Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Uterus Schmooterus - Boy Readers Beware - this post is about lady business

What better way to dive right into living in a new city and state, where you don't know another living soul besides your husband, than to test out the waters of the local health care community and have open abdominal surgery requiring a six week recovery? Am I right or am I right? In other words ... my uterus was riddled with giant fibroids which were making me quite sick and uncomfortable so I had the fucking thing yanked. Don't mess with me, I'll have you physically removed.

So yeah, that's my way of telling you that as of Friday morning before last I have no uterus.

I am entirely sans womb.

How weird is that shit?

So yeah, I had a hysterectomy. It's not so hard to type this information out loud here in my blog to semi and total strangers, but for some reason I have been unable to tell to many other people about this, including anyone in my family, except my parents.

Perhaps because it remotely involves my pu-say and intimately involves my baby making organs that are frankly no body's business but my own and MDH's. It also might require me to discuss the problems that led up to the hysterectomy that involve intimate details about my horrific menstrual cycles that I'm not keen to spill out to just anyone (in person).

Adding to the complication of the explanation is the look I see in people's eyes when I know they are taking a sharp, but silent intake of breath as they realize that hysterectomy = forever barren, and then having to explain that MDH and I are fine with that and decided not to make babies long before my uterus decided to fill itself to capacity with demonic fibroids.

I gotta say though, I was amazed, ah-mazed, during my hospital stay, at the number of hospital workers, nurses, phlebotomists, the lady that brought me my lunch, the man who took my blood sample at 2am, who would either ask me if I have kids, or how many kids do I have, which I would imagine is probably not the best question to ask a woman who has just had a fucking hysterectomy.

Anyhoo... here are the facts... some of them may be gross and may be extra gross for some of my more testosterone laden readers, in other words boys, there will be blood:

  • I've been having increasingly miserable periods for almost 2 years and it began to peak right around the time that we started planning our move in late March.

  • By the middle of May I was pretty much having the worst day of my period every day, including headaches, horrifying cramps that no amount of Extra Strength Tylenol would cure, and lost so much blood that I became anemic and so weak that I could barely move without getting dizzy.

  • I scheduled the hysterectomy the day my new doctor in Texas saw me the first week of June.

  • He said my uterus was swollen to the size of someone 16 weeks pregnant. (Which explains my inability to fit into many of my clothes no matter how much I dieted)

  • The surgery normally takes 1 hour, but mine took 3 because the fibroids apparently staged a coup and fought back or something.

  • After my surgery he told me my uterus weighed 496 grams. A normal one weighs about 70 grams.

  • I decided to keep my ovaries and cervix as these items are all healthy and in working order, even though my doctor wanted to remove them "as a precaution against future complications". Whatever dude, keep your mitts off my egg basket, it still has some good years left in it.

  • I spent 3 nights in the hospital and was so miserable in so many ways that I voluntarily gave up every shred of my dignity to the nurses and hospital staff in exchange for ice chips and hot tea.

  • Oddly, the things that caused me the most discomfort had nothing to do with my surgery or incision. Who knew that having a breathing tube jammed down your throat for 3 hours would cause me to have the most torturous case of cotton mouth for 2 days? And that having a catheter poking into my bladder, rather than giving the one feeling of relief from urination, actually gives one the painful sensation of having to piss out an entire nights keg party the next morning.

  • Speaking of discomfort unrelated to my actual surgery - I now have permanent (semi-permanent) burn marks in the shape of two tubes going all the way down my abdomen from some stuff they dripped into me. It looks like two bright red antennae are coming out of my pubes, which is just delightful. They also burned and itched for several days until I was conscious enough remove some bandaging, realize what was going on and apply some Benedryl cream to them. I have to assume these tubes contained some kind of latex product - because that it what it looks like when my skin comes into contact with latex - it burns whatever shape onto my skin - so like if I were to put on a latex glove - it would burn the shape of a glove onto my hand because I'M ALLERGIC TO LATEX!! It was all over my chart, they gave me a special safety orange wristband thingy that spelled out "LATEX ALLERGY" in large bold lettering and I told every single person I came into contact with throughout the entire process, whether they asked me or not, "I'm allergic to Latex".

Here is the good news - I feel better already. Better enough to walk up to the 3rd floor of our apartment to my office this morning and sit upright and type for a few hours. I'm not ready for a Zoomba class, shit I'm not even allowed to drive a car yet, but there are no more cramps, no more bleeding, no more worries about OD-ing on Tylenol.

Also, bonus, as of today I have officially lost 12 pounds since I was last weighed the morning of my surgery. Granted, a clear liquid diet for 5 days followed by being too nauseous and weak to eat much of anything is probably not the best diet plan, but that is what happened and I plan to not let my suffering go to waste and remain on this weight loss trajectory, only maybe at a slightly more realistic pace.

Recovering from a large abdominal incision right above my no-no area aside, I would go so far as to say I feel great. It's a very similar recovery process to having a C-Section, no heavy lifting, no repetitive bending and I have to wear this glamorous stretchy binder with a Velcro fastener across my midsection for the next 6 weeks. The binder is kind of like wearing noisy Spanx, but also kind of like wearing a bulky mini-skirt made from diapers, and the best part is that MDH gets to help me put it on after I bathe. What a treat for him, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

What an ordeal. Glad to hear you are feeling better.

Antennae? I hate to laugh at your misfortune, but come on, that's pretty funny. It will disappear, right? Or are you going to have a custom bikini bottom printed up that reads, "Kilroy was here."

Unknown said...

Poor baby, I am so sorry. If it makes you feel any better "those people" that feel it necessary to ask about family (1 child or 2), they don't go away even if you have one child. I mean I have medical history that I don't want to share with strangers and why is it any of their gosh darn business if I have only one child and am not planning on having another. Anyway, I am glad you got to keep your hormone making mechanics and that you are feeling better. Love ya

WendyB said...

OMG! I want to hear even more. I have been exploring some surgical options for fibroids recently.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I like where you are going with the custom bikini, but I might take it a step further and get a tatoo of some eyes over my navel and just go
full-on bugface on my belly. If I play my cards right maybe I can make the cut on Skydad's Bad Tat Tuesday feature.
Sadly these burn marks are showing no sign of fading any further. Boo Latex!

Funny how people use the kid thing as an ice breaker. That is a huge mistake. I learned a long time ago not to do that. When I was 18 I asked a co-worker I barely new if she had kids and she burst into tears and ran away. I found out a few mins later that she and her husband had been trying desperately to have a baby for several years, and when they finally had a baby son he died when he was 2 months old. I felt like an enormous shithead, but she eventually forgave me.
Things I have learned never to ask people I don't know:
1. Never ask people you don't know about their children, especially women.
2. Never ask a woman when she is "due", no matter how obvious it may seem that she is pregnant.

Girl, I wish I had known about these stupid fibroids long ago, but I didn't start complaining to my doctor about my bad periods until things were already out of control. I had a biopsy and ultra sound in April and scheduled an ablasion in early May, but after the ultra sounds they pulled the plug on the ablasion because they said it wouldn't be effective because the fibroids were out of control and too large. I WISH I could have had the ablasion, but it wouldn't have made the fibroids go away.
If there is a way that you can treat the fibroids without something as drastic as a hysterectomy I would say dont' wait, do it now.
In my case my life was unbearable. I was in pain all the time, going to the bathroom every hour and bleeding uncontrollably (ruining clothes, sheets, I was afraid to sit down anywhere in public for longer than and hour).
I understand there are drugs that can help to shrink fibroids, but also that most insurance doesn't cover it.
I had never even heard of fibroids until 4 months ago and now have come to understand that 3 out of 4 women have them and that one third of fibroids are so big that a doctor can feel them during a pelvic exam, which makes me wonder why mine weren't detected much earlier, but that's a rant for another day.
Anyhoo... I hope you find a solution that works for you and helps you find some relief if you are suffering.

Mnmom said...

Holy Cow Woman! I've had 2 complicated C-sections and equally horrific periods. I was lucky and opted for a uterine ablation - no fibroids involved.

Peeing after surgery? CRAP! Like pissing straight acid for several days.

Hope they gave you excellent drugs.

Churlita said...

Glad things are better. I used to work in OB/Gyn. They don't give hysts lightly. It sounds like you really needed one. I hope things keep getting better and better.

Michelle said...

Lady, so sorry to hear about your ordeal! But I'm glad you posted, I have a friend who is having a complete hysterectomy next month, and I wasn't sure what kind of an experience it was going to be so you have shed some light on that for me. I've had my own share of Female Trouble, but nothing like your experience! Hope you are healing quickly and feeling better. Take care!

BeckEye said...

Ugh, sorry you had to go through all that but I'm glad you're doing so well! And looking so svelte, I'm sure!

I have polyps. Are they the same as fibroids? They were messing with my period for a while there, but everything seems to be back to normal. My doctor said there is no reason to remove them if they're not causing me pain or I'm not trying to get pregnant. And who knows if that will ever happen.

WendyB said...

Ugh, I have this: "going to the bathroom every hour and bleeding uncontrollably (ruining clothes, sheets, I was afraid to sit down anywhere in public for longer than and hour" -- but only for three days a month, so I've been toughing it out for years. Apparently ablation won't work for me either. I'm getting a third opinion though. If I can keep going without pain, I guess I will do so... am scared of the giant operation!

Linka72 said...

Holy shit balls sound like ME (being all sickly and stuff)..I have some hellafied fibroids too..HUGE ones that make the doctors crowd around me every time I have them checked, sexy huh?
I've had to keep mine because of that lil infant I just had but I'm considering surgery.
I'm glad you are feeling better though.