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TangoRomeo's Blog
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Almost 17 months post-hysto . . . 02-11-2013 - 12:55 PM
Ehrmagersh, I haven't posted here in practically for-EV-er!

No news is pretty much good news in my case. Things have been going well. Most of the time I forget that I ever even had a hysterectomy (except for those joyous occasions when I remember that I don't have to worry about having a period again). About 11 months after my hysto, I had to have my gallbladder out; that was about six months ago now, and I've recovered from that sans problems as well. I'm still surprised that the cholecystectomy scars are far, far worse than the hysterectomy scars (and they were both laparoscopic), but whatever.

I started going to the gym on a regular basis the day after Thanksgiving 2012. Since then, I've been going at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes a time; usually it's more than that. I do cardio every day that I go, and every other day I do weight-lifting as well. For the first eight weeks I didn't lose a **** pound, which was getting pretty frustrating, but within the last month I've finally started losing weight. I'm down about 10 pounds now, and even though I didn't do 'before' measurements, I know I've lost inches, too. I can tell in the way my clothes are fitting. And I feel so much better, I can actually run up and down three flights of steps without getting winded!! It's awesome. I'm a regular at the gym now . . . who'd've thunk it?!?!

Work is going well. I'm off of orientation in OB now, which definitely has it's scary moments. Like last month when we had a nurse-assisted delivery . . . the patient delivered her baby 24 minutes after walking through the front door! I had NOTHING set up for the delivery because I hadn't even had time to do her assessment or anything yet. The doc showed up about five minutes after the baby was born. Awesome sauce! Other than that, it's going well. I enjoy it, even though it scares me sometimes. I had my annual review last month and that went very well, I got a pretty decent raise which always helps boost the ol' morale . . . lol . . . this spring I get to start training in the ED. It's always something!

The rest of my life is going well. DS got pretty decent grades for his first freshman (high school) term, 5 B's and 2 A's. He's a good kid, I really can't complain.

No news on the adoption front yet. Our home study was approved last September, shortly after the last time I wrote in here, and we've been playing the waiting game since then. I honestly try not to think about it, because it will drive me freaking insane if I do.

Alrighty, well, not much else to write about, just thought I'd pop in and see what's up . . . ttyl
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HAPPY ONE YEAR HYSTOVERSARY TO ME!!!! 09-13-2012 - 07:54 PM
(Well, tomorrow -- September 14 -- anyway, but I don't know if I'll get on here tomorrow and it's close enough!)

I mentioned this to my hubby tonight, that it'll be one year since I bid adieu to my uterus. He said, 'It doesn't seem like it's been that long already.' I guess that's one of the differences between perception and reality -- to me, I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the last 52 weeks for the fact that I haven't had to worry about unexpected tidal-wave type bleeding, or breakthrough bleeding, or ANY kind of bleeding at all! Nor have I experienced that pain that is only a distant memory now, that horrible pain that would wake me up when I was trying to sleep, or keep me awake, or just make me hate life and want to take a scalpel into my own hands and cut open my own side and take out the offending organ(s). People take crap like that for granted, KWIM? Every now and then I get a stitch in my side (I'm still recovering from my lap chole) but it only lasts for a split second, not DAYS like it used to.

In summary, I can't believe it's only been a year! It feels like it's been so much longer, and for that I am grateful. It's so nice to be NORMAL in that respect. So nice to carry a small purse because I don't need to bring three pads with 'just in case'. So nice to pack for a trip away and not need to bring an entire bag of pads with 'just in case'. In 16 years, this was the first year I wasn't bleeding on my anniversary!! I'm very glad I had my hysterectomy -- it was a great experience and if I could go back and change it, I would've had it done sooner!

I'm even doing alright after the lap chole, which I am now, ummm, five weeks post-op. The scars from that are far worse than my hysto scars. I didn't have any lifting restrictions after my hysto, and I still do now after my lap chole. Honestly, I do think that recovering from the hysto went much better than the lap chole. But, whatever.


Later, gators . . .
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11.5 months post-hysto, 3+ weeks post-chole! 09-03-2012 - 06:22 PM
Haven't had much time to write here lately, I've been keeping busy with prepping for our home visit and recovering from my lap chole. The surgery went well, I was off work for two weeks again. The first week was bad, worse than I thought it would be! But then, I kept reminding myself that it was my second so-called 'major' surgery in a year. About a week after my lap chole, we were at a birthday party for one of our nieces, and without even thinking I was picking up my toddler nephew and niece like I always do. That bought me a few days of pain and worry that I'd caused a hernia. My post-op check-up was a few days later, and the physician's assistant I saw told me to take it easy for a few days and put me on a lifting restriction (no more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks). I still have a little pain at that site, but I've been taking it easier and I think it'll be fine.

I can't believe that I'm almost to the one-year mark since my hysto! I'm so glad I did it -- I really, really am. The last year has been remarkably pain-free (except for the gallbladder stuff, but now that pain is gone as well!!).

One of my best friends had a hysto a few weeks ago -- same as mine, an LSH, but I think she also had an ovary removed. She had it by the same surgeon I did, but at a different hospital. Her surgery was a Friday early afternoon and she went home the next morning, and was back to work the next Friday. Amazing!!

Well, hopefully I'm done with surgeries now for quite a while. I've had my fill, that's for sure!

That's about all I've got time for right now. TTYL!
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10.5 months post-hysto; T-minus 4 days and counting for lap chole. :( :( :( 08-04-2012 - 01:28 PM
I finally got a date for my lap chole ('gallbladder removal'); I'll be surgically separated from yet another organ this coming Thursday, August 9th. Don't know what time yet, they'll call me the day before surgery to tell me. I'm not having it done at the same hospital where I had my LSH. I'm a little nervous about that. I would have LOVED to have had it done there, but I don't like the general surgeon. So, plan B . . . wait three weeks longer and have it somewhere else.

It's an outpatient procedure, so I should be home that same day. That's the plan, at any rate!!

It's just bringing back all kinds of memories from last year at almost this time. The prep is a little different at this hospital -- no bowel prep required, but I do have to use the Hibiclens on my abd the night before and morning of surgery. I do have to stop taking acetaminophen and ASA, which is unfortunate because I am in quite a bit of pain. But like last year, I'm looking forward to having this done because I am anticipating that it will resolve a ton of horrible issues I've been living with for far too long.

That's all for now. I haven't had time to get over here very often because we've been up to our necks in adoption stuff. We're done with the education portion now, and have turned in 99% of the paperwork. We have our home visit on September 6, and after that is approved we'll be on the waiting list! It's exciting but right now I can't think that far ahead.

Oh, well. Later, when I can.
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10 months post-hysto, and counting down to another surgery :( 07-17-2012 - 12:33 PM
Yay, I get to have my gallbladder out!!!!

That's all I have time for, for right now. I don't know when yet, but hope to find out soon. I don't have time for this, but then again, who does?!

TTYL
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Nine months + and counting! 06-26-2012 - 04:54 PM
. . . since my hysterectomy, that is!

Been busy around here lately!! Between work, our family vacation (which was *******' awesome!), keeping the house somewhat clean, and getting ready for our next summer adventure, I haven't had time for much else.

Two of our nieces graduated this year, as well as three of DH's cousins' children. We've made it to three of those four shindigs, and have one last one this weekend for my oldest nephew.

Our family vacation was a one-week whirlwind from here to the Chicagoland area, then to Cleveland to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, then to Dearborn, MI, to visit the Henry Ford Museum, then to spend the weekend at Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR races. This is our 3rd NASCAR adventure and so far, by far the wettest!! The race was rain-delayed on Sunday, but we stuck it out and had an awesome time! As soon as I got back, and I mean not even 12 hours from the time I stepped out of the car onto my own driveway, I got a call from work wondering if I'd go help in OB. (I was scheduled the day shift that day, anyway, but they called at 0200 that morning wondering if I could come in then. I did.) That was a good day, but a looooong one. Nothing like being thrown right back into it after being gone for a week!

And in another less than two weeks, my DH and DS are leaving with the youth group from church, on a mission trip to Seattle for 10 days. I won't admit that I'm just a little bit nervous . . . I've never been here alone for that long before! I know it will be fine. I've been here alone with the boy while DH was out of state. I'm working the weekend they leave (NOC) and the weekend they get back (NOC) and nothing inbetween, so, it will be interesting. I hope to clean the house and marvel at how clean it stays when it's just me and the dogs here. HAHAHAHA!

Anyway, I decided to try the couch-to-5k thing right before vacation. Didn't go so well! I love to run but I'm just not that good at it. I have short legs, and achy knees. I did it for three days, and then we went on vacation and I got out of practice. Well, I think I found a new way to workout . . . this morning I did a class at the fitness center at work called "tabata". It's a high-intensity interval training that is supposed to be reallllly good . . . and judging by how I feel already, I believe it!! I'm ashamed to admit that I've put on about 15 pounds since my hysto. That is unacceptable. I was overweight before that! I've decided that I need to make a plan and stick with it this time. I know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to . . . after all, I've survived two marriages, natural childbirth, six miscarriages, more family drama than you can shake a stick at, a car accident, alcohol, drugs, abuse, and nursing school (amongst other things). And I'm still standing, stronger than ever before. It's time my outsides matched my insides!!!

Alrighty, then. That said, I'm lying on the couch right now, afraid to move because every muscle feels worked out. It's a good feeling, don't get me wrong, but still painful!!

And the dogs are whining to go out. So I'm gonna take that as my cue and check in with you hip cats again on the flipside . . . keep it real, HS!
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I'm baaaaack! 06-05-2012 - 08:10 AM
I thought I had a job interview this morning. No worries, it's for an internal posting at my own hospital, a call position in the IV therapy department. There are NEVER any openings in the IV therapy department, and I have always been interested in getting in there, so even though I just barely meet the requirements (and have to fudge just a little to even do that), I'm going for it. The worst that can happen is that I don't get it. Anyway, I thought it was this morning, but it's tomorrow morning. Good thing I double-checked the email this morning to make sure I had the right time in mind!

I just filled out my entry form for this year's county fair. After years of saying 'I'm going to enter the photography competition next year!', I finally took the plunge last year and entered a few pics. It was a blast! I only entered five pics and ended up with one 2nd-place ribbon, but it was a ton of fun and this year I'm hoping to enter 3x's that! I do love photography; I always have. So even if I don't win anything, it's fun to have a goal in mind, a mission, a reason to go out and take pictures and get them blown up to 8x10 and mounted all nicely and then envision framing them when the fair is over. Yeah, I didn't get around to that part yet.

My mistake this morning was reading the following before I even got out of bed . . .
"Say the opposites of the following words out loud: 1: always; 2: coming; 3: from; 4: take; 5: me; 6: down."

RICK-ROLLED!!!!!!!

Heh heh heh. Why'm I in such a good mood this morning? Maybe because I got the clean clothes actually put away last night, so my bedroom isn't a mountain of laundry anymore. And the sun is shining. And I leave for vacation in a week from today. Hmmmm . . . could be!
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What week/month are we on now? I don't even keep track anymore. 06-04-2012 - 02:38 PM
Thanks to the wonders of teh interwebz, I can now tell you that it's been 8 months and 20 days since my hysterectomy. Or 37.7 weeks. Or 264 days. There! That mystery is solved.

Thankfully, not much is going on health-wise. Well, little things . . . seasonal allergies have come early for me. I don't usually have 'hay fever' until August, but with the crazy weather we've had this winter and spring, I do get occasional spurts now. Is 'spurts' the right word? Whatever. I'm just thankful I'm not getting hit with it as hard as a lot of others . . . including my hubby and son! Yikes. Good thing we have stock in Benadryl.

The GI issues are manageable. I'm still not convinced that I don't need my gallbladder removed, eventually, but it's not debilitating for now so I'm just letting it go. Avoiding fatty foods as much as possible. It's all good.

In other news . . . got our dates for parenting classes on the adoption front! Those will be next month. I hope this all keeps happening at this pace! Sometimes it feels like it's taking forever, but really, it's going pretty quickly. It's been 7 months since we started the process, and we're probably less than 2 months away from being 'live' (having our profiles available to any potential birthmoms out there).

Work continues to go well. I've had I think 6 deliveries total so far? 3 c-section and 3 vag. I really am not comfortable with our hospital's c-section rate, but it is what it is. And will change in time and with experience, I'm sure. I am enjoying OB and really do feel like it's my calling.

I guess that's all for now. I'm on the couch, nursing a sore knee right now and enjoying a nice, sunny, warm day off. I'm about ready for a nap . . .
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also celebrating EIGHT MONTHS UTERUS-FREE :) 05-16-2012 - 05:02 PM
Yep . . . 8 months, roughly 32 weeks, since my hysterectomy. And not a regret in the world! Other than not seeking treatment earlier, but there's nothing I can do to change that, so we'll just let it go.

I wonder how much money I've saved by not having to buy feminine hygiene products for the last 8 months? Or by not having to buy new underwear every month or so to replace the ones that have been ruined?

Anyway . . . yeah. Not much to say that I haven't already said in the last 32 weeks or so. I can only go on for so long about how nice it is not to deal with crippling cramps or copious bleeding anymore. And musing about how much money I've probably saved by not having to buy feminine hygiene products or replacement underwear/pants/bedsheets to replace the ones I've ruined loses it's novelty after a while, too. I don't miss having my period or a uterus at all -- not since it was as defective as it was! I've never felt like I'm less of a woman now -- that never even crossed my mind.

I don't know what else to say about it right now, just that I can't believe it's only been 8 months because it feels like it's been a LOT longer than that!!
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Celebrating ONE YEAR ENDOMETRIOSIS-FREE!!! 05-12-2012 - 07:47 PM
Yep . . . one year ago today, I had my exploratory lap and endo cauterization . . . the one where I learned I had fibroids! The one that I thought and hoped would mean I didn't have to have a hysterectomy!!

More later. Very tired.
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It's so hard keeping my mouth shut. 05-03-2012 - 09:02 AM
Words I NEVER thought I'd be uttering, haha!

But seriously. I think I need a break from this place again. The more I get involved, the more I want to share and educate and dispel myths that are running rampant . . . but I can't.

This is hard for me. I'm a nurse; a huge part of my job is patient teaching and evaluating for learning needs, and then meeting those needs. It's not just a job for me, it's my gut instinct. When I see something wrong, I want to make it right. That's just how I am. It's how I've always been. It's not just because 'I'm a nurse' but because I am ME and I want to help the world function as well as it possibly can.

I mean, I haven't just gone through these things myself, I deal with them on a regular basis with my patients. I take care of people pre-op and post-op. I could completely manage someone's care from pre-op, to immediate post-anesthesia recovery and then for routine post-op care, regardless of surgery -- but I have taken care of many post-GYN patients as well. I have so much more experience to draw from other than 'just my own', it's hard to have to separate that and pretend that what I know is meaningless. I know in my heart of hearts that it's not, and I know that my knowledge and experience could make a difference in someone else's story, but I can't do anything about it. Other than not read posts here, because then I'm not as tempted to jump in.

And dispel blatant untruths, like the fact that wounds need air 'to breathe' and heal. NO!! I used to think that as well -- all while growing up, I remember hearing that. 'Take that bandage off, it needs some air to heal.' And then in nursing school, we learned the exact opposite -- wounds need MOISTURE to heal properly. Moisture = tissue growth! And I've seen it for really really real now. Air is bad for healing tissue. Oxygen is good, but oxygen and air are NOT the same thing.

I'll shut up now before I get in trouble. Besides, housework is calling my name...
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post-op 7 months and counting! 04-18-2012 - 11:31 AM
Yep, yep, yep . . . it's all a distant memory now, the pain and the bleeding and the utter misery 'Aunt Flo' bestowed upon me whenever she felt like gracing me with her presence. Sometimes it was twice a month, sometimes it was once every six months; sometimes she stayed for four months at a time. She always kept me guessing, that evil *****, never letting me rest for even one moment. I had to keep pads on hand at all times, and can't even count how many pairs of underwear and perfectly good jeans and pants were ruined by her (as well as sheets and mattresses!). Good riddance, I say!!

She's been gone for seven months now, and although I have certainly gone this long without her presence before, it is SO VERY NICE knowing that she's not coming back again. No more pads, no more worrying about 'accidents', no more excruciating pain. LOVE IT!!

I just wish she would've taken this moodiness and emotional irritability with her, but you know what, whatev. I can handle this. It's just a piece of the nasty puzzle I had to deal with before. No problem!!

Anyway. That's where I am right now . . . I can feel the crabbiness kicking in, and am trying to squash it, but it's not always that easy. People continue to say and do things that honkerblonk me off, whether they have to do with me or not (and usually they don't, that's how I know I'm probably PMS'ing) and that's just the way the world works, uterus or not.

DESPITE THAT . . . life is going well. We had an appraiser out to our house on Monday as we're in the process of attempting to re-fi . . . hoping for good numbers, because we'd like to pull a tiny bit of equity out if we can so we can start building our new house. The next best thing to moving! I'm one of those odd people who liked to move, because I liked the change. But instead of moving, since we like where we live and want to stay here for the rest of our lives, we're going to build a new house on our current property. The best of both worlds . . . a new house, and build to our specifications, without having to figure out how to move the cars and the horses, or finding new schools, etc. We'll literally just be hauling our stuff from one side of the yard to the other. I can't wait!!

Also still working on the adoption stuff. It's public info now, and that's making me even more excited! It's kinda like being pregnant now, only having no idea whatsoever about your due date.

Work is going well! I got to help with a c-section last week and am going in tomorrow to help with another.

That's about all I'm able to share here right now. I hope everyone is recovering well! ttyl
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6.5 months post-hysto :) 04-09-2012 - 01:42 PM
Actually, it's closer to 7 months than 6, but whatever. Life is going great!! I'm far enough in my OB training to where I can't go back now, haha. I'm NRP-certified, and have completed the required OB classes through work (refreshers, mostly, of the OB basics we learned in nursing school with more focus on the complications and what we can do about them), and next week I'll be taking a two-day class in on fetal monitoring. After that, I'll have all of my "classwork" completed and will just be waiting for some actual, real, hands-on learning! That's the downside of working in a small rural hospital -- last year we had 60 births. For the entire year. This could take a while . . .

But that's okay. I love learning new things, and I feel like the OB stuff just kinda comes naturally to me. People might think I don't "get" a lot of the OB/GYN stuff, because I've only birthed one child, but . . . no. I've been pregnant seven times. When I was pg with DS, I read every single thing about pregnancy and childbirth that I could get my hands on. I do consider myself pretty well-versed in OB/GYN matters, and having gone through the whole endo-fibroids->hysto thing just kinda cements that.

Not much else is going on, just trying to prepare for spring. We've had an unusually mild winter here in the upper Midwest, and even though I've already had to dig out my shorts and tank tops, this week it's supposed to be down in the 20's and 30's overnight again. It's weird, because the grass is green and the trees are budding, and DH even tried to mow the lawn this weekend (until the belt on my trusty ol' John Deere 316 snapped), but it's still early spring.

Healthwise, I'm feeling pretty good!! The "dropping" feeling is gone. I was having a gallbladder attack a few weeks ago, but that seems to have subsided for now, too. I'm just tired and nauseated all the time now. People keep joking that I must be pregnant . . . hahaha . . . it was funny the first four times.

Hope all is well!!
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Six wonderful, glorious months post-hysto!!! 03-16-2012 - 01:49 PM
I meant to post on my actual 6-months hystoversary, which was on Wednesday, but I didn't get a chance. Our son is out of town with a friend and his family this week for Spring Break, and so the hubby and I have been spending our nights doing adult things, like . . . going out to eat! Ooooh.

Wednesday was an interesting day! It actually didn't occur to me that it was the six-month mark until halfway through my shift. As coincidence or fate or luck or whatever-have-you would have it, I had TWO post-hysto patients that day. Both LSH's, one with a unilateral oopherectomy. I feel a special connection to my post-LSH patients now, and these two were no exception.

One of them went home at the end of my shift -- about four hours after her surgery was over. The other went home later that evening. That just floors me!! No way would I have gone home that night. It makes me wonder what the GYN is doing differently now, because when I had mine he told me I would be spending at least one night in the hospital; now his patients are being told they can go home the same day. I was a full inpatient admit; his patients now are called 'surgical extended stays' which means that they don't come up to the floor pre-op, they just go right to the surgery dept., and when they do come up to the floor afterward, they aren't a full admit. From the caregiver side, that means about 80% less paperwork, and from the patient side, it means the same level of care but plans to go home within 6-10 hours after surgery. Interesting!

Anyway, I'm doing fine. This month I've noticed my PMS symptoms are a lot worse . . . not just the irritability and crabbiness, but also mucho breast tenderness and even some discharge. Enough to necessitate a light pad. ***?!?! It wasn't bloody at all, though. And also, I would get like a pressure, pulling-type sensation in my left lower abdominal quadrant. It almost felt at some points like my insides were trying to fall out. This is new for me, I haven't had this happen yet, and I have had a couple of times since my hysto that I'm pretty sure I would have been menstruating (as evidenced by the aforementioned crabbiness, irritability, and breast tenderness). Weird. Those symptoms are all going away now, but I will keep an eye out in case they become troublesome.

Of course, when I start feeling like things are falling out, I start getting worried that I'm having some kind of prolapse (but not a uterine prolapse!) and will need more surgery. I don't want more surgery. Not that mine was a horrible experience, because it certainly wasn't, but I just don't care to ever have surgery again unless I absolutely need it. We have a joke at work that surgeries are like tattoos to some people -- once you have one, you want to just keep having more and more and more! And while I whole-heartedly agree with the tattoo thing (I have six and am planning at least three more, which is neither here nor there), I think two surgeries in one year is more than enough for me, thanks. (It will be a year ago in May that I had my exploratory lap and endo cauterization.)

Anyhoo, other than that, my health has been great! No complaints. No residual post-op difficulties. I have to go in soon for a physical and plan on asking my doctor if he can check my hormone levels -- I recently found out that my cousin, after she had her hysto at age 26 (21 years ago!), had major hormone deficiency problems afterward even though she had kept her ovaries. She now has OA (osteoarthritis) because of it, according to her, and says it could have been prevented had she known about it years ago.

On the adoption front . . . no new news to report. Our references are being sent in, and we're waiting to hear when we can schedule our homestudy and start taking our classes. Fun, fun, fun!!

Workwise, I FINALLY get to start OB classes this week!! Talk about a slow process . . . but our hospital doesn't get a lot of births, and there are three people ahead of me finishing up their OB orientation, so it was to be expected. It's still exciting, though. Well, it's something I'm looking forward to, anyway. I figured I'd work med-surg for about a year before I considered specializing, and that's how it's worked out . . .

I hope you are doing well. I will try to blog more often, but not much is going on lately!!
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And the beat goes on . . . 02-27-2012 - 10:39 AM
5.5 months post-op!

I had a dream the other night . . . a weird dream, and not the first of it's kind I've had in the last 5.5 months. But in this dream, I got my period again. BIG time. And I was so disappointed (in the dream) that it had come back and was just as horrible as before. What a wonderful awesomesauce pleasure to wake up after that and realize it was just a dream. Just a bad, bad dream. I'm clean and dry and worry-free!! And not that I would, but I could wear white pants now without any worries whatsoever. (Years and years of having an unpredictable menstrual cycle have made me vow to never wear white pants again. Not that they were ever my style, anyway, but in nursing school we had to wear them . . . yukkity yuck yuck YUCK!)

Let's see . . . since my last post, well, I'm over the respiratory gunk and pretty much have the GI crapola under control as well. Am now down 7# total (so 2 less than my pre-op weight) and feeling good!! Been bringing my big water bottle to work and keeping it filled, which helps immensely. Can't overestimate the importance of keeping hydrated!! I'm feeling a bit blecchy today, but I think that's just last week catching up with me, and reminding me that I'm not 20 anymore. lolololol. I worked a 7-day stretch, with a PM shift on day 6 and an AM shift on day 7. I do not like doubling back like that, so thankfully I'm not asked to do it very often. On day 6, I was 1:1 with an elderly nursing home patient who was brought to us in respiratory distress, complete with 'no code' orders. We rarely have 1:1 patients, and if we do they are the ones on insulin drips or cardiac drips. We're a small hospital and don't have an ICU per se, so if someone is in need of ICU nursing we ship them to a bigger hospital. So the whole thing of this pt being a 1:1 was a bit confusing anyway, and that night I had a lot of time to think about the whole quality vs. quantity of life thing. MY POINT in sharing that is that it put me in a thoughtful, pensive, emotional mood.

The next morning I arrived for the day shift, and learned that said patient had expired about fifteen minutes before my arrival. A blessing . . . rest in peace, my friend.

*AHEM*

Anyway, so our church's youth group (and some of us adults) participated in the 30-Hour Famine to raise money for World Vision. Look 'em up if you want. That started on midnight Friday for me, and ended Saturday morning at 6am. It was a loooong day! Actually, it wasn't nearly as tough as I thought it would be. I'm glad I did it; it also made me stop and think a lot about what's important in life and what we can live without, and how spoiled we are and the things we shouldn't take for granted.

Yeah, I've had a thoughtful weekend.

Saturday morning (after breaking my fast) I did the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes with some of my friends. It was my first time. I loved it! It was at the Mall of America, so of course some shopping was involved as well. I felt great, but by the time we were driving home I was exhausted and could have fallen asleep on a dime.

I got home and talked to the guys for a while, then was going to go upstairs to take a nap. I got up there, and on my side of the bed was an envelope . . . from the adoption agency . . .

WE'RE IN!!! We've been officially accepted into their Open Domestic Adoption program!!!!

I'm elated!! I can't believe it!! I'm happy and scared and overwhelmed and relieved and nervous and everything all at once. Mostly excited and impatient. It's still very early in the game, but the game is now underway!!

I hope everyone reading this (and everyone not reading it, too) is doing well. Peace and love to you!!!
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5 months post-op this week!! 02-12-2012 - 04:01 PM
I don't remember if my surgery day was Sept 13th or Sept 14th anymore, and don't feel like looking it up at this exact moment, so I'll leave it at that.

Womanly-wise, things are going well. I am so very happy to not have to deal with the bleeding and uterine cramps anymore!! Sometimes it still just seems surreal. I haven't purchased any feminine hygiene products in MONTHS. I don't make sure I have some in my purse at all times 'just in case' anymore. I love it, love it, love it!!

If only I could get the GI crap under control now. I was doing alright for a while -- then I got the respiratory gunk for a few weeks (like the last time I wrote in here), and as of this writing that has been gone for a while now and I'm just dealing with the occasional runny nose and cough. Typical winter fare up here in the great north woods. Yesterday I started getting the heartburn flare-up again, UGH. Today I'm just zonked out, partially because we're out of diet Dew so I haven't had any today, and partially because I took some Zofran to help with the heartburn and nausea. And then I took some Prilosec a few hours later. Zofran, I love it, but it knocks me out. But at least I'm not nauseated!!!

No news to report yet on the adoption front. We had our screening interview a week ago Friday, and the worker told us that we'd hear in a week or so about whether we're accepted into their program or not. So far, we haven't heard either way. I was hoping to know by now, it feels like our lives are in the balance, waiting to find out if we might be doing 'the baby thing' again in the near future or not. It makes me want to curse my infertility!!! Ugh. But, no. We wait.

Work is going well. Two women I know had babies there last week. Too bad I'm not trained in to OB yet! My first official day of OB orientation is next Monday. I'm anxious to learn some new things!! I've also been happy at work because I've been preceptoring and also working with student nurses. I don't generally like teaching things, but I do like being a trainer, if that makes sense. Oh, well. I'm so tired my brain is feeling mushy, so, I'm gonna sign off . . . ttyl
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4.5 months post-op 01-27-2012 - 09:41 AM
I'm in the midst of some cruddy head/respiratory gunkiness right now. BLECCH!! The other night while I was trying to fall asleep, with my head feeling like it's been packed full of cotton balls and my nose running like a leaky faucet and my whole body just aching, I actually found myself thinking, 'I'd rather have another hysterectomy then deal with this crud right now!'

Other than that, I don't think too much about the 'h' word anymore. Haven't had any post-hysto patients at work for a while; actually the surgeon is doing them slightly differently now and having them come in as a same-day surgery type of deal. I'm glad I got in when I did! I'm just sayin', I don't think same-day would've been my preference.

Well, I've lost the +5 I gained from my pre-op weight, so now I'm at my pre-op weight again. For the last week or so I've been holding steady there, not losing but not gaining, either. The GI issues are mostly at bay, unless I mess up and eat something I shouldn't. UGH! So sick of it!!!

*JUST* now (literally as I was typing the second paragraph) from a woman at the adoption agency, calling to say she received our application and wants to talk to us about our 'level of interest in one of [their] programs'!!!! I let voicemail get it. I'm too excited and anxious to talk to them right now. I'll calm down a little bit, talk to DH, and then call them back. YAY!!!!

Alright, I should sign off. I was off yesterday and feeling even cruddier, so I didn't leave the house and didn't take a shower. Today I have a lunch date in about an hour, so I should go take a shower and get ready to go. Work this weekend . . . well, Saturday, anyway.

TTYL . . .
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mid-January and all is well . . . 01-10-2012 - 11:14 PM
Last week or so, I thought I was having some very very light bleeding. Every so often that happens, I'll have discharge for a day or so -- nothing bad, not even enough to necessitate wearing a thin pad (I did keep a few of those guys around 'just in case') -- and then it's gone. It's happened maybe twice since my hysto? Since my cycles weren't regular before, I'm wondering if it's not hormone-related. Well, whatever. Like I said, it's not bothersome, just an observation.

The GI issues are . . . well, I feel like they're slowly getting under control. As long as I avoid chocolate and other high-sugar foods, and stick to my low-carbing, I'm good! Plus I've lost 5 pounds in the last week, so, there's another bonus! I still have a long ways to go, but I do know several people in real life who have recently lost 30-50 pounds by low-carbing. They are my real-life inspirations. If *they* can do it, *I* can do it!!

I found out this weekend that I am, indeed, getting the FT OB NOC position!!! I'm very happy about this. I've wanted FT status for a year now, so I can carry some health insurance benefits in the likely event that my DH (who works in the trades) gets laid off again. I will also begin training this spring for OB. Yay! Specializing is fun!! I never really aimed for OB, but it's kind of where I've landed, so, yeah. At my hospital you can only really specialize in OB, ER, or OR. And I'm not really interested in ER or our hospital's OR. So, there you go. I'm happy with this plan.

I wish I had an update on the adoption front to share, but I don't. Still waiting to hear from the agency about whether they've even received our application. Frustrating!!! If I was a woman without OB/GYN issues, I could be a good 12 weeks pregnant by now. But nooooooooooo. Whatever. It is what it is. I continue to pray . . .

That's about all I've got for now. I'm heading up to bed . . . worked my first 3-11 shift in a long time tonight, and I'm exhausted!! So tired of going from shift to shift to shift. I am so looking forward to working just ONE shift so I can restore some continuity to my schedule again!!

Good night . . .
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In like a lion, out like a lamb. 01-03-2012 - 12:33 PM
That's one way to sum up 2011. It came in like a lion because I had just graduated from nursing school and was attempting to get my life back in order while also trying to prepare to take my state boards. And it went out like a lamb because there really isn't anything ground-shattering going on right now . . . things are stable . . . spent the last night of 2011 hanging out with two of my three favorite guys, my hubby and my son, watching movies and chillaxin' in front of a toasty fire. I didn't even stay awake until midnight. Close, tho; at about 10pm when we went up to bed, I decided to read the new book I'd purchased, 'Heaven is for Real'. I finished it at about 11pm and was so tired I could barely keep my eyes opened. And whaddya know . . . 2012 let itself in with me having to be awake to greet it.

Oh, and just to clear up any confusion, the other 1/3rd of the 'my three favorite guys' equation would be my Dad, who was at home 45 miles away with my Mom that night. I hope!! hahahaha

So, here we are, a brand new year. I need to get the calendar out to figure how long it's been . . . next week, it will be four months since my hysterectomy. I feel great! Except, well, I have gained about *grumble*five*grumble* pounds since surgery. And I mean from what I weighed the day of surgery, not counting what I lost and then gained back afterward. GASP!! Yeah, I know. So, like how many other people, I'm making a goal this year to lose weight. Lots of weight. And keep it off!!!

But I have another reason for changing my diet . . . my GI issues. It's been horrible lately! Anytime I eat anything, I feel sick. Ranging from just minor belly pain to out-and-out 'kill me now and put me out of my misery' gut rot. As long as I don't eat, I'm fine. When I feel fine, I'm usually hungrier than hell and craving the kinds of things that make me sick. It's a vicious circle. But I had a good 'talk' with myself the other night . . . not literally, just in my head . . . I guess that sounds even crazier . . . um, anyway . . . I just need to remind myself how I feel when I eat the 'wrong' things, so that I'll stay away from them! Why is it so hard to be good???

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway . . . other than THAT, things are going well. Work is keeping me busy, as always. No news on the promotion to permanent FT status yet. Family is doing well, hoping to hear something soon about our adoption application. DS turns 14 next week, yikes!! We 'finally' got snow a few days ago. Bummer . . . I was diggin' having a non-white Christmas and wished it would've lasted even longer!

I guess that's all for now. TTYL
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Endo tied to higher risk of Crohn's, Colitis . . . (article I found online) 12-27-2011 - 09:06 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/endometriosis-tied-higher-risk-crohns-colitis-000808619.html

"Women with endometriosis may be up to 80 percent more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis compared to women without the uterine disorder, according to a new long-term study."

==========================================

That's not exactly what I wanted to hear, after having spent the last few weeks dealing with GI issues again! I shouldn't read health articles on the internet. This particular one makes me think about how my GI issues initially developed around the same time that my GYN issues developed. Coincidence? I've always wondered.

And I hate it when I start to wonder, because I hate to be a self-diagnoser. Yet I tend to be one . . . go figure.

Anyway . . . yeah. I don't know which post-op week I'm at anymore! That's a good sign, right? I'm counting in months now. It's been about 3.5 months since my hysto. No bleeding for 3.5 months . . . nice!! No cramps, no stockpiling feminine hygiene products, no worrying about waking up in a pool of my own blood, no worrying about staining my clothes or furniture or someone else's furniture. No worries about being embarrassed in public by leakage anymore. Love it!!!

Anyway. I'm on nocs again this week, so I should probably go take a shower and get ready for work soon. TTYL!
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Hmmm, must be . . . 13 weeks post-op now? Yikes! 12-15-2011 - 01:04 PM
Time, she sure does fly.

Yesterday, two of my patients were fresh post-LSH'ers. I am continually amazed at the differences from person to person, not just in this case, but in others. But this one is a little more interesting to me, since I have first-hand experience, too, KWIM?!

The first one was about 11 years younger than me. Had had children (not sure how many, but at least one c-section) and this was not her first surgery. (Again, don't know what the others were as I didn't get a chance to read into her previous medical history.) From the moment she got to the floor, she rated her pain at 8/10 and was just miserable. I could hardly believe it!! When *I* awoke, the first thing I remember was feeling NO pain at all! Hmmm. Oh, well, everyone is different.

The second one was in her mid-40's, and complained of HA pain more than anything else. As she described the HA pain to me, she had that look in her eyes that begged me to explain why on earth she was having a headache if she'd just had her uterus taken out. 'Are you a caffeine drinker?' I asked, and the light bulb over her head lit up like a Christmas tree. We determined that was probably the source of her discomfort. She said the pain everywhere else was alright so long as she didn't move.

It was just interesting. It takes me back to 'my' time three months ago. What I wouldn't give to go back, so I can relax and not be expected to do anything for a few weeks!!! hahaha, I kid, I kid.

Another thing on my mind this week is that a very, very dear friend of mine is in the hospital, fighting for her life. I won't go into details right now because, frankly, I'm sick of talking about 'how' it happened, but suffice to say that she had some post-surgical (not hysto-related) complications and was transferred from our little rural hospital to the best trauma center in the region. She is improving, little by little, but it's been a long battle so far and it just breaks my heart. She's like a sister to me, even though her kids are my age! I was there when she crashed, which has left me somewhat scarred and morose, but it's not about me right now. It's about her.

Other than THAT, well, not much going on. I'm feeling pretty good although been dealing with some GI crapola lately. And fighting off the depression that comes with winter, and cold, sunless days, and ice and snow and cold. Although it's been a very mild winter so far by midwest standards, and I really can't complain. But I will anyway, hahahaha!

Work is going well. I'm looking forward to starting OB training this spring . . . it's not as far away as it seems!!

Family life is going well. I can't believe my baby boy is going to be 14 in less than a month. Time flies, that's for sure . . .

I'm almost ready for Christmas. Have a few more gifts left to pick up or finish making. Decided today to make a prayer shawl for my friend who is in the hospital, but not sure I have enough yarn on hand to make a decent one, and not sure I want to brave the holiday shopping insanity just for yarn. We'll see. I have time.

Alrighty, then. Time to go put some more wood on the fire and curl up in front of it for a nice winter nap. TTYL!!
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10 weeks post-op and lovin' life! 11-25-2011 - 05:15 PM
Just a few days over 10 weeks, actually. And I feel great!! No issues, no regrets. My incisions have healed up. If my ovaries went into 'shock' or whatever, they are out of it now and working just fine; that is to say, I've had no issues with menopausal-type symptoms. My sex life is better than ever, which has greatly improved my relationship with the hubby! I do still get PMS; I can tell when I get that crabby, gnawingly nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach, and want to bite everyone's heads off. It's only happened a couple of times since the surgery. This last time was just this week, and I had a couple of ovarian-type twinges of pain that took me back for just a very quick second. I will keep an eye on that and hope it's not another problem developing (endo on my ovaries? Cysts? Whatever?!) but remain optimistic that my issues have been solved by having my uterus removed. I *have* put on about 5# since my surgery, but that's my own fault. 'After the holidays' . . . baahahhahaha

Work has been going great. I went back at 3 weeks and have been going full speed ahead ever since. I'm the RN Lead Preceptor now, which I enjoy very much! So I serve as the one-on-one preceptor/mentor/trainer for new employees and nursing students who are about to graduate. Lately that has translated to my actually being a primary floor nurse for about 1/3rd of my shifts. I like the change; it's the best of both worlds for me, patient care AND administrative-type-management! I just love my job so much. AND . . . today I put in for a full-time (with health insurance benefits!) position, as the 11-7 OB nurse! I'm 99% sure I'll get it. That would be nice. My DH's job is so unstable, it would be a huge weight off his shoulders if I carried the health insurance. And I do like the night shift, and I am interested in OB. So, there you go.

In other news . . . earlier this week we sent in our adoption application!! I was super excited at first but now I'm trying to pace myself. You know, just in case it doesn't go through, for some reason. I have to have patience. I have to have faith. I have to continue living life as usual. If it's meant to be, it will happen in time. I know that. I get it. But I'm still praying feverishly about it.

Anyway . . . not much else going on. No health issues lately (well, a sore back, but I think that was from the shoes I was wearing at work; I switched back to sneakers and the backache has gone!). Family is doing well. Friends are doing well. The truck needs tranny work and the car is leaking antifreeze, but those are minor speedbumps and overall I feel blessed, lucky, and thankful to be alive.

And I wish the same for you!!

I don't post on the boards anymore, because I am tired of restraining myself. I know this is a woman-to-woman support board, and it's hard for me to not respond to posts with things I know from a personal professional standpoint . . . KWIM? I mean, yes, I consider myself as someone who knows a lot about what it's like to live with endo and fibroids, and have an LSH, because those are things I have done myself. But I also know a lot about gyno-problems, health care, treatments, healing, diagnoses and prognoses (etc) because it's my job to do so. And honestly, it's very hard for me to hold that kind of info back. So, even though I feel rotten because I want to just reach out to everyone and be there to support them and answer their questions and clear up the many myths and assumptions that are floating around out there . . . I can't. It sucks, but what can you do?!?! Rules are rules.

Catch you's later . . .
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8 weeks tomorrow!!! 11-08-2011 - 05:30 PM
There . . . the magical 8-week mark; for all medical and surgical intents and purposes, I am HEALED. My body is back to it's pre-op state (well, actually 'better than' considering the nature of my operation!). There will still be a few changes (finishing touches to my healing, as it were) inside over the next few months, but nothing that I'll notice. My incisions are now faint scars that will continue to fade for a little while longer, but 99% of the healing is done. I haven't had any random, twinge-like pains since I don't even remember when! I haven't bled at all for eight weeks. EIGHT WEEKS!! Haven't had a pad on in almost eight weeks. If this is what I've been missing out on all this time . . . shame on me for not getting help sooner!!

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Post-op week 7.5 and all is well . . . 11-06-2011 - 10:00 PM
It's funny, I think, how I used to blog here at least once a day, and now I just . . . you know . . . don't. I keep telling myself I should, because I paid for the upgrade and all just so I could blog, but that's still not enough motivation sometimes. I've had to pull myself away from posting on the regular forums because I get so caught up in everything, I sit down to just read a few things and the next thing I know I've spent the whole day at the computer doing this, that, and the other thing. Which worked out really well when I was in the acute recovery stages, because that's all I had was time to sit at the computer all day doing this, that, and the other thing . . . but sadly, not anymore!

So, yeah. Most of the time I forget that I even had a hysterectomy, much less that it was less than 8 weeks ago. I gave away the rest of my stash of pads last week. I suppose I can get rid of the tampons, too; those are in the downstairs bathroom and I keep forgetting that I still have them. I've been weeding down my supply of 'old' cotton underwear to wear with the pads. It still seems surreal to imagine that I don't have to worry about spotting or the dam unexpectedly breaking again!! I'm about thisclose to flushing the rest of my Vicodin down the toilet . . . not sure why to hang on to them, I don't have pain now nearly as bad as I did pre-operatively. I'll hold on to the mega ibuprofen, and the zofran.

I'm working my butt off lately, is what I've been doing. In the last two weeks I've had, really, like two full complete true days off. Most of those were spent actually working, one was going to work for a mandatory paid meeting, and there are also two partial call shifts in there, too. That will be a nice paycheck!! hee hee hee. On top of that I've been trying to keep the house in shape, and knitting a bunch of hats and scarves to give away for Christmas presents this year. And of course, taking care of DH and chauffering the teenager around and such. No rest for the wicked, yanno.

Something noteworthy has come up, though. About a week or so ago, DH said that he'd like to have another child. I wanted to smack him at first -- do NOT say that after I've had a hysterectomy, not unless you mean it!! Those were my words to him at first - 'do NOT toy with me like that. do NOT say that unless you mean it.' Well, guess what? He means it. In the past, we had talked about becoming foster parents . . . I wasn't thrilled about that idea because I don't want to have to give them back up, but I couldn't argue that it would be a very special way to impact someone else's life. But we never went farther than talking about it. I'd bring up adoption and he'd falter. (I was infertile for a long time before having my hysto.) So it got dropped. Well, now he says he likes the idea of adoption. Not fostering -- adoption. I even seriously considered surrogacy for a while, and was heartbroken when he didn't agree to that, but I'm over it now and am now very excited about the possibility of adding to our family!! That's all I'll say for now; we have a meeting on Saturday with a local agency to discuss the whole process and we'll see how it goes from there. Sometimes I feel like we're too old to be thinking about this again (because we want a young child, an infant preferably) but really? Not so much. We're both 37. We're financially secure. We're great parents. If it's meant to be, it will be. Besides, I know lots of people our age who are having babies; it's not rare. And so what if DS is already going on 14? Not the age difference I would have preferred, but whatever. Not the end of the world, either.

Alright. I'll quit talking about it for now.

In other news, everything else is going well. I love my job!! I love my family, and my friends, and my home, and even my ****-head pony who keeps sneaking out under the pasture fence and so I will spending the first part of my partial day off tomorrow putting up a 3rd hot line around the front part of the pasture (because the other sides are already done). I love my other horse, who is older and smarter and more of a momma's girl than the pony. I love my dogs, and the cat, and I just love the fact that I am alive and able to enjoy everything. Life rocks!!!

Alright. I'm going to bed now. I worked day shift all weekend and am on NOCS the rest of the week, starting tomorrow (monday) night. Wish me luck! And I"ll try to update more often, I promise!!
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Happy October 31st!! 10-31-2011 - 08:07 PM
I'm not a Halloween celebrator. People in costumes (especially adults!) creep me out. We live in the country, so no trick-or-treaters come out this far. And the last thing anyone in this house needs is more *******' candy!! So, yeah. Not a fan. Today's just another day for us. No big whoop.

Except that tomorrow NaNoWriMo begins! I love NaNoWriMo. This will be my fifth year, I think? Not in a row, I took a few years off during nursing school. But last year I 'won' for the first time, and this year I'm pumped to do it again!!! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's National Novel Writing Month; the idea is to write a complete novel in 30 days. I think that comes out to like 1500 words per day, or somesuch. Anyhoo, there's a website -- nanowrimo dot org -- if you're interested. It's free.)

Tough weekend at work. One pt with a hx of brain and lung cancer, found out that she had mets to her spine. Very sad. The other, who was my pt for the weekend, has a newly-discovered mass on their pancreas -- probably malignant, but we couldn't tell for sure, so they went to the cities to see the specialists. Their liver started shutting down yesterday. It's very sad to see someone going from 'normal' to jaundiced and deteriorating quickly. It had me bummed out all weekend.

In other news . . . the day after tomorrow will be 7 weeks since my hysto!! Seems like it was longer than that, lol. I'm doing fine . . . no complaints . . . no mini-periods, haven't bled a drop since right after surgery THANK YOU LORD!!! No cramps, no pain, okay occasionally I've had 'ovary' pain, but that's not even pain, just pressure. And nowhere near what it was before. In other words, I'm very happy with my hysto experience and fully intend to post as such on the 'stories' board or whatever it is. IYKWIM.

I get to work tonight, yay. I had written down the schedule incorrectly and thought I had tonight off, but as I was leaving yesterday I just happened to pick up the schedule and look at it, and boy am I ever glad I did because I definitely am scheduled for tonight and not tomorrow night!!

And I have a paper to finish up tonight. I've been slacking on school work lately and this paper was actually due yesterday, but oh well. Not like I can go back in time and fix it now. I have the outline done, just gotta sit for a few and ramble out a decent paper, and submit it before I go to work. Definitely do-able.

Alright then. I'm outta here. Take care!!
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Feeling much better today! 10-27-2011 - 08:50 AM
The swelling on my ear has gone down quite a bit, and it's not as painful as it once was. I can feel where that stupid pimple is now. GRRRRR!!! Well, whatever.

Not much going on today. I was on call overnight last night, but tempted fate and went to bed with DH anyway . . . with one ear out all night for the phone. And wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles . . . I didn't get called in!!! It's weird to be awake right now, though. My body is getting used to working overnights, so now I feel like I should be sleeping. But no, I have a ton of housework to catch up on. The house is a pit, and no one cares but me, so I'm going to clean my heart out today!!

That's all for now. I'm going to crank the tunage up to 11 and do a number on this pig stye. Catch ya later!
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Went to the doctor today. Not hysto-related. 10-25-2011 - 08:58 PM
. . . and I have cellulitis! Which sounds menacing but is really just a tissue infection. In my case, it's in my ear, and probably brought on by the fact that I have a small pimple right in the fold of my ear. Of all the stupid things in the world . . . lol!! But I'm glad I went in. My inner ears are fine. Now I'm on omnicef for ten days and have a topical antibiotic ointment I'm supposed to be using as well. I am NOT looking forward to being on antibiotics -- have I mentioned that yet? UGH. Oh, well. Maybe it'll help me drop a couple more pounds . . . hahaha.

Other than that, I'm feeling alright. Oh, except I'm a little paranoid because the antibiotic I'm on is a distant cousin to pencillin, to which I am allergic. Both the doctor and the pharmacist assured me that less than 1% of people with PCN allergies will react to omnicef. But I'm still hyperaware. My neck just started itching!! Am I reacting?? My leg just started itching! Should I take a Benadryl?? (No, silly; your skin is just dry. Get over it. You'll be fine.) IDK, I guess it's a good thing I'll be at work tonight, what better place to have an allergic reaction than at a hospital?!? Heh.

I can't believe tomorrow will mark six weeks since my hysterectomy!!! Wow. And I feel so good . . . was thinking today when I got out of the shower, I haven't worn a maxipad for almost six weeks now. That's a new record for me! I haven't had to throw away one single pair of ruined underwear or pants in the last six weeks. Haven't even used any Shout in the last six weeks. It's been WONDERFUL!!!!! I'm going to give my stash of feminine hygiene products to my BFF, who has four daughters of her own, two that are already menstruating. Good riddance, Kotex!!!

Sigh. Hope to have an uneventful night tonight. Last night was pretty good, I could go for a repeat of that . . .
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Blecchy day. 10-24-2011 - 06:49 PM
I have some kind of ear infection or something. I know, I should go see the doctor, but I'm stubborn like that. I noticed on Saturday morning that my right ear was a little bit swollen, on the inside of my outer ear (if that makes sense). I'm not up on ear terminology so I looked it up, and it's the antihelix that is swollen the most. That was Saturday; by now it's even more swollen, and painful, and my hearing in that side is a little decreased, and sometimes it aches down the side of my face and into my jaw. And I feel achy and feverish although I'm not running a fever. BLECCH!! I don't want to go on antibiotics; they do a number on my stomach and I've enjoyed not having a yecchy stomach for the last few weeks! I know I should go in, though. But I'm on overnights this week. Maybe I can get the ER doc tonight to take a peek and write me a script.

So that's why I've had a yecchy day. I had to get up this morning and drive to the other side of the cities with DH so he could pick up his work truck, then I came home and went right back to bed. I hope I can make it through my shift tonight!! I think I'm supposed to be orientating a new hire, so maybe it won't be so bad. It mostly hurts when I think about it. ha. ha.

It seems like my pain tolerance has gone down just a bit since my surgery. I think I was just so focused on the endo/fibroid pain that nothing else ever seemed to matter. Le sigh.
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5.5 weeks post-op. 10-22-2011 - 01:21 PM
Today I got to spend a few hours outside reinforcing the pasture fencing. Good times!! Yesterday afternoon DH and I were leaving to go pick the boy up from school, and when we exited out the back door we were greeted by my little horse trotting with all her might down the driveway. Which is NOT where she is supposed to be. GRRRRR!! So after getting her safely contained, we went to Fleet Farm and got more fencing. Now we've got three strands up instead of two. And I'm sore. It wasn't even that labor intensive, just clearing some weeds from the fence line, then putting little holder thingies on all of the fence posts, then running the tape through them. OK, so it was a lot of bending over, I suppose. Whatever. My allergies are going nuts now. I thought allergies were supposed to be over after the first frost?!?! Guess not. Maybe it's the first HARD frost. IDK.

Not much else going on. I haven't tried jogging for about a week now, was waiting for my knees to stop yelling at me so much. And I've been working a lot and honestly didn't make time to get any exercise, really. It's hard, but I have to strap my big girl boots on and get back to it next week. Next week I work NOCs, so I figure I will make myself go for a 'quick' walk/jog when I get home in the AM. Yeah, that's the ticket. That's my plan. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

So, yeah. Not much else going on. Just chillin' in the house with the dogs now that I'm done working outside for the day. I might break down and take an ibuprofen for my knees later. Haven't had any cramps or discharge or anything GYN-related going wrong recently, which is a relief that I'm happy to take for granted. I should work on some homework today, and I should work on making some Christmas presents (going to crochet a hat for my SIL and a hat and mitten set for one of my dearest friends), and I should clean the house, but honestly I'm just enjoying sitting and doing NOTHING for a change. All in moderation, right? Ha.

TTYL.
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FIVE WEEKS TODAY!!! 10-19-2011 - 08:51 PM
YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! lol. Five weeks today since I had my uterus removed, and my only regret remains that I wish I would've done it sooner. But I can't go back and change that now, so, no point in dwelling on that. Just focusing on the future.

Honestly, after reading this site pre-operatively, I didn't think there was any way I'd be doing as well as I am at this point. I thought I'd still be in pain, or still tired all the time. I'll admit, I'm kind of a baby when it comes to pushing myself . . . I don't like to push myself if I don't have to. I took four days off when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, when most people go back to work the day after!! It took me like nine months after delivering the boy to be able to walk without being in pain! And, I ended up taking almost a week off for my exploratory lap back in May of this year. My track record isn't great. I didn't have high hopes. Even though my doctor said to give him at least one week or two if I could, I was thinking I'd probably have to end up extending my leave to four weeks or so. Especially after reading things on here from other women who were like, There is NO WAY I'd be back to work at two weeks!

So it's with a bit of amazement that I sit and look at where I am now. Until I look at or feel the scars on my tummy and in my belly button, I forget that I just had a hysterectomy. I'm back to doing every single thing I used to do before the surgery, and have been for a while. Oh, with one exception -- I'm no longer making sure that, wherever I go, I have access to a bathroom and that I have at least four overnight pads with me!!! I don't worry about waking up in the morning lying in a pool of my own blood anymore, or ruining any of my underwear or pants, or making sure that I wear a shirt that's long enough to cover my bottom 'just in case'. I no longer have nightmares about standing up in church and noticing I've left a little 'something' behind on the cushion where I had been sitting.

Sex is better than it has been in YEARS. Have I mentioned that yet?!?! I've had my first post-op orgasms by now. I was worried about how that would go, without the uterus there to produce those nice strong contractions. Yanno what?? I still don't miss my uterus!! No worries there, at all. In fact, one night I had THREE within about, IDK, 15 minutes of each other! (I'm estimating the time; I wasn't watching the clock!) A-freaking-mazing. I haven't been able to do that in a VERY long time. So . . . all is well in that department.

I have noticed a bit of discharge this week. Not much, not like before, but I thought about wearing a minipad for it a few days ago. Then it pretty much went away again. I still have my cervix so am wondering if this isn't some sort of 'mini-period' like I've been reading about. Or maybe from being so sexually active lately. It's not malodorous nor does it look like anything from an infection, and like I said it's gone away again now. Pre-op, I would also get very tender breasts when my period was due, and I haven't had that at all; wondering as well if that wasn't tied in with the uterus somehow.

But mostly, I haven't had time to think about myself because I've been working full-time and thus spending most of my time thinking about everyone else and THEIR health issues!!

I had a bad case yesterday. A patient that came in the afternoon before with a headache, confusion and memory loss. Elderly patient, lived at home alone. Family thinks they hadn't been taking their heart medication for some time, as they hadn't picked their meds up from the pharmacy in a few months and also the family found full pill bottles in the patient's house. Came in to the ER with BP's in the 200's over 100's. Pt was admitted and we got the BP to start coming down. I had the pt on Tuesday AM and they seemed to have little confusion at all at first, their BP was in the 140's over 90's, and they were talkative and pleasant and seemed to be getting better. Until lunch time. At lunch time, the pt stopped responding to us and became very uncooperative . . . long story short, pretty sure this patient had some kind of cerebrovascular event. OK, I'll say it: stroke. I hate that word. DH's Dad had a stroke, which is what took his life. Anyway . . . back to my patient. The family was upset with us because we couldn't tell them on the spot WHY this was happening. I understand their feeling of helplessness, but on the other hand, our focus (and by 'our' I mean myself and the three other nurses that were in the room trying to get this patient calmed down enough that we could do some diagnostic testing, as well as the MD who dropped everything to run up there and help out as well) at the time was to keep the patient safe and comfortable.

The family ended up transferring the patient to another hospital, one that has a neurologist. I'd agree with that; our hospital doesn't have one. It makes me think about the whole DNR/DNI thing again, too, because if you're not wanting to take extraordinary or artificial measures to save a person's life, what is the point of putting that person through stressful and expensive testing to find out exactly what is going on?? I know it's hard to let go; I dread the day I will have to be a decision-maker in that process. I don't know. Like I said, it just makes me think.

I'm working the NOC shift (11pm-7am) tonight, which I haven't done in about five weeks. I'm tired already!!! I only slept about four hours today (plus my 8 or so last night) so I should be able to make it. The first night of NOC is always the easiest for me -- I'll come home tomorrow morning and be tired enough to sleep without having to take a sleeping pill, and will get some good quality sleep tomorrow during the day. I hope.

Alright, wish me luck! I'm outta here.
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ANNOYED!!! 10-17-2011 - 04:19 PM
Sorry, I gotta vent. Because sometimes people just annoy me and there's nothing I can do about it but turn around (so to speak) and walk away.

I wonder sometimes why people think working in health care is so "easy"?? It is not. Most of us are required to have college degrees. Most of us have gone through hell and high water to get those degrees, even "just" the 2-year degrees. Even those of us with 1-year diplomas have gone through classes so rigorous and all-consuming that we've spent more nights than we'd ever admit crying because it's all just so much to know, to have to remember, to be responsible for. It's insane -- literally, in-****ing-sane.

Lord help me, I am not the kind of person to be all 'high and mighty' because I have a hard-earned degree in my field, and consider my job not just a job or a career but an undeniable passion. My three weeks off post-op proved that to me: I *MISSED* my job. Not the people I work with, not the paycheck, and Lord knows I didn't miss the crazy hours. I missed doing my job, being who I am, putting to use my talents and education in my chosen field. I take it very seriously, and am very VERY proud of my accomplishments therein. I am a nurse. I don't 'work as a nurse', I **AM** a nurse. It's part of my identity. I don't know how else to describe it.

That's all I better say for now. I think I might be PMS'ing. Who the hell knows anymore?!? I used to be able to chalk my crabby moods up to PMS because a short time after the crabby moods started, I'd get my period. How the hell am I supposed to know *now* if I'm moody or just a *****?!?!? Dios mio!

Day 3 of the six-day stretch is complete. One more day shift (hurrah!) then I get to work two overnights in a row (double hurrah! I love overnights!!).
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Almost five weeks. 10-16-2011 - 07:06 PM
I can NOT imagine how crazy I'd be if I was still off of work right now. Although there are times I wish I was still able to sit around the house and do nothing all day . . . hahaha!! The grass is always greener, you know. Reverse psychology or something like that.

I feel like I did my good deed for the day today. My post-op hysto patient was discharged today, and I got to do her discharge teaching. So I got to throw in little tips that the paperwork didn't cover, like 'swelly belly' and taking it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and how she will probably have some days where it feels like she's taking three steps forward and two steps back, but assurance that little by little things should be improving greatly from here on out, and she will be glad to be free of those nasty horrible periods she had pre-op!! I feel bad for her because she's still in a lot of pain, taking Toradol and Percocet with minimal relief, but she's motivated to get out of the hospital and get better and I think that's better than any medication. I thought about suggesting this site to her . . . maybe next time, I will. It's on the brochure, the same brochure I got.

Other than that, not much going on today. I'm on day two of my six-day workweek this week. It went well. I like working weekends, except for the fact that I don't get to see my family. That part sucks big ol' donkey balls, but work-wise it's nice and laid-back and our weekend crew works very well together. We had four patients today, and I had three of them. My one, like I said, was discharged but that was right at the end of the shift. The other two will likely be discharged tomorrow. Tomorrow and Tuesday I'm orienting a new nurse, which I love to do, so those will be good days. I love my job; I really really really do, and not just because I get to wear scrubs.

Is anyone reading this a race car fan? I am. Mostly just NASCAR, but today we watched the Indy race because the NASCAR race was yesterday. We saw the horrible crash that took out 14 cars, and also left a young driver dead. It was very sad . . . not sure why I'm taking it so hard, I didn't even know the driver's name until today, but I am feeling pretty low and emotional about it. Death is everywhere, isn't it?!? Last week, two electricians that work for the same company my hubby works for were killed . . . they were working in a ditch in a well-marked construction zone on a busy freeway in Minneapolis, and 'for some reason' a guy lost control of his car and left the road and plowed them both down. That got me down, too . . . my hubby is a plumber and not an electrician, and he doesn't work on the road crew, but it's proof that construction is a deadly business and a reminder that construction workers die all.the.freaking.time. I guess it's just been that kind of a week for me.

I also had to take a test for my one class today. It's open book, so I hope I did well. I'm a bad test taker, I get nervous and try to rush through it and miss easy stuff sometimes. So this time I made myself look every single freaking question up, and highlight the answers in the book to be sure I was reading it correctly. The scores will be posted tomorrow; this is test 2 out of 5. I can't believe the semester is almost half over already! Didn't think I'd be going back to school this soon, but hey, it is what it is.

Alright, I'm gonna sign off and get some sleep. I'm not a morning person, and having to be out the door before sunrise for four days in a row is probably going to kill me. Just kidding. TTYL.
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Week 'whatever week this is' update . . . 10-15-2011 - 03:24 PM
Egads! I guess I'm about 4.5 weeks post-op by now. The big One Month anniversary was yesterday and it didn't even occur to me until now. Happy Happy Joy Joy!!

I'm doing well. My knees and hips, but especially my knees, are very unhappy with me lately, but the rest of me is determined to take up jogging if it kills me. Not literally.

My abdomen/pelvis has continued to be a little ouchy lately, but it's not getting worse so I'm not worried. I wonder if it's maybe ovulation pain, because it could be around that time and I *do* still have my ovaries which apparently still seem to be functioning, so, yeah. It's not excruciating so I can handle it. Had a little bit of discharge lately, too, which is why I'm thinking it might be cyclic. The discharge (sorry if this is TMI) has been completely clear and not overly thick. IDK. Whatever.

Today at work, I had a post-op hysto patient!! I wondered what it was going to be like for me when that finally happened. She had hers on Wednesday, was going to be lap but converted to open d/t the size of her uterus. 900 grams, I believe the op report said. I feel bad for her and very fortunate for me . . . she's still in a lot of pain, had the PCA removed just this morning and is still needing pain meds as often as she can possibly get them. Although we are gaining control over the pain now and she'll probably go home tomorrow. I just, wow. I tried to relate to her, but our experiences were so different already . . . whatever. It was still nice. I asked her if she had her ovaries and cervix removed, and she said she didn't know. How can you not know?!?! Whatever.

IDK. It just feels good to be back up to speed again. I think it's safe to say I'm there. At least, today I feel like it.

Today was day one of a six-day stretch of working for me. These first four days are day shifts (7a-3p) of which Monday and Tuesday I'm orienting a new hire. The last two days are overnight shifts, which I love! And it will make the week interesting, because I'll spend all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday sleeping. Or most of those days anyway, trying to reverse my circadian rhythm real quick. Fun, fun, fun!!

Alright. I'm outta here for now. Got a test tomorrow for which I haven't even yet begun to study!! TTFN
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My Operative Report 10-15-2011 - 02:33 PM
Since I found it kind of interesting, I thought I would post it here for others to read as well. Mine is about the most boring operative report I've ever read, but that's okay I guess. Here goes!!

PREOPERATIVE DIAGNOSES:
1. SYMPTOMATIC UTERINE FIBROIDS.
2. ENDOMETRIOSIS.

POSTOPERATIVE DIAGNOSES:
1. SYMPTOMATIC UTERINE FIBROIDS.
2. ENDOMETRIOSIS.

PROCEDURE:
LAPARASCOPIC SUPRACERVICAL HYSTERECTOMY.

ANESTHESIA: General.

BLOOD LOSS: Estimated blood loss 30mL, replaced with Lactated Ringers.

DRAINS: Drains included a Foley.

COMPLICATIONS: None.

INDICATIONS: This is a 37-year-old white female with known severe endometriosis and uterine fibroids who desired definitive therapy. She was given informed consent for the above. The risks, benefits and alternatives were discussed at length and she expressed and understanding and wished to proceed.

DESCRIPTION OF PROCEDURE (Including Significant Events/Findings):
Patient was brought to the operating room and after induction of general anesthesia was prepped and draped in the dorsal lithotomy position. A time-out was called and the patient and procedure were verified. A Foley was placed. A single tooth tenaculum and uterine sound was attached to the cervix. Attention was directed to the abdomen, where a small infraumbilical incision was made. A Veress needle was inserted and the abdomen was insufflated with 3 liters of CO2 and a 10mm trocar and trocar sheath was inserted. A laparascope was introduced. Two additional incisions were then made, 1 in the right and 1 in the left lower quadrant, and 12mm trocars were placed under direct visualization. The pelvis was inspected. The LigaSure was then used to come across each uterine suspensory ligament and then across each broad ligament. Bladder flap was taken down in the usual manner and additional parametrial bites were obtained. Once the cerviouterine junction was obtained, the LigaSure was used to come across the uterocervical junction and the specimen was detached from the cervix. A Kleppinger bipolar forceps was then used to cauterize the cervical stump. The GYNECARE morcellator was then introduced into the left lower quadrant port and with multiple passes the specimen was removed and submitted for pathological exam. Copious amounts of irrigation were used and good hemostasis was noted, and the decision was made to terminate the procedure. The CO2 was allowed to be released from the abdomen and all the instruments were removed. Fascia was closed with 0 Vicryl and the skin was closed with 4-0 nylon. Sponge and instrument counts were correct. Patient tolerated the procedure well and was taken to the recovery room in good condition.

START OF SURGERY: 0950
END OF SURGERY: 1016
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OY. 10-12-2011 - 08:13 PM
Tonight, I think I might actually have to take a pain pill. I haven't done that in weeks. But I haven't felt pain like this in weeks, either.

I said I was going to cut back on my efforts to take up jogging, because I was having some knee and hip pain after the first two days of easing back into it. (And I mean, I was REALLY easing into it . . . on my half-hour walk, I would jog for about ten seconds at a time, which would get me REALLY out of breath, so I'd walk for another five minutes until I wasn't out of breath anymore, then jog another ten seconds and so on.) So on day three, I rested. Well, kind of; I was at work, so still active, and then that evening DH and I went for our weekly Tuesday walk through downtown H----- while DS was at guitar for his half hour lesson. It felt better to move my aching knees and hips, but I didn't push it.

Anyway, today I did some exercises on the Wii Fit. Did I write about that in here already!?! I don't remember! And I've had foggy brain lately, so, yeah. Sorry if I'm repeating myself. I'm just gonna leave it like that. Anyway, I did some Wii Fit 'running' and some other aerobic-type stuff, and some yoga. I was feeling fine after that. I would've liked to have worked myself harder but I'm really trying very hard to take it EASIER.

Tonight, DH and I were on kitchen duty at church. Our church has a great youth program afterschool on Wednesdays that our son is in, it's actually kind of tied in with his Confirmation classes, and anyway, parents are required to volunteer so tonight was our night in the kitchen. It was busy, and I ended up on dish duty -- loading hundreds of plates and pieces of silverware and bowls and such into the big industrial dishwasher, washing some of the bigger things by hand. It doesn't sound like much work but it was a LOT, and when we were about mid-way through, I started getting a pain in my side. That felt like the pains I would have post-op if I didn't stay up on my meds. I sat down when I could and that seemed to help, but then we had a big rush at the end and I kinda forgot about it while I was working, but then once we finished and I sat back down, I was like . . . holy crap!! I feel like I got kicked in the gut. I don't know if it's GI (been having some issues there again . . . seems like every time I eat, I get borderline diarrhea) or hysto-related, or exercise-related, or what. I don't have any vag discharge. It's not pelvic pain, I would call it more like abdominal pain, in my LLQ. Maybe it's my gallbladder?? IDK. I guess I will force myself to take it easier the next few days and see if that helps. I'm a bad patient when it comes to calling the doctor. I would tell anyone else to call the doctor in a second, but I don't heed my own advice. I don't honestly think anything is seriously wrong, otherwise I would go in. I think I'm just overdoing it. Which is frustrating, because the doctor said I have NO RESTRICTIONS, so why is my body retaliating like this?

Blecch.

ANYWAY . . . yeah. Just had to vent about that for a little bit. It's better now that I'm at home sitting on the couch with my legs up and relaxed, but I still think I will take a pain pill before I go to bed. The pain level is hovering right around 4-5, which is the topmost of my tolerable level. This has made me a little crabby tonight. I don't want restrictions!! I'm feeling more motivated and energetic than I ever remember being, I want to get out there and do things and move all the time and get back in shape!!!! GRRRRRR.

Alright. I'm outta here for now. Will take it easy tomorrow, I promise. I have a movie I need to watch for my writing class, so I will do that. And I work tomorrow PM, 3-11, so, yeah.

TTYL
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Four weeks ago today!! Feeling better than ever!! 10-12-2011 - 11:34 AM
I have a skewed concept of time, lol. Four weeks seems like so long ago, and just yesterday. Four weeks ago right now I was laying in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of drug-induced slumber. Today, it's my day off and I just finished my workout for the day and am now thinking I should go upstairs and take a shower and get some laundry done. You wouldn't know by looking at me or being around me that I don't have a uterus anymore. I am no longer plagued by horrendous pain and torrential bleeding. I'm more energetic than ever, and I love it!!

Yesterday I wasn't so much, though, lol. I've decided to take up jogging. Going VERY slowly at this point, but if there's one thing I know about life it's that slow and steady really does win the race sometimes. But at the same time, I'm motivated and impatient and want to get things done NOW. So, even though I said I wasn't going to jog today -- because yesterday I was really feeling it in my hips and knees and decided it was a sign that I needed to take it a little bit slower -- I can't shake the feeling that I want to get out there and MOVE. So I compromised -- instead of taking a walk/jog outside, I got out the Wii Fit and did the the 'Basic Run' for six minutes. I don't know how that compares to real jogging. Based on my personal experience now, it seems to be a lot easier than real jogging; I had no problem keeping up the 'Basic Run' for three minutes (and then a one minute break, and then three more minutes) in place in my living room, but outside on the road or in the field I feel like it takes everything I've got to jog for 30 seconds without stopping. So, even though I feel good that I 'jogged' six minutes today, I know I couldn't do that in real life yet.

After I did my six minutes total 'run', I had definitely worked up a sweat and my HR was going at a good pace!! So I did some stepping stuff after that, and then some yoga. I feel good, and I'm glad I did it, because I wasn't really feeling the motivation to do it today. According to the Wii Fit scale, I've lost 2 pounds this week. But I'm making a conscious effort not to depend on the scale so much anymore . . . there are so many fluctuations, and it really does a number on my psyche to compare numbers from day to day. I will still keep track of my weight, but not on an obsessively daily basis anymore. I will, instead, go by how my clothes fit and how I look in the mirror and in pictures. For some reason, I find that (looking at myself) less disgusting now.

Sorry to go off on a tirade about my self-image. But hey, you know about my sex life so why not get the whole package?!?! hee hee hee

Recovery-wise, things are still going well. My incisions are pretty much flattened now, and without looking I can't even find the one on my left side! I have a very "innie" belly button, and even before this it would sometimes get sore and itchy in the summer or when I'd been sweating a lot. There were a couple times my belly-button insicion was more sore than the others, but I'd just clean it super duper well and then put some neosporin ointment on it. No worries. It's healed very well and has left a kinda cute scar. Maybe one day soon my tummy will be flat enough that I can show it off. HA! Wishful thinking, but stranger things have happened.

Last night DH and I were joking around, and I told him that my new cure-all is to have whatever is ailing you just removed. Forget trying to treat it, just take whatever it is out and be done with it. I guess it was 'had to be there' funny. It started when I complained that my knee was hurting, and then I was like, Oh hey! I should have it replaced with a bionic one!!

Speaking of which, yesterday at work, I had a patient who had just had a knee replacement. The patient was in 'my room' (as I now affectionately refer to the room I was in after my hysto). I felt an odd sense of connection to her, because she was light-heartedly complaining to me about how she was bored to death just sitting in that room in bed, as she wasn't having any pain or nausea or anything and really just wanted to be back to her old, active self again. I said, "I know what you mean!" but she had no idea that I really did know exactly what she meant!!

Alright. What else is on my mind today? Well, something you probably don't already know about me is that I absolutely LOVE tattoos. On other people, AND on myself. Ever since I was about 12 years old, I knew that one day I would be inked. And now, I am. I have six different tattoos right now; I got my first one the day after DH and I got married, it's the word "LOVE" with the "O" being a peace sign, and it's on my left upper arm. Second was my DS' name on my right ankle, for my first Mother's Day. Third was a bit more blingy, it's a blue rose with a rosary and a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant wrapped around it, with my DH's name etched into the pendant; that one is on my lower back. Fourth was Luther's Rose (Google it) on my left arm under my first tattoo. Fifth was two tattered band-aids crossed together with a red cross in the middle, on my left calf; I got it almost a year ago when I graduated from nursing school. And last but certainly not least was just a few months ago, I have a peacock on my right leg from just above my ankle (where DS' name is) to my knee. Have you ever been to Graceland? Me either, but I've seen pictures, and in one room Elvis had these beautiful stained-glass peacocks; I saw the pics this summer after my parents vacationed there, and I fell in love with the design and HAD to get it inked on me. ANYWAY . . . yeah, I'm a little hooked. I have three more designs in mind ready to go should I win the lottery or somesuch, lol, and plenty more ideas on the back burners.

I mention this because one of the backburner ideas may be coming to light very soon. My sister decided she finally wants to get her first tattoo (she'll be 43 this November) and wants me to go with her. OK, twist my arm and drag me to the tattoo parlor!! LOL. I have some ideas in mind, I want to elaborate on the one on my right ankle (DS' name) a bit. Right now it's literally just his name, floating there on it's own, and since it's about 13 years old it's also getting a little faded and such. I want to make it stand out more, maybe get it touched up, I'm thinking of having it look like one of those ID bracelet chains or something. And this, being the ink addict I am, is something I'm finding very exciting right now. I get a rush from getting tattooed, not to mention that I love love LOVE the way tattoos look on my body.

Alright, enough talk unrelated to hysterectomies today. I'm gonna sign off and be domesticated for a while. TTYL!!
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Overdone it??? 10-10-2011 - 03:44 PM
I think perhaps that is what I have done. I like to think it's not possible at this point anymore, but I should know better than that! Maybe I should cut back on the attempting to jog for a few more days. I'm just having twinges in my abdomen again, and my cervix is feeling 'irritated', and even a little discharge today . . . who knows if it's related to my very recent increase in exercise, but it could very well be. Exercise or intercourse, one of the two. Or maybe both!

At any rate, I'll take a break from 'jogging' tomorrow. I don't want a set-back now!! I guess I still need to listen to my body . . . my mind is ready to kick *** and take names, but my body isn't quite there yet! Pout.

Oh, well. It's not horrible. I'll survive.
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Monday, Monday. Post-op 3.5 weeks and counting! 10-10-2011 - 11:02 AM
Wowza, this coming Friday (10/14) will mark one month since my hysterectomy! That time sure has flown by. I swear, I missed the entire month of September this year. It was a busy month -- the state fair, our trip to Vegas for our birthaversaries (DH and I share the same birthday, yes the exact same day and year, and got married on our 22nd birthdays), getting DS back to school, getting *me* back to school, then getting ready for surgery. Then having surgery. Then recovering from surgery. And now, The Rest of My Life.

The good news is, I'm feeling much better this morning! Not sure what that (the stomach 'thing' I had this weekend) was all about, but I'm glad it's gone. It put a bit of a damper on having 'fun' with DH this weekend, but not a complete damper. I just get annoyed when I've been sick like that all morning and then he wants to be intimate. I know I can take a shower or a nice hot bath to get clean and stuff, but maybe I'm just a germaphobe because I don't like being intimate until I'm sure that I'm done being sick. It's one of my hang-ups, I guess. Whatever.

So, yesterday I decided enough is enough, I need to start working out again. No using ANYTHING as an excuse anymore! I even downloaded one of those GPS-tracker-app-thingies for my Android. I dragged DS with me yesterday, and tried to drag DH with but he claims he gets enough exercise at work. And no amount of my arguing that plumbing, while labor-intensive indeed, is not considered 'exercise' will convince him otherwise. So, the boy and I headed out. My DS has mild asthma, so unfortunately I've been in the habit of not pushing him too hard. Even yesterday, he was wheezing a bit but denied being short of breath and didn't even need to use his inhaler. On one hand I felt bad for 'pushing' him, but on the other, if he loses weight I'm fairly confident it will improve his asthma as well!! So we didn't go at the speed I would have liked to have gone, but at least we got up and did something. That 'something' equated to 1.14 miles in 22 minutes. Not horrible, but not great, either.

This morning I went out on my own (since he's at school) and did 1.03 miles in 17 minutes. I tried jogging some, as well. It was a little more difficult because today I went in the field next to our house, which is definitely more uneven than the road, but I'm not quite ready to be seen jogging on the road yet. Oh em gee, it felt good!! Go, endorphins!! lol.

Alright, I'm feeling uncharacteristically domesticated today, which means my my messy house is driving me crazy and I have this irresistable urge to CLEAN IT!! So, that is what I shall sign off and do. I only work two shifts this week, and then my weekend, and then most of next week. Six shifts in a row, oooooh. I'm in the big leagues now, lol. I have a test in my music class due on Sunday and, as usual, haven't even looked at the reading for it yet. If it weren't for the last minute, I'd never get anything done.

There was something actually hysto-related that I was going to write about, but darned if I can remember what it was. Foggy brain much?! Nah, I'm just blonde.

Later, gators!
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UGH! 10-09-2011 - 01:43 PM
I seem to have some kind of stomach thing. It's been upset all weekend and everything I eat makes my gut feel like it's going to explode. I suppose maybe it's some sign that I should start eating better . . . I've kinda slid back into some bad habits now that I'm back to being on the go-go-go all the time again. Blecch!!

Other than that, I'm doing well. I had been planning on wearing my ab binder when I returned to work, but have not been doing so. I might try it next week, as my back has been aching a lot lately.

On my last day of work this week, I upgraded from sneakers to my Dansko clogs. Maybe that's why my back hurts . . . they do have a slight heel and I'm not used to that for about a month now. Hmmmm. Well, at any rate, the pain hasn't been anything I've needed to take anything for, so it's all good.

So, yeah. I'm feeling kind of crappy this weekend, lame pun intended. Just hanging out on the couch with my laptop and my school books, working on homework and playing on FB. DS had a friend over this weekend, which was nice, because that kept him occupied. DH and I went out for supper last night, and this morning we went to church. Now we're hanging out at home, watching the Vikings choke.

Yesterday DH saw his mom for a little bit. (She lives in the cities, 45 min away, and he was in the cities working on his uncle's house.) He said he told her I was back to work, and she argued with him that there's no way I could be. My MIL drives me *******' nuts . . . she has to argue with EVERYTHING. We have very opposite personalities. It drives me crazy just imagining how she argued with DH about how I can't be back to work yet. Yeah? Well? I know she had a hysto, too, but that was 30 years ago and I'm sure she had the hip-to-hip and was out for a good 8 weeks. Thank God for advances in technology, so that people like me can have a hysterectomy with just three small stab wounds to show for it, and be back to work within 3 weeks. HA!

Anyway. I'm gonna sign off now, and get some overdue homework done, and maybe try to work ahead a bit, too. It's unseasonably nice here today so I want to get outside and get some walking in, too. I've slacked on that since returning back to work, too. I try to argue that I'm on my feet all day at work, but it doesn't count as cardio, so . . . yeah.

Best wishes to all. TTYL
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Time flies when . . . well it just does, that's all. 10-08-2011 - 10:32 AM
Wow! The third-week anniversary of breaking up with my uterus came and went (last Wednesday) without any fanfare. What can I say? I feel good!

First week back to work went well. It was in like a lamb and out like a lion!! Yesterday at work was crazy. Typically so. Things were calm and controlled in the morning . . . and then, at about noon (just when I got back from lunch, of course), they took off. Two pt's complaining of new-onset chest pain within an hour of each other. Fun! I work at a small hospital, so it's not like we have a cardiac team we could call in to get the EKG's done and administer the meds and do the assessments. I had just finished with one and made sure I had done everything I could do, and was about to catch up on my charting, when the other put their light on and complained of chest pain. Rewind and start over again!! And then I got a new admit in all of that chaos as well. It kept me on my toes, immersed me back into the world of nursing, and made me totally forget that I've recently had a hysterectomy. I don't mean that in a bad way; au contraire, it was nice to be fully and completely focused on someone else's health issues for a change, because I feel like I've been dwelling on my own for far too long!!

Today I'm not feeling so hot, though. It's not related to my surgery or being uterusless, it's related to my overly-sensitive GI system. I was kinda hoping that would clear up with the surgery as well, for no good reason. But I was hoping maybe my fibroids had been pressing into my intestines and THAT was what was causing my GI distress all these years. Well . . . no dice. That's okay, it was purely wishful thinking on my part. I have to admit that I've gone back to eating pretty crappily, which is my own fault, and the reason for my gut rot this morning. I will work on that. I still haven't been able to eat normal-pre-op portions, which is GOOD and I'm definitely not pushing that! I guess I just need more water.

I was going to do a 5k walk this morning, but overslept and my allergies were flaring up and my gut hurts, so I opted out of it. I have a TON of housework to catch up on. Our old TV died this week, so we went and bought a new one, and a new stand for it, and so the living room had to be rearranged and the rest of the house is kind of messy and untidy now.

In a few minutes I'll have to sign off, go take a shower, and then go pick up one of DS' friends who is spending the night tonight. The one thing I miss about my 'time off' is that I don't feel like I have much time to do 'nothing' anymore!! I know it was driving me crazy doing 'nothing', but I kind of miss it now. The grass is always greener, dontcha know . . .

Alright. I'll try to write more later about my feelings and crap, lol, but I also have some homework to catch up on so I really should be doing that instead. BAH! Take care all, catch up with yous later!
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Hello seesters . . . 10-06-2011 - 07:48 PM
I'm tired. It's been a busy day. Work went well, I had three patients and was on my feet pretty much all shift. Nothing major, just me getting back in the groove and such. I'm feeling it a little today, I have a little more pulling in the incisional areas, but am not really drop-dead tired after work like I was the other day.

Before I left for work this AM, DH called me (he had left for work about 3 hours prior) and asked if I could smell something "like electrical burning" in the hallway. Nice! Just what I wanted on my mind while I'm at work, and my son and dogs are home alone all morning! After the boy got up, though, he texted me and said the TV wasn't working. A-ha! That explained the odor.

So DH went TV shopping on his way home from work. Then after I got home from work, we went to IKEA (an hour away, but man I love that store!) and got a new TV stand thingie. Ate in the cities since we were there. My tummy was starting to hurt by then, not op-related. I get carsick very easily. Felt better after getting some food in my tummy.

But now we're home and getting the new crap set up, and I'm tired. It's not even 9pm and I'm ready to crash. Just thought I'd check in, though, and see how my heester-seesters are doing.

I'm a little irritable tonight. I think it's the sticker shock from buying this new TV. 55 freaking inches . . . and we have a small living room. Whatever. DH got what he wants, and I'm going to start planning my next tattoo very soon. Heh heh heh!

Alright. Sorry ladies, I'm really tired (being nauseated does that to me) and I have to work again tomorrow. But hopefully have the weekend off.

Catch up with ya's later! Hugs!!
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3 weeks post-op today!! :) :) :) :) 10-05-2011 - 10:33 AM
Ahhhh . . . a little more time to write this morning, since I don't have to go to work today.

So . . . really. I'm not exaggerating. Work yesterday went fine! Much better than anticipated. I felt a little displaced, because our department is in the midst of being remodeled and reorganized, so just about every day something is different. But I got reoriented quickly and was back to be back in the groove. I already found myself having a new level of compassion for my patients, especially the surgicals! I think every nurse should have to spend some time as a patient -- not that I wish illness or injury upon anyone, I just think it helps to be placed in that 'helpless' situation.

One odd thing I've noticed the last few weeks is that I feel more energetic. I want to be moving all the time. I'm seriously considering training to run a 5k! Or at least taking up jogging. That is so unlike the pre-op me. I used to enjoy being physically active, in my teens; not that I was an athlete or anything, but I was in good shape and enjoyed being active and was pretty strong for a girl, too. Then, when I was 18, I was in a car accident. A man in a pickup truck ran a stop sign and T-boned my car in the middle of an intersection. My car (my first car, I loved that thing!) was totalled and I strained my back and neck, and had whiplash. Nothing major, but I had to see a neurologist and do physical therapy for a few years afterward. And got addicted to pain killers. That's when I got physically INactive and started gaining weight and, well, that was about 19 years ago! Too long to keep using that as an excuse, I know, but I consider that the catalyst.

I just mention that because it feels GOOD to want to be active again. Maybe I will get the old 'me' back, after all!!

I slept VERY well last night. No pain, maybe a few twinges but not even painful ones. I haven't had any elimination problems. Still only able to eat about half of what I used to. Food was tasting 'off' for a while, but starting to come back now, too. Again, my biggest physical complaints these days are because my seasonal allergies are acting up.

Oh! I've been trying to do more Kegels lately, too. Never really been one to do a lot of those, but now I'm motivated to keep those muscles toned down there in the hopes that it will help prevent future prolapses!! I need to read up more on prolapses; I see them mentioned an awful lot around here, and I'm not really sure if there's a connection between losing your uterus and having an improved likelihood of prolasping. I hope not. I don't want to have any more surgeries. Not because it was a horrible experience, I just prefer not to be cut into, and I like keeping as many of my original parts as I can, thankyouverymuch.

So, you want to hear about my sex life, eh? LOLOLOL!!! Well . . . what more can I say?! I was nervous about it, and honestly could have probably waited a while longer, but my hubby was driving me crazy. And NOT in a good way. I've never had what I'd call a good libido, since sex has been painful for most of the recent past. But as I said, I have been feeling more 'energetic' lately, and wanting to resume a new level of activity . . . so . . . yeah!!

I was worried about the, um, moisture issue. That was never a problem before, in fact it was maybe too much of an issue, because prior to my surgery I was having TONS of discharge, all the time. Even on those rare weeks when I wasn't bleeding, I'd still need to wear at least a mini-pad because of all the discharge. YUK, I know, right?!? Sorry! But that's how it was. I'd already noticed that had cut WAY back since my surgery, so was hoping, like I said, that it wouldn't be a detriment in the bedroom. And it wasn't. In fact, I think not having as much gives me a little more feeling . . . me likey! LOL.

We've done it a few more times since then, lol. Still no problems!! No pain, no bleeding afterward. No big "o" for me yet, but that's okay for now. It wasn't an easy accomplishment for me before (what with the pain and all, don't want to sound like a broken record) so I knew it wouldn't happen right away afterward, either. Oh! Another thing, since we're on this topic. I used to HATE having my breasts touched. It was frustrating because I've always heard that that was supposed to be a pleasurable experience, but it wasn't for me. It didn't hurt, it was just annoying. I couldn't even tolerate it for DH's sake, I would literally push him away because it was just not a good feeling. Well, that is gone now!! It doesn't seem to annoy me anymore! Not that it feels wonderful, but it doesn't feel horrible, and that's a definite improvement. DH likes it, too, lol!! It must have been, since nipple stimulation is tied into uterine contraction, that doing so before irritated my uterus, or something.

**** . . . I am so glad to have that thing gone!!

Anyway . . . yeah. I think that's about all I have for now. It's a beautiful day today, I want to get outside and enjoy it while it's here!!

TTYL . . .
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I almost forgot to write about the S-E-X! heh heh heh 10-04-2011 - 07:18 PM
Since I got the green light yesterday to resume pre-op activities with no restrictions, DH was a VERY happy man. I hope none of this is TMI . . .

I wanted to be on top the first time, so I was in control. So we did it that way first, and it went just fine! No issues! No pain!! I didn't get the, you know, 'happy ending' that DH did, but just being able to do it without being in pain or bleeding like a stuck pig afterward was reward enough for me!!

Round 2 was this morning. He was on top this time. Again, no pain, no bleeding afterward. Is this how it's supposed to be?!?!

This is the first day of the rest of my life. And it's a good one!!

Alright. Sorry this is so short today. TTYL!
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Back to work today! 3 weeks post-op tomorrow! 10-04-2011 - 03:51 PM
Not much time to write but I had to check in. Work went very well today! Tomorrow will be three weeks since my LSH, and today I worked a day shift. An entire 8 hour day shift, on the floor, running around not quite as much as usual but pretty darn close. And it went very well! I had a headache this AM when I woke up so I took an 800mg of ibuprofen before leaving, just in case, and took the whole bottle with me too. My patient load was pretty decent and typical -- 3, one bowel obstruction, one chest painer, and one post-op knee replacement -- and I was orienting a new employee, so I did get a bit of a break from 'all' the running around, but I still did my fair share. It went fine, no pain at all. The headache never really went away, so I tried to make sure I drank lots and lots of water. At about 1pm I was dead tired, but I'd also only had one bottle of diet Dew all shift (usually I'd have had two by then) so I don't know if I'd even attribute that to being post-op.

All in all, it was a good day. It felt good to be productive again, and back doing my job which I love, and interacting with people who don't want me to wash their clothes or make their dinners. LOL. Everyone was trying to tell me to take it easy, even though I argued that I have no restrictions and feel ready to get back in the game.

I have tomorrow off, and I'm kinda thankful for that given how tired I am. I think I will sleep well tonight!! And then I go back Thursday and Friday, day shifts again. Want to know one thing I love about working in health care?! The non-traditional work-week schedule. Want to know one thing I really dislike about working in health care?! The non-traditional work-week schedule. Heh. Oh, well.

I best be signin' off now . . . still in my scrubs, haven't even changed clothes yet. DS has guitar lessons tonight and it's a nice evening so I'm looking forward to going for a walk with my hubby while the boy's at lessons!

Catch up with y'all later . . . TTFN
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I'm so excited . . . and I just can't hide it . . . 10-03-2011 - 11:57 AM
I had my post-op check-up this morning . . . a week late, which I know I wrote about in here so forgive me for repeating myself but I don't expect anyone reading this (now that I know someone actually is reading it besides me) to remember every detail of my life. It's difficult enough for *me* to remember it all, that's why I write it down (so to speak). ANYWAY . . . my check-up is a week late because last Monday the GYN had to cancel all of his morning appointments. I don't know why, but I'm guessing he had an unscheduled C-section or something to do. Whatever.

So today I went in. He said that the surgery went very well, asked how I was doing, confirmed that I'm driving and not taking much (if anything) for pain anymore, and that I haven't had any worrisome symptoms. I didn't get to see pics (darn it! But he was running late and didn't have my chart in the exam room with me, so I figured I'll just get them another time.) but he did say that the path report came back BENIGN -- PRAISE GOD!!!!

Then he looked at my incisions, palpated my abdomen, and did a pelvic exam. It was so weird having absolutely positively no pain at all while he was doing so. I mean, NONE. That's a new experience for me!! He said that everything looked good in the exam and I am free to return to life without restrictions. I even specifically asked him about lifting, and he said there's no reason I would have any issues there.

So, yeah. Back to work tomorrow! He said I might feel a little more worn-out than usual after my first few shifts, but he said, "Just keep exercising and you'll have your stamina back up in no time."

After that, I went upstairs (to the floor where I work) to get the schedule for the next month, and my paycheck, and double-check the schedule to make sure I had it written down correctly for this week, and to just check in and make sure I didn't need a note from the doctor saying I could return to work (which I didn't). Also, my Nurse Manager called me this morning and left a message at home, so I thought I'd stop in and see her as well. She asked if I'd be willing to orient some new employees, and also if I'd be willing to precept a student nurse for 96 hours this fall; two things I *LOVE* to do, so of course I said yes, and it made my already-good-day even better!

To top it off, the sun is shining and it's unseasonably warm (in the mid-to-upper-70's) today. After my appt (and getting a bunch of hugs and 'we miss you!'s from my co-workers), I ran the truck through the car wash, and now, I'm home. I just had a bagel for lunch, and now I'm going to go fill up the mower and mow that **** lawn!!! (It's a riding mower; we live on a hobby farm and I have about 2 acres of yard to mow. But it's okay; it's one of my favorite chores, and I would LOVE to come over and mow yours, too!)

I was going to do a little 'I guess I won't be here as often now that I'm going back to work' schpeil here, but who am I kidding?! I'll still be around. I'm a blogging addict. So, you're not rid of me yet.
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Week 2, cont'd. Sunday, sunny Sunday... 10-02-2011 - 07:24 PM
Greetings and salutations, fellow HysterSisters! Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Mine is going pretty well. I got some housecleaning done yesterday, and will finish up some more tomorrow. I think I'm also going to try to mow the lawn tomorrow, as well. Oh! And I can't forget to go to my post-op check-up, which is in the morning at 11am. Hope I get the go-ahead to resume intercourse, because the hubby is acting like it's been YEARS or something. Which, it hasn't. It's been like three weeks. Which I guess is like 7 weeks to guys, or something. SHEESH!

Anyway . . . not to get started on an awkward note or anything. But what the heck!?! We're all in the same boat here.

Post-op symptom-wise, I still feel great! This morning I woke up on my stomach . . . and it didn't hurt at all. I've been fitting into my jeans with no problem (and no binder) and I swear, maybe it's just wishful thinking, but my tummy looks less bloated than it did even before surgery. I should've measured it so I could back that up with data, but oh well. Weight-wise, I'm still at 4-5 pounds down from my pre-op weight, so I guess it's time to start working on that. The incisions look fine, all healed up and only a tiny amount of pain when I push on them. DH asked me if I could feel an empty spot where my uterus used to be . . . and honestly, I can't. But I'm a little overweight anyway, so, who knows.

I'm a little anxious about seeing the doctor tomorrow. After my last surgery, I thought I'd been told 'everything' in recovery -- all I was told at that time was that I had some endometriosis removed. I didn't find out about the fibroids until my follow-up appointment, and when I did, I was devastated. I spent two weeks believing that my problems were solved, that I would never know that kind of pain and excessive prolonged bleeding again, and then at my follow-up I was told that the surgery may very well not have "fixed" me. (As it turned out, it didn't, hence why I'm here now!) So I guess that's why I'm a little nervous now . . . what am I going to find out tomorrow?? Hopefully nothing that I don't already know. I hope.

Anyway . . . other than that . . . yeah. Not much else. We had a laid-back kinda day today, pretty much. Church this morning, then we went grocery shopping. Then came home and lazed around the house the rest of the day. One of my BFF's stopped over on her way home from work and we chatted for a few minutes. She's a nurse, as well, and we work at the same hospital. She had her first patient death today. It's never an easy thing to go through, but those first few times it is kinda freaky. I consoled her with open ears, a shoulder to cry on, and a shot of cake-flavored vodka. Because that's the kind of friend I am, haha. No, seriously. She wasn't that broken up about it. I'll change the subject now.

So, yeah. Tomorrow. Finish cleaning up the house again, mow the lawn (if the weather cooperates, rain rain stay away), psyche myself up to go back to work on Tuesday. They've been giving out a lot of low census hours lately, so, we'll see what happens.

I'm tired. I think I'm gonna go to bed. TTYL!
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Week 2, cont'd. Work is a four-lettered word! 10-01-2011 - 09:59 AM
Well, it's still early, but I feel pretty good this morning. Had a couple of slight twinges in the pelvic region before I got out of bed this morning, but nothing worth complaining about. Most of my physical discomfort right now has to do with seasonal allergies and not surgical recovery, so, that's a good sign. I guess.

I get to go back to work this week. Yay! I have mixed feelings. Well, first of all, I will honestly say that I feel 'ready' to go back, physically. I have my post-op check-up on Monday, I may ask the doctor to put me on lifting restrictions for a couple of weeks just to be sure I don't inadvertently hurt myself. But otherwise, I don't think I will have any problems. I feel pretty much back to normal as far as the fatigue and energy levels are concerned. I will probably wear my compression stockings to work for a while to keep my feet from swelling up -- they didn't do that before surgery, but who knows. I want to prevent it before it happens, and it's not a bad idea to wear them, anyway. I have co-workers who swear by them for comfort. I will probably continue to wear my abd binder as well -- it helps keep me 'aligned' and reminds me to use proper body mechanics. And it also helps hold in my gut, lol.

I'm ready to go back as far as the social aspect; I miss my co-workers (well, most of them!) and I miss doing my job. I love being a nurse, and the last almost-three-weeks has almost felt like punishment because I've had to be the patient and not the nurse. It's not the role I'm accustomed to taking. It's not where I'm comfortable. Maybe that's why I've been posting here so much -- at least I can make myself feel useful, even if I have to watch my presentation on the boards!

Anyway . . . it's been awesome having all this time off from work, and since a body at rest tends to stay at rest, I'm having a little trouble being completely enthusiastic about returning. I know I'll be fine once I get there and back into my groove. I always get like this when I have some time off, only usually that time off is a couple of days and not a couple of weeks. As much as I don't like being a patient, I liked having an excuse to take it easy and not feeling guilty for asking other people to do things around the house and such. Oh, well. Time to climb back in the saddle and ride, I guess. Figuratively speaking only; I think I will wait until spring (or winter, depending on what kind of winter we have) to try riding my horse again. Not just because I know it takes a lot of abdominal muscle use, but also the thought of being jostled around makes me a little uneasy . . . not to mention the possibility of falling off!

Alright. I'm just not feeling witty this morning. I think I'll take a Benadryl to stop my nose from running and maybe just rest on the couch all day. The house is getting messy but, it's not going anywhere. TTYL
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Week 2: The new normal? 09-30-2011 - 07:46 PM
Today was another good day. No, strike that, it was a better than good day! Spent the day running errands with the hubby, and, I don't know, it was just a good time. It's nice to reconnect with the man I married every now and then, KWIM? It makes me wish I was cleared for take off, wink, wink. I read on here earlier that some women who had LSH's were given the OK by their docs to resume intercourse at 2 or 3 weeks. That's the point I'm at now . . . but, I will be good and wait until I hear it from my doctor. I would be honkerblonked if I got an infection, especially at this point when I'm pretty much back to normal. Anyway . . . yeah. It was a good day.

There were even times today when I realized I hadn't thought about being 'a woman who had a hysterectomy' for HOURS! That's certainly a change. Ever since about May of this year, when my GYN first mentioned hysto as a solution to my problems, I've had it on the mind. First I was 'a woman who might need a hysto', then of course in late August I became 'a woman who is scheduled to have a hysto' and for just over two weeks now I've been 'a woman who had a hysto'. Now, I know that I'm so much more than that . . . that we ALL are. But it does kind of stay at the forefront of your mind 24/7 for a while. Anyway, I was just thrilled to realize it's starting to slide more to the back of my mind.

In fact, what really made me think about it today, was when we were furniture shopping. We needed a box spring -- we got a Sleep Number bed last spring and DH has since hated the base it came on, so has wanted to replace that with a box spring for some time now. Anyway, while we were checking out the clearance sections of some of our favorite furniture stores, we were also perusing the living room furniture selections. We need a new couch, loveseat, chair set. The one we have now, it was great when we first got it five years ago, but? It's well-worn now. It's denim, which was awesome and 'us' at first, but now it all looks like a well-worn pair of jeans. Which is still an okay look, but? The set we got was actually pretty cheap, and I don't mean just inexpensive. So it's falling apart, and we have two big dogs who figured out they can pull the cushions off and lay on them however they want (no my dogs are NOT spoiled! okay they are) and not even just that, but from being used for all this time and being of a lower quality, they have lost much of their shape. And after looking at this living room for a good part of the last two weeks (especially that first week post-op) I am very ready and motivated to get a new look in here! ANYWAY . . . so we tried out a lot of couches today. And after about the 33rd time of sitting down in a big, comfy couch and then having to pull myself back up, I remembered that I recently had surgery and should maybe take it a little easier on my still-healing ab muscles. They didn't hurt, but they did feel a little 'worked' and it was a good excuse to quit trying things out at that point, because I was losing interest anyway. I'm not much of a shopper.

ANYWAY . . . sorry I'm rambling on so much tonight. This is what happens when I don't get alone time all day, haha. I love my friends and I dearly love my husband and the boy, but I also need my alone time. At least a little bit of it. Still not really getting much now because the teenager is in the living room with me (on the crappy denim furniture lol) playing video games. Oh, well. At least I get to write a bit. That always makes me feel better.

TOMORROW I shall clean the house! I declare it right now! I have a paper to finish writing too, which is just about finished, just need to make some small edits. Sometimes I wish I would've waited another semester to go back to school (I just got my associate's degree in nursing in December 2010 and decided to go back starting this semester for my Bachelor's in nursing . . . all online classes this time tho!), especially after finding out I'd be having the hysto right at the beginning of the semester, but I think I'm pulling it off pretty well. I'm only taking two classes, and they're general ed requirements so -- honestly -- not that difficult. Just have to remember to turn in my assignments and take the tests on time.

I'm outta here . . . ttyl
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A couple more thoughts, now that I've had some caffeine. 09-29-2011 - 09:56 AM
It's so hard not to do the comparison thing, isn't it?! I really try not to do that in my posts, but just had a moment where I realized I probably sounded like I was saying 'well *I* didn't need any abc for xyz so nyah-nyah!' Gotta watch myself on that. Everyone is different, I know I know I know . . . but we also try to be helpful, because what worked for me might work for you, too. Maybe no one else has suggested doing abc for xyz yet. The easiest thing for anyone to write about is what they know. We all feel passionate on some level about what was done to us and how we recouped, whether good or bad, and if sharing that information can help someone else, so be it. Okay, I feel better now.



The other thing I was thinking, is that the very first surgery I ever saw was a vaginal hysterectomy. I was disappointed because it wasn't open and I didn't get to see much. I was surprised that the patient came to the OR awake (I'd only had one surgery prior to that, my lap tubal ligation, and didn't realize that they don't put you out until you're in the OR) and also surprised at how quickly she awakened afterward. I find that incredibly interesting and also a bit frightening, because I don't remember being coherent until after being in recovery . . . but this woman was awake and talking to us while still in the OR, after her surgery was done. It makes me uneasy knowing that I was 'awake' and talking to people with absolutely no recollection of having done so. Gotta love anesthesia!!

Since it was the very first surgery I was ever seeing live and in person, I was a bit overwhelmed just taking in the whole scene. And had I known I would be having a hysterectomy just a few (2) years later, I would have probably paid closer attention. But for one thing, the patient was positioned so that I couldn't see where the surgeons were working. The OR table was lifted so that the surgeons (there were two, I remember that) were working while standing and almost reaching up a little bit. Plus, the nurse I was shadowing was the circulating nurse, so she kept 'distracting' me by showing me aspects of her job to which I was supposed to be paying attention ;-). She was also afraid I was going to pass out, because the week prior they'd had a student who had done just that, so she kept talking to me to make sure I was alright and to let me know I could sit down or leave if I needed to. (I didn't. I was fine.)

I don't remember why that woman was having a hysto; I may have known at the time but don't remember anymore. I do remember that after they removed her uterus and cervix, they showed me the bowls that they were in. Later that day, I got to physically inspect some of the body parts that were removed from another patient -- that one was a total knee replacement, and I got to inspect pieces of meniscus which I still think was totally and completely cool! -- but didn't get that opportunity with the uterus and cervix. Maybe because they were going to be sent to a pathology lab, I would guess. And I don't remember if they took the ovaries or not. Like I said, I was a little overwhelmed with trying to take in the whole picture, and keeping an eye on what everyone else was doing, and such.

Another thing I remembered being surprised about during surgery is that the doctors and nurses/techs who are there have some pretty interesting conversations while working. Everyone stays on top of their job duties, of course, but it's just like any other job where, when things are going well and routine and there are no complications to deal with, these tightly-knit co-workers like to talk about their lives and families and where they went canoeing last weekend and such. I've seen surgeries on TV before, but of course during those the surgeon is narrating his every move for the benefit of the audience. They did a little bit of that, too, for my benefit, but mostly it reminded me a lot of 'standing around the water cooler'. Except the water cooler was an actual living person who was under the influence of anesthetics and sedatives.

Anyway . . . just wanted to share. I'm kinda bored right now. I should go clean the house like I keep threatening to do. ;-)
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Week 2! Feelin' groovy! 09-29-2011 - 08:50 AM
I really am. I went out to lunch with my BFF yesterday, who hasn't seen me since the day I was released from the hospital, and she said she's amazed at how 'good' I look! I'm moving around pretty normally now, I still hesitate before climbing into the truck but it's more to make sure I'm using proper body mechanics and less because of pain. I'm not having any hesitancy sitting, standing, lying down, or getting out of bed. Not having any trouble with steps anymore, either. I feel pretty **** good.

I noticed a small hole developing in my abd binder yesterday, POUT! I do like to fasten it pretty tight. I decided to try not wearing it today and see what happens. Well, the first thing that happened was I looked in the mirror and, maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I thought I looked a little less swollen than usual. The scale hasn't budged all week, but is still down 4-5 pounds from my pre-op weight. I still do not have a flat tummy, but I didn't have one pre-op, either! Heh. I think there's a difference.

The next thing I noticed was that I can comfortably wear my jean capris today, even without the binder! YES!!!! And I put on a t-shirt that isn't as baggy as the ones I've been wearing lately, and I looked at myself in the mirror and thought (again, maybe just wishful thinking) that I look pretty 'normal' and not all bloated or swollen like I feel. Niiiiiice!!

Another thing I've noticed is that it doesn't hurt to yawn, sneeze, or cough anymore. Even just a few days ago, I still had to splint my abd when doing any of those things. I don't know when that stopped, I just noticed after sneezing particularly hard last night that, hey, it doesn't feel like rubber bands are being pulled and snapped in there anymore! Me likey!!

Mood-wise, I've seen improvements over the last few days as well. Getting up and actually doing things has helped in that area, for sure. I didn't clean the house yesterday like I wanted to, but I may tackle that today. I feel like I've reached the end of the 'recovery' stage and it's time to start working on rebuilding, restoring and improving.

That's all for now! Nothing much on the docket for today. DH is off of work but working on a side job in the cities all day. DS is at school. I have a lunch date with another good friend today, and other than that, am going to try to accomplish some things and enjoy what's left of my time off. I'm just thankful I feel well enough to get some enjoyment out of it!

TTYL
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Happy 2 weeks today since evicting my uterus!! 09-28-2011 - 10:13 AM
Hard to believe we're at two weeks already. It seems like it's been much longer than that! I'm back to the stage where I have to keep reminding myself that I had surgery. (I hesitate to call it 'major' because clinically speaking, it's considered 'minor'. But in perspective, it's the biggest surgery I've ever had and hopefully will ever need!)

Last night while DS was at guitar, DH and I went walking. We were walking for a good half hour, keeping a pretty good pace, uphill and down and on uneven terrain for a small part. It felt good, it felt 'normal', it was a brisk evening and I could feel my mood instantly change once the endorphins started flowing! I wasn't even tired afterward, I felt more energized and awake and completely pain-free. I had all these thoughts last night while falling asleep that maybe today I could get some housecleaning done, steam mop the floors, maybe even get out and groom the horses for a while.

And then I had a dream that I went to the bathroom and passed a whole bunch of clots. Even in the dream I was thinking, 'Oh no! I overdid it!'

And then when I woke up, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. My lower back hurts and my abs are sore. And my body felt all stiff. On top of that, my head is still all congested and my nose was stuffed up. UGH! But, no discharge. So I'm thinking I didn't 'overdo' it so much as I'm just out of shape.

Now, after having been up for about four hours, and going to breakfast and doing some shopping with DH, I'm feeling better again. Warmed up, not as stiff or sore. I just might get some housecleaning done today, after all. I'm even considering mowing the lawn. Two hours of sitting on the riding lawn mower? Totally conceivable. It just might have to happen.

I don't remember the last time I took a pain pill. I still have most of my bottles of ibuprofen and vicodin, and have one refill left on both. I thought about refilling them just so I have more pain meds on hand should I need them in the future, but then I thought . . . wait a second: the reason I needed heavy-duty pain meds on hand in the past was because of my **** uterus. Since that's gone, theoretically I shouldn't feel the need to store 'the good meds' when I can anymore. Right? Oh my gosh, what a wonderful feeling, to imagine that I might actually go MONTHS without taking anything at all for pain from this point forward!!

Oh, I almost forgot! I put my jean capris on today . . . and they fit comfortably!! It's amazing how much better I feel, wearing jeans instead of scrub pants. I'm almost back to normal!! (Of course, I'm wearing my ab binder under them, but so?!? It still counts!!)

I guess that's all for now. I'm gonna go get some housecleaning done (or maybe not), I have a lunch date with one of my BFF's today and then church stuff going on later this afternoon and evening.

What a difference two weeks makes!!
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Week 1, continued: POD 13, almost to the 2-week mark! 09-27-2011 - 08:44 AM
I've been saying all this time that I'll have 2 weeks off after my surgery -- but really, it will be one day short of three weeks. I don't work a 'normal' M-F schedule, so as it turns out, my first day scheduled back is next Tuesday, and next Wednesday will mark 3 weeks since my uterus was evicted. Just to clarify. Because I'm in a clarifying mood this morning.

Actually, I'm feeling pretty good. Except I have either allergies or a mild head cold, not sure which; leaning toward allergies because it's 'just' congestion and a runny nose, and then because of the runny nose I have a scratchy throat as well. Benadryl helps immensely, but makes me sleepy. What a vicious circle.

At least, post-operatively-speaking, I'm otherwise feeling fine. I wouldn't say I'm in pain, just occasional twinges and a feeling of pressure or 'heaviness' in my lower abdomen/pelvic area. Enough to remind me that I'm still healing, but not enough to make me need any pain interventions.

When I eat too much (and even half of my pre-op portions seem to be 'too much') I definitely feel it, though. I went out to lunch with DH yesterday, and had half of a ham and cheese sandwich (on ciabatta bread, YUM) and some sweet potato fries, and I was just stuffed to the gills. Uncomfortably full. It was an awful feeling, but a nice reminder to cut down on the portion sizes. I'm getting to the point now where I'm awake enough to realize that I'm really bored. I haven't turned the TV on in a week (I'm not a TV person!) and I can't start exercising yet, so when I get bored I think I'm hungry instead and start searching the fridge and cupboards for something 'good'. I need to put the kabosh on that right now!! I think tomorrow I will try to do some light exercise -- maybe fire up the ol' Wii Fit and do some stepping or something.

My incisions are looking fine, no worries there. The one on my left hurts more than the one on my right, but only when I press on them. I do have a little more pain on the left side and can't comfortably sleep on that side yet, but I sleep on my right side just fine. I don't like sleeping on my back -- never have. I like sleeping on my stomach, too, but haven't tried that since surgery yet.

So mainly, my physical complaints for today don't have much to do with my surgery. I feel wonderful in that respect . . . haven't had any real vag discharge since coming home from the hospital, not enough to necessitate wearing a pad, anyway! My bowels still seem a tad bit sluggish, pre-op I was going every day or every other day and now it seems to be every other day or every 3rd day. But it's not like I paid real close attention to my 'routine' pre-op either, so, I'm not worried about it. I'm trying to continue drinking more water and such.

DH is already bugging me about when we can have sex again. I am just not in the mood yet . . . not even to do 'other things'. And I just feel so unattractive with this big ol' swollen belly, too. Le sigh. I keep telling him he just has to sit and wait like a good boy . . . lol. I'd like to see how quickly he would want to jump back into the game after having his testicles removed!!!!

Just kidding. I wouldn't. I just couldn't think of a better analogy at the moment.

Anyway, I suppose I should sign off. I have an assignment due today, a peer review for my writing class. I HATE doing peer reviews, because I used to be a proofreader/editor in a former life, and I can get VERY critical of other people's writing. I hate having to remind myself to scale it back and not be so harsh, but at the same time, I don't want to lose points for missing something critical. And, I get easily frustrated by people's lack of writing skills. I had better writing skills in 6th grade than most of these people in my college writing class do now!!!! *deep, cleansing breath* I wonder if I can get out of this assignment by saying I'm just too crabby to critique right now?!? hahahahaha.

Later, gators.
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Week 1, continued. Some days I wake up crabby, some days I just let her sleep. 09-26-2011 - 08:43 AM
I think my husband will be able to say that about me, pretty soon. If he's not already. Heh.

This morning at 0700, the phone rang. That's a little unusual, but I figured it was DH making sure I got out of bed. (I don't usually get out of bed on weekdays until 0730, unless I have to work that morning. Which I don't, today.)

It was one of the nurses at work. "You're scheduled for the day shift today . . . are you coming in?"

Um, no. I'm off for two weeks, I'm pretty sure that was made pretty clear. It didn't help that the person calling me happens to annoy me greatly, but thankfully I could hear the charge nurse in the back say, "That's fine, if she's not ready to come back yet, she's not ready to come back yet." I'm actually not surprised . . . the week before my surgery, the scheduler called to let me know that somewhere along the line, even though my hours had been filled, I hadn't been taken off the schedule. I guess, then, that she only took me off the schedule for the first week, and not the second.

Whatever. Annoying, but my own fault for not making sure that I was physically taken off the schedule. If something like this ever happens again, I will know to double-check and not just assume that because I told three different people (compelete with back-up documentation from my surgeon) that it will automagically happen.

Then, about an hour after that, the charge nurse called and said my note from the MD says I'm off until the 28th, and that I am scheduled the 29th. She was very nice about it and wanted to know if I wanted off on the 29th as well? I'm going to call her back and say YES, of course. And remind myself not to feel bad, that this is just another in a long line of examples of the lack of communication that is typical at my work, and although I could have prevented it, it is ultimately not a huge deal and will be worked out.

And then I thought . . . maybe I *should* go back on Thursday, for a trial run. Because then I'd have five days off until my next day to work. Thursday I was scheduled the 3-11 shift.

But then I though . . . nah!! I don't want to go back yet. I'm not even sure I'm physically ready to go back on 10/4, but I'll talk to my doctor about that at my follow-up appt later this morning. I'll see what he thinks, and see if he can write me up some lifting restrictions, or somesuch. I know that will terribly inconvenience some people, but I don't care. I've been on the 'terribly inconvenienced' side often enough, and it's not even that bad, I'm just crabby and over-exaggerating things this morning.

My younger dog is driving me bonkers this morning. He keeps going and grabbing things that AREN'T dog toys to chew on. I know he's doing it for my attention, because he'll grab it, and then carefully walk just within my site and stand there until I look at him, then he turns and prances off with the prize. So far he's grabbed one of the boy's hats, a scope cover, a lead rope (yes, I keep a lead rope in the house, so what?!? If a horse gets out, or even the crazy dog for that matter, I don't want to have to run to the barn first and then after the at-large animal; it's so much easier to just grab a lead rope from the house and take off, if needed.), one of the legs off the ottoman, and a leash. I keep giving him dog toys in place of the things he's not supposed tohave, but he doesn't care. Goofball.

Alright, my check-up is in an hour, I suppose I should go take a shower and put some presentable clothing on, and head out.

TTYL!

added 1159am

Well!! So much for *that*. STRIKE ONE!! I got there to register for my appt, and they said that Dr. H. isn't in this morning, and 'they tried to call you but didn't get a hold of you'. REALLY!?!?! Numb-nuts. The soonest I can get in is next Monday, the day before I go back to work. What was I going to do?! I have to take it, he's only at this clinic on Mondays. I know that if I really feel like I need to be seen, I can see my PCP, but I don't really feel like I need to be seen at this point. This is where I become a bad patient again and rely on my ability to assess myself and see that I am doing just fine, clinically-speaking. I can wait another week. No big whoop.
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Foggy . . . with a chance of crabbiness 09-25-2011 - 04:57 PM
I've got the foggy-brain today, not sure if it's a post-op normality, if it's because my head is full of allergy-inspired gunk, or just due to the fact that I haven't worked in like two weeks now, but it's amusing. This morning I told one of my friends that I was tired of being decapitated . . . and realized as soon as I said it that it was the wrong word. 'Um . . . I mean, incapacitated!' Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at!?!

Just this afternoon I noticed some light brown discharge. This is the first discharge I've had since about POD2. From what I've read, this is pretty normal so I'm not worried. Of course I know that light brown is old blood, and bright red is new blood. It's so nice to not have to wear a pad every single day anymore. I can't stress that enough. I feel FREE!! I alone have probably used more pads in my 25 years of menstruation than a normal woman uses in her normal lifetime.

There was something else I was going to write about, but I can't remember what. If it comes back to me, I'll edit it in here.

ttyl
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Week 1, continued. Allergies SUCK! 09-25-2011 - 03:33 PM
Well, nothing new to report pain-wise. It's a little better now, even the headache has backed off. I have the occasional twinge in my pelvic area and abdomen. Really, more than pain it's like a feeling of pressure in my sides, about where my uterus used to be. Haven't taken any pain meds today, and I don't think I did yesterday, either.

I've been wearing my abd binder again, and it feels h-e-a-v-e-n-l-y! Not to mention it makes me feel better because it holds it all in. But I have to wash the dang thing, lol, so I'm not wearing it right now and it feels a little weird.

My incisions look good. The one on my left looked a little different, it was a little more swollen than the other two and had a tiny hole on one side of the scar, but that has since resolved and it looks just like the other one now. No concerns there.

Making a huge effort to keep my meals smaller because eating too much seems to make me even more uncomfortable for now, but that's not so difficult because I don't have much of an appetite anyway. DH and I had a date night last night, and I could only eat two pieces of bread and my salad. Brought the entree home.

My post-op check-up is tomorrow. I have no concerns. I'm going to ask if he thinks I should have restrictions when I return to work, for whatever that will be worth.

My allergies are kickin' up this weekend. My nose is all runny and my throat is all scratchy, UGH. Glad it's this weekend and not last, though!!

I can tell I've improved a lot over last week -- I'm not nearly as tired anymore, I can be on my feet longer and walk farther and not feel dead tired afterward.

I went to church this morning, and was surprised by how many people asked me how I was feeling and expressed concern that I was 'up and about' already. REALLY!?!?! Holy crap, people, I'm goin' crazy here being 'stuck' in the house and not doing anything!! Other than that, it was nice to get out and see my friends and do normal things again.

I suppose that's all for now . . . I'm in kind of a foggy mood today because my head is all congested. But post-op-wise, I'm doing very well and really looking forward to going back to work because I miss being a nurse and telling people what to do!!!!! heh heh heh

Later, gators.
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Week 1, continued. Another small step forward! 09-24-2011 - 11:42 AM
I 'broke down' last night and took a Vicodin before bed. I haven't taken anything in days, and the pain was creeping right up around 4, so I decided it was alright. I took a Zofran at the same time to avoid getting nauseated. Besides the pain in my side (still primarily the left side), I was getting a nasty headache. That's really what pushed me over the edge, was the headache.

Well, I took it at about 9pm, and at 1am was still awake and still in pain!! UGH. I ended up falling asleep shortly thereafter, but was kind of annoyed that it hadn't helped the pain. I believe my script says I can take one OR two every four hours, so I could have taken another one, but I was so snug and comfortable in bed, wedged in with DH on one side and the two dogs on the other, that I didn't want to get out of bed. It was alright. I got some sleep and felt a little better in the AM when I got up.

Today I'm not having so much pain (although still with the headache, grrrrr) but I have this feeling . . . IDK how to describe it. It feels like my cervix is irritated. I actually get this feeling part of every cycle, so maybe it's just that? I'm not bleeding or anything. I suppose it could be stitches working their way out already, if I have internal stitches (not sure yet if my surgeon used sutures or glue, I'll find out on Monday). I'll just rest a little more today and keep an eye on it and see what happens. It's not pain, just a little pressure.

So . . . yeah. My appetite is waning again a bit as well, which you won't hear me complaining about!! I was craving Chinese food yesterday, so had a big plate of sweet and sour chicken, and rice, and an egg roll for supper. OM NOM NOM! That hit the spot. And then, we were out of flavored water and didn't have any Kool-Aid or anything made, so I had a can of diet Dew. Then another. Then another. And man could I feel it!! I haven't had much caffeine since surgery, and three cans was a *bit* much at once. Anyway . . . this AM the three of us went out for breakfast. I got two pancakes (pumpkin pecan pancakes . . . yum!) and could only eat one and a half. I'm down five pounds now from my pre-op weight, yet still could pass for being six months' pregnant. Fun!

Not much planned for today. I thought I had a writing assignment due, but I don't. I do have a test to take for music class before tomorrow, but I'm not worried about it.

I might have to go take an ibuprofen. This headache is getting a tad more than annoying . . .
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Week 1, continued. Slow and steady. 09-23-2011 - 07:45 AM
Well, the pain that started out on both sides yesterday morning ended up primarily on the left side by mid-afternoon. I'd almost describe it as incisional, but although it does hurt more around the incision, it definitely covers a little more area than that. The pain in my middle is still there. The right side seems, miraculously, alright.

I ended up taking a shower yesterday afternoon, and then that evening DS and I went out to dinner with one of my friends. I couldn't eat much but drank tons of water. In fact, I didn't eat much at all yesterday, come to think of it.

I haven't taken anything for pain for the last few days. That might seems absurd, considering the main focus of my last few blog entries has been to whine about how I'm in pain. I would be the first person to encourage anyone else to go ahead and take the **** pain meds, already, because that's what they're there for and our bodies heal better if they're not in pain. However, I have my personal reasoning for being a bad patient:

For one, the pain isn't intolerable. Annoying, yes, but not making me miserable. It's probably like a 3 on the pain scale, and I usually take pain medication at 4. For another thing, my tummy needs a break from ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is very good at what it does, but it also tears my stomach apart after a few days at the doses I've been prescribed. At this point, I can deal with incisional/healing pain better than torn-apart-stomach pain. And finally, call me sadistic, but being in a little bit of pain reminds me that I need to take it easy. If I'm in no pain, I 'forget' that I just had an organ removed and am more likely to get up and sweep the floor or do a few dishes, because it doesn't hurt to do so and because I'm bored and going stir crazy.

So there's my rationale. Everyone is different and I am no exception.

I did get the boy to do the dishes, well most of them, yesterday afternoon. The sink was overflowing, and the child, bless his heart, doesn't seem to understand that just because the dishwasher is full doesn't mean the dishes are done. So he hand-washed a bunch more, and then I bribed him to sweep the living room floor and straighten up the couch cushions. And now, it does look a little better in here; the floor needs to be steam-mopped, which I am not even going to think about attempting yet (OK, I did *think* about it, but it hurt to even think about so, no); today might be the day I teach the boy how to use the steam mop. I love my steam mop. I love having clean floors. We live in the country, and have two big dogs, and neither DH nor DS seem to grasp the concept of taking their shoes off at the door, so our floors can get pretty dirty. We have linoleum or Pergo all downstairs, which helps. But since I got that steam mop, keeping the floors clean has been a breeze.

Alrighty, then. I think I might go upstairs and sleep some more. I'm a HUGE proponent of sleeping during recovery; after all, that is when the body regenerates and heals at it's best! Plus, I just love to sleep. When I sleep, I'm not in pain . . . yep, I think that sounds like a wonderful plan.

TTYL!
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POD #8: Guess I should switch it over to Post-Op Week 1 now. 09-22-2011 - 08:14 AM
The first thing I was aware of when I woke up this morning was PAIN. New pain. Kind of sharp pain. Uncomfortable pain. The kind of pain that wakes you up and makes you go, ***?!?

It was down lower, in my pelvic area (where up until now it's been more lower abdomen than pelvic). It was on both sides at the same time, lasted for, I don't know, a few seconds or so, and then subsided. But didn't completely subside. I guess that'd be called a 'twinge'. Anyway, and then my lower back started hurting again. GRRRRRRR!!!!

I know that healing can be a two step forward, one step back process. Right then and there I resolved to take it even easier today, although I don't know how that's possible because I took it pretty darn easy yesterday. Unless this is spilling over from the day before when I did overdo it, which could very well be. ANYWAY . . . that's how my morning started.

And wouldn't you know it, the dogs ran out of food last night!! DH is out of town. DS didn't get home until too late to run to Walmart and get more. I know that depriving the dogs of one meal isn't going to kill them, it will just drive me crazy because they'll be begging all day.

So I decided to go get dog food. The smallest bag I could find. You know what? They don't make big-dog food in small bags. The smallest I could find was a 20# bag.

So I got it. Lifting it into the cart wasn't bad, I used my arms and legs instead of my back. Getting it into the truck was a breeze. Carrying it into the house? Wasn't so bad, either. I lifted it up over my shoulder and then kept my arms down as much as I could so as to put as little pressure on my abs and obliques as possible.

It worked. I got it in the house. I wouldn't recommend anyone else at this stage to try it, but I'm stubborn and I am honestly not going to call someone over here just to carry a stupid bag of dog food in the house for me. We live in the country! If nothing else, I was going to be willing to leave the dog food in the truck and just bring it in one scoop at a time as they needed to be fed. But, whatever. If this comes back to bite me in the ***, so be it. I'm pretty sure it won't, though.

I was thinking yesterday about how I wasn't given any restrictions at all in my discharge instructions. Nor were they discussed at pre-op. I wonder if that's just me . . . if they figure I know the restrictions because I'm usually the one doing the patient teaching. I wasn't told not to lift, not to do stairs, not to have sex, not to use tampons, not to drive, nothing. IDK, I mean like I said, it's not like I don't know what my restrictions should be, I just thought it was odd.

I'm in a bad mood today. The living room is starting to fall apart, and I don't have the energy or motivation to clean it. DH is out of town, in rural eastern South Dakota, and I can't reach him. I think I'll go back upstairs, take a Benadryl, and sleep some more. Sleep cures all!
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POD #7: one week today since I broke up with my Uterus! 09-21-2011 - 08:11 AM
First of all, emotionally I'm having a much better day today. I think I just needed to get some whining out of my system. I got a little physical activity in yesterday, too . . . which helped . . . even though I knew I was probably overdoing it and I would probably be feeling it today, it was something I really needed to do. Because we have to take care of our minds during this healing process, too, yanno!!

That's not to say I vacuumed the house, washed the truck, weeded the pasture and ran a marathon or anything like that. On the way to guitar lessons last night, we stopped and ran errands at three different places -- and instead of waiting out in the truck, I ran in with DH. While DS was at guitar lessons, DH and I went and walked up and down one block and then sat and talked for a while. After that, we went to Culver's and I had a burger and fries and two scoops of Turtle custard (my absolute favorite!). I felt no pain at the time, in fact I really had a hard time believing that I had just had an organ removed less than a week ago. I didn't have that worn out feeling after being on my feet -- au contraire, I felt BETTER, more energized, almost normal again. It was wonderful, and just what I needed to lift my sagging spirits!!

But then when we got home and started winding down, I started feeling it. For one thing, I ate way too much, and my tummy was gurgling and churning all night. For another, I had my first dose of caffeine in a week with supper (totally not even thinking that tea does, in fact, have caffeine! WTG, TangoRomeo!) so I couldn't fall asleep until well after midnight. By then the gas pains were starting and I had a stitch in my side that wouldn't go away (not a literal stitch, because I don't have any; I mean that feeling you get if you overexert yourself). This morning when I woke up, it felt like someone with a very big foot, wearing a big, heavy boot was stepping right on my lower back. But again, I'm not really in pain, just feeling like I did too much physical activity.

Which is sad, because I didn't do that much, but . . . yeah. I kinda figured, after all that, I'd be spending today taking it easier. So that's the plan. But you know what? I'm pretty sure I didn't set my healing back. Like I said, it boosted my emotional state like nothing else could have, and keeping that healthy is just as important as the physical healing. I plan on doing NOTHING today, which sounds like a wonderful idea. In fact, I might even go back to bed, because it's a cold, dreary, rainy day and those are the best ones for sleeping!!!

In other clinical reports, nothing much to report. I had one ibuprofen yesterday afternoon and then did end up taking another one right before bed, as well as a Zofran because my tummy was not liking all the food I'd eaten for supper. It was more of a proactive measure because I wasn't actually feeling nauseated, but I didn't want to, either.

I tried putting on my biggest, baggiest pair of jean capris yesterday. Epic fail!! I could get them on and fastened, but they were uncomfortably tight. That was without the abd binder. So, I'm wearing scrub pants again today.

I haven't been retaining as much fluid in my hands and feet as I was at first. Keeping my feet up while I'm in my chair, drinking lots of water so I pee the extra fluid off, and trying to avoid salt (which I failed at for supper last night -- oops!). All the bloatedness is in my belly, anyway.

The steri-strips on two of my three incisions fell off yesterday -- the one on my left side, and the one on my belly button. The belly button one is oozing a little, so I think I'll put some ointment on and slap a band-aid on it. The one of my left side is fine, in fact I was comparing it to the scar next to it, which is from my last lap in May. It's quite a bit bigger. It will be interesting to see if it shrinks much. Otherwise my incisions are fine, no drainage, redness, or swelling. The one on my left is kinda sore, I think that's from my abd binder rubbing on it, so I should probably slap a band-aid over that one as well.

You know it's bad when I start to daydream about going to the gym and working out for an hour. LMAO! True story. I saw an infomercial last night for a thing that is supposed to be like a treadmill, a stair-stepper and an elliptical all in one, and I was almost drooling. I pictured where it would fit in my bedroom. And then slapped myself upside the head and reminded myself that I have a free fitness center membership that I haven't even used, that I really should start to use when I get the go-ahead from my surgeon. The only 'problem' is that it's at work, and most of the time when I'm not there working, I don't want to be there because I'm afraid that they'll know I'm there, and hunt me down and ask me if I want to work. LOL!! (Only partially joking on that one.) But the good thing is, it's free, and it's only a mile away, and it's not open 24/7 but it is open from I think 5am to 9pm so, I can make it work if I'm really serious about getting in shape.

What else . . . well, DH is out of town now until Saturday. He's going to South Dakota (barely -- just over the SD/MN border) to work on a guy's cabin for a few days. We can use the extra money right now, since I won't be working for a few weeks, but it still kinda sucks. Still, I'm glad he's going this weekend and not last, which was the original plan.

I have to write a paper today. A personal argument essay. I don't know what to write about! I'm not an argumentative person, and we're supposed to stay away from hot-button topics. I think I will write about the dangers of making nurses work overtime. It's due at midnight. I'm not worried, I write best under pressure and am pretty **** good at pulling masterpieces out of my *** at the last minute.

I love the censor filter on here. I figured out what 'snorfleed' is pretty quickly, but I saw one yesterday that I couldn't figure out. I don't remember it off hand -- something like hankerbockered or somesuch? (edited to add: is it 'snorfleed'??) I'll have to look around and see if I can find it. Because sometimes I will do anything to put off having to sit down and actually write a paper. Even though I love to write. I just don't like the pressure of having to write about one specific thing.

Well, whatever. I'm off. TTYL!
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POD #6: Party time . . . 09-20-2011 - 08:19 AM
. . . pity party time, that is.

This is strange, because I am so not the type to be all woe is me and blah blah blah. My personal motto is suck it up, buttercup -- things could be so much worse! And it's served me well for quite some time.

But today? I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me. So to speak. I'm depressed because being on my feet for more than like 20 minutes at a time really wears me out. I stopped at the grocery store this morning after taking the boy to school and picked up a few things, and I wanted to come home and take a nap right away afterward. This is SO not like me!! I'm used to being able to function on 5 hours of sleep, occasionally much less!! As it's been lately, I sleep about 10 hours per night and then take another 3 hours nap during the day. How am I ever going to be able to go back to work at this rate?!?!

I took a shower this morning thinking it would help energize me, as it usually does. I think it just wore me out even more.

Otherwise, I'm doing quite well. No pain meds since my 800mg of ibuprofen at 4pm yesterday. No nausea. My appetite started coming back last night (dammit!) but I am still not able to eat much at a time (yay!). Urine output was good, and as I reported I had two BM's yesterday. No nausea to speak of. No fever. No dizziness. No weakness. Just fatigue.

I slept without my binder on last night, and it went well. I'm able to carefully sleep on my side without it, which is wonderful. I changed the sheets on my bed yesterday (for once it was NOT because I'd left a 'crime scene'!!!) and that just about did me in. Also did a couple loads of laundry. Also did some light cleaning around the house, picking things up and such. Wanted to try to hand-wash some dishes today but not sure now.

Pain-wise, all is well. I'm getting that gas pain in my shoulder, not horrible but just letting me know it's there. And pain in my right side when I yawn or sneeze or cough (which I seem to be doing often!). A few times last night and this morning, I would get this sudden, short-lasting pain in my groin, like a rubber band being pulled too tight almost. It would be over before I could say 'ow!' and didn't seem to correspond to my making any particular movement. I suppose it's a sign of healing in there.

Speaking of healing in there, my incisions -- especially the ones on the side -- have started to itch every now and then. Some of the steri-strips are about to fall off; if they do before Monday, I will let them, otherwise I'm sure the doc will take them off at my follow-up appt that morning.

One very positive thing I have noticed since my surgery, which alone is enough to make up for all the crud I've gone through afterward -- and sorry if this is TMI, but I've had next to NO vaginal discharge since then!!! Immediately post-op, I did have some spotting, which was expected. But on my second day home, after I took a shower I forgot to put a pad on and didn't realize it until later . . . and I was completely dry!!! I haven't had a pad on since, and it's such a great feeling to be NORMAL and not have to wear one all the time. I love it!!!!

Alright, then. Guess what . . . I'm tired!! I think I shall go nap. This is insane. I know I need to patient, that my body is just telling me it needs time to heal, and blah blah blah. But I am NOT used to being this debilitated, and it seems like it's never going to get better. I know it will, rationally, but it doesn't FEEL like it will right now. So let me have my fifteen minutes of wallowing and hopefully by then things will have improved.
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POD #5: part deux 09-19-2011 - 07:30 PM
Not a bad day, all in all. I ended up crashing at about noon so went upstairs and took a 3-hour-long nap. Felt good! I had a little pain before going to sleep, but stuck it out until after I woke up. That's when I felt like I should take an ibuprofen before it got much worse. That was about 4 hours ago and I'm pain-free once again. Well, mostly. Gas pains are rearing up again, nothing horrible, just noticeable.

I did have another BM today. Can't believe I'm sharing this information with the world, LOL.

DH and I went for a walk while DS was at piano -- across the parking lot to church, then around looking at the silent auction stuff. We were there for maybe 15 minutes, and I was really feeling it by then. It's so frustrating sometimes . . . I don't "look" sick, I only have three little incisions, and most of the time I feel pretty good. But I get worn out very easily. Oh, well . . . gotta listen to my body!

I watched a YouTube video earlier of a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. VERRRRRRRY interesting!!

I'm gonna sign off and go to bed. It's only 8:30pm. How sad am I!?!?!

(I have a feeling the emotional pity party is about to commence. Stay tuned.)
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POD #5: Movin' on up! 09-19-2011 - 08:00 AM
My BIG news this morning is that I finally had my first post-op BM!! Never thought I'd be so *******' happy to report on my bathroom business. I was starting to worry, though. In fact, just this morning I was lying in bed, feeling all bloated, with words like "small bowel obstruction" and "ileus" floating through my head. I was going to go to the grocery store and get some Fiber One bars, and maybe some MOM, and of course I still have that extra fleets enema in the bathroom from the two-pack I had to buy for my pre-op prep . . . and then I thought, maybe I should call the hospital and see what they suggest. It seems like I haven't been passing as much gas lately. I could hardly wait until I got up and could get downstairs to my stethoscope to see how my bowel sounds are, because they *did* say before I was discharged that they were becoming slower on the left side again . . .

So I got up and got dressed and was mentally prepping to take the boy to school, when . . . it just happened. I mean, I was in the right place and all, but I was worried that it would be painful or uncomfortable or traumatic, and it was none of the above. I feel just slightly less bloated and a WHOLE lot more relieved now.



So yeah, like I mentioned, I also took the boy to school this morning. That involved driving my Tahoe (an automatic) about 2 miles away, and back. But then I realized that a bill still needed to be paid, so I drove to the post office to mail that -- another 2 miles or so past the school. And back. And? It went pretty well, no complaints. I just took it easy and honestly, the worst part was when I got back home and had to tackle driving through the ruts in our washed-out driveway! All in all it was a very successful trip, and now I'm back home in my comfy chair and settled in for the next few hours.

I haven't taken anything for pain since the 800mg ibuprofen I took last night before bed, at around 9pm. So it's been almost 12 hours since and I'm going to see if I can't push it a little further today. Not that I'm trying to play superwoman, but that ibuprofen just tears up your gut after a while. (I know from personal experience; I'd been taking 1000mg 3x day for the post-op pain!) And honestly the pain isn't that horrible. A little uncomfortable, but compared to the endo pain, it's nothing. Once you've experienced that pain, that feels like your side is on fire and you want nothing more than to take the nearest sharp implement and carve into your side to remove your own reproductive organs, all other pain is just kinda, you know, whatever.

Seriously. I gave birth to an almost 9-pound baby vaginally and without ANY pain medication, and that pain was not as bad as the endo/fibroid pain I would start having on a regular basis just a few years later. I am so not kidding.

ANYWAY . . . not much on tap for today. Continue to take it easy, maybe get a few dishes done, and work on some homework. My mind is clear and my body really wants to get active again, but I'm forcing myself to take it easy. (Another reason I'm holding back on the pain meds just a little bit today -- need to remind the ol' noggin' that I really AM recovering from surgery!)

I didn't weigh myself today yet, but as of yesterday morning I was only up 2 pounds from my pre-op weight. Which is significant, because on the day I was discharged I was up 12 pounds from my pre-op weight. Which was discouraging, because I was hoping I'd leave the hospital weighing LESS, considering that I'd be losing my uterus and an unknown amount of fibroids. I didn't take into consideration that I'd be pumped full of fluids that would take a few days to leave! Anyway, I haven't been eating much (not intentional, just don't have much of an appetite) so hopefully I can drop a few more, or at least not gain any more, before I can start being completely active again.

Alright, I'm off. TTYL
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POD #4, yes I'm writing another entry. 09-18-2011 - 06:09 PM
Today has been a good day. Not much pain. Left the abd binder off after this AM's shower just to see what would happen, and all that's happened is I feel more bloated.

Haven't had any Vicodin today . . . am going to try skipping the HS dose of Vicodin tonight (am due for my next Ibuprofen at 10pm) because I want to drive DS to school in the morning and then stop at the grocery store for some Fiber One bars. Because I still haven't had a BM and don't feel like I could, so, that should help. I'm trying to think of all the foods I used to avoid because they made me have to go . . . lol! So I might get some brownies, too. Heh.

I had some toast with nutella for breakfast. Some crackers for lunch. Took a nap this afternoon. Had some beef stew and crackers for supper. Drank about four bottles of water and some ginger ale.

Feeling kinda crabby, though. Annoyed. With everything and nothing. Looking forward to having the house to myself tomorrow.
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POD #4: Still seems surreal. 09-18-2011 - 09:04 AM
It does. I only have three little incisions on my abdomen, it doesn't seem like I just had a hysterectomy. I have to keep reminding myself that I have a lot of internal healing to do, so it's okay if I don't do much now that I'm back at home.

My pain here at home is being well-controlled with ibuprofen. In the hospital I was getting 600mg every 4 hours, now I'm taking 800mg every 8 hours. I don't do that around the clock; I usually take 1 Vicodin (5/500) at the closest to bedtime dose, so I can sleep it if makes me nauseated. Yesterday I did have to take an extra dose of Vicodin during the day because the pain was getting bad and I was still two hours away from my next dose of ibuprofen.

I've been eating bland stuff, toast with nutella and crackers and cheese bread. I don't have much of an appetite but try to eat a little when I take my pills. I've been drinking lots of water and no problems peeing. Have yet to have a BM, though, which is starting to concern me a bit.

I walked around outside for a while yesterday, which was good but challenging on uneven ground. (My Mom was with me, so it was alright.) Been doing my inspirometer and coughing. My abdominal binder has been a godsend!! I'm still wearing it.

Sleeping in my own bed has been good for the psyche, but I don't like sleeping flat. I have a sleep number bed, which I think helps, but I still sleep best while upright.

I think that's it. I was a little nauseated when I woke up this morning, so I took a Zofran and now I'm getting sleepy.

One thing I would DEFINITELY suggest is a notebook or piece of paper to write down when what meds were taken. I already can't remember if I took Vicodin or ibuprofen this morning . . . GRRRRR!!! I think it was ibu, because I wasn't in that much pain and wanted to avoid the narcs so I can get those bowels moving today.

That's all for now.
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Post-op Day #4. The rest of the story . . . 09-18-2011 - 08:56 AM
I believe I left off on Wednesday (operation day) when I started waking up in the afternoon. I had an O2 nasal cannula on (I found out later my sats were dipping when I was sleeping, which is pretty normal post-op behaviour), a Foley catheter that had been placed while I was under (THANK GOD!), and an abdominal binder. And I had a BP cuff on my left arm and IV's running in my right wrist, and a very sensitive pulse oximeter on my right index finger that would start alarming whenever I moved. Talk about annoying!

Anyway, I don't remember much of Wednesday, except that I felt pretty good. I did get up and go for a walk up and down the hallway that night, and joked with the nurses about letting me do some work since I was there. My bowel sounds were quiet but present, and I was doing the inspirometer with good results. My urine output was a little slow at first, which is also normal post-op behaviour, so I tried to make sure I was drinking as much as I could. The catheter wasn't horrible, but I could definitely feel it was there. I felt like I had to urinate, but I knew I had the cath so I didn't really "have to". I didn't like that feeling, though, and honestly wanted nothing more than to get up and pee on my own, lol. NEVER thought I would be saying that! I also had a peri pad when I came up from surgery, I remembered hearing them say something about "vaginal bleeding" and I got all worried, well as worried as I could get considering how snowed I was.

My awesome nurses checked on me frequently, making sure I wasn't in pain or nauseated. I got two doses of antibiotic IV's (Clyndamycin -- I'm allergic to the 'cillins). When I'd start having gas pain, I'd just raise the head of my bed to a more upright position and that seemed to help. I didn't have a spinal block so I was able to walk without any problem.

I didn't sleep much that night, though. I'd doze off and then the nurse would come in to do my assessment, or the CNA would come in to get me fresh water, or someone would come in to say "hi" and see how I was doing. At about 4am I started asking when I could have the Foley out. The charge nurse said that there were student nurses on the floor that day (for the day shift) and asked if I'd be okay with waiting to let my student nurse take it out. Of course I said I would -- I remember those student nurse days! lol. I do have to say, I really liked being able to drink as much as I wanted all night and not having to get up to pee!! By the time 6am rolled around, the nurse said my urine output had greatly increased, so, that was good. I was also passing gas by then. My bowel sounds had increased, which was good, and my lung sounds were still clear. I had noticed that my hands were getting puffy, but once I started peeing more that started to resolve.

So, Thursday morning I got the catheter out and was able to have toast and oatmeal for breakfast. The oatmeal reminded me of paste, but I still ate it because I knew I wouldn't get to advance to real food unless I ate it all! They took me off O2 that morning, too, because I was holding my sats much better than the day before. So that meant I didn't have to have the continuous pulse-ox on anymore, either. I had two IV's, one saline locked in my left hand, so I asked to have that one removed and they did that as well. Oh, sorry I'm not very organized with my thoughts yet . . . taking the catheter out was a non-issue; I didn't feel any pain or discomfort with that at all. And I was able to get up and pee on my own about two hours afterward, so it was all good.

I didn't do or feel much that day, either. Had some more visitors. Felt a little feverish, but didn't have a fever. My IV fluids were discontinued since I had good oral intake, but they left it saline locked so I could still get Dilaudid and Zofran if I needed them. I went for a couple of walks that day, still passed gas but no BM, and still drinking water like it was going out of style. My PCP came and saw me that day and gave me the medical OK to go home, but he said i didn't have to if I didn't want to. In fact, all of the nurses were encouraging me to stay another night to make sure I was well-rested before I went home, and I was inclined to agree with them. I was starting to feel like I'd been hit by a truck anyway, so decided I'd stay another night.

I'm glad I did. Shortly after supper on Thursday night (which was a full diet, grilled cheese and tomato soup and pudding and dessert), the pain got worse. Thinking it was gas pains, I went for a few more walks in the hallway, and made sure I was sitting upright in bed and drinking lots of water to get things moving. Still passing gas but no BM. I was on Toradol at that point (IV), and it was helping but not much, so my awesome nurse (seriously, one of my favorite people to work with and now I can say from experience that she is a kick-*** nurse as well!) had me try 2 Percocet, which also didn't do much. Finally she pulled out the big guns, the Dilaudid. I remember feeling like I was floating before she even left the room. Did it help the pain? I suppose, but I was too distracted by feeling high that I didn't think much about the pain. The moral of the story is that I do NOT like Dilaudid, and I don't know how drug-seeking patients can stand to have it every hour because just that one dose had me higher than a *******' kite! Whatever.

The Dilaudid also wasn't doing much for the pain, so I tried a heating pad. Success!! I loved it. I was able to fall asleep with it tucked in firmly around my side. But I didn't sleep for long, because the nausea soon set in. I figured it was from being overheated, so I took the heating pad away and tried to go back to sleep. I actually did sleep pretty well that night, except for waking up just about every four hours to ask for more Percocet. I was down to one by the time 6am rolled around again, but I was also feeling nauseated by then. UGH. I hate feeling nauseated!!! I tried to keep the nausea down with just crackers, ice water, and ginger ale for a while. But by the time the day shift nurses got there for my assessment, I was ready to ask for Zofran. I had another student nurse that day; she was awesome! She'd had a hysto a few years ago for the same reason I did, so we had some bonding time and it was really just what I needed to hear that morning. My regular staff nurse was there, too, and she asked if I thought the Percocet was causing my nausea. A-ha! It's amazing, I mean when I'm at work I would pick up on something like that for my patients just like that, but as the patient myself I found that my ability to assess myself was pretty crappy. I had to remind myself that it wasn't my job to assess myself, I was under the influence, that's why I had paid nurses to do that for me. hehehe. Anyway, we agreed it was probably the Percs making me sick, so I decided to try just the scheduled ibuprofen. The eggs and sausage I'd previously ordered for breakfast did NOT sit well with me that morning, so I went back to toast. And crackers and ginger ale. The nausea eventually passed, but it leaves me feeling very wiped out. The doctor came to see me and wrote my discharge orders (and added oral Zofran for me to take at home). I went for another walk and then had a shower, which made me feel incredibly human again.

It's funny, after getting my discharge orders I had this idea in my mind that I was "healed" or something. I took my shower, put a gown and robe back on, and walked up to the nurses' station to socialize with my co-workers (and pick up my pay check, lol!). That wore me out pretty quickly! So I went back to my room, one of my BFF's was there to visit me so I talked with her for a little bit and then decided to take a nap before it was time to leave.

I'm probably making this way more detailed than you wanted, lol, but I want to remember as much of it as I can. I'm never going to have another experience like this again. And I know I'm not thinking straight yet so my writing isn't top=notch, but I'm trying!!!

So. Anyway. I went home Friday at about noon. Got another dose of Zofran just as I was walking out the door, lol. It felt good to be "normal" again and be in my own clothes. I got home and promptly got comfortable in the chair and fell asleep for a while again. Zofran makes me tired. Like it is right now, lol.

I think I'm caught up now!!
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T-plus 72 hours: feeling good! Here's the story. 09-17-2011 - 07:55 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011: The OR nurse called me on Tuesday and said my check-in time at the hospital was 0630 Wednesday morning. DH and DS and I went out to my favorite pizza place for my "last real meal". I was hungrier than I thought I was, and the three of us devoured a large pizza with no leftovers. I was quiet, a little nervous, but anxious (in a good way) to get things going. I had no idea what to expect for recovery, of course; some people report tons of pain afterward, some not so much. What would the pain be like? Having dealt with endo and fibroids for a decade, I'm used to being in pain . . . but would it be worse? Would it be unbearable? Would I regret it?? At about 8pm I did my pre-op enema, which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be -- but my tummy was all in knots anyway, so I probably didn't need any "help". I went to bed at around 9pm, hoping I could get some decent sleep. I didn't. I woke up about every two hours, afraid I would miss the alarm and oversleep.

I didn't. But when the alarm went off at 0530, I did NOT want to get out of bed. I suddenly had this feeling like I'd just slammed on the brakes and did NOT want to go through with it. I was almost in tears while getting ready that morning, taking a shower with antibacterial soap as instructed, packing my little bag and saying goodbye to DS and the dogs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011. Got to the hospital at 0630 and registered at the front desk. It was weird being there as a patient, from the very first second! (Not only am I a nurse, I had my surgery at the hospital where I work.) I thought for sure I'd be in an OB room, but I wasn't; I was on the med-surg floor albeit in the only private room with it's own shower. My co-workers were very nice, swarming me as soon as I got on the floor. It was almost overwhelming but very appreciated. DH and I got to my room and I changed into my gown and had to do another enema, then they started the IV and lab came up to draw some blood and I had to give a urine specimen and start the admission paperwork. I was only able to give literally like ten drops of urine for the pregnancy test, but that's all they need! Lab had a hard time drawing my blood because I was a little dehydrated (and I'm usually not the easiest draw anyway), which also meant that my co-workers had a hard time starting my IV. She finally got a 22ga in my left hand and got the fluids going without any problem. Only to find out that surgery requires an 18 or 20ga, in case they have to infuse blood. My nurse ended up getting a 20ga in my right wrist but also left the 22ga "just in case". They put on my TED hose and grippy socks, and my surgery booties and hat, and made sure my IV was running alright and that I was warm enough.

Surgery was scheduled for 0900, and I was told they'd be up to get me at 0800. At about 0750, DH had to leave to take DS to school and said he'd see me later. At 0820, I was still up in my room. Turns out the GYN was running about half an hour late, and at 0830 they came up to get me. I quickly said the Lord's Prayer to myself then I transferred myself from my bed to the surgery cart and off we went!! My co-workers gathered around to say goodbye and good luck as I was wheeled away, which brought tears to my eyes.

So from there, we went down to the "Pre-Induction" room. It was just a small room where it looked like they stored extra equipment, lol. That's where I met the anesthetists and they went over their questions with me again, and the surgical nurses who made sure I was comfortable and triple-checked all my consents were signed and everything, and also the GYN who again described what he'd be doing and gave me the chance to ask any questions. After we were done there, and everyone was ready, they wheeled me back to the OR. They stopped the cart right outside the door and I walked from there to the operating table. We had a fun discussion about tattoos on the way, as they saw some of mine and were asking a bunch of questions about them.

I wish I would've paid more attention to everything in the OR before I was put under! There was a step stool for me to get up on the table. The table was pretty narrow. I stepped up and got into place on the table and laid down, and they got the little arm things out and put a warm blanket on me. I remember the nurse telling me she was going to put my thromboguards on (the cuff-like things that go on your legs, to prevent DVT's afterward) and the one anesthetist said he was going to put something in my IV to help me relax. I looked up at the lights above me and they were starting to look fuzzy. Then he said he was going to put an oxygen mask on my face, and I remember feeling the cold plastic on my face and then, I was out.

The first thing I remember (and I use the term "remember" very loosely here) is being in PAR (post-anesthesia recovery) with an O2 mask on my face and feeling very nauseated. I didn't have my glasses on so couldn't see, but I could tell there were people working around me. They asked if I was in pain and I said no, and they either asked me or I told them I was nauseated. I don't remember receiving anything, but it was all a blur at that point. It felt to me like I'd just woken up and then they whisked me upstairs to my room, but DH told me later that I was in recovery for about an hour. I remember the elevator ride up there was HORRIBLE! as I was nauseated and there was a lot of bumping and jostling. I just kept my eyes closed and tried to stay as still as possible. When I got up to the room, they asked if I could move myself to the bed or if I wanted them to do it; I said I wanted them to do it. So they did, and got me settled into bed. They switched my O2 from mask to nasal cannula, and hooked me up to the monitors that would check my vitals every so often. I really don't remember much else -- I was very tired. I remember hearing someone say (it must have been the PAR nurse reporting to the med-surg nurse) that I'd just had Zofran and Compazine (anti-nausea meds).

I got up to my room at about 1100. I vaguely remember DH being there. I was really out of it but was amazed that I wasn't in pain and that it was all over, that I'd had a hysterectomy.

I know I interacted with people, but everything was in a haze and I had to fight to stay awake. And as soon as they'd leave the room, I'd close my eyes and be out again.

At about 2pm, I woke up and realized that DH wasn't in the room. I grabbed my phone and started texting him (that was a challenge!) and finally called him and asked if he was mad at me or something. He was like, why would you think that? I said, I woke up and you were gone! He said he got bored watching me sleep so he went home. (We live about a mile away from the hospital.) So, I went back to sleep. Still no pain. In fact, I didn't even feel bloated at that point yet, and felt like I was doing really well.

Speaking of being tired . . . I will finish this later. My eyes are starting to cross, and I have to pee again! TTYL
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POD# 2. I'm finally home! 09-16-2011 - 03:15 PM
Will post a more detailed update later. Surgery went well, so far recovery is going well and I'm feeling alright. Just tired and sore and a little nauseated.

TTYL!
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T-minus 14 hours and counting . . . 09-13-2011 - 06:35 PM
Actually, it's only 11 until I get registered and admitted . . . surgery starts in 14.

I'm ready. House is clean, bought fun new pajamas to wear when I get home. GOnna pack my little overnight bag later. And do my enema. Not looking forward to that, but at least it's not mag citrate, right? One dose and I'm done.

We went out for pizza for supper.

I'm signing off for now. See you on the other side!!
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T-minus 24.5 hours and counting . . . 09-13-2011 - 07:37 AM
Just think, tomorrow at this time I will be there . . . I will be in the hospital. My surgery is scheduled for 0900 and it's now 0813. So, at this time tomorrow I'll be in PAR all ready to go and just waiting. The awesome PAR nurses will be taking care of me, making sure I'm warm enough and, well, there isn't really much else they'll need to do at that point. Except make sure all the paperwork is in order. The anesthetist will come talk to me and make sure I'm feeling alright. Dr. H. will come talk to me and go over the procedure again and answer any questions I can come up with . . . and then we will wait. I'll have an IV running with warmed LR (oh my gosh, IV's with warmed fluids are the best.things.ever!!!). In a short time, they'll wheel me back to the OR, and I'll hop up on the OR table and they'll get me settled in and then give me the happy medicine and . . . that's all she wrote.

I love that I won't be aware of what's going on around me. They'll intubate me, and I'll have no clue. They'll put a Foley cath in, and I won't know the difference. When I drift off to sleep I'll be nice and comfortable, but soon afterward they'll be manipulating my body around to a more suitable working position for the surgeon and his team. I will be blissfully unaware. The next thing *I* will know is that I'll be waking up in PAR again, quite possibly in the very same spot I was before surgery, and it will all be over. I will not be in pain so for the first few seconds I might wonder if it even happened at all. The OR I was in will probably be cleaned by the time I get back to PAR, and my uterus will be in a specimen cup somewhere, getting ready to head to a faraway path lab, and the surgery team will be changing clothes and grabbing a bite to eat and whatever else they need to do before the next case. I might be nauseated, so I'll be sure to ask for Zofran if I need it. The nurse working in PAR tomorrow is one of my favorite nurses to work with, so it will be nice to have her comforting face to wake up to.

And that will be it. I will have had a hysterectomy. I will no longer have a uterus. When I have completely awakened and have proven that I am breathing well on my own and am not showing any signs of immediate post-op complications, I'll get to ride the cart up to the 2nd floor, to my room. The PAR nurse will pass me off to the med-surg nurse. They'll get me into my bed and make sure I'm comfortable and hook me up to the DASH monitor and program it for standard post-op vitals (I know that formula without even having to think about it; q15x4 then q2x2 then q4). They'll do the assessments of which I also know like second nature: ABC's and D's, (airway, breathing, circulation, dressings/drains), IV site, TCMS, peripheral edema, LOC, lung sounds and bowel sounds, and, of course, pain level. And nausea.

Sigh. I'm not so nervous anymore. I'm ready.

Today sometime I have to go in and have blood drawn for a type and screen, just in case I need a blood transfusion. I also need to stop by HR while I'm there and pick up a FMLA form, apparently. I laugh whenever I see "FMLA" because the first thought I have is not Family Medical Leave Act, it's **** My Life America. Whatever. I'm going to do that later this morning (has to be within 24 hours of surgery, so, really, anytime now). After that I'll gas up the truck and run it through the car wash, then run up to Walmart for the goodies. If I was feeling practical, I'd just wait and make the Walmart run tonight because we have to go to the "other" town that has a Walmart tonight for DS' guitar lessons anyway, but I'm going to buck practicality and make a special trip because I need the alone time and I won't be up for that drive for a while again, anyway.

After that, I'll come home and finish cleaning. Not much left to do -- sweep, vacuum, steam mop, do yesterday's dishes. Put the tablecloth on and put some clean rugs down in the kitchen to make it look nice.

I slept very well last night. I hope tonight is the same.

Oh yeah, and sometime today the OR nurse is going to call and let me know what time I need to be at the hospital tomorrow. I'm guessing 0730.

More later, I'm sure . . .
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T-minus 36 hours and counting: YES, this is my 3rd entry today, why do you ask? 09-12-2011 - 07:36 PM
I just need to write. DH says I'm too crabby to be around right now, so he went to bed. Whatever!!! Just because I "yelled" so I could be heard . . . I was in the kitchen and he was in the living room, I was getting ready to take the boy to piano lessons and DH was all like, You're leaving already!?! And I was like -- yeah, it took me 15 minutes to get there last night and his lessons are in 20! (Lessons are at our pastor's house, which is right next to church, which is where I had to go last night for a meeting.)

OK, so, maybe I said it loudly, but he was half the house away! And maybe I said it with an attitude, because I'm not in the mood to have my every move questioned right now, alright?!?! Sheesh!! I want to tell him to -- well, never mind. So he's been calling me Crabby all night. Yeah, well, I am. I'll admit it.

We were watching Dr. Oz this afternoon, while flipping through channels, and what do you know?! He was doing a thing on uterine fibroids. Had a couple real examples (that had been removed) to look at, that was interesting. What irritated me was that he (Dr. Oz, is he even really a doctor?!?!) was focusing on (in his words) the fact that hysterectomy due to fibroids is one of the most common GYN surgeries out there, and he went off on this tangent about how it's not a necessary surgery.

NOT NECESSARY!?!?! I went off on a tangent. I did!! If he thinks it's "not necessary", he should try living with this pain and excessive bleeding and bloating. Just one day. He'd be begging to have it yanked out, too, I bet. He said it can be "easily" managed with birth control pills. Oh, yeah? Not for everyone, Mr. Dr. Oz. It just irritated me. I shouldn't have watched it. I didn't learn anything.

My jaw is hurting a little less.

Tomorrow I have to remember to go in and have my blood drawn for the type and screen. And go to Walmart for my wonderful fun enema. And do more cleaning. AAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Gonna try to get some sleep, this headache is bringing me down.
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Harnessing the nervous energy . . . nesting . . . etc. 09-12-2011 - 11:22 AM
Yes, I'm back. I need to sit and take a break, it's really hot out today (90's!) and humid and besides, I'm out of hot water.

I got the entryway cleaned up, top to bottom. Started vacuuming but the hose was clogged so I cleaned that out and now it's hanging to dry in the bathroom; I guess I'll vacuum tomorrow. I sorted out the shoes, got rid of the ones we're not wearing anymore, packed up most of the summer ones to go upstairs, and moved the dress shoes upstairs, too. Cleaned and scrubbed the stove top, the fridge, the counter next to the stove. Oh! Have to clean the microwave, too. Started doing the dishes, decided now was a good time to tackle that horrid top shelf that I've been wanting to clean out all summer. Threw away 99% of what was up there, which made room for the stuff that's been living on the countertop (margarita glasses, beer pitcher). Weeded out the coffee mugs (dang things multiply, I swear!). Started doing the dishes by hand, ran out of hot water. Cleaned off the top of the desk. And the shelf above the desk. And the dining room table. And the random crap that had accumulated on top of the dog kennel.

My house WILL be clean by the end of the day!! <3
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T-minus two days, and counting: AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! 09-12-2011 - 08:21 AM
My jaw hurts from clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth -- sure signs that I'm harboring internal stress! Other signs: I bit my nails down last night. Haven't done that in YEARS. Likewise, I cut my toenails this morning because it bothers me to have my fingernails and toenails "different" IYKWIM. If my fingernails are short, I like my toenails short as well.

I didn't sleep well last night -- partially because I was waiting for work to call to tell me that I was on call for the day shift today. So I kept checking my phone to make sure it was working, and then just laid there thinking about (what else?!) surgery, and finally I gave up and went to sleep. Fitfully. Woke up around 0200 for no apparent reason. Woke up again around 0430 when DH's alarm went off, stayed mostly awake but pretending to be/trying to fall back asleep. At 0530 I still wasn't sleeping so I grabbed my cell phone and checked -- sure enough, one missed call and one new voicemail. Guess what?!?! The UC at work called at 0520 and said, "They were supposed to call you last night and put you on call but forgot, so I'm calling you now to tell you not to come into work!" Nice.

Oh yeah, and then in the middle of the night (actually it must've been around 0300) the air conditioner started making odd noises. So DH got up, turned it off, opened up the windows, and went back to bed. Which is all fine and dandy, except that when I woke up around 0430 my seasonal allergies were back in full force. Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, UGH!! Just shoot me now. Please!!

Anyway. So I texted my BFF (who also works with me and was scheduled today) to tell her I was on call, texted DH to tell him I was on call, and laid down to close my eyes and try to sleep. Five minutes later, the house phone rang. I usually just let it go to voicemail and then check the voicemail from my cell phone (because the house phone is across the room from my bed), so I did that, thinking I better check it because it might be work calling me to tell me I had to work, after all. But no, it was the overnight charge nurse, "Just wondering if you got the message that you're on call today? Let me know . . . " So I gave her a call back and tried to go back to sleep. Except then, DS woke up and was going downstairs, so I had to wake up enough to tell him he didn't need to take the bus this morning because I was on call so I'd be able to take himto school.

And then . . . the dogs wanted attention, because I was awake, and (according to them) all I want to do when I'm awake is pet them. I love my dogs, I really do. I'm not looking forward to being with them post-op, though, because they are 80-some pounds each and think they belong on my lap. Which usually isn't an issue, but with a sore tummy, it's not gonna happen.

So now, here I am: with a "surprise" "day off" but didn't get to sleep in. I have a headache and a jaw ache. Not to mention the rumblings in my pelvic cavity (thank you, fibroids, I know you're still there; make all the commotion you want, you are going to be GONE the day after tomorrow!!!). Shortly I am going to log off the internet, cue up Windows Media to my favorite house-cleaning music, crank up the jams and clean, clean, clean!! I'm caught up on homework for next week. DH, bless his heart, put laundry away this weekend while I was at work, so that's one less thing I have to do. I'm in the mood for some deep cleaning today, I know it will lift my spirits and also I'll get to rest in a clean house when I get home. Oh, but I have to keep the phone nearby, just in case I get called in, after all. Which I doubt will happen, but, yeah. You never know.

The scheduler from work called this morning and said that, although they got my note that I'll be off for two weeks, and also got my shifts covered during that time, someone along the line neglected to erase my name from the schedule for those two weeks. It's no real problem, because the shifts are covered and they know I'm not there so she was going to go ahead and erase my shifts anyway (was calling to verify how long I'd be gone), but then she asked if I'd put in for my FMLA. I hadn't thought of that! Crap!! She said she wasn't sure I'd need it, since I was only taking two weeks off (which will be covered by my sick pay), but she'd check with admin and let me know if I need to do anything else.

I think we're ready to go. I didn't need pre-approval or anything from insurance. Time off from work is scheduled. DH is the foreman at his job, so he can take whatever time off he needs. He's taking Wednesday, but is probably going back to work on Thursday. I know he literally detests sitting around hospitals with nothing to do, so I actually encouraged him to go back to work on Thursday. I'm expecting to come home Friday, but even if I get released on Thursday, my parents would be willing to bring me home. DH is taking Friday and the weekend off, so, I think we'll be alright.

I tried talking to DS about it this morning, wondering if he had any fears or concerns that we could address. He said he just thinks it's "kind of weird" that I'm going to have surgery (he knows why, I've explained it to him) and won't be home for a few days. I told him he can come visit me at the hospital whenever he wants and also that I will really need to rely on his help when I get home, to keep the house picked up and with taking care of the dogs and horses and all. He's a good kid; I'm a lucky mom.

So now, we wait. I'll have to go get my fleets enemas tomorrow and do one tomorrow night. Was going to try to do a clear liquid diet from this point on, but I'm craving nutella and ice cream so, so much for that!! LOL.

Dang nerves. Dang pain. Dang waiting game!
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T-minus three days and counting . . . breakdown in 3, 2, 1... 09-11-2011 - 03:30 PM
That pretty much sums it up for today! Today has just overall been a kind of morose, gloomy day. It started at work -- for some reason we were all just kinda blah today, which is a stark contrast from yesterday when we all seemed chipper and bright and happy.

I'm in quite a bit of pain today. Of course, neither of my docs are on and I didn't want to bother the on-call MD so I'll just let it go until tomorrow morning, and call to get something then.

To lend to the overall mood at work, one of our patients made a "celestial transfer" today, as we like to call it. It wasn't a patient I had today, but I did have them yesterday and I've had them in the past as they've been hospitalized for a few weeks now. Came in with pneumonia, I think, and discovered lung CA with mets to bone, brain, and liver. Not good. But moved on peacefully today surrounded by family. Even tho it wasn't my patient today, I was the last nurse to give them their hourly dose of Morphine. They passed away not five minutes after I left the room. I'm having all sorts of introspective thoughts about why I became a nurse, because dealing with death is hard but knowing that I helped keep this person comfortable during their last days on earth, and also knowing that I was able to console the family during one of the darkest times of their lives . . . it makes it worthwhile in a way that's impossible to explain. You either "get it" or you don't.

And then, as I just posted about in pre-op, I meandered down to the room which will be "mine" when I am admitted on Wednesday morning. I thought it'd be exciting, but it really . . . umm, wasn't. It's a nice room and all, that's not the issue; the issue is that it brought home for me the fact that in a few more days, *I*will be there, at that place I know and love so well, but I will be there as a patient. I will be having a major organ removed.

I just feel . . . not really depressed, just unusually serious all of a sudden now. I feel like I could have a breakdown any second. Questioning myself, my reasons for doing this; can't I just "deal with it"?? Is it really THAT bad?? Am I overexaggerating???

No, I can't. Yes, it is. No, I'm not.

This is real. This is going to happen. I'm going to have a hysterectomy.
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T-minus 4 days and counting . . . last Saturday as an intact female 09-10-2011 - 05:52 PM
If one more person says to me, "You're so young to be having a hysterectomy!" I might just freak. Granted, they think I'm younger than I am; I can easily pass for 25 years old (which is what those who just meet me seem to think I am . . . hmmmmm . . . lol!) even though I just turned 37.

I don't like talking about it at work, but it seems like the only place where I don't get awkward silences or wide-eyed glances. Makes sense . . . my co-workers have seen people younger than me go through worse than me, so hearing that I'm having a relatively common procedure is not alarming news. I can talk about it clinically at work, which I find immensely soothing right now.

I sought out the surgery schedule almost as soon as I got to work today. Saw my name. There it was, in black and white: Wednesday, September 14, 2011. 0900. Laprascopic Supracervical Hysterectomy. TangoRomeo, my birthdate, Dr. H. Whether I'm inpatient or out (In, of course), and the type of anesthesia I'm having. I've looked at that sheet hundreds of times before, but today it had relevance. It wasn't just a name and a time, it was . . . well, it was ME.



He has one surgery scheduled before mine, a laparascopy and possible oopherectomy (ovary removal), and one after mine -- I forget what that was. So if surgery is scheduled for 0900, I'll probably have to be at the hospital at 0700. No sleeping in for me, but I guess I'll have time to make up for that later, eh?

I'm in pain today. Mostly my lower back and my groin. And I'm getting that heavy feeling again, the one that feels like something is resting on my cervix. Maybe it is. I just want to know what's going on in there!!!!!

DH was originally going to go out of town next weekend for a side job, but he decided not to. For me. He decided today he will go to work Thursday, after all, because my parents will be able to take me home should I get discharged that day. IDK if I will or not, I'm thinking Friday, but we'll see.

That's about all for today. Work was uneventful today. I'm orienting a new hire, she's actually worked at our hospital before but not since we implemented the new electronic charting system, so my main job is to teach her all the computer stuff. I can handle that. Doing the same thing tomorrow. I think I might ask to be put on call on Monday. Just so much to get done around here yet . . .

TTYL
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Dear Uterus: It's not me, it's you. Oh, wait, it's TOTALLY you. 09-09-2011 - 07:04 PM
Tonight is a perfect example of why I can't wait to have this surgery. I hurt, all.the.time. Sitting, standing, walking, doesn't matter, it hurts. Sometimes more than others. Heat, cold, pressure, nothing touches it. It's just always there. And so is the heavy feeling in my lower abdomen. I always thought it was just fat; I know I'm overweight, but now that I know that some of it is also fibroid, it annoys me even more.

And whenever I eat, I get cramps. I haven't been eating much lately, but still haven't lost weight. I'm crabby all the time, not just from the pain but also now because surgery is on my mind all.the.time. I'm easily annoyed by everything and nothing.

My parents want to come visit me in the hospital, and at first I was like -- Yeah, that sounds great! Today I'm like, WHY the **** would you want to do THAT?!?! I know they want to be helpful and supportive, but honestly? Visit me in the hospital? Sounds like fun. Mind you, they live 45 minutes away. Whatever. It'll be fine. They mean nothing but the best. I was there as often as I could be when my Dad was in the hospital a few years ago, so if they want to return the favor, go ahead. They're both retired, so it's not like they have anything better to do. And if they're just going to sit at home worrying about me anyway, well then, come on over. Nurses love it when their fresh surgicals have a room full of family hovering over them.

I was thinking tonight, as I was walking through a crowded restaurant and feeling all self-conscious about my behind because it's a little humid out and I got a little sweaty and, you know, it's not always easy to tell the difference between sweat and other bodily fluids . . . I was thinking how nice it will be to not have to have thoughts like that all the time anymore. How I will actually be able to get nice sheets for our bed without worrying that I'll desecrate them. Ditto for nice underwear -- my hubby is so sick of me wearing cotton underwear all the time, but I can't help it!! I don't want to ruin a nice pair, and pads stick to cotton ones better. I'm so ready to be done with this. Done with the embarassment, done with the worry, done with the mess.

DONE DONE DONE!!

I work this weekend and Monday, and am off Tuesday, and of course Wednesday is Eviction Day. I am ready!!!
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T-minus five days and counting. The waiting game, SMH 09-09-2011 - 07:39 AM
In general, I am NOT a patient person. So even though Uterus Eviction Day is only five days away, it might as well be five months because that's what it feels like.

It seems like every waking minute, all I'm thinking about is having a hysterectomy. Going to the hospital. Being put under. Waking up. Recovering. Coming back home. Rewind, replay, repeat. It's getting to be a bit much!!

Yesterday I went out with one of my best friends. We got our hair done (I'm trying to grow mine out again, so I just got the ends trimmed and my bangs cut) and I decided I needed to do something more "fun" than that. So I also got a feather extension and a colored extension. And then she curled my hair all cute and stuff, I wish I could recreate it but I just don't have the (here we go again) patience to mess with my hair! Anyway, then we went to the thrift shop across the street and I got a couple of oversized sweatshirts, since it's comfy clothes season now. I really wanted to get manicures as well, but since I'm not supposed to wear fingernail polish for surgery, I decided to wait. I've never had a manicure. I'd go for the pedi, too, but I absolutely hate people touching my feet. Anyway . . . doing my hair and getting some new cute clothes made me feel a whole lot better. I hadn't realized I've been feeling down lately until then. I think it's the anticlimacticness of coming home from an awesome mini-vacay and then having to get ready for surgery. And dealing with the change of seasons which has me just wanting to sleep alll.the.time.

Oh, well.

Last night, I made lasagna for supper -- DH's favorite. I had the lasagna cooling on the stovetop and was getting the garlic bread out of the oven, trying to use two dishcloths for oven mitts, when of course one of the dishcloths slipped or I didn't have it folded correctly or something and the hot, hot, hot cookie sheet went right on my poor little finger. INSTANT blister. I dropped the cookie sheet (back into the oven) and just stood there looking at my finger for a second, and then, the pain set in!! Ouch. All is well now, mostly, but man did that hurt like a mofo! It's still nice and blistered now. I couldn't even type last night because it hurt so much (it's on my fingertip). Obviously not having a problem with typing this morning, nor am I having any pain, I just can't feel the tip of my finger. Ooooops!

Got a few things planned today. Breakfast with the 'rents in a few -- they're going out of town for the weekend, and their route has them going conveniently past my place, so we're meeting at a local cafe for breakfast. I'm having lunch with another of my best friends, and then DH texted me this morning to see if I want to go out to eat for supper. So! A busy day of eating, oh yay. I haven't had much of an appetite lately. Seems like every time I eat, I have GI issues. I'll leave it at that. I used to think it was IBS but now I wonder if the fibroids don't have something to do with it? Who knows. Time will tell.

I already know what room I'm going to be in post-op. The benefits of being a nurse, lol! Our hospital usually puts GYN surgicals in the OB department, so that's where I will be. Those rooms are much nicer than the ones on med-surg -- private, newly redone, more like a hotel room than a hospital room. Bring it on! I hope that being in OB won't mess with my emotions too much. It's not like there will be a bassinette or a warmer in the room, and it'll be a real bed and not the breakaway one. So to the untrained eye it won't be an OB room, but to me it will be. Oh, well. Whatever.

I suppose I should sign off and get something done. TTYL
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T-minus six days . . . and counting! BRING IT ON 09-08-2011 - 08:10 AM
Yep, that's how I feel about it today: BRING IT ON! Even though my house is nowhere near ready for me to be an invalid for at least a week . . . there's still time to whip it into shape. I figure I'll work on getting my school work done this week, and spend the early part of next week cleaning the house. That'll be a good way to put some nervous energy to use.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I remember feeling is pain. In my side. Especially when I stretch my arms up or out. Truth be told, I can't tell you the last time I woke up and was NOT in pain. I am really looking forward to having this done, to getting rid of that which has been causing me so much pain and misery all these years . . .

Reading some of the things on here has made me a bit stressed out about the possibility of my endo coming back. I hadn't really considered that idea before, even though it makes perfect sense. I know it's a possibility, but I feel better because all of my endo was confined to the outside of my uterus. I had a good half-dozen areas of it there, and none anywhere else. So, with my uterus gone, I'm not worried that it will regenerate in the areas where it was cauterized earlier. If it comes back elsewhere, I'll deal with it at that time, but I don't think it will.

Nor am I honestly worried about "fibroids" appearing elsewhere. I've read about that on here, too, although in my mind a growth anywhere else cannot be a true fibroid, because a fibroid is a tumor of uterine muscle. And again, not gonna worry about that happening to me, because again, all of my problems have been with my uterus. (except the ovarian cysts, but whatever.) With the uterus gone, the problems will be gone.

I'm going back to bed now. I'm very tired this morning, and not sure why. ttyl
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Previous lap surgeries . . . 09-07-2011 - 07:28 PM
You can tell I'm getting nervous because I'm writing more . . . hahahaha

Anyway, my first laparoscopic surgery was in, I think, 2002. It may have been 2001. I do not remember for sure. Weird, eh? Anyway . . . that was when I had my tubal ligation. I wanted to have my tubes tied right after my son was born in 1998, but the OB-GYN I had at the time wouldn't do it because I was under 25 years old and it was my firstborne child. I'll address my reproductive history in detail later, maybe, but suffice to say that by the time my son was actually born in 1998, I'd already lost five pregnancies. DS was the baby we thought we'd never have, and we were happy with just one, after going through all those losses. I never wanted to experience another miscarriage ever again, so decided that DS was going to be It.

However, as I said, the doc wouldn't do it then. Which I think is insane, but that's a topic for another time, as well. Shortly after that, we moved to a different state. Hormonal forms of birth control aggravate my depression, so after about a year of trying the Pill and then the Depo shot, we stopped contraception altogether. Figured if it was meant to be, it would happen. And, it didn't. So a couple of years later, I found a doctor who would do the tubal ligation, and had it done.

It was a day surgery procedure. I had it done in the morning and left early that afternoon. I remember sleeping for about two days straight afterward. Really, that's all I remember. I don't even think I had prescription pain meds for that one.


My next lap surgery was in May of this year. After finding my wonderful Dr. H (who is doing my LSH next week), he wanted to do an exploratory lap and, if he could, resolve any of my problems. Going in to the surgery, he didn't know exactly what he'd find, but he did say that he wouldn't remove any organs at that time. That's when I found out I'd had endometriosis and uterine fibroids. He cauterized the endo and left the fibroids. It was also an outpatient procedure. I got to the hospital around 0700, went back to PAR and changed into my gown, got my IV started and hooked up to the DASH monitor (that would monitor my heart rate, BP, O2 sats) and went through allllll the consents again. I'd had a pre-op appt, but all that was was a blood draw for a CBC and Comp. No type and match, and a urine pgcy test the morning of. They started my IV with warmed Lactated Ringers' (an 18ga in my right hand) and got my antiembolism stockings on and the sequential compression devices on my legs. The RNs talked to me about what to expect before, during and after. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me a few times about what to expect. The surgeon came in and talked to me again. When the time came, they put on my hat and booties and wheeled me down to the OR. I transferred myself from the PAR cart to the OR table, and a myriad of people started working all around me, getting me positioned and hooked up to their DASH monitor and getting everything ready. I remember joking around with the CRNA, who put the O2 mask on my face and then said, "And now we give you the happy medicine!" and I said, "Oh, yay! The happy medicine!" and the next thing I remember is waking up in PAR (post-anesthesia recovery), with the nurse telling me to take deeper breaths and switching the O2 mask on my face out for a nasal cannula. DH was sitting next to me and I was feeling foggy and nauseated.

My recovery from that went pretty well, I thought. I went home and slept the rest of that day. I was pretty nauseated and therefore didn't eat or drink much. My nursing school graduation was scheduled for two days after my surgery, and I swore up and down that i would be there!! The pain was definitely tolerable; nothing compared to the pain I've dealt with before!! The doc gave me Vicodin to take, but it just made me more nauseated, so when I needed something I just took acetaminophen and it was fine.

The day of my graduation, I was totally planning on going to the ceremony that night, until about 1pm that afternoon. I'd been running a fever -- my aftercare instructions said to call if it was higher than 100.4, and it was nearing 103 -- so I made an appointment to go back in. My PCP saw me, drew some labs, and determined that I wasn't running an infection (in fact, my stab wounds were healing VERY well) so he admitted me to outpatient again for rehydration. I got a bolus of 1 liter normal saline and was feeling better in no time. Not well enough in time to go to graduation, but I didn't care by that point.

My surgery was on a Wednesday; I took the rest of that week off from work and was planning on going back on Monday, but because I was still feeling exhausted from the dehydration, I ended up taking two more days off and went back to work one week later. It was fine -- I was able to return without restrictions (I'm a nurse) and never had any problems after that.


So, based on my GYN/surgeon's advice, and my recoveries from those two surgeries, I'm thinking two weeks of recovery from my hysto should be good. I can always return on restrictions, if I need to.

Alright, I'm done rambling for tonight. Time to get my beauty sleep!

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T-minus ONE WEEK and counting . . . insert jitters here 09-07-2011 - 10:56 AM
Perhaps I need to stay away from this site for a day or two, or limit my visits to only one short session per day. I've got a whole week to go and, after spending some time here this morning reading other people's posts (on pre-op), I can feel my BP rise and my stomach start to churn with fear and anticipation and dread and worry about the unknown.

I am not scheduled at work at all this week, not until the weekend, and I'm kind of wishing I was at work now. I think I have too much time to sit and think about everything. At least at work, I would be forced to think about other things.

Or maybe it'd be worse being at work right now, knowing that in a week I am going to be a patient there. I wonder what kind of patient I'll be? I've heard that nurses make the worst patients, and I can see how that'd be true. I've definitely experienced it from the provider side, lol. I hope I'm not too big of a pain in the butt.

I am SOOOOOOO tired this week! I don't know why. Seems like I just can't wake up, no matter what. Is my body trying to tell me something?

It seems like my side hurts more now, too. Don't know if that's real or psychosomatic. Neither would surprise me. I tend to blame every ache and pain on the fibroids now. And every GI problem. And every mood swing. Oh yeah, I've got an excuse for EVERYTHING now.

And suddenly I'm scared, too, because my online classes started yesterday, and I want to get ahead in my studying right away so I don't have to worry about doing any of it late next week. But I can't get started on it yet, because the house is still a mess and how am I EVER going to get everything perfectly lined up before surgery?!?!?!

In two days I have to stop taking aspirin and acetaminophen. I haven't been taking that much these past few days so I don't think it'll be a problem, but . . . what if it is?!?!

Post-op, I'm going to be in an OB room. Will that wreak havoc on my emotions?

Alright, time to pull the plug on the computer for a while. TTYL
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T-minus 8 days and counting. Time flies when ______! 09-06-2011 - 11:00 AM
I've been away from this site for a few days. Saturday (9/3) was my birthday, my DH's birthday -- we both turned 37 -- and our 15th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by taking a mini-vacay to Las Vegas for the weekend. No internet access for us there, and frankly I needed to just not think about real life for a while anyway, so now . . . I'm back!

And kinda struck by the realization that my surgery is just barely over one week away!

Had a very interesting and enlightening moment in Vegas, though, despite my efforts to not think about real life. The Bodies exhibit was on display at our hotel -- the one that displays real actual human bodies that have been preserved with a sort of plastic. I find the human body incredibly fascinating and could have stayed there for hours, examining everything and soaking up all the information. For obvious reasons, I found the section on the female reproductive system particularly fascinating and intriguing.

And? They had, on display, an actual fibrotic uterus. It had just one fibroid, that was about 3in in diameter. It certainly was ugly to look at, a bumpy and distorted shadow of the nice, round, smooth uterus. I pointed it out to DH with probably a little too much enthusiasm; I'm sure he had no idea what exactly was going on inside me until then, and what better way to show him than to actually SHOW him?! "That!," I exclaimed while pointing enthusiastically, "THAT is why I'm in so much pain all the time!!" It was just nice, and timely, to be able to show him. And to see for myself, of course, because I've never seen an actual fibrotic uterus, either.

Anyway . . . that is about the same size that my GYN said my largest fibroid is, or at least was in May when I had my lap. It could be bigger now. It could even be smaller now. I won't know for another week or so.

Other things on my mind right now: I HAVE to get the house cleaned! I am NOT going to convalesce in a messy house, not if I can help it!

I'm off work the rest of this week. I work this weekend, next Monday, and then will be off for (at least) two and a half weeks. We'll see how it goes. Right now, today, I am READY to get this over with!!!
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T-minus 13 days . . . and counting . . . 09-01-2011 - 08:21 AM
I'm glad I decided to check out this website. Earlier this week, I was showing DH the pamphlets I'd brought home from my latest consultation with my GYN, while we were waiting for our 13yo to finish his weekly guitar lesson. One of them was a facility-specific brochure on pre-op prep, and the other was one of those educational and informative numbers about different hysterectomy types, recovery times, support and the like.

He is the one who pointed out "HysterSisters" to me. We laughed, because it was fun to say. "I want to be a HysterSister!" I half-joked, making a mental note to check out the website when we got home.

And now . . . here I am!

As the title says, I'm 13 days away from my LSH. I am very much looking forward to it because I have been living with the symptoms for far too long. I remember the first time I had an "attack" as I called them; we were on a church camping trip, of all places. I had this pain in my side that wouldn't go away, it felt like there was a balloon in my side that was being blown up and stretched past capacity. All I could do was lie on my side and pray for the pain to ease up. I seriously considered having DH take me to the nearest ER even, because I'd had an ectopic pgcy before and this pain was MUCH worse than that. But I didn't. A few days later, the pain went away. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess you could say.

Except it kept coming back. Every time I'd get my period (which is irregular, anyway), it'd feel like someone took a hot but dull poker and shoved it in my side. I went to see my PCP, at that time I was seeing a Nurse Practitioner, and she didn't find anything abnormal on the manual exam. I came back for an ultrasound a few days later (when the pain was starting to subside, of course) and they found "several" ovarian cysts. The NP told me possibly POCD, to come back in approx 6 weeks for another scan. So, that's what I did. By that point, the pain was gone (or just hiding, rather) and . . . so were the cysts. I got a lecture (not really but it felt like it) about functional cysts and how what I was going through was completely normal.

Really?? Pain so bad I want to shove a knife in my side and pull out my ovary with my own bare hands is completely normal?!?! On what planet!?!!!!

The next few years was much of the same. When the pain would get at it's worst, DH (and the nagging voice inside my head) would tell me to go back to the doctor, because Something Was Not Right. The NP would do a scan, a re-scan, and then declare that Nothing Was Wrong. It was disheartening, to say the least, and I began to question my own sanity. Was I just over-exaggerating? I didn't think so, but was being told nothing was wrong, so . . . yeah.

I quit complaining about it and accepted my fate. Some months it was worse than others. In addition, my period was getting heavier and heavier. Hearing that this was "normal" was very depressing for me.

I'm going to have to continue My Story later. I'm really, really tired right now. Been working overnight shifts this week, and now it's almost 0930am and I really need to crawl up to bed and sleep for a while. I'll finish this later, though, because I do so love to blog . . .

added 3:10pm

Whew! That's better. It's amazing the difference that 4 hours of sleep can make. Heh heh heh.

Anyway . . . yeah. So I struggled with trying to accept that what I was going through was "normal" although deep in my heart I felt they were wrong. I did what I could to get through the pain and excessive, prolonged bleeding.

Late last year, I was finishing up nursing school and stressed out about everything in life in general, when I started having some new symptoms. I've always had GI-related issues, nothing serious but just a seemingly sensitive system that is easily upset. One Saturday morning last November, I was up all night with bloody diarrhea. Sorry if you were eating while reading this, ha, ha. I do literally mean all night. It scared me, because it just wasn't stopping. I don't like going to the doctor anyway, especially to the urgent care clinic on a weekend, but I was also scared of what was happening, so in I went. I had some labs and a CT scan done, and my MD diagnosed me with infective colitis.

While I was there, he naturally asked about my LMP. It just so happened that I had been bleeding for about three months straight at that point, which I told him. I also decided that was a good time to complain about the pain again -- maybe my new PCP would have new insight. We got the colitis under control and then he had me come in for an ultrasound. I was feeling encouraged and almost validated -- after describing my symptoms and history to him, and even sharing with him the fact that I was starting to feel crazy because I kept being told nothing was wrong with me, he assured me that he believed something WAS, in fact, wrong. He assured me that he'd get to the bottom of it and that I wasn't crazy. I could've kissed him. I was feeling very hopeful and relieved.

So I went in for my ultrasound. The previous CT scan had also showed ovarian cysts, and I was still in some pain, so I figured it would HAVE to show "something".

It did not. He called me a few days later and said "everything looks normal". I was so mad . . . he didn't suggest doing anything else, just told me to continue taking pain meds as needed. Really?!?! I was very disheartened again. I was so sure that was going to be "it"!!

Sorry this is so long. I do like to write . . . heh.

Anyway. My DH and several of my friends encouraged me to get another opinion. Some of my friends talked about how they had uterine ablations and it solved their similar problems. I finally got up the courage to call a highly-recommended GYN in our area. I figured, what else have I got to lose?!?

I am so very glad I did!! We sat down and I gave him the low-down, he did a quick pelvic exam, and then he said that he was sure something was wrong but wouldn't be able to tell what without a laparoscopy. I doubt that he's ever seen anyone so willing to go ahead with surgery, lol! He said he suspected endometriosis, fibroids, or scar tissue and assured me that it would be treatable.

I had the exploratory lap in May of this year. He told me beforehand that he wasn't planning on removing any organs at that time, just looking around and fixing what he could. I remember post-op being told that I had several areas of endo cauterized. I remember seeing the pictures in recovery . . . very cool, lol. Apparently the GYN had told DH at that time that he'd also seen some fibroids but assured DH that they didn't look cancerous, but DH got his terminology mixed up and told me they were cysts instead.

I recovered from that procedure fairly well. It was outpatient, so I was home that same day. I was very nauseated and didn't eat or drink much for a few days, so ended up back in the hospital with dehydration. Other than that, recovery went very well. The pain was easily controlled with Tylenol (I did get a script for Vicodin but it made me more nauseated, so I didn't take it.) and I was back on my feet in a few days. I was feeling good, confident that the problem was solved and my days of crippling pain were over!

At my follow-up a few weeks later, the GYN repeated that he'd cauterized several areas of endo on the outside of my uterus, and then he told me that I also had several uterine fibroids as well. He said it was impossible to tell which had been causing my symptoms, so he decided to "wait and see" if removing the endo did any good before we went ahead. At that time I remember he said the next step would be a subcervical hysterectomy, removing my uterus but leaving the cervix and ovaries, and doing it all laparascopically. I was devastated . . . the thought that I'd been through all that and the problem might not be solved, plus actually hearing the "h" word for the first time, it hit me kinda hard. I wanted to cry. I probably did, I don't honestly remember. But I was still hopeful . . . women can have fibroids and be asymptomatic. My GYN said to let him know how it went . . . if the symptoms were still present and troublesome, he said to just let him know and we'd go ahead with the hysto.

Another decision I struggled with. On one hand, for years at the height of my pain attacks I would be begging to just have my uterus yanked out. I don't need it anymore . . . right? But when it came down to actually doing it, nerves started kicking in. A few weeks after my follow-up, I got my first cycle post-lap.

And it hurt like the dickens. There was a slight amount of improvement in the pain, but overall I was still miserable. And the bleeding was heavier than ever. I'm so relieved after reading this site and learning that I'm not the only woman who has gone to excessive lengths with the feminine hygiene products! Tampons, multiple pads at once, wads of toilet paper . . . I even considered wearing incontinent pads to keep up with the flow. I didn't own one good pair of sheets and quit wearing "cute" underwear because I knew it'd eventually just get ruined, anyway.

After my second post-lap cycle, when nothing had changed, I decided it was time to go ahead and do the hysto. I'm 37 years old, our only child is 13, and even though in my heart of hearts I always felt we'd have one more, I had to face that it wasn't going to happen. And I was fine with that. At 37 years old, having just finished nursing school and working full-time at a job I truly love, I knew it was time. I wouldn't want to have a baby at this point in my life. I'd been living with the symptoms for far too long and just wanted to be normal again.

So! Here I am. I saw my GYN on Monday of this week and told him that my symptoms are still horrible. He gave me three options: birth control pills, which might shrink the fibroids and give me relief; a myomectomy to remove the fibroids only, which would enable me theoretically to still have another pregnancy; or removing my uterus completely, which would mean my childbearing days were officially over. My previous MD had tried me on BCP for a couple of months with absolutely no relief (in fact, BCP's make my depression worse, so . . . good times) so we agreed that a LSH is the way to go.

I got in much sooner than I was thinking I would. I was thinking I'd be lucky to have it done in October, which would be kind of a hassle work-wise because I'm picking up a temporary full-time position in October to cover a co-worker's maternity leave. To my surprise, they said his next available slot at my hospital was September 14th. I took it. I got in the next day for my pre-op exam, which I passed with flying colors. Despite this, and the fact that I'm overweight, I'm in great health. Heeheehee.

I'm looking forward to the days when I won't be in pain all the time. When I won't be "on the rag" for three weeks out of the month. When I can be intimate with my husband again without worrying about breakthrough bleeding or intense pain. I can buy nice sheets for my bed now!!

That's my story. And I'm sticking to it. TTYL!
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