SAH --- Life gets better!
History on me. Normal beginning to menstruation at 12 1/2. Cycles always like clockwork. If I missed a period, I was pregnant. Gave birth to my first three children 20 months apart, all natural deliveries, with the only problems being infection after first and hemorrhage after the second. Five years after the third, delivered a set of twins naturally, and had a tubal ligation. That's when my problems started. Heavier, more painful periods.
These got progressively worse over the years, and when I turned 40, assumed the additional symptoms of hot flashes and mood swings were the beginning of perimenopause. Just a year ago, my periods were 7 - 10 days long, with heavy clotting for at least three days, and my cycles had shortened to 14 days. I assumed it was all perimenopause, had sympathy and support from my mother and reassured by her that this was what it was like. According to her, I had 7-8 more YEARS of this suffering before it would finally end. OMG!
I was working 50+ hours a week as a store manager, managing my pain and bleeding the best way I could with OTC medication. Which worked only to a point. I kept having people get in my face and ask me if I was okay! LOL I guess I didn't realize how bad I looked to everyone! But I was prepared to work through it all and just "deal with it" until menopause would finally give me relief!
UNTIL....I woke up one morning(this was the first of October) with a contraction! Yes! A full-fledged uterine CONTRACTION!! And not like, a two minute contraction, ten minutes apart kind of thing...this CONTRACTION lasted for SIX HOURS!! And when it finally let up, I was sore to the touch!
I called my Mom first. Asked if she'd ever had this happen. She said no, and I don't like the sound of that, go see your doctor. Made an appointment with him.
Now, I've never been one to see a doctor for regular checkups, pap smears and all that....I know, I know, but I just feel like seeing a doctor once a year is a little much, because they ALWAYS seem to find something wrong with you or want you to do this test or that test----base-line mammogram? NO THANK-YOU! I don't get sick much at all, not even a cold. I don't see a doctor unless I'm sick or something hurts.
My GP is a very nice man. Of course, the first appointment, he couldn't do much because....you guessed it....by then I'd started another horrible period. He did give me pain pills, though, for which I was profoundly grateful. Made another appointment for the physical exam for when I thought I could predict that I would not be bleeding.
He started the exam with a regular pap smear. Said your cervix looks great. THEN he started the internal exam......and immediately stopped. My uterus was about 10 times the size it should be! He told me they would set me up for an ultrasound immediately.
Ultrasound showed an "extremely large mass" inside my uterus. GP told me to go see an OB/GYN because I had a fibroid tumor and would almost definitely have to have a hysterectomy. He said if I were younger, or if the fibroid were smaller, there might have been other options, but based on my age and the size of the thing growing inside me, a hysterectomy was probably my only option.
I went back to the OB/GYN who had delivered the twins and performed my tubal almost sixteen years ago because I liked and trusted him. He listened to all my symptoms and looked at the records from the GP. Then on to the exam....and a biopsy that I was not prepared for AT ALL! That was painful! He also told me that he was in the process of retiring and was no longer doing deliveries or surgeries, so another doctor in the practice would do that, with him as "consult" for me if I had questions or concerns. He told me about Lupron, said it would help with the anemia, but would probably make my perimenopause symptoms worse. I agreed to go this route, mostly because I had to plan this surgery out carefully because of my job. And Lupron would give me six months to do so, in addition to possibly shrinking the tumor enough to allow for laproscopic surgery rather than abdominal.
Well, the Lupron did stop my periods; I only had one a week after the first shot, and it lasted for two weeks! I did call the doctor, and he said that was normal as the fibroid was like a sponge and now that I had no upsurge of estrogen to stop the cycle, it was now like a sponge being "wrung out" and I should stop bleeding soon. It wasn't heavy bleeding by this point, nor painful, so I just tolerated it with the comfort that this was probably the LAST period I would EVER have.
I tentatively planned my surgery for the first week of March, as this is when I had vacation time coming due. I received two Lupron shots, which thankfully the insurance covered 100%.
Had another ultrasound in December to check if the Lupron had caused the fibroid to shrink. It did, by 2 inches. But still not enough to allow for laproscopic surgery. Okay, abdominal here I come. I discussed the options of leaving my cervix and my ovaries and both the OB/GYN and the surgeon thought these were both good options for me because of never having a "bad" pap smear and because of my age.
I got my FMLA leave planned with my boss (es) and tried to prepare my Team for running the store in my absence. They are a bunch of great kids and they said they were ready. Which helped me immensely!
A month before surgery, I had some bad news and then some worse news....one of my not quite 16-year-old twin girls is pregnant and my Dad (300 miles away) was diagnosed with lung/lymphatic cancer. Surgeon offered to put off the surgery and I refused based on the fact that if I had to go back to the way I was before the Lupron, I would be no use to anyone! Surgery planned for March 12, 2012.
The surgeon was great. I remember moving from the wheeled bed to the surgery table, and I don't remember anything else until I was in recovery. A nurse was trying to control the bleeding on the right side of my incision. I asked her if everything went well and she said yes. I then asked for pain meds and she gave me something in my IV immediately. I didn't wake again for two hours and by then my daughters had gotten out of school and got a ride there.
The worst part for me was the UTI I developed a week after the surgery. Fever and pain. Got Cipro for that, and within the next week, I was feeling better and better. I am now 3 weeks and 6 days post-op and am doing everything I want to do with the exception of heavy lifting.
This site is great. It has helped me to know what to expect and what to look for. I understand that everyone heals at different rates and I am one of the lucky ones who just heal fast. I enjoy the post-op forum, and the ladies there are very upbeat and optimistic. Not to mention helpful. I am very lucky to have this site to come to.