August 17, 2010

Gory Pain Story

Ah, it was so nice to have a little break. But it's also so nice to be home.

The day I got back, though, I had a pretty rough night. A lot of it was melodrama from my head, but it's spurred me to do some more research into PCOS and other problems related to my wonderful reproductive organs. This post may be a little "TMI" for some as it deals with such organs and their workings. But come on, what do you expect from a bearded lady's blog?

Every now and then, from two weeks to a day or two before my period, I get a severe, sharp pain in my lower abdomen, around where my ovaries sit, that makes me feel like I've torn some intimate muscle--or something's going to burst. I'm doubled over, and pain killers don't help. It only lasts for about an hour while I lie in bed shaking uncontrollably, a hot water bottle on the offended region, and when I wake up I feel a little tender and achy from all that tension, but not sore to the touch.

This happens maybe only twice a year, for probably as long as I've had a regular cycle. When I asked my previous doctor about it (the one who sent me to the dermatologist for my hirsutism and I didn't know any better than to listen to him) he shrugged and called it an "ism" that involved my ovaries, and I can't for the life of me recall the word now. It was well implied that he just intended me to live with it. And so I've gotten used to it. I still get nervous, but I know it'll pass if I just ride it out. Except that this year alone it's happened four times already.

The night I came home, I woke up to the pain building swiftly, and lay in bed with the hot water bottle as per usual. But when I fell asleep again, I had a nightmare that the mattress was soaked in blood and I was dying, and I woke up having an anxiety attack. My muscles were so sore from clenching and shaking that I felt like I had one of those fevers that makes your joints ache and your skin sensitive, and I thought something inside me had burst and I was going to septic shock. Taking my temperature assured me I was fine, just scared out of my wits into hot flashes and chills. Hypochondria makes life interesting, that's for sure.

Rest assured I'm feeling totally fine now, but the experience shook me up a lot.

Because I somehow have always assumed the pain is to do with my ovaries, I've started to wonder if the Spiro and fooling around with my hormones has exacerbated the problem. I know it's not ovulation pain, as about 95% of the time it happens after that. From my recent readings I've looked at everything from luteal phase defects to endometriosis to things not even involving the organs, like muscle and spinal cord issues, which can actually make you feel like the pain is emanating from somewhere deeper. The confusing thing about PCOS is that while quite a few cysters have severe, acute pain similar to that, there are so many different kinds of ovarian cysts, and not all usually cause pain--though some can twist, and burst.

So there's going to be a lot to investigate, but I think it's time I do so. I've joined a fertility charting site just so I can keep track of any specific correlations between my cycle and the pain (I'm a nerd, I like my graphs). And on my next visit with the endo, I'm going to start with a request for an ultrasound. The endo has said the most accurate way to tell what's going on would be to go for an ultrasound while I'm in pain, but I'd only have a one hour window and I can barely stand, never mind walk, when I'm in the midst of it. Perhaps they may be able to see some scarring, or at least be able to see if I have any kind of cysts at all. That'd be nice to know. It's not a required symptom of PCOS, but it might help me to know if i fall under that fairly expansive label.

So, I hope I haven't freaked anyone out. I really do feel 100% better now. I usually don't talk about this kind of thing, but while I've been surfing the net to get an idea of what I should be looking at, I have really appreciated every single gory pain story a gal has posted online. You feel so much less afraid when someone else has expressed exactly what you're going through--or worse.

I'll try to find something more light-hearted to post later this week.

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