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Questions: Time, calls & ovaries Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

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Unread 04-06-2002, 03:54 PM
Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

With my date (April 12th) now set, reassurance from my doctor (although I have to note he doesn't understand why I'm upset, as he says I'll be fine -- my friends say to just remember that he's a man ), but with ongoing problems at work, friends who are distraught for me, & friends telling me all sorts of other things, I have some questions:

1.) I've cleared my calendar for 6 weeks off from work, although they all want me back to work in 4 weeks (& my doctor thinks maybe I can if I take it easy -- ha! ha!) There is no way I can get 8 weeks off (last December our secretary had a hysterectomy & was off work 4 weeks, so they don't think I need any more than 4 weeks like she did -- she did have the same doctor). But, I have to note I work in an old public building (it was a public library built in 1901, remodled some when it became an adjacent court house building in 1982). I work on the 2nd floor, & there is no ramp, no elevator, no chair lift, just 3 flights of stairs! So is my time off realistic, or will I be stressing myself later over this? Once I get up the stairs, I can stay put, except I will have to bend over to get files out of the file cabinets, & I'll have to think. I've just spent this last week rescheduling over 60 appointments & court hearings & got no help from my boss (hmmm, there's no smilie for satan). I'd really like to go back in 4 weeks so that I can take it easy at work for 2 weeks & get things back in order, because I believe I'll be facing mass confusion & that will really drive me crazy! Again, am I being realistic?!

2.) All my dear friends, who are stressing over this with me, want me to call them that evening after my surgery. Right now my list is up to about 12 people I'm suppose to call! Will I be up to calling them that evening, or the next day -- I can maybe put them off that long. I don't want them calling me, especially if I will be feeling sick.

3.) Another friend, who is a nurse & had a hysterectomy nearly 8 years ago wants me to tell my doctor to not only take the uterus, the cervix, & possibly 1 ovary (he'd like to leave 1 & feels then I can avoid hormones for a while), but she also wants me to tell him to absolutely, positively take both ovaries! This is what she had done at age 33 due to severe endometriosis & other problems. I had 1 episode of heavy bleeding, have numerous & large fibroids, & have complex hyperplasia with mild atyplical cells (this is the main reason the doctors recommends the hysterectomy, as he is very concerned about the abnormal cells, & fears as large as my uterus is -- a 4-5 month pregnancy size -- that there could be cancer & will biopsy everything). However, I really don't want either, let alone both of my ovaries, taken (if he has to take 1, I will however understand). But she is threatening to hunt my doctor down herself & tell him to take both of them!! Her fear is that I could develop ovarian cancer, so just do it now & avoid any future problems, &/or any future surgeries. Her heart is in the right place, but, I trust my doctor, don't want to offend him, & I really want to try to do everything as naturally as possible, which I feel would be better served by keeping at least 1 ovary. Is her advise valid though?

Thanks! I'll probably keep posting more & more questions all week long, but these are the biggies for now.

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Unread 04-06-2002, 04:13 PM
Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

Hi Jeandre

Time off: recovery varies from person to person. One person may feel up to working 40 hrs/wk at 4 weeks, another may be lucky to be able to get through 20 hours at 6 weeks. Some of it depends on the type of surgery, reading others' experiences it seems that the recovery may be a wee bit faster from a vag hyst than an ab hyst. Even at 6 weeks I found myself still needing a rest in the afternoon.

Friends who want you to call: again it depends. If your surgery is early in the day you may feel up to talking by evening, but things have a way of getting backed up in OR during the day. My surgery was scheduled for 10:30AM, but the surgeon in the OR I was waiting for went HOURS over and my surgery didn't start til 2PM. I said a few barely coherent words to my DH and sent him home around 7:30PM. As the night went on I was more aware of my surroundings, but I was still quite in and out and wouldn't have made any sense if I had been able to dial the phone. The next day I was on the phone quite a bit, but people I talked to that day later said I must have been on real good drugs.

Is there any family history of ovarian cancer? That would be one reason to take both, as a precaution. Taking both ovaries is a decision for you and your DR to make, no matter how well intentioned your friend is. If your decision is to leave one if possible explain to your friend that while you respect her opinion it is a decision YOU have made and you are comfortable with it.
Unread 04-06-2002, 04:35 PM
Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

Hi Jeandre!

I can only share my own personal experience to relate to your questions:

1) I took 8 weeks off, returning for 1/2 days the first week and would do it that way again. I think you're smart for clearing the decks for 6 weeks, then leave it open for adjustment as you get through your recovery and see how things go for you, see how you feel. I think you are very smart to consider those stairs. I don't think you should give the job itself another thought, as you are much better off focusing on YOUR needs throughout this particular life's journey.

2) I had a list of people for my DH and my mother to call after my surgery. They made these calls for me. I certainly was not up to talking to 12 people. One maybe. *Maybe*.

3) This event is a very personal one. The decision is yours and yours alone, and I feel that the only person who can reliably help you with this decision is your DR. Many gals have left it up to the DR to see how the ovaries look while in surgery and opted to keep healthy ones. Please don't let anyone but your DR influence you on this decision. It's a personal one, and we are all different, have different family medical histories, different conditions, different reasons for having this surgery in the first place. If my ovaries had been healthy, I would have kept them. If only one was healthy, I would have kept it. Just my opinion about me. This is no time to be concerned about who you will offend; we're talking about *your* body, *your* health. Again, I think you're very smart to stick with what you are most comfortable with, stick with your DR's recommendations.

Best wishes, sweetie! I know you'll make the decisions that are best for you.

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Unread 04-06-2002, 04:59 PM
Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

Hi Jeandre --
Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents worth in here.
In my humble opinion I think you're better off taking 6 weeks off from work if you can, and also I'm wondering if it would be possible, if you wanted to, to go back part time at 4 weeks if you wanted to, you know, go in for a few hours a day or something, maybe? I don't know if that's possible in your job, but it's a thought.
As for all those well-meaning friends who want you to call them the evening after your surgery..........well, maybe you'll be able to, but I wasn't up to it. I had my surgery at 12:30 p.m. and was in my room by 4:00 p.m., and I slept a few hours, woke up and hit the morphine pump, slept a few hours, woke up and hit the morphine pump........and it went that way all night. The next day some friends stopped by, and when they left my Mom came by, and I kept falling asleep on her. I think you might want to consider picking one friend and having her call all the other friends and reporting how you're doing. And even then, you may not be up to calling that one friend until the next day. I know they are concerned for you but they should be able to understand if you're not up to making all those calls personally. I couldn't have done it the night after my surgery.
One of my friends, upon hearing that I was having a hyst, called me and gave me the lecture about having the doctor take both ovaries so I wouldn't have to face surgery again because that is what happened to her. This is a decision no one can make for you and they shouldn't be trying to influence you on this. My doctor and I left it at that if my ovaries looked healthy, she would leave them. If not, she would remove them. As it turned out, there was endo everywhere, there was a cyst on one ovary, and she removed them. This "friend" has no right to threaten to hunt down your doctor and tell him what to do whether she is a nurse or not! You have to do what is right for you, and this is something to decide with your doctor. I know your friend probably means well but you need to remember that this is a decision to be made by you with your doctor's advice.
Good luck!
Unread 04-06-2002, 05:04 PM
Questions: Time, calls & ovaries

First, on recovery time, I felt really good quickly after my LAVH-BSO - but I am still off work, and am taking six weeks. I have however gone into the office, and am doing some work at home. This coming week is my last week off, and I'm going to do two full days in the office, to get used to it. Even feeling as good as I am, I still have times where the fatigue hits me between the eyes (usually when I am far from home, on some sort of errand ...) If you go back after four weeks, please be really careful not to overdue, and you may need to ask others to get those really low files out for you. If you do find yourself in the position of having to go back, there is a really good chance that you'll be okay. But remember everyone is different (just witness the great variation of stories on this site!), and if it turns out that you and your doc end up determining that you need more time, then the example of what happened with someone else at work, isn't really relevant.

Second, it's great everyone cares, but they should be caring about what is best for you, not what is best to make them feel better. Find one helpful soul who can make those calls for you. You are right about them calling you -- somehow, I always got a call when I was sleeping, or when I had blissfully just sat down and gotten comfortable after being up a bit.

Third, there are pros and cons to keeping/removing ovaries. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect, and I think I understand why your friend feels strongly, but you should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor, and go with what is the right thing for you. Ovarian cancer risk is only one factor. And if the doc ends up leaving one or both in, you might want to consider discussing what future monitoring would be appropriate. But do not fear offending the doctor by asking questions -- it is your body and your health. And that goes double for the pre-surgery anxiety -- just because he's done millions of 'em and he thinks you'll be fine, doesn't mean this isn't a big deal for you -- you've never done this before, and this will be the only time you do this. [I have to declare a bias here -- one of my pet peeves is a doc who makes me feel as if (s)he is patting me on the head, saying don't worry my pretty little head about it!] Do remember, however, that for most of us, the waiting is the worst part, and all goes well with both surgery and the aftermath.

BIG HUG -- we'll be thinking about you for your surgery! (And no, you don't have to call us the night after !!)

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