remain stress free!

So, today is my last day on the couch and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m ready to get back into my gym and back to work. I finally can sit up for a little bit at a time and write this post. That’s been a huge struggle for me just to sit up right.

Many of you sent comments, messages and love to me while I was down and I appreciate it so much.

Thank you!

 

 

 

Natural Remedies: Acupuncture and/or Acupressure for Endometriosis

Yesterday, I completely forgot to write a post about a recent experience with massage. I really love a great massage, especially if the masseuse has great, strong hands. Deep tissue massages are a great way to help your muscles!

While I attended the Earth Fare Columbus health fare last weekend, I met  Kathy Petty. She was doing chair massages and won me over in less than 5 minutes. She made me a believer and my body melted in her hands.

Tuesday (the day before my laparascopy), I went to get a massage with Kathy at her location on Cleveland Ave (just a little south of 270). Kathy is trained in acupressure and told me she enjoys incorporating some of those pressure points into massages. The massage was fantastic however something interesting happened when I was on the table.

Kathy began massaging my feet which always feels amazing. I would pay for someone to just dig into my hands and feet. Well, a little ways into the massage on my feet, I felt an incredible pain near my ankle and almost flew off the massage table. I asked her what that point was that she just applied pressure to because it was painful and her reply, “uterus.” I couldn’t believe what she just said. My other sore point on my feet was for my ovaries! Incredible to me.

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Kathy didn’t know anything about my history with cramping nor did she know I was going to have a laparascopy the following day to check my lady parts!

Acupressure is just one of a number of Asian bodywork therapies (ABT) with roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. Through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.

According to theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are used to help restore balance. Herbal and nutritional therapy, meditation, and therapeutic massage may also help. – Source WebMD

I’ve also done acupuncture in the past with Dr. Shauna Hindman of Polaris Wellness Acupuncture and Chiropractic Center to help me with my sleeping. I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about the entire process. But when I started becoming more calm and sleeping better, I became a believer. Another issue for me is the needles. I know many of you are like me and think the needles will be painful, but in actuality the are not!

I’m thinking based on how my recovery is going right now, next week I should be able to get with Dr. Shauna and start my acupuncture again. She sent me this amazing article on how acupuncture can help endometriosis.  I’m trying to take it easy, rest and sleep a lot to help my body recover from the trauma of  surgery.

Over the last few years, I’ve become much more aware of my body  and what I’m putting into it with food and medications. I do believe that there is something to acupressure and acupuncture. As I continue through this journey, I will keep everyone updated on how my treatment process is going.

I’m struggling today with a very bad sore throat and am in a decent amount of pain if I try to move around too much. I haven’t experienced the C02 yet but I’m waiting for it. I am happy I actually have some answers but now it is just another ailment to add to the rest of them. Should I update my resume for under the skills section to say: Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Latex Sensitivity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis and poor vision. (just kidding of course)

Which leads me to the question:

How many of you are handling or treating your endometriosis naturally? 

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Endometriosis Diagnosis – Now what?

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If you’ve been reading along with my last few posts, you know that I’ve been worried something else is happening in my body other than celiac disease. Well, I finally have some answers.

Yesterday I had a laparascopy procedure done to explore some problems I’ve been having with cramping all the time. I am always terrified to get put to sleep for general anesthesia because there is a battle in my head about not waking up.

“Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organsor the female pelvic organsLaparoscopy is used to find problems such as cystsadhesionsfibroids, and infection. Tissue samples can be taken for biopsy through the tube (laparoscope).” – Source WebMD

Before I went back in to the test, my doctor came in to talk with me and explain further about the procedure. 30 minutes if there is nothing to find and more like an hour if they have to remove tissue from endometriosis.

My doctor was primarily looking for endometriosis. When I woke up after the exam, I learned it took almost an hour confirming the doctor’s suspicion that I have endometriosis.

So, what is Endometriosis?

“Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue-which normally lines the uterus-in other parts of the body. Endometriosis typically grows in the abdominal cavity and most often attaches to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus, bowels, or other abdominal organs.

Endometriosis growths, called implants or lesions, often bleed during menstruation, causing pain. They may also develop scar tissue (adhesions) that can interfere with an organ’s normal function. Scar tissue can also cause pain and trouble becoming pregnant (infertility).

Endometriosis can be treated with medicines or with surgery to remove implants and scar tissue.”Source WebMD

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My doctor removed tissue found on several different organs so I came out with 4 holes all over my stomach and pubic area from where he entered to scrape the tissue cells. The procedure was pretty easy and after getting home I slept pretty much the rest of the day and night.

Today is day 2 of recovery, and I’m hurting pretty bad. It’s nearly impossible for me to sit up without incredible pain. If I just lay with my body elevated a little, it doesn’t hurt much. Moving seems to be the biggest hurdle right now. Instead of stitches, the openings were glued together. And, I heard from everyone I would have pain in my shoulders from the CO2 but I don’t have that pain at all, so that’s one less thing to be concerned about!

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I want to thank you all for being so incredibly supportive and sending all your love, thoughts and prayers for me during this time. Knowing there are so many people that care and are offering help warms my heart.

I don’t meet up with the doctor again for the next few weeks. No lifting 10 pounds or more for 3-4 weeks. No working out for a minimum of 2-3 weeks and resting for a few days to regain my strength.

After I see the doctor again, I will talk to him about what I am going to do for treatment options. Endometriosis does not have a cure and from what I’m reading can be challenging to treat. I am relieved that it isn’t much more serious like ovarian cancer or other serious reproductive cancers. The doctor also found my bladder to be inflamed and will refer me to a urologist to check to see what’s going on there.

If this is the last piece of the puzzle, I will be elated! I can’t emphasize this enough – LISTEN to your BODY!! If you feel that something is wrong, don’t wait unit its too late. Get help and get treatment. Don’t take no for an answer if your instincts are telling you otherwise.

Had I not switched doctors because I was unhappy with the last one, I probably wouldn’t have found out about the endometriosis this soon and it may have progressed into something much worse.

While I was doing my research, I came upon a study which found a connection between celiac disease and endometriosis. Doesn’t it seem like everything can be linked to celiac disease?

Check out this study:

PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION:

Celiac disease (CD) involves immunologically mediated intestinal damage with consequent micronutrient malabsorption and varied clinical manifestations, and there is a controversial association with infertility. The objective of the present study was to determine the presence of CD in a population of infertile women with endometriosis.

METHODS:

A total of 120 women with a diagnosis of endometriosis confirmed by laparoscopy (study group) and 1,500 healthy female donors aged 18 to 45 years were tested for CD by the determination of IgA-transglutaminase antibody against human tissue transglutaminase (t-TGA) and anti-endomysium (anti-EMA) antibodies.

RESULTS:

Nine of the 120 women in the study group were anti-tTGA positive and five of them were also anti-EMA positive. Four of these five patients were submitted to intestinal biopsy which revealed CD in three cases (2.5% prevalence). The overall CD prevalence among the population control group was 1:136 women (0.66%).

CONCLUSION:

This is the first study reporting the prevalence of CD among women with endometriosis, showing that CD is common in this population group (2.5%) and may be clinically relevant.

F.M. Aguiar et al. Serological testing for celiac disease in women with endometriosis. A pilot study. Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;36(1):23-5.

I want to make sure those of you who may struggle with cramping throughout the month, severe periods and break through bleeding to get checked asap. There are serious ailments that can be caused by those symptoms. Get it checked before it checks you into something worse. If you have celiac disease, I think it’s fair to say we need to be extra diligent with our heath.

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This celiac mask is really getting on my nerves.

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Disclaimer: Men this post is for the ladies :)

Celiac disease is quite the emotional roller coaster. Whenever it seems as though you’ve got it figured out, something new creeps in just to keep you on your toes. Hence the title of this post about celiac being a “mask.”

Wednesday I’m having a laparoscopic procedure done to check for anything going on in my reproductive organs like endometriosis. I keep having these stabbing like cramping pains throughout the month and my ovulation time is excruciating. And even after cutting gluten, latex fruits/veggies, lactose, corn and poultry – I continue to gain weight right in my belly region. No, I am not pregnant.  

I’ve gained 10 pounds since Christmas and almost 20 since last summer. Today I woke up and weighed 5 pounds more than I did yesterday along with feeling a tightness and fullness in my stomach that I never usually have. Something is going on. I feel completely uncomfortable and out of control. I don’t eat gluten-free processed junk foods so I know that isn’t the case and even if I did do that, the weight doesn’t come on that quickly from over eating.

It really is true that once you resolve the main problem, you start finding things that were masked by the undiagnosed issue. Once you cut one thing, another comes along making you wonder if you are ever going to be able to eat anything ever again.

For me – I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and arthritis last January. At that time, I cut gluten, poultry and latex laden fruits/vegetables. Then in the spring I cut lactose too as Greek yogurt continued to irritate my stomach. Finally in December, I cut corn. I’m not sure there is anything else to cut.

I’ve been able to manage the Hashimoto’s strictly with food. My thyroid levels are perfect with no extra medication. It took a full year to get there but I’m happy I chose not to take medicine.

Then I started feeling sick again last fall, which didn’t make sense because I’ve been very diligent about gluten removal only to find out that I should have cut corn too. The over compensation of corn products sent my body into overdrive again.

As a fluke, my old obgyn didn’t fill my Nuva Ring prescription and I have been off that for almost 2 months now. It’s amazing that my migraine headaches went away during my last 2 periods and I’m sleeping perfectly. Could it be that was causing all my sleep problems for the last 10 years?

Bottom line: I feel amazing. My head is clear. I’m productive again. I feel like I’m on top of my game. I’m not having any stomach pains (the old kind) and all of my blood work levels are perfect. So why am I having these other issues?? It is so cruel to think that I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and there continues to be one missing link each time I think things are great.

Hopefully, Wednesday is the last missing link and I can get that all figured out. I will post again at the end of this week and let you know how it goes. I get really nervous about these types of procedures simply because I don’t have them often and I am terrified of anesthesia.

What other things did you find out you had along with celiac disease?