My Junk is No Good

I don’t really know where to begin with this post, as it is not a garden variety topic.  It is kind of serious, a little bit sad, a little bit funny, and exciting too.  I’m just going to jump right in.

The truth is, I have suffered, and quite silently, most of the time, from pretty excruciating menstrual pain for more years than I care to remember.  If that weren’t bad enough, as I got older, the duration of the pain became increasingly longer and l o n g e r until I was in pain more days than not.  The real coup de grace came about six months ago, however, as I entered a new and not so terrific permanent state of pain.   Like Karl Malden and American Express, I never leave home without it, no matter how badly I would prefer otherwise.  Sometimes it is bearable, and I can be my usual cheery and silly self.  Other times, I swear I know what it feels like to be violently stabbed, have my flesh slowly pierced with hundreds of tiny nails, or to sit for hours on a railroad spike, no matter how many ibuprofen or glasses of whiskey I consume.

After more than ten years of small successes combined with big setbacks to combat the pain, I decided it was time to pull out the big guns to get to the heart of the problem (I can be a s l o w learner).   An MRI was ordered, and I dutifully went this past Monday.  The diagnosis I expected was endometriosis, what I got was far more grand.  As my doctor said, “You hit the jackpot: fluid filled fallopian tubes (bilateral hydrosalpinges), hyper engorged ovaries (bilateral endometriomas), a faulty uterus (adenomyosis with a large adenomyoma), as well as pelvic adhesions (no fancy term needed).  It’s no wonder you hurt so much.  For most women, one of these can cause horrendous pain, and you’ve got them all.”  Ouch indeed.  For some reason, the first words out of my mouth in response were, “So my junk is no good?”  A bit bewildered, she said, “Yeah, your junk is no good.”

After a good laugh at my word choice, followed by a few tears and a couple tissues, we got down to business.  Without question, I will need surgery. This will happen some time in July, as my doctor is quite booked up at the moment.  The parts I need most will be salvaged as best as they can, and I will come out of it a period-free, and, fingers crossed, pain-free woman.  Those last bits are the exciting part.

Additionally, the irony of my bad junk is not lost on me, the woman who has never wanted children.  Did I send or receive some sort of message as an eight-year-old?  An interesting question, one for the ages.



  1. Chris’s avatar

    I have been a bit lax lately with all things cyber in my life, unfortunately including one of my favorite things – your blog. And, regretfully, I missed this posting at or even near the more precise time it was written. As we all know, I can also sometimes be out of touch with family issues for several weeks at a time. Mom informed me over the phone yesterday when I called Dad for Fathers Day. My heart sank.

    Today I rushed home from work to catch up with all things Colleen. All I could feel while reading this is that I may have seemed uncaring at this important time because I have not been in touch, even though I know you would never feel that way.

    Anonymous made me cry and now I hope the shift key will continue working. …and I can’t even top what they said…because it is so completely correct.

    So interesting to me to know that perhaps often when we were spending time together laughing and seemingly having the perfect time that you were masking such pain, or stoically ignoring it. Wow.

  2. Anonymous’s avatar

    You’re an INSPIRATION !!

    Every watched one of those war movies, where someone gets shot, and staggers- and then gets shot, AGAIN, and stumbles…

    But THEN, gets shot AGAIN, and almost falls down, and THEN, if you can believe it, gets shot AGAIN!!

    But then, INCREDIBLY, rather than falling DOWN, the person actually stands up straighter, and starts running TOWARD the enemy, firing even HARDER, and at the same time that you KNOW they have to be in blinding pain?

    I’ve always thought, “HOW in the world could they muster that resolve, and WHERE did they find the energy, the strength, the focus…”

    YET, in real life, I’ve heard that things like that sometimes occur- incredible situations, multiple wounds, yet the person continues fighting, AND lives, then recovers, and goes on to fight another day!

    In THIS case, the war arrived in your own surroundings- your home- your everyday life- and you kept getting hit- but you kept going.

    And NOW, the AMAZING part- you’ve got the source of that pain in focus- and you’re not falling down, or turning away in fear- INSTEAD you’re renewing your energy, and your guts- and going forward, into it- and gaining strength.


    I’ve SEEN it, in movies, and HEARD of it, in real life, but here you’re actually walking THROUGH it, and even COMMUNICATING about it…

    You’re AMAZING!

    It occurs to me: a few years from now- you’ll *OWN* one of those “unbelievable” stories- one that’s actually HAPPENED to you… with which you can encourage others- from your OWN EXPERIENCE… where most of the rest of us have only seen it in movies.

    Nice JOB, nice COURAGE! You’re an INSPIRATION, Girl !!

  3. Sue’s avatar

    Oh my gosh Colleen, I had no idea that you have been suffering with this for so long. I’m so sorry to hear this. Andy told me about it today and said to take a look at your website for more details. Once we return from England we would be happy to help out with a meal or two, or anything else that might be helpful. I don’t know if you have heard the news yet about my mom. Greg will tell you the details, but I’m going through a pretty tough time myself right now. I leave for England on Tuesday and return July 12th. We will be in touch.

  4. Mara’s avatar

    Collen — thank you for sharing your very personal story in a very strait forward, articulate, and eloquent way. I am so sorry you have suffered for so long, and yes…there is a sweet irony to your situation … a validation, perhaps, of your conviction? I’ll be thinking of you … and ready to provide you with a tasty meal when you’re in need.

  5. sarah’s avatar

    July! That’s awesome. 1 more month. I’m triple crossing my fingers for no more pain. You deserve to be period free after so many years. I’m so proud of you in continuing to listen to your body and taking the next steps. Scary and exciting. Love you. Talk to you soon.

  6. Jessica’s avatar

    Praying for you…

  7. Amber’s avatar

    Colleen, I’m so glad you decided to write about this. I’ve been thinking about you a lot since we chatted (over omelets) about it, knowing your testing was coming up soon. I will think wonderful, healthy, plain-free thoughts for you and hope that you experience that relief soon (is there not anyone else who could do the surgery sooner?). I’m not sure if this is a proper response to test results like these, but I find myself feeling so thankful that you didn’t ever want children (not that it makes your current state of pain any better–and I hope that doesn’t sound flippant)… you would have undoubtedly had years of heartache to go through. Amazing how things work out sometimes. Tell Greg to take good care of you and please let me know if you need anything now or in July (dinner delivery perhaps?).

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