For my regular readers, I’m back. I took a short sabbatical to heal from some necessary procedures.
As I go through changes and challenges with my own body, I’ve been thinking a lot about reproductive health, I realize more and more the miracles and mayhem the female body goes through and how we need to advocate throughout our lives for our needs.
My reproductive system has been through a lot in myl lifetime. As I immerse into perimenopause and beyond, I must continue to advocate for my body parts.
I’m thankful to have had many good medical professionals and am grateful for the access to health care and education that has allowed me to make decisions about my body.
I had a moderately-sized ovarian cyst and hydrosalpinx (a blocked fallopian tube).
Although medical care has seemingly advanced with more diversity in our medical providers, still, often, when a woman is my age, they would do a hysterectomy and possibly remove the ovaries, along with the fallopian tubes and perhaps the uterus, to prevent further issues in those areas ,since they would “not be using them” to have more children.
However, it is important to me that I have a voice in my medical care. I want to keep my ovaries, thus not being thrust into early menopause and having to manage the hormonal repercussions that come with medically induced menopause.
The past few years I have had lot of pain and tenderness in my abdominal area, unexplained weight gain and a complete loss of energy. It took several trips to the doctor to explore enough to find out what was going on over an extended period of time.
I knew perimenopause had started around 2015 when I was in my early 40s and the hormonal fluctuations along with insanely painful, blinding migraines coming back with a vengeance. I started having intense bouts of anxiety, usually in the predome phase of my migraines.
In September 2020, my primary care NP had sent me to a surgeon after feeling the swelling and density of my abdomen. I went to see the surgical specialist and he briefly felt my lower right abdomen and said he did not think I had a lipoma (fatty tumor) and said there was not anything much to do and to see if it continued to bother me.
I continued to have pain, bloating and swelling, and weight gain – even with appropriate nutrition and moderate activity. My energy was draining more and more, so my workouts were very sporadic and I was not enthusiastic. My yoga practice waned and I felt very conflicted that I was not living the life I envisioned. I felt frustrated and exhausted.
In April this year I returned to my primary doctor (now an MD since my awesome NP had since retired) and she said I needed to go for a CT scan of my abdomen due to the ongoing and unexplained issues. She completed blood work, checked my hormones and other measures. I had planned a trip to Colorado for a yoga retreat as a step toward regaining my energy and resetting my self-care and was going to be gone over Mother’s Day. I discussed with my doctor waiting until I returned for the CT scan so that if I had anything requiring invasive or intense care, I would not have that looming over me on my retreat.
The yoga retreat was amazing and felt really in tune with what I needed at the time. I still was feeling tired, but was able to do the two-a-day yoga classes and go for a six mile hike in the mountains. It felt good, albeit slow and steady, to become more active and somewhat shake myself out of my slump. I felt it reignited a fire in me of my love of yoga and my passion for wellness and yearning for connection.
When I returned, I arranged to have the imaging completed and found I had a golf ball sized ovarian cyst and several other concerns, which explained most of the symptoms. I met with an obgyn and after further imaging and testing it was concluded surgery was appropriate to remove the cyst and along with it my fallopian tubes which were no longer properly functioning.
It’s hard for me to take time off from my “day job,” as I am someone who enjoys working and especially feels dedicated to the work I do and the people that I work with, but knowing I am also an advocate for taking time to fully recover, rejuvenate and heal, I took the time for the surgery.
It is now a little over a week after surgery. I am well rested and healing appropriately and I am working to find my energy. I feel like it has already made a difference between the surgery and the real rest. I feel like I’m on the road where I need to be and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my future.
Importantly, being able to advocate and access health care options has been invaluable in my life.
I hope you are all healthy and happy and I look forward to hearing from you on https://www.facebook.com/lizjoneswellness.co/.
Liz Jones is the owner of Liz Jones Wellness LLC, in Hunt and Rockwall counties, and is building Jones Wellness Ranch north of Greenville. She can be reached at Liz@LizJones.co or through her website at LizJones.co.