Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form inside the body, binding internal organs together...and leaving the victim to suffer incredible pain. Since adhesions elude the eye of standard medical tests, and many doctors do not discuss the illness itself, a proper diagnosis of adhesions, or ARD (Adhesion Related Disorder), is often left up to the sufferer!
When you turn to a doctor for help, be thankful if your condition is quickly revealed and 100% confirmed. It's always easier to handle something if you know what it is that you must handle! One thing I learned after fighting for Melissa's health was that I had placed too much confidence in doctors. I expected "them" to find the root cause of her pain and I expected "them" to take the necessary measures that would restore her body to health. That's what doctors are for, right? I wanted her back, just as she had been before her body was assaulted by illness.
Years passed and Melissa was not any better. In fact, she grew worse. We sought out "new" doctors, believing someone held the magic key to the mystery of her debilitating pain and misery.
It took a long time, but I finally realized that doctor's are mere men (and women). They are not walking answers to illnesses. They are often limited to the training they have had and, understandably, they rely heavily upon tests to help them determine what has gone wrong in your body. Sometimes, even the "best" of these men and women will pin an illness upon you, though all the tests may not have provided a definite diagnosis of that illness.
Many doctors also rely on the "rule out" theory. They rule out illnesses: X, Y and Z...eliminating the illnesses that they are certain you do NOT have. (This is where you must hope and pray that the doctor is well versed in all illnesses, common and uncommon, and/or hope he (she) will spend their evening hours pulling medical books from the shelves, desperate to find an answer to YOUR problem!)
Let's face it folks, it ain't happening! (In all fairness to physicians, I'm sure there are a few physicians, perplexed by certain cases, who do search for an answer for their patient.)
Inconclusive tests results may also give way to a symptomatic diagnosis. If your "symptoms" (say: vomiting, pain) match the "symptoms" of a certain disease, (and diseases X, Y and Z have already been eliminated) you may soon find yourself popping pills (corticosteroids?) for that particular disease.
If your tests are inconclusive, lab work is 'normal', and your "symptoms" are vague, your doctor may likely determine that you are simply 'depressed,' and an antidepressant will be the order of the day.
Now, more than ever, all people must become savvy in regards to their health. For the woman who suffers from endometriosis, only YOU can decipher the pain that you deal with inside your body. Endometriosis is said to be a "puzzling" illness, with no known cure. Many times there is much more literature and emphasis placed on the issue of endometriosis and little emphasis in regards to adhesions that are often a subsequent (and perhaps, in some cases) the debilitating, life-limiting factor of this "puzzling" illness. If you suffer from endometriosis, I encourage you to STUDY endometriosis, along with an in-depth study about adhesions. Study the SYMPTOMS of both issues, endo and adhesions, by reading the stories of other women who have dealt with these illnesses.
You may find that YOU are the key to uncovering the answer to the pain and misery in your body!
Think. Take time to listen to your body. Decipher the different types of pain, all which can help YOU to determine what might be going on inside. Certain ailments often produce specific types of pain. (Adhesions are often described as pulling, tearing, etc.) Certain ailments also produce specific types of symptoms (Abdominal adhesions, for instance, can cause nausea and vomiting.)
Finally, fight for the right to become whole in body and find a doctor who will help you in that fight.
The pain of adhesion related disorder, (adhesions) is one that has been shrouded in silence. Many doctors do not speak the dreaded word.
Adhesions, (scar tissue) is the body's way of healing itself after trauma. Surgery is trauma to the body. Countless unsuspecting women have become victims of adhesion related disorder due to surgical procedures, especially in cases of open abdominal surgery (laparotomy).
Adhesions can also form in the body of a person who has never had surgery (as was in Melissa's case), as inflammation, endometriosis, ruptured ovarian cysts, etc., can all lead to adhesion formation.
Knowledge about your pain and suffering, especially when it concerns adhesions, or adhesion related disorder, will likely come via your own research! Be your own best doctor by researching and studying your condition!
Adhesion sufferers are all too familiar with the exhausting trips in and out of doctors' offices in hope of finding a doctor who will help them. This posting in not meant as an advertisment for Mercola: I can relate to this! but rather as food for thought for those who feel hopeless when it comes to pain, medicine, and health related issues. The Teflon application in this story reminds me of the touted "injection" that was pushed at Melissa at her follow-up visit after her first surgery in which adhesions were revealed. The surgeon who uncovered the true cause of illness--adhesions--later insisted that she be 'treated' for the pain of endometriosis. (Confusing enough, huh?).......So, here's the question: did the doctor have Melissa's pain and suffering, her best interest, at heart? Or was there an ulterior motive behind the suggested 'treatment'? You'll find the answer in:
Sick women turn themselves inside out when searching for an answer to disabling pelvic and abdominal pain, yet countless women will encounter doctor after doctor, but will never hear the word ADHESIONS!
Why then, does the Johnson and Johnson company make this statement: "many women don't know about adhesions," and then complete that statement in this manner: "and don't discuss the subject with their doctors before having gynecologic surgery-or afterwards when these problems develop. But you should."
"Adhesions occur in the majority of women who have pelvic surgery."
But then it seems as if the patient is blamed for not asking about adhesions prior to surgery. (Yet, the statement also says that many, (repeat: MANY) women don't know about adhesions!)
Once again, the doctor is not pinned to the wall of accountability, but rather the patient is held accountable to KNOW something to which she has no knowledge!!
The statement seems to slap the patient again when it says that the 'women' don't discuss with their doctor "afterwards when these problems develop." (And just why do these 'women' not discuss with their doctor afterwards? Could it possibly be because they still don't KNOW about adhesions??)
The patient is the responsible party all the way to the last statement: "But you should."
Though I understand the Johnson and Johnson website is acknowledging and attempting to educate in regard to adhesions, it would be nice to read: "Your doctor (surgeon)should discuss with you the risk of adhesion formation prior to surgery. Your doctor (surgeon)should explain to you the symptoms of adhesions should you develop problems after surgery. If your doctor (surgeon) does NOT disclose to you the risk of adhesions, you should ASK your doctor (surgeon) about those risks."
Given the many, many, many who have suffered and continue to suffer from adhesions and adhesion related disorder, and the countless women who were uninformed of the risk prior to surgery, it seems rather insulting to those who already suffer to feel:
Have you had surgery, yet continue in pain? Have you had repeated surgeries, yet continue in pain? Have you read your operative reports? If not, dig them out of that bottom drawer (iron them out) and read carefully. Do you see the word adhesions? If so, it's time to talk to your doctor, or better yet, do your own research!
Many women have never heard the word 'adhesions,' from their doctor (surgeon), yet, upon closer inspection of their operative reports, many have learned that they have adhesions!
Unfortunately, some surgeons can't seem to get the dreaded 'adhesions' word to leave their mouth, thus the patient is not informed and none the wiser. Other surgeons continue to believe that adhesions don't cause pain...(OUCH!)
It's true--some people have adhesions and never even know they have them (and have no related symptoms from the adhesions), however, many others have a crippling and disabling condition: Adhesion Related Disorder.
Adhesion Sufferers sometimes describe their pain as: pulling, tearing, dull ache...and just plain old 'pain'! Symptoms may include, nausea, vomiting, headaches, back pain, stomach pain and pelvic pain. Some sufferers complain of breathing difficulties--the diaphragm is involved. These are just some of the symptoms of adhesion related disorder.
When goodness abounds, evil will arise, for evil despises good. May this poem inspire those who do good to persist in their endeavor and may those who do evil ponder the ultimate consequences of "sowing and reaping".
How Do I Live? How Will I Die?
I rise in the morning and make my bed.
My mind is alive with wonder or dread.
What will I plant as I go through the day?
Will it be a flower or a garden of decay?
When I look at you will I see God's creation?
Or will I curse you because of my own desperation?
From the depth of my heart what do I share?
Is it kindness and love or hate and despair?
When your face is radiant do I compliment you?
Or does your joy only cause my hatred to brew?
Do I ever stop to think about the seeds that I sow?
Do I ever consider that what I’ve planted will grow?
Am I such a fool to think I’ll not die?
When I curse you and spread vicious hate and lies?
For only a fool would think nothing is lost
When he harms and maims, but counts not the cost.
O man, what a fool, to think he’ll not answer
For the evil that arises from a soul filled with cancer.
For the day will come for each on this earth.
The moment of death that finalizes your birth.
And what will the years in between have to tell?
A story of love or a story of hell?
For what I have lived will open my grave,
And what I receive will be just what I gave.
Is it any wonder that ill women are confused? Thinking Melissa had been misdiagnosed, we began going to other doctors in hope of finding one who knew the correct answer to the pain in her body. We found that for every ten doctors, we got ten different answers...and these answers came after repeating the same countless blood tests, along with scans, upper gi's, etc. For years on end, we circled the same mountain, and always ended up right back where we started! Looking back we now realize that we gained as much knowledge (and help) about her illness as if we had stayed home playing spin the bottle, and just pulled out our own diagnosis! One doctor said one thing, another doctor disagreed with the previous doctor and the next doctor said that the first two were both morons and that we should've come to him in the first place (!!), as he could see that Melissa was simply...(close your eyes cause you WON'T want to read it): "DEPRESSED!"
(And, amazingly, these men get paid for insulting you.)
But, determined to get help (or perhaps too dense to quit?), we never gave up. Hallelujah!
When my daughter was suffering, I could see nothing but darkness. Doctors failed her, and failed her miserably. I made a vow to God that I would be a voice for others who suffer if He would just show me what was wrong with my child and help me to find an answer to her life of pain.
God came through.
Doctors: Bound By Secrecy? Victims: Bound By Pain! is the fulfillment of the promise that I made. May Melissa's long journey of pain and hoplessness be an inspiration to others who feel they have lost all hope.
Melissa, Wes, & Thomas's newest family member, Otis! He is a mini schnauzer and already house trained (what a great guy!). A while back, I recall Melissa saying, "My dog buying days are over!" However, her beloved schnauzer, Odie, passed away a few weeks ago. Melissa is still grieving and wasn't ready for a new dog, but poor little Thomas was wondering where Odie went! She decided they had to find the "perfect dog." And, Otis is turning out to be that perfect dog! (He and Thomas rip it through the house!) Otis is supposedto stay tiny (only about 8 pounds).
I had to laugh when I saw the puppy she chose, as he looks like the ARD pin!!
So, I am making Otis the official ARD Awareness Mascot! (At least for our family! I think a dog this cute could easily promote ARD awareness!)
The information found on this website is to share the personal story of my daughter's trying journey with Adhesion Related Disorder. This website is designed solely to: inform, educate, and shatter the silence that surrounds the illness of adhesions, or ARD (Adhesion Related Disorder). The postings within this site are the opinions of the author and/or guests who post here. No content of this website should be construed as medical advice. This site does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician for all matters concening physical and mental health. 3/14/07