I am a week post laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis excision. I have suffered chronic pain and fatigue and have seen countless doctors for over a decade. The last year has been hard and the last 6 months has been nothing short of depressing. As someone who loves to move, not being able to walk around the block with my kids without being in significant pain has been a hard challenge.
Moving has always made me feel better and helped me through pain. Honestly it was a big factor in helping my anxiety as well. The last 2-3 months I have not been able to exercise. The only movement I was doing was cleaning the house or trying to play with my boys and neither of those things lasted long most days because I would have so much pain in my low back/tailbone/hip on my right side. I have seen trainers and people say that lack of exercise is the reason why you are hurting or that it is just an excuse to not workout. It breaks my heart because I know that there are plenty of people who are genuinely in pain like I have been. And one thing I hope to have is empathy and to work alongside whoever is trying their best to create healthy movement habits.
This was just a couple hours after surgery. I was diagnosed with stage 2 endometriosis. It was pretty much all the posterior wall of my rectum and a spot behind my left ovary. Did you know roughly 95% of woman with endometriosis are misdiagnosed with IBS? One of the first things I noticed coming out of surgery was the difference in how my stomach and my bloating felt (even with being filled with gas). The constant ache I felt in my stomach/abdomen area wasn’t there, the “lumps” I had under my breasts were pretty much nonexistent. Just the feeling of inflammation in my body being greatly reduced. I had just had surgery, I definitely felt it, but I felt so different! It sounds crazy that it would make that big of a difference, but you have to remember I have been dealing with this constant aches and pains for over 10 years!
Something I have always been passionate about, and why I love working with prenatal and postpartum women, is pelvic floor health. Before even having my kids, I suffered from pelvic floor dysfunction where I had a tight pelvic floor. I started pelvic floor physical therapy about 8 years ago before it was very recognized. I was literally driving almost 2 hours for my appointments!
I graduated from physical therapy and have spent most of the years since practicing what I had learned from my therapist as well as what I have learned from trainings, certifications, and research. I started pelvic floor physical therapy again about 3 months ago because I knew my pelvic floor was tight. Even though I could relax it and had really good control, I couldn’t keep it relaxed. Most days physical therapy caused a lot of pain, but it was actually really fun this time around! I was able to explain better the muscles I was noticing not working and able talk through what I thought was happening. Physical therapy unfortunately wasn’t helping. We eventually agreed that the pain I was feeling was not due to the tight pelvic floor but instead, the pain was causing a reactionary response to tighten my pelvic floor. I was constantly reminding myself during the day to work on my core breaths and relax my pelvic floor. I think it was the third day after the surgery that the thought crossed my mind that I needed to relax and do my core breaths…. My pelvic floor was already relaxed!!!
For the first time in months my pelvic floor was relaxed without me having to focus on it! I cried. If I could have gotten one thing out of this surgery it was getting rid what was causing me to have the tight pelvic floor because pelvic floor dysfunction causes so many other issues that I was dealing with before surgery. I’m excited to go back to physical therapy now and work on any remaining issues I might have.
Because I have felt so good recovery has been really hard. I’m not supposed to be doing anything for at least 2 weeks. I feel like I want to run again… My body feels like it wants to run again! I have pushed myself more than what I should have a few times but I’m working really hard on trying to stay in my bed and not try to do all the things. I know that rest is just as important for the body as exercise. I’m excited for the day I can start working out again. My back/hip/tailbone pain hasn’t really been there yet so my hope is that means we were able to figure out the problem. I’m optimistic that it will at least reduce the pain to the point that movement and exercise does not cause pain.
So here's to anyone else who has been struggling with pain. Keep moving the best you can and don't give up!