🗣WARNING⚠️ : This is not my usual type of posts. Other than peripheral mentions of God, because He’s always a part of my life, this posting pertains to a diagnosis that is still not well-known and I would like to get the word out. This is not what I would call a Bible posting. Also, this is about female reproductive health. Unless you’re concerned about problems your wife is having or you are a woman, you may not be interested in this post. This will not become a habit of mine. It’s simply something I feel like needs to be out there so more people know.
Adenomyosis. What the heck is that? That was my first thought. I mean…being 39, at this point, I feel like most of us have heard of endometriosis. But…adenomyosis?
After having horrible cycles since I was 11 that included them being both embarrassingly heavy and unbelievably painful,
I had no idea until about a year ago that something was wrong. I just thought that I had it worse than others. 🤷🏻♀️
Every year, since its inception, my cycle has become progressively worse in every respect. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was a single mom but on birth control to help with the aforementioned problems. Still, once a month, I would be nearly debilitated for at least one day. So, I couldn’t fathom what my life would be like if I were not on the pills. At one point my doctor eliminated the diagnosis of endometriosis. At that point, I sort of reserved myself to the fact that this was simply my lot in life – to have an excruciatingly painful cycle. I would go to work and sit at my desk with a heating pad on my belly, , a heating pad on my back, and taking hydrocodone for at least two days every month.
I should add here that I actually have an extremely high threshold for pain. I had my daughter naturally. After her birth, of course, many told me that my cycle would get better.
As you can tell, that clearly was not the case. And having a lot of medical providers in my family – everyone from surgeons to EMTs – I understand the pain scale better than most. With that many medical providers in my family, I don’t have the luxury of being overdramatic.
I generally operated between a 6 and a 7 at least one or two days every month.
Then my body went through a lot when I was remarried and we ventured out into trying to get pregnant. I immediately came off the pill and knew that all signs pointed to both of us being healthy. Yet… Even though I was 28, 29 years old, I couldn’t get pregnant. This went on for several years. I had a miscarriage. I was taking hormones. My husband was administering injections.
Long story short – because that’s for another post – I knew that God had promised me a son. So, in the midst of raging hormones and feeling defeated, I came off of everything. I stopped taking hormones, injections. I fell to my knees and prayed Hannah’s prayer and then told God that I was letting it go and leaving it with him. I went to work on a film and several months later realized I was pregnant. It was evident to all of us that God wanted me to know that it was Him and not the work of any kind of medication or medical assistance that gave my beautiful son to me. We will circle back around to this.
But…God gave me my son in the midst of this.
Again, I was told that my cycle would probably settle down a little bit after now having two children. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
My cycle proceeded to get worse and worse until I was operating between levels 7 and 9 two days every month. Hydrocodone, Tramadol, because, heating pads, the works.
After my mother witnessed this several times, and my husband became increasingly more concerned, my husband scheduled me for an appointment with the doctor who delivered my son – one of the best OB/GYN’s in the Southeast.
Yes, they found that I had some fibroids. Yes, they determined that some cysts had burst. Beyond all of this, though, she looked at me contemplatively and simply stated, “I believe you have adenomyosis.”
My response, of course, was “What the heck is that?” Thankfully, she went on to explain it.
I could never do justice to explaining it as well as she can. I will try to do my best here with the help of websites. The one thing that I should point out, though, (allow me to just throw this spoiler out there) is that the only “cure” to this disease at this time is a hysterectomy.
Mayo Clinic says, “Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result.”
The cause is invasive tissue growth. Imagine the endometrial tissue is kudzu or English ivy (depending on where you live, respectfully) and it’s taking over. Every place a vine or leaf extends will still die and slough off every month…no matter…where…it’s shoved itself.
Instead of the endometrial tissue tucking up into the ovarian tubes as would happen would endometriosis, it’s invaded the actual muscle that forms the uterine walls.
If that doesn’t give you a picture in your mind of the climbing, excruciating, pain that I and many women have endured monthly… I’m not sure what will. When you add to that the muscle spasms and back pain that already a company just monthly curse, it’s not uncommon to be completely debilitated.
Unfortunately, there’s another couple of nasty side effects to adenomyosis that is not stuck within a timeframe. Those are anemia and pain. I have a rather constant dull ache all the time. It seems to be worse on my left side but it’s not something that only comes for a few days a month and then it goes away and I get to breathe easy. Also, I’m constantly battling anemia. If you’re not sure what anemia is, the easiest way to put it is that it is low iron and you feel like crap all the time. You are too tired to do laundry, you are winded from getting the mail, and you overall just feel like garbage all the time. For this, you obviously take an iron supplement and hope for the best. At worst, you get a blood transfusion.
So, (and believe me when I say I’m leaving out a lot to make this post more readable) if the pill or an IUD doesn’t work to help you bear it long enough to wait for menopause, you’re only option for a normal life is a hysterectomy at this point.
So…I’m scheduled for one. Now, I could leave this article right here. I could leave it with the emotional ups and downs that I’m going through knowing that my baby-maker will be closed for business…for good. I could tell you about the tears that I’ve cried, the frustration that I’ve endured because I have no control over this situation. I won’t though. I’m going to leave you with this:
Remember when I said, “We will circle back around to this”? Consider yourself circled back around.
As Attain Fertility puts it, “About 1 in 100 women will have adenomyosis in their lifetime. Women in their 30s and 40s who have had one or more children are most at risk for adenomyosis and infertility…your uterus may become two or three times larger than normal. In addition, adenomyosis can cause problems with infertility. ”
IVF1 spells it out like this, “There are several reasons to suspect that adenomyosis could be a cause for infertility. The first has to do with uterine contractions. Some uterine contractions are good. There are uterus and fallopian tube contractions that help sperm to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. It seems that adenomyosis disrupts these good contraction. Later, at the time of embryo implantation, too many uterine contractions are bad. Adenomyosis may actually increase these bad contractions. The final reason is very complex. Whatever factors are responsible for the development of adenomyosis may simply make the uterus less able to allow embryos to implant.”
So, guess what? I discovered, through all of this, that my “miracle child” is even more of a miracle than I had ever imagined. Not only did God follow through on His promise to give me a son, not only did He wait until my body was cleared out of all medical intervention and medicine, but my body was literally creating a minefield environment that would never be considered even fallow at best – a body that would deter an egg from coming forth and adhering…. BUT GOD!
God said, “I will send you a husband and father to your daughter.”
God said, “Your daughter will have a brother.”
God said, “I will give you a son so prepare.”
Two people in my church cane to me and told me that they dreamt that I had a son.
I finally let go, prayed Hannah’s prayer
…and let it be. I stopped tugging on my Father’s coattails demanding, “Right now!”
My body fought it, my heart tried to whither, my mind tried to reject it, but my Spirit would not cave.
And God came through! As He always does! Yes, I may be about to have a hysterectomy; BUT GOD made a way when there was no way without medical intervention! He said, “Let there be life!” and my son was conceived in a hostile environment that would have otherwise rejected him. God said it and that settled it!
And now, as promised by God and prophesied by man though the cards were dealt firmly against me (just the way God likes it), here he is…