for the ladies…

Dear friends

Back in the spring, you may recall if I shared it, that I started experiencing pain/ aching in my pelvis, right side, after my morning jog.  I’ve been experiencing aches on that side for a few years but it started becoming quite intense.  I’ve been to the doctor a few times, the last time the GP (after telling me to lose weight) referred me to physiotherapy (about a year ago) which helped marginally.  So about 6 months ago when the pain started increasing, I knew I should go back but was reluctant since I thought I’d be dismissed.  Then, around the same time as the upping of pain, I noticed more frequent, irregular periods.  Something was clearly happening down there!  After the mammograms, I gained a bit of courage and called the doctor’s surgery.

The surgery has started a triage system, so I had to tell the receptionist why I wanted to see a doctor.  I’ve had this pain for a few years and it’s getting worse.  Doctor will call you back.  An hour or so later a doctor calls me back and within minutes offers me an appointment for the same afternoon.  This was amazing to me, previously one would be offered an appointment the following week, or at least a couple of days later.  Clearly the triage system is clearing appointments.

Dr L was very nice, listened to my story and asked what I thought it was. Self diagnosis!?  I said I’d, of course, been checking the internet and figured either hernia or something with the ovaries, cyst, but, you’re the doctor!  Can you feel anything pushing out? No. Unlikely to be a hernia.  Have you heard of endometriosis?  Based on what you’ve said that’s what I think it is, it can usually be treated through hormone pills/ injection so I’m referring you for a pelvic scan.  At last!!  So the scan was last week.

My appointment letter noted that I was due both an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound – basically both external and internal.  I’ve had both before – external ultrasound with the children and internal some time ago following an early miscarriage.  My dear husband was also in attendance. 

Same!  Hard work isn’t it?

Said Dr G as I said we had four children and continued to chat explaining what was going to happen and putting me more at ease.  I’ve decided that gynaecological sonographers (they’re still doctors) must be the customer service equivalent of the doctor world – so kind!!  Her previous appointment had cancelled so she had as much as an hour for us!

External scan – while feeling like I was going to wet myself – was relatively quick.  Right ovary looked the right size, nothing on or around it from that view – i.e. no cyst or tumou .  Quick toilet break and then the internal.  I mostly focused on a single spot on the ceiling and my breathing until pain – oh, is that tender?  Followed by a bit more prodding to firmly establish that, yes, that is tender, sore, painful.  It felt like a good 20 minutes and she said little more until I was released to get fully dressed. So the verdict? Right ovary is low down, squashed under the rectum, and could have some endometriosis behind.  And have you heard of adenomyosis?  Well, this is your womb (showing blurry black and white images on the monitor) and normally we’d expect to see a white line showing the edge of the womb about here – she indicated a grey mass – but for this stage of your cycle this is really thick. Adenomyosis is basically endometriosis in the womb muscle lining but the cells can’t shed, so the womb muscle lining gets bulky.  We’re looking for markers for adenomyosis and this is one of them.  I’m going to put you in my book of interesting cases so I can follow up.  Your doctor will refer you to the gynaecologist, and if were me, they’ll probably want a biopsy of the womb lining. 

To be honest, I’m hugely relieved that she found something abnormal – that the pain I’ve been experiencing has a reason behind it, even though it’s not quite diagnosed and I’m not sure what will be done to resolve it, I mean, can surgery raise an ovary, or is it more likely to be removed?  And yesterday I received a call from my doctor, notifying that the referral has been made.  So I’m waiting for the appointment letter and researching on how a womb lining biopsy sample is taken!  

People say things about the NHS but I’m grateful that we have it – I’ve paid national insurance and taxes so I’m glad it’s there.  It may not be perfect, mistakes can happen and things can take time, but at least it’s there for all. 

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