Written by Cassaundra Escandon, guest blogger
Hi There, My name is Cassaundra, I am 27 years old, married to an amazing man for almost two years, I am a follower of Christ, LOVER of coffee, and spend my days supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health.
As I am sure for a lot of you endo warriors who experienced or are currently experiencing this process- It was tiring, relentless, and painful. In 2011 I had an ectopic pregnancy that was removed (tube and ovaries stayed put at that time). Fast-forward to 2015- my life was not going as planned. As any woman struggling with endometriosis I was in pain beyond functioning daily. I had exhausted all of my resources (GI specialist, upper scope, colonoscopy, family doctor, blood work, ultrasounds, ER visits ect). With all the tests, prodding and poking the only conclusion I got was “there is nothing wrong”. Well, as all you ladies know far to well- I MOST CERTAINLY knew something was definitely not right. I am not going to lie- at this point I was feeling pretty crazy! Mind you, I had always had horrendous periods since the age of 9. That is how it had always been, making it the “norm” for me. This reoccurring pain that I had gotten over many years of my life off and on, had now become 24/7. The pain that I experience other than awful periods where I am in bed for days on high doses on Tordol and Muscle Relaxants is pain along the left side all in to my bowels. The pain is debilitating and no amount of medication takes it away. I have to lie on my left side (as in apply pressure), ride it out and standing intensifies it largely. I was at a loss. I was becoming not well enough to work or function at all in society on a day-to-day basis.
After speaking to my best friend’s mother (whose previous situation seemed to resemble my current) I went to my family doctor and had a referral put in to a gynaecologist. Fast-forward and I got the appointment, went in with my long list of avenues I had already exhausted (colonoscopy, endoscopy, blood work, ultrasounds ect.) and all the results. By the grace of God the doctor didn’t believe it could be endometriosis but agreed to go in and have a look (basically to quiet me up). At this point I was more than ready. I could not continue on living, working, planning a wedding (9 months away), enjoy being newly engaged, or being 25 this way. My surgery date was set for a month, so I waited. I prayed. I felt crazy -“what if there is nothing wrong inside? will this pain ever go away? am I going crazy? is this from all those years I was anorexic? what will people think if there is still nothing medically wrong?” and on my brain spun. The Holy Spirit just kept bringing me back to a place of peace, trust, love, and strength.
My surgery day came and I was terrified. I came out not knowing much until my follow-up appointment two weeks later. I found out I was not crazy, I did in fact have stage 4 endometriosis, adhesions, and a ton of ovarian cysts (one the size of an orange). I had a lot of cysts off and on over the years leading up to this point as well. My ovaries, intestines, and tubes where all stuck together by webs of scar tissue. I began taking continuous birth control for the next 8 months (until the wedding). We were told to consider freezing eggs, chances may not be on our side and that we needed to start trying soon. This was a hard pill to swallow. Both Sean and I have always wanted kids, the devil would try to fill my mind with “you need to start trying now, you’ll never have kids, what if you miss your opportunity”. Sean and I remained focus on Jesus, his will, and trusting that if it is God’s will for us to have a child, it will happen on God’s time. Trying for a child before marriage was not a part of God’s plan for us. Sean and I both knew that and God filled us with faith, strength, hope, patience, and love. God put focusing on preparing for a Christ centered marriage on the priority list, and a child to come.
I was feeling a lot of pain relief from the surgery other than awful periods. I had some days of flaring pain (but not 24/7). Slowly the pain started coming back and within two years the pain was so unbearable that I had to take a sick leave from work for three months until my surgery date arrived. I could not work, sleep, eat, or cope. My surgery date came February 23rd of this year. My fertility specialist went in cleaned up all the endo, adhesions, and removed my right tube (where I had the ectopic in 2011). The pain has most definitely been decreased. PRAISE GOD!! I also strictly follow the endometriosis diet and have been for a while. It’s my life saver. Truly that’s how I keep my pain at bay most of the time. I have made sure to really be strict since this last surgery. One night I was not very strict (a few ciders, and sugar icing) …Let’s just say it took me a week to recover. I find the most relief and can manage my symptoms with being gluten free, dairy free, refine sugar, and soy free. I eat chicken and fish, but not pork, beef or lamb.
I pray for each and every one of you warriors battling this relentless monster ENDO. I write to help myself clear my mind, identify thoughts, feelings and to hopefully be helpful to others going through similar situations. Know that no matter where you are on this journey, that you are not alone and that all of us ENDO SISTERS have each others back. If fighting infertility you also are not alone and what brings me comfort on the darkest and most painful days is that Jesus would never put such a strong desire in our hearts and not fill it. That is a promise and fact. Now the other side of the coin is- Jesus is in control, it is Gods timing, and we must wait. Wait for God to reveal his plan. I know one thing and that is I will be a mom. I don’t know when, or how. I don’t know if Baby E will grow in my belly, or someone else’s. But I do know I will hold Baby E one day.