It's the end of June, 2007. I notice I am having post menopausal bleeding. I call my gynecologist. My first step is to have a transvaginal ultrasound. I am an x-ray tech. They give me the option of having it at my facility. ARE THEY CRAZY? I have to work with these people. So I decide to have it performed at my doctor's office. (My doctor is located in another town, another facility. I want my privacy). Wouldn't you know, the tech that performed my ultrasound used to work for us.
The results show I have a fibroid
and cysts on both ovaries. The next step she would like to do is an endometrial biopsy. I go to her office for the procedure. I have heard horror stories about the procedure, but it wasn't much worse than the yearly pap test. I finally get the results in a week and she decides to repeat the ultrasound 6 weeks after the first. I go back to the office for the repeat. Nothing has changed. She proceeds to tell me I need a hysterectomy. (DAH! I knew that 2 months ago). She tells me she could do the surgery, but would like me to see another physician who performs hysterectomies using the Da Vinci Robotic System. She thinks I am a candidate for it. The recovery time would be shorter. The physician she sends me to is a gynecological oncologist. HELLO! I know what an oncologist is.
She explains there are 2 at the hospital that do it. They will schedule an appointment with one of them. One is female, one male. I get the phone call 1 week later from the gyn-oncologist office. I GET THE MALE PHYSICIAN. I HAVEN'T SEEN A MALE IN YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!! Just great. My first gynecologist was a male and didn't believe anything I told him. So I go on line and check him out before my appointment. I wanted to know who I was dealing with. It was another 3 weeks before my appointment. So now I have been bleeding everyday for 3 1/2 months.
Appointment day finally arrives. I make my way to the office. I am nervous. I walk into the office and the minute I signed in with reception, I knew I was in a special place. I was at the office almost 3 hours. They were GREAT!
He walked into the room. He was so kind. He took the time to talk with me and get to know me. His examination was so gentle (easier to tolerate than my regular gyn). I couldn't believe it. He tried to repeat the endometrial biopsy, but had a difficult time.
He decided to try to shrink the fibroid by using a Lupron Injection. He explained it is a one time injection and lasts 3 months. FYI-one Lupron Injection is approximately $2,000.00. (All I can say is thank god for insurance.) He explained this should also stop the bleeding. It did. After 6 weeks, he sent me for another ultrasound. This time it was done at their hospital. I saw him following the appointment. We would wait another 6 weeks and repeat the ultrasound again. So I made it through the holidays and on Jan. 16th, I had another ultrasound and appointment with him. Not much had changed, so we agreed surgery should be scheduled. We sit down and go over the procedure. I need to sign the operating permit. He explains it will be a total abdominal hysterectomy, oophorectomy, frozen section and cancer staging. OKAY NOW I AM FREAKED. All along they said everything looks benign. So I have to ask as I try to hold back the tears what are the chances of cancer. He tells me less than 20%. I feel somewhat better, but know until the pathologist in the lab looks under the microscope anything is possible. I hate having all this knowledge. They proceed to tell me I need to have a physical exam, etc. I don't have a regular doctor, so they have to find me one. I gave the names of 2 females that my gynecologist had given me when I had seen her earlier in the year. Guess what???? (you should have guessed by now). Neither were available, so I end up with one of the male partners. I can deal with this. LOL I guess it's time I told my family about everything. I know they will be upset that I didn't say anything sooner. Being single and taking care of my 75 year old father and helping my sister's family with babysitting and transportation for her kids, I am the rock of the family. Everyone depends on me. This is going to alter everyone's routines. I also need to tell my employers. They knew it was coming to this, but instead of asking what I need or if there was anything they could do for me, it was "Who's going to do your job while you're gone?" and "You'll only be out about 2 weeks, right?". They were not happy when I told them 6 to 8 weeks. I was devastated. After 28 years, I was hoping for a little caring and concern. This finally put me over the edge. Exit immediately to the bathroom and sob. There was no way they were going to see me in this condition. I guess the past few months and the upcoming surgery finally caught up to me. I realize I am not as strong as I think. Now I had to wait 3 weeks for surgery. I go for my physical and am pleasantly surprised with the doctor. He is very pleasant. It seems as if they were matched perfectly to my personality. I passed with flying colors. Now it's the usual pre-op workup-blood work, Chest x-ray and EKG. It's the weekend before surgery. Let's see what I need to do-CLEAN MY CONDO! So I did and put out all my Easter decor' since I knew I wouldn't be able to do any lifting after my surgery. It's the day before my surgery and I have to be on a liquid diet and take a bowel prep. They wouldn't let me have the day off, so I did what I could. As a matter of fact my doctor's office needed to find me. They were appalled that I was working. I got through the day and headed home. At 4 pm I had to take the Fleet Phospho-Soda. I THINK THIS WAS THE WORST PART OF THE ENTIRE JOURNEY SO FAR. It took me over 2 hours to get it down. I even mixed it with ice tea mix. IT DIDN"T HELP!!!!! Since I couldn't take a chance of going anywhere, I decided to wash all my floors again that night and make sure the bathrooms were clean. I thought I wouldn't sleep that night, but it was one of the best nights I had in a long time. It's Feb. 20th. Finally, the day has arrived. My surgery is scheduled for 1 pm and I need to arrive at 11 am. My father brings me to the hospital. I could tell he wasn't handling this well, so I told him to go home. Since the surgery was 4-5 hours, there was no point in him waiting. He wouldn't get a chance to see me. They take me into the ambulatory surgery area. I get changed and relax. The nurses were great. They checked on me and kept me informed. Unfortunately, the patient before me took longer than expected. Finally, at 2 pm the orderly takes me to the preop area. The staff was aawesome. They had music playing and they were dancing at the desk. My nurse was wonderful. She came over multiple times to see if there was anything I needed. She apologized for the moaning and groaning from the post op area. I explained I was an x-ray tech and understood. She was so relieved. I am sure they get complaints from other patients. My doctor comes over and apologizes for the wait. He took my hands in his and asked if I was ready. I've been ready. He just laughed as I told him about cleaning my condo and decorating. He explained they were setting up the room and it would still be a little longer. The next person to see me was the anesthesiologist. He was funny. I freaked him out when I asked if I could have a spinal so I could stay awake and watch. I explained I was an x-ray tech and that equipment fascinates me. He offered to video tape it for me but it would be boring to watch at home. LOL Soon the nurse anesthetist and head surgical nurse assigned to me came and introduced themselves. Finally it was time to enter the room. I moved onto the OR table and my doctor showed me the robot. It was really cool!!!! I tell them I wish I could see it in action. I talked with the scrub nurse. They were all joking around about getting ready. I told her a Dr. I once worked with said they can't do anything without assisstance from nurses, x-ray, etc. She asked if everyone else in the room heard that. They all laughed. And that's the last I remember.I am brought to my room. It is now 11 pm. The first thing I want to do is call my dad. We talk briefly. Time to rest. Wish I could. My roommate is constantly paging a nurse.
I wake up and feel great. My catheter is removed and I am up and running (okay walking slowly). The day goes well. My roommate is discharged.
Time for rest. I get a new roommate at midnight. We wake up to a snowstorm. It was nice to watch the snow through the window and not having to be out driving in it. My roommate is discharged already. I notice some back discomfort and mention it to my doctor when he comes in that evening. It's probably a urinary tract infection. He orders a CT Scan to be sure there is no damage from the stents inserted into the ureters during the surgery. No big deal. CT is done. The resident on call comes in and says everything is fine. They would like to do a clean catch urinalysis to make sure. They start me on antibiotics. I hope to get some sleep tonight. I get another new roommate at 11 pm. Another doozy I might add.
I wish I had asked for a private room. (if you haven't guessed by now, I have a high pain tolerance and only ask for assistance when absolutely necessary). It is now 3 days after surgery and I am supposed to go home. I am feeling even worse than the day before. My roommate doesn't want any outside light in the room or the TV on. She made sure it was well known that my TV was bothering her. My TV was the only thing keeping my mind off my discomfort. My doctor comes in and notices I am not doing well. He decides to keep me another day. It was a tough day for me. The nurses and doctors kept asking if I was passing gas or had a BM (hello, I haven't had anything but jello for 5 days now). I was very discouraged. The first day I felt so good and it seems as if I am going backwards. Th only good thing is my roommate is discharged. By that night I had a renal colic attack. I can only explain it as if someone plunged a knife in your back was twisting it.
I have to say the nurses were great. They tried everything to make me comfortable and ease my pain. Finally the last urinalysis results were ready. I did have a urinary tract infection. The antibiotic they were giving me was not compatible to the bacteria I had. They changed the antibiotic and within a couple of hours I felt better. I had a really good day. My doctor came in and told me I would go home the next day. He wanted to make sure I didn't have another attack. I have no roommate now. I finally get a good nights rest.
I go home.