Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If you google it (or, Finding my people, Part II)

So, I'll make a confession, I started googling "(insert number) weeks after a D&C and no period" way before I hit 10 weeks.  It was probably after 6.  I got many hits, most of them on various pregnancy support boards.  I read post after post, and saw most women suggesting to each other some variation of  my OBs theme, "Patience, it will come."  But a few posts caught my eye, ones where women questioned whether they could be suffering from something mysterious sounding called "Asherman's Syndrome."

I perform all kinds of research for a living.  By the time I embarked on my provera challenge around 10 weeks post-D&C, I was already pretty well versed in Asherman's.  A wiki page described the ailment as follows:  "Asherman's Syndrome is a condition characterized by adhesions and/or fibrosis of the endometrium most often associated with dilation and curettage of the intrauterine cavity." Basically, the gist is that your uterus forms scar tissue after surgery.  This doesn't sound pleasant.

Strangely, when I investigate further I come across the following website:  www.ashermans.org, the home of the "International Asherman's Association."  Great!  This problem doesn't just have a name, it has a whole association backing it up.  Who introduce themselves in the following friendly fashion:  "Welcome to our site. If you are looking for information and support for Asherman's Syndrome, intrauterine adhesions/scarring, or related problems, you've found the right place."

And under the heading "Symptoms" I read:  "Most patients with Asherman's Syndrome have scanty or absent periods (amenorrhea) but some have normal periods. Some patients have no periods but feel pain at the time that their period would normally arrive each month. This pain may indicate that menstruation is occurring but the blood cannot exit the uterus because the cervix is blocked by adhesions."  Fuck yeah!  That sure sounds like me.

But as I continue to read the extremely well-presented information on the site, I start to get a bit of a sinking feeling.  Say, from this statement:  "Asherman's Syndrome is thought to be under-diagnosed because it is usually undetectable by routine diagnostic procedures such as an ultrasound scan."  Pristine lining my ass, I think to myself.

Reading the information provided by these kind people empowers me, but also frightens me.  I read about diagnostic tests that I could well need, yet barely pronounce, like sonohysterography, hysterosalpingogram, hysteroscopy.  But all of this is sort of like putting together a puzzle, and I like the idea of approaching the issues in my uterus in a Sherlock Holmesian fashion.  I read that missed miscarriage cases that require D&Cs could increase the risk of Asherman's, as well as studies that show that a woman's uterus can be vulnerable to scar tissue forming there if "retained products of conception" are left in there too long.  And I morbidly realize that I was carrying a dead baby in mine for nearly 6 weeks.

All of this is fascinating, and I am thrilled to see that the Asherman's peeps have a yahoo group that one can join, and with that membership, you get even more information, as well as the ability to talk with other women who are suffering with you.  So even though I realize am nowhere near an official diagnosis of this  malady by a medical professional, I make the decision to join this group.

Readers, this will prove to be one of the smartest decisions I have ever made in my life.

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