Note: There might be some TMI moments in this post, but I want to share my story in hopes of helping others.
March 2020 was the start of something no one could have predicted. Like many other moms, I entered 2020 thinking this year was going to be one of the best years yet! Boy, was I about to be in for the shock of a lifetime.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Before COVID was a term, I had been dealing with some medical issues I thought were part of my endometriosis coming back. Since I was 17-years-old, I have battled endometriosis. I have had more than 12 surgeries in my lifetime for it, as it has grown on my bladder, bowels, moved my uterus and even took an ovary. The reason I had so many surgeries was because I wanted to have a chance at carrying my own child, which I was able to finally do.
After having Easton in 2015, I didn’t really have very many issues with my endometriosis. The funny thing about endometriosis is that it can make getting pregnant hard, but pregnancy can be the best thing for it. So, I found it a relief to think that maybe I was going to be one of those people who no longer had endometriosis issues after pregnancy.
In mid-2019, I began to feel as though maybe I was having some issues that were pointing to my endometriosis coming back. As I said, the bowels were one area that the endometriosis seemed to like and I have always had a nervous stomach, so I chalked it up to my endometriosis.
In October, I also began experiencing some bleeding, but it wasn’t major. Because my endometriosis would affect my bowels, I just assumed it was an issue from that. Plus, it seemed to be worse around ovulation and my period, which again, made me think even more my endometriosis was coming back. Even though I was having some issues, I had dealt with similar issues before and they weren’t consistent. With endometriosis, there really is no cure and I really wasn’t in the mood for a surgery. So, I just thought I would deal with it. Like I said, nothing I had never dealt with before.
In December and January though, I had reached the point where I was ready to seek help. My tailbone was now hurting, the bleeding kept on, and I was even getting pain in my butt cheek that went all the way down my leg. Sorry to be TMI, but I just want to let you know my symptoms in case anyone ever gets anything similar.
In January 2020, I decided to make an appointment with my GI. In 2013, I had similar issues happen to where I had a colonoscopy that came back clean and then went to my OB for an endometriosis surgery. Therefore, I thought I would repeat the same process again.
During the appointment, my GI found a fissure and prescribed me some really fun medicine. So, I had an answer. This is why I was probably bleeding. However, the fissure was probably due to the endometriosis coming back and growing on my bowel. Therefore, I made an appointment with my OB in March, as we had some events and things taking place in January and February. You know all too well that as moms we put ourselves on the back burner and schedule appointments around other things.
Then, COVID happened. Because there really is no cure for endometriosis and the surgery would be considered elective, my appointment got pushed three times. I was finally able to go to my appointment in May. But the crazy thing is, I was even thinking about cancelling my appointment because I actually felt I was getting better. However, thanks to a push by my mom, I went. I won’t lie; I was nervous to go because of COVID, but I also wanted to know if it was my endometriosis causing all these issues.
After the ultrasound and talking to my OB about what was going on, he suggested we do a CT scan to check things out. This appointment was on May 6. On May 11, I had a CT scan and my OB called me personally. I should have known this wasn’t good. He told me that they found something near the tailbone and had already called my GI because I needed a colonoscopy ASAP. On May 15, I had the colonoscopy and everything changed.
There was a mass and it was cancer. Anal cancer.
Be careful, but don’t skip your doctor appointments.
Yes, COVID is scary, but be proactive. Wash your hands, stay home when sick, but please, do not let COVID keep you from the doctor.
I did have fatigue and other things going on, too. But, I am a mom of a five-year-old and I have two teenage daughters. We are in social distancing. I thought maybe some depression might have been happening.
Please, listen to your body. Do not be scared to go to the doctor. I am 37. THIRTY SEVEN! The last thing I ever thought I would have is cancer. Honestly, I thought it was my endometriosis. I almost cancelled that OB appointment. Thank goodness my mom told me to still go.