All Clear!

I love that there have been so many Atlantic poppies in the garden this year, that the seed heads are as lovely as the flowers, that there will likely be that many more this summer. Summer, who is super early or maybe just delivering the biggest Portland sneak peek I can ever recall. I also love that, while attempting to take this photo with my own hand, the hubster jumped in to offer his own. He’s cool like that.

Now, for my last endometriosis related post for a while. I had my final appointment with my specialist and was, ever so gratefully, given the all clear. No more waiting to exercise more vigorously than a walk. No more hollering for help whenever I need to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. No more waiting for a bath! I am a soak in the tub not sing in the shower kind of gal, and seven weeks of lathering while standing was frustrating and depressing. My systems are for lying down on the job: scrubbing, shaving, conditioning, letting the face mask dry. Boy is it good to be back.

But wait, there’s more! I guess I should have warned you first.

I am also going to tell you about my fab specialist, because everyone who does a fine job deserves a shout-out, I think. My former superstar endometriosis doctor left the business a couple of years after my surgery, but I was very lucky to find Dr. Brendan Carroll after learning about the DaVinci Robot (that’s even him using it!) and deciding I wanted someone to use it on me.

And for those who might do a double take at the thought of having a male doctor as a gynecological specialist, let me assure you that Dr. Carroll is the tops! Way better than the highly rated woman who treated me some seven years ago, before I got decent help. When I described my pain to her, how it felt like I was sitting on a railroad spike all the time, she replied, “You just need to learn to relax.” So, I went home, humiliated, thinking that it was in my head, when, as I would discover later, it was real and generated by my uterus being attached via adhesions to my bowel. Food for thought.

And what really sold me on Dr. Carroll was the fact that, when I mentioned my high tolerance for pain, he, in his kind voice, said, “But you don’t have to. We can make you feel better.” Gosh. I don’t have to be in pain. I don’t have to lie stoically on the sofa, not crying or uttering a word while my insides are yanked like taffy.

There is something curious about it, this sitting with pain. For me, it was not suffering, not quite. Yes, it hurt like the dickens. Oh bother, did it ever. But the reason it was not suffering, the reason for my high tolerance for it,┬áthat was in my head. Chronic pain cannot be escaped. There is no easy button or emergency hatch. It is there, morning, noon, night; bright, sunny days; through holidays (Christmas!) and vacations (France! New Mexico! New York City!). A permanent resident. So, I realized that I had a choice. I could be that gloomy and sad woman who wouldn’t let a single soul forget she is always in pain, or I could be me: silly, quick to laughter, adventurous, gregarious, slightly mischievous and unpredictable. Me, immensely more fun, hilarious even. I chose me. I like her best. More food for thought.

Sometimes I wonder about that, too, whether if I cried it would have taken so long to get my diagnosis. Someone so kindly and cheerful cannot possibly be in the pain she’s describing. A person must be doubled over and weeping, maybe with a side of histrionics. It’s not like I was asking for drugs, either. Save the ibuprofen I swallowed in massive doses from time to time (usually to little or no result), I was weary of them, what they would do do my already precarious health.

So, thank you Dr. Carroll, for being the kind of doctor who recognizes pain, even if the patient is laughing through it. You do great work!