Sunday, March 04, 2012

Caution - May be TMI for some!

I got my period when I was 12. It was sheer hell from day one. I had no idea at the time why, but it was awful. By the time I was 15 I was on birth control to try to control it. At 17 I had a laparoscopy & D&C to see what was going on, and was diagnosed with endometriosis. Back then there wasn't much to do about it other than continue with birth control, so I did.

In my mid-20s I found an amazing doctor. She let me take the pill all the time so I never had a period. It was the best period of my life, pun intended. Sadly in 2003 I developed a blood clot in my leg, so there went the pill. My period returned with a vengeance. Every month seemed to be worse & worse. I started missing work because of it. I referred to the flow as hemorrhaging, it was so bad. No protection was enough, and the clotting was terrible. I felt like vomiting and passing out the entire week, and couldn't stand upright for the pain. However, aside from trying an IUD, there were no options for me. No one wanted to do a hysterectomy when I was in my 30s because they were concerned I'd change my mind about having kids and regret it.

Funny enough, I recently asked my doctor to send me to see someone about my defective bladder. The doctor he referred me to  is an OBGYN. In the course of the exam he asked about my period, so I told him how bad it was. He wondered why I hadn't done anything about it before. I said I had no options, and he said I did - a hysterectomy. He explained that he could do one that would remove the uterus, tubes, & cervix but leave the ovaries so I wouldn't immediately go into menopause. He told me to think about it and do some research, then we could discuss it again.

I talked to John and some of friends about it. It seemed a bit extreme, but tempting. In the end, after much discussion and research, I decided to go ahead. As the doctor said, it's not like I am using the equipment!

So, on Feb 29, I had a hysterectomy. It's been interesting so far. My surgery was delayed by an emergency, then an emergency c-section, but just after 9:30 I was taken in. Just after noon I was already being moved from recovery to a room. Wednesday was an adventure. Despite my dislike of painkillers I allowed them to give me 3 injections of morphine. Jennifer & Michelle laughed at me, saying it was the only time they have seen me stoned. It probably will be the only time too, girls!

I had a bad time on Wednesday night. Time seemed to have stopped moving. The woman next me to begged for pain medication every 10-15 minutes. I hated to ask for it, so I ended up waiting too long. That was unpleasant and led to some tears. Fortunately by Thursday morning I felt a bit better, and wasn't so emotional.

Eventually I was moved to the maternity wing, which is where I should have been all along. I found that a bit ironic, actually, given that there would be no babies for me now ; ) There was a lot of activity to keep me entertained. I got a chuckle from watching the new fathers wander the halls with their babies. The men looked like they had been hit on the head. They were stunned by the babies, and I sure each one felt that he was the only person who had ever had a baby, it was that amazing. It was fun to watch. The moms weren't like that. They were more practical about things - what do I now, what does the baby need, and so on. The dads were dumbstruck.

By Thursday afternoon I decided to stop taking pain medication. It's a bit easier to deal with pain when you know it's temporary, and since I hate it so much I decided to just do without. One of the nurses was quite surprised by this, and kept checking with me in case I changed my mind. The doctor who eventually discharged me was also quite surprised that I didn't want to go home with pain killers. I'm not saying it's not painful, just that I chose to not take them.

I got home on Saturday morning. They took the stitches out before I left the hospital. I hate having them taken out almost as much as I hate having IVs removed. At least that was done on Friday so I could spend one day in the hospital without it. Those things hurt.

So far things have been OK at home. I am definitely moving around more, which is good, but that leads to  more pain. I am making an effort to stand up straight, because I have been hunched over since the surgery. Now my back aches. I just have to stay focused on my posture and hopefully that will resolve itself. My stomach is quite distended still, partly because of the gas they use, and partly from swelling I think. I imagine that'll disappear in a few days.

Poor John is already feeling tired. He's having trouble trying to wrangle the dog, get dinner, keep things tidy, and do some actual work. I'm going to have to start pitching in more soon, so he doesn't have to do so much. He didn't get to bed until 1:30am this morning, and he can't keep that up for 6 weeks.

In the end though, I think I made the right decision. The doctor said that I have endometriosis throughout my abdomen. He got a lot of it out by removing things down there, but there is a lot that is left. He tried to cauterize as much as possible, but there is still some on my ovaries, bladder, and ligaments. I don't know what will happen with that. I will still ovulate every month, but without a uterus I won't have an actual period so I don't know I'll feel if anything.

Anyway, that's it for now. I may update this as things progress, or may not. We'll see. Sorry for the personal nature, but it is an interesting experience. And while I'm on a roll with too much personal information, I would like to mention that the pubic shave job the nurse gave is quite something, and not in a good way. It's no Brazilian! Can't wait for that stubble to grow in.

1 comment:

  1. Crikey Constance, sounds like you have been having problems for many years it does sound like you definitely made the right decision with the op. You know if John gets too overwhelmed, just give me a call and I will be right there to help - even if its getting groceries or cleaning. Don't overdo it too soon you still need to heal inside.