Ending the silence. Waging the war on Endometriosis.

Endo Warrior: Melodie Gonzalez

Endo Warrior: Melodie Gonzalez

Location: New York   Age:39

Hi,

My name is Melodie Gonzalez and I am 39 years old. I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis in 2014 and was told that a partial hysterectomy was my only option to treat the pain that I was experiencing during intercourse. I had never suffered from severe pain during my periods prior to my diagnosis, but after the birth of my third son (via c-section and at 30 weeks) I began experiencing pain that would occur during intercourse or just at odd times during the month. I had a partial hysterectomy where they removed my uterus and Fallopian tubes in February of 2014. A year later, after losing almost 100 lbs and actively running 5k’s and half marathons almost every weekend, I began feeling what felt like UTI’s. Off I went to visit my gynecologist who ran every test in the book and found nothing, so she sent me home with a round of antibiotics. The next month another bladder flare and again another round of test that revealed nothing! These episodes lasted around six months before the Fibromyalgia joined the party and completely knocked me off my feet. I no longer was able to work and could barely take care off my three young boys, and I also had to give up running because it caused an instant flare, and with all of the antibiotics and steroids I quickly began packing on the weight that I had worked so hard to lose. My GYN soon lost patience with my constant calling and so she sent me to a Urologist and Rheumatologist. The Urologist performed a cystoscopy that showed a normal bladder and no ulcers and so the obvious diagnosis was interstitial cystitis, so I was prescribed Elmiron and gabapentin, which only added to the arsenal of medication that I was already taking and was sent home to deal with the pain. The Rheumatologist also came up with nothing since all the test were also normal, with the exception of my inflammation levels which were through the roof, so she prescribed cymbalta and gave me some trigger point injections. These flares and the complete body pain were consistent for another year until it got to the point that I could not pass urine and I also began having regular menstrual periods. Yes, you heard that right, even without my uterus I began having regular menses every 40 days. My urologist decided to put an interstim in my sacrum bone and attach a wire to the bladder to see if that helped with the pain but it didn’t and at that point he had no other answers so he sent me to a pelvic pain specialist who specialty is endometriosis. I had never heard of endo prior to this visit, although bladder endometriosis was something that I had read about, I thought I was not a candidate because of my hysterectomy. It turns out that since they left my cervix it was completely possible to have endo and so I was scheduled for an exploratory lap and the removal of my cervix. The month of my surgery (June, 2017) was the hardest. I was not responding to any pain medication and not even THC was helping. I could not pass urine the right way and I spent my days soaking in a tub filled with hot water just to try and urinate. Finally, the day of my surgery came and I bet my surgeon that he would find bladder endometriosis to which he responded “I don’t think so! That’s quite rare!” I remember going under anesthesia and praying that they would find something, anything to give us an answer. My surgery was supposed to last 1 hour and was supposed to be same day but instead it took 5 hours and I ended up waking up with a foley catheter and half of my bladder missing. My surgeon said that I had one of the worst cases of bladder endometriosis that he had seen in a very long time, that my cervix had grown more endometriosis to the existing tissue that had never been removed during my initial hysterectomy, so he removed half the necrotic bladder, my cervix and all the endometriosis tissue that he possibly could. In August I also had the stimulator removed from my back since I never really needed it. It has been 3 months since my surgery and I thought it was all behind me until I started to feel that familiar pelvic pain and tenderness, and of course the fibromyalgia never left so that is still a daily battle, but I am an #endometriosiswarrior and continue to battle this war that creates itself in my body! Everyday I give this illness a voice and everyday I remind myself that I have come farther than others, so for that I am blessed! I have shown my husband and son’s that during my hardest times that I am my strongest!