Month: June 2014

The Hysterectomy: Or, How I Had An Internal Organ Removed and Learned To Pick Things Up Off The Floor With My Monkey Toes.

Good Monday morning, everyone.

As you may already know (we KNOW!!!), I had my hysterectomy on June 12. I started week 2 of being off work, but it feels like all this happened 11 months ago, not 11 days ago. I think that’s mainly because of the pain medication I was on. I’d take it and feel like the world had slowed down. I would talk and it seemed like it took my brain an agonizing amount of time to make my mouth spill the words. I also slept. A lot. Two pills and I’d be out for hours, which I’m sure my mom appreciated. I’m staying with her to recover, and if she wasn’t already an amazing mother, she climbed to extra super amazing dealing with me.

I’m not a difficult or demanding patient; I have these silly little meltdowns where I’d just start crying, though. I guess they aren’t “silly”…the first few were pain-related. Shifting in the recliner to get more comfortable hurt, but going from sitting to standing and back to sitting was extremely difficult and sometimes excruciating at first. I have this area in particular on my left side that feels like I’m being stabbed with a burning knife when I move and that would make me lose it. The others have been more emotional. Last Sunday, for example, I meant to send my dad a simple “Happy Father’s Day!” text, but ended up having an emotional crisis about how now I’d never be able to make him a grandfather now and oh, Jesus, here it comes again. I had the same meltdown with my mom later that day, too. Both parents reassured me it’s okay, my health comes first, all that stuff, but it’s still a pretty hard pill to swallow, even given my pre-hysterectomy stance that I didn’t want kids. This is just a more very definitely permanent affirmation I won’t be having any.

My favorite meltdown was last Thursday morning because it was the funniest–well, now it’s funny. It was very real and very distressing then. I woke up sweaty. Strike one. I woke up with a headache. Strike two. I waddled into the living room and didn’t want to sit down on the couch (too low to the ground) or in the recliner (I’ve sat in it for days), so I just burst out bawling. I think that one kind of scared my mom because it came out of nowhere; just her 32-year-old daughter sobbing in the middle of her living room. Good times.

The pain in general is better, just this pesky area on my left side that’s a constant reminder something is amiss. At least I don’t feel like I’m being ripped open when I cough. Laughing still kind of hurts, and sneezing really hurts, but not nearly as bad as it did a few days ago. My belly still gets swollen after I eat or drink, and my appetite really hasn’t returned, which I guess isn’t such a terrible thing because ever since this crap started after I had my colposcopy nearly a month ago, I’ve lost like, 17 pounds. “Hey ladies! Want to lose weight? Have a shitty uterus and get a hysterectomy! I lost nearly 20 pounds in 3 weeks!”

Since my belly hurts when I try to bend over too far, I have called upon my simian ancestors and am using my freaky long toes to pick up objects from the floor when reaching down to do so isn’t an option just yet. Believe me, I’ve tried and am instantly greeted by the pesky left side stabby/burny pain going “LOL! NOPE!” It’s really rather handy to have monkey toes, and my most impressive pick-up so far has been my telephone. “Big deal,” right? Well, in transferring my phone to my hand, my big toe unlocked the screen and opened up my Facebook app, so yeah, it was kind of a big deal. How did my toes know I was going to check FB? Eerie.

The only thing I’ve really noticed that’s changed body-wise is…pooping. It takes forever to poop. I know part of this is taking narcotics because those cause constipation, but I’ve been proactive in keeping myself from getting too blocked up, but seriously, it takes me twenty minutes to poop. I think it’s having my guts somewhat rearranged and shifted around. Whatever it is, it’s kind of annoying. I also think my bladder is acting up a bit, but in reality, it’s probably back to normal-ish. The fibroid I had was pretty g.d. massive, so when I’d drink anything, my bladder would get squished by the fibroid and I’d have to pee now and often. But now I don’t have this thing pressing into me and my bladder is probably all “whee! I have room now!” You’re welcome, bladder.

I go back to the doctor for my post-op appointment this Friday and see how things are going, how I’m healing (fine, I think…the strips covering my incisions are falling off), and see if I’m good to start driving and if I’m okay to go back to work. If so, I’ll be on light duty for the next four weeks, which makes me anxious because that means I’ll be stuck sitting at my desk during that time and I’ll probably go crazy. What fun! I also need to discuss hormones with her. I kept my ovaries, but one is not in the best shape, and the doctor was going to remove it, but decided against it because of the extend of damage my uterus/fibroid had caused, she kept it out of sympathy, I guess. She did say this thing is shot to hell and it will most likely need removed some time down the road, but for now, it stays. Anyway, hormones. I want to see if there’s a way to get them more leveled out or whatever. I’m suspicious that crying over not wanting to sit down is exactly normal behavior for an almost 33-year-old woman.

The most annoying thing about recovery, aside from pain, crying fits, and everything else, is that it’ll be a few weeks until I can ride a bicycle again and this is really frustrating to me. My bike, Ruby, has been sidelined because she is a cruising machine, meant for short rides on level ground, when I’m interested in longer rides with varying topography, but she’s just too big and lunky to deal with it. However, my gentleman friend has most graciously and kindly fixed up an old bike of his for me and is loaning it to me until I can get a different bike. We spent time working on it together–well, he did all I work. I was there for moral support and to hold the frame steady. I’m a good helper! But anyway, so this bike is polished and ready for me to ride and I can’t just yet. It’s really frustrating, so I hope these next weeks go by quickly and I heal up all proper-like so I can ride this thing. Until then, I whine.

There you have it. Here’s my boring post-surgery life.

I don’t regret having this done (at least not yet today. Give me a few hours). Once everything heals up and I’m able to resume my life again, I’m hopeful I’ll feel 100% better and not have to worry about this crap anymore. That’ll be nice.

As always, thanks for reading.

E

June 9, 2014

Oh, she’s writing again. Goooood for her. Lemme guess? About the goddamn uterus again? Imagine that. How new and different.

If you are having this reaction, I don’t blame you. You are all probably more knowledgeable about my reproductive organs than you care to be. My sincere apologies for being a broken record. But as you all know, it’s so much easier to write about things than to be a normal person and talk about them, so I take to the keyboard once again.

As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, I’m terrified of this surgery. I want it and need it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared shitless by it. I’m not very good at not freaking out over things, and this is no exception. Today’s probably unnecessary thought is “Dear Christ, what if this thing growing inside me has defied the odds and it is cancerous?” My brain is a scumbag.

I hesitated telling my dad about my issues and didn’t want to worry him, but I called Friday and told him. I can tell he’s worried because he called me yesterday morning, “just because.” See, the thing about my dad is, we can go several weeks or even months without contact. We are so goddamn similar that we both have the stubborn mentality of “if he/she isn’t going to call, I’m not going to call him/her.” Passive aggression at its finest, folks. Of all the traits of his to adopt, I had to pick that one.

I also had my pre-op physical today with my doctor. The first thing she said to me as she entered the room was, “still want a hysterectomy?”

I’ve been asked many dumb questions in my day, and that is a dumb question. I dunno; does a bear shit in the woods, lady?

Yes, I realize I’m young. Yes, I realize I have no children. Yes, I realize this procedure will prevent me from having children. I get it. I understand your perspective. But take a moment to look at things from my side: I’ve had irregular periods for four years. I get one every fourteen days. They last a week. That’s double hell for me in a month. I’ve been in sometimes nearly unbearable pain for the last three weeks, and bleeding on top of that.

So, this question of asking me if I still want a hysterectomy is equivalent to showing a kid in Africa a plate of food, clean water, clothes, and then being all, “gosh, are you sure you want this? I mean, you’re doing the suffering thing so well…”

Get fucked, lady. And she said she’s going to ask me again Thursday if I want it done. What, when the robot is prepped and I’m seconds away from being cut? Jesus dysmenorrhea Christ!

As you can tell, I’m a bit on edge. I’m anxious. Nervous. Scared. I didn’t really think of this as being a major surgery, but it is a major surgery. I’m not getting my heart splayed out on a table or undergoing a transplant or anything, but a part of me is being removed.

One funny thing was, is she asked if I wanted to see pictures of what they found inside. I’m all, “oh, hell yes!” I want to stare the beast who’s been causing me grief in the eyes! And yes, I’m going to post that shit to any social media sites I can. #hysterectomy #fuckuterus #yolo #swag

T-minus two days. Not that I’m counting or anything.

On behalf of myself, Terry the Asshole Fibroid, and Eugenia the Uterus, as always, thanks for reading.
E

June 7, 2014

Call me morbid, but I made up a will yesterday. It’s kind of funny actually, as it’s my sloppy handwriting on a piece of spiral notebook paper with the jagged edges and all, which is driving me crazy. I hate the edges.

Why the will? Well, because I’m going to have surgery on Thursday; a hysterectomy to those who ignore my Facebook posts. I know it’s not an overly major procedure or anything, but things can and do go wrong, and it’s just me, so I thought I’d make my wishes known for, you know…”just in case.”

I was sitting on the deck and drinking my usual cups of coffee before work and I just thought it’d be a good idea, but also, it made me sob uncontrollably for a minute. Intentionally placing yourself in a situation where you must really face the idea of your own mortality is kind of a trip. Most people my age don’t think of this junk– advanced directives and living wills and whatnot. This is for old people, not soon-to-be 33-year-olds, but life is a fickle bitch and no one can ever tell what their future holds.

I don’t know how legal this chicken scratching on college-ruled paper (always college-ruled; wide ruled paper is for the birds) is, but I hope I don’t have to find out.

So yes, having a hysterectomy. In general, people have been nice and great, offering the typical responses of “hope the procedure goes well” platitudes, but the women I work with have the reaction I am not fond of: sympathy. As in sympathy that I’m having what makes me a woman and gives me purpose in this life taken out without ever having had children.

I hate this reaction. I know I shouldn’t think this way, that I should be grateful they even care and force the smile and accept their words, but it bothers me. Quite a bit, actually.

I have my own thoughts of inadequacy about having this done, like I somehow failed as a woman, that I can’t even have a normal, functioning uterus and use it. Hell, might as well cut off my tits and external genitalia and make me as sexless as possible, right? If I can’t do this whole woman thing correctly, might as well shame me even further.

When I try to explain to these women that it’s really okay I’m having this done, that I made the decision long ago that I didn’t want kids, looks of sympathy turn to looks of puzzlement. The lightly furrowed eyebrows and slight head tilt as if to say, “…really? But…you’re a woman.”

I know the childless existence is an uncommon one, only made slightly less scandalous than if I had never been married at all. These women are the true oddities, aren’t they? Forever single and childless, the poor dears. Who’ll take care of them when they’re old? Who’s going to take care of me? Even better is that I’m the only child my father bore with my mother, since my older brother is technically my halfsies brother, and my uncle never had kids, so damn. It’s me. It’s like Last of the Mohicans up in this piece. Call me Chingachgook (although technically, his son, Uncas, is the Last of the Mohicans, but “Chingachgook” is more fun to say).

So, I have my guilt about all this, I don’t really need the clucking tongues of the mother hens at work adding to it. And again, I appreciate their concern, but I can tell the rumor of my surgery has made its rounds through the office. A few more smiles and stops for small talk in the halls.

The thing these women don’t realize is that I feel guilty about not wanting kids. I really do. I’m denying my parents biological grandchildren. A few weeks ago, my 86-year-old grandma said to me, “so when are you going to get married again and have babies?” I laughed it off, but that really kind of stung me. I’m the only female in the family who doesn’t have kids or isn’t married. Points to me for having been married before, though, and getting divorced. I’ve always been the “black sheep” of my family, and this recent development only further cements that status.

Not wanting kids was a hard choice to make, but I made it out of knowing that my reproductive organs were not right. I could always tell something was amiss. One tends to play Sherlock Holmes a bit when after having sexual intercourse and no form of contraception was used and I went about my business knowing that the only way this chick is getting pregnant is if the seed of god himself implanted itself into my womb, and we all know my thoughts on god (h/t to Dishwalla). Sure there are things I can have done to make my childbearing a possibility, like scraping my uterus clean, being put on fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, etc, but I’m of the mindset of why spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for this stuff when there’s a chance it won’t work? Besides, if in a few years I have a major turnaround and decide I do want kids, there’s always adoption. Teen gals and guys are always going to be stupid and irresponsible.

Like I said, my body failed me spectacularly and with much gusto. The official diagnosis is a very large degenerating intramural fibroid. To those going “huh?” it means this growth is actually in the uterine muscle, not just growing on the wall, but in it. Fibroids have their own blood supply and because of the heft of this thing, which I’ve named Terry, by the by, Terry is essentially cutting off its blood supply and breaking down in the middle, hence the degenerating part. I also found out my uterus is 14.6cm by 10.4cm. Normal uterus size is 7.3cm x 5.2cm. Say what? Yeah. It makes so much sense to me now because good god a’mighty. The pain associated with Terry has been…well, unbearable at times. I hate Terry.

And, as I was told by my doctor, this particular type of fibroid is very difficult to remove AND there’s a chance this sucker is cancerous. The odds are small, but still a chance. The doctor wants to try to remove this thing with a super cool robot-guided surgery with a few small incisions, but given the size of Terry and the fact he’s eating himself, she may have to cut me open. I asked her about my ovaries, since I know these things are as useful as an asshole on an elbow, but when I had my ultrasound done, she couldn’t even see the damn things because Terry was so big. The idea is to leave the ovaries alone as to not place me in medically induced menopause because that means hormone replacement therapy and from what I understand, that isn’t good and can cause other cancers and cut my life short. Neat.

But whatever happens, happens. I’m trying to not be completely terrified by all this, but I’m completely terrified by this. I have a long recovery time and I found out my insurance may not cover the cost of the surgery because I work for a Catholic health organization and these fuckers will try anything to make you have babies, so a hysterectomy basically gives a giant “eff you” to that. But based on my documented medial necessity for said procedure, it might be covered. Guess I’ll find out in a few days, huh?

My surgery is scheduled for this Thursday at 1pm. I’m simultaneously excited and nervous. A part of me is being taken out and getting tossed into an incinerator. I kind of want the doctor to take my cell phone into the operating room and take pictures of the surgery for me. I’d get so many likes on Instagram with that shit. I think the Kelvin filter will really accentuate the removal of my uterus well.

Sorry for the rambling tonight, but if you’ve learned anything, it should be that all responsible adults over the age of 19 should have a will written up; you know intimate details about my lady parts; and I have a weird sense of humor when it comes to somewhat serious things. If you can’t laugh during hard times though, when can you?

I promise I’ll be done writing about my anatomy after this week is over. Thanks for reading about it.

As Always,

E

Answers, Finally.

Hello, and good evening.

I wish I was writing about the normal mundane crap I usually do, but this seems a bit more important-ish.

Because I do my social media right, I’ve posted on the Book of Face about some health issues I’ve seemed to have unearthed. Thanks to that goddamn Muslim Obama, I was able to receive a preventive care doctor’s visit a few weeks ago, and at this goddamned disgusting doctor’s visit provided to me thanks to that good-for-nothing dark-skinned Democrat, they had the nerve to do a Pap smear on me, which came back abnormal. That led to having a colposcopy done, which is a fancy term for “let us pluck pieces of your fragile innards out with what feels like the claws of Satan himself.” 

As you can tell, that wasn’t a very enjoyable procedure.

Ever since then, I’ve been in pain. Not just like “ooh, ouchie!” pain, but like, “sweet Mother of All, what is going on?” pain. Persistent, unrelenting, sharp stabbing pain. I, understandably, kind of freaked out about it and called my doctor who I suspect may have thought I was being a giant wiener, which I kind of thought I was, too, but a few days went by and the pain was still there and not being touched by over-the-counter pain medication, but I wasn’t running a fever or having “foul-smelling discharge” (so, so sorry), so I called again yesterday and was all, “hey, still hurting.”

This is where it gets kind of funny. I was describing the pain to a nurse and she asked me if I was constipated. I kindly explained I may be full of shit, but not that kind of shit. Chuckles all around.

Anyway, I had also been started back on birth control pills after a nearly decade long absence from them–I was horrible at taking them.  I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which in short, means cysts grow on my ovaries and prevents normal hormone production and I have two goddamned periods a month because of that. When I started the pills about ten days ago, it was met with some intense cramping and light spotting, which I didn’t really mind a lot because I was due for period number two and not bleeding was great. But after the colposcopy, that’s when I started having severe cramps and a pretty steady, heavy flow. Super…just super. So when I survived the weekend and still didn’t display signs of any infection that might have been caused by the colposcopy, and based on the location of the pain I’m having (left sided), I thought to myself in my super smart medical brain, “what if the pill and the sudden hormones are making all the damn cysts burst?” My doctor must have found some validity in that, because that’s when the ultrasound came to be.

I get to the appointment this afternoon, and have the ultrasound. I get dressed and am sitting in the room when the ultrasound tech comes back with a woman who introduces herself as a doctor who isn’t mine. She then shows me the images from the ultrasound, and basically, with the worst poker face I’ve ever seen, tries to vaguely explain to me there is…something. This “something” is of concern to her and she tells me that if I were her patient, she’d schedule me for surgery without question. Great. Cool. Awesome.

But the bizarre thing is…I’m okay with this.

Let me rephrase: I’m completely terrified, but am also relieved there’s something wrong. I hate the feeling of knowing there’s something not quite right with me, but having people not believe it. At least now, I have cold, hard evidence that my shit is jacked and that accounts for all this pain and other shenanigans I’m going through.

So, this other doctor explains that there’s a very large mass in my uterus, and the best course of action as of now is to have a laparoscopy, which is just an exploratory surgery to take a peek at my lady parts and see what’s happenin’.

The other doctor dropped the “h bomb”: hysterectomy. I perked up at that. But as quickly as the word left her mouth, she tried to rebound by saying, “you may think that you don’t want kids now, but you might in a few years.”

Now, before I go off on this, let me just say that first, I’m glad this woman talked to me. She’s not my doctor, but she took time to try to explain things. That was nice.

And now, the tirade!

I don’t want kids. This isn’t a snap decision I just made. This is several years of thought and careful deliberation. I am not financially stable to support myself, let alone a kid/kids. My family medical history is shit: major depression, heart disease, cancer…that’s like, The Big Three. I do like kids, they’re kind of funny and sometimes really cute and do adorable things, but to have kids based on sometimes entertainment value seems ridiculous. I will not have that “oh man, I wish I had kept my broken uterus around so I can have a baby when I’m 40” thought. I won’t. Nice try, though. I have dealt with funky cycles and unpredictable moods and all this happy bullshit for years now, and I want it taken out. If this doctor can’t see that or tries to convince me otherwise, I’ll take my services elsewhere.

So, that’s the story. I don’t know when the laparoscopy is going to be yet, but I want it done as soon as I can. I need to find some relief soon.

I apologize again for the personal nature of this post; it may seem attention-seeking and “oh, feel sorry for me! Waa!” but that isn’t my intention. I just needed to jot this down as a way to try to help me deal with it, as I often tend to do.

But as always, thanks for reading.

E