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37 Brighton Road, 

Sandgate, QLD

Tues-Fri, 9am-5pm

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Samantha's Endo Story - Chapter One

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My journey with Endo has been a love hate relationship, I love my life and I hate Endo. 

I'll start with the now and then go back to how my journey started.  I am two years into recovery from an event that nearly ended my life.  In August 2015 I went in for laparoscopy number 10, for me it was going to be lucky 10, the last of my surgeries as this time I was sure it was going to be cured.  I think I was working on a positive thinking strategy.  So 17th August 2015 I arrived at the hospital and went in.  I had the most amazing surgeon.  This was the 4th laparoscopy he had done in four years and by this stage I was on an annual clean out.  The surgery was nothing but routine, the Endo was removed and I was home the next day.  My wonderful husband was by my side and even made me a decorative lunch of chicken sticks shaped like a butterfly.

A few hours later I started to feel what I can only describe as a strange pinch in my abdomen.  I'm pretty experienced at recovering from this type of surgery so I knew what I was feeling wasn't quite right so I sent hubby a text (he was in the office about 15 meters away) and by the time he got to the bedroom I was in pain, and I mean serious pain.  After a quick call to the hospital my hubby phoned my surgeon, who knew me very well, and his simple instruction was to get me in the  car and get me to the emergency room.  We arrived at the hospital around 5pm.  My surgeon arrived shortly after and thus began possibly the scariest 7 hours of my life. 

I remember laying in the room, someone would come every now and then and ask me my pain level, I think I started at 50 - they were after 1-10.  IV drip, drugs, drugs and more drugs.  I do remember the look on my surgeon's face, concern would be an understatement. 

Some of the comments on my emergency department sheets put it into perspective:

  • 50/10 never experienced pain like this before
  • Vomiting
  • Nothing like usual endometriosis pain
  • Abdomen rigid, guarding, tender
  • Clearly in distress

A CT scan later and the results were in:

  • Large volume of intraperitoneal free air
  • Free fluid (large) in pelvic space
  • Fluid surrounding rectum
  • Small locules of gas within rectal fat
  • Suspicious of localised perforation

The decision was made to go in and have a look, in layman's terms the above translates to "there was suspicious fluid". 

I remember Dr Roy, his black rimed glasses and Kiwi accent (I thought he was Scottish but husband assures me he was Kiwi).  He said, we'll go in and a have a look, give it a bit of a clean up and see what is what.  So into surgery we went, it was 1am, there was a neurological case in another theater holding things up, but eventually we got underway.  Last thing I remember was the clock ticking over to 1 minute past 2 in the morning.  For you medical geeks reading this here is the request for emergency surgery form:

The next thing I remember was another clock in the recover room, it was 8:45 in the morning, I knew I was in trouble (My exact thought had the F word in it).  As I came out of the haze of anesthetic it hit me, the number of machines around me, the tubes coming out of me, this was no short quick look around to see what was what, I was in trouble.  

I had had a perforated bowel.  For those of you who don't know exactly what that means it is pretty simple, my bowel had had a leak in it and feces had gotten into my abdominal cavity.  My official diagnosis "Peritonitis and rectosigmoid perforation following endometrial ablation".  I'd had a Hartmann's procedure.  Here's the technical stuff...

The real kicker in this techno babble is the line "Stoma fashioned..."

I had a colostomy bag. 

What I loved was the note in my discharge papers:

"We wish you all the very best for your continued recovery! We know it's been a rough patch for you!"  

Those people I need to thank:

- the amazing theater nurse who sat chatting to me for an hour while we waited, we talked of puppy dogs, she shared pictures of her puppy with me.  She kept me calm and I felt safe.  

- to the wonderful staff at Canberra Emergency and my amazing surgical team for getting in and fixing me.

- to my wonderful gynecologist who turned up and stayed with and helped and supported me.

And finally to my wonderful husband who was with me every step of the way.  I couldn't have done it without you.