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Unread 09-29-2001, 11:19 PM

Just thought I'd see if there is anyone else out there from North Dakota. I'm in Grand Forks. But am having my surgery in Fargo at MeritCare.

If anyone is out there, please drop by and say HI.
Sweet Jane
Nov 8, 2001
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Unread 10-15-2001, 08:39 PM

Hi Jane

I live in Moorhead. Why are you traveling to Fargo for your surgery? What doctor do you have? I worked for Meritcare for five years. Why are you having your surgery? I have huge fibroids which are becoming very large and causing other problems in my body. So I finally have decided to take care of business. I see you go in before me. Good luck!!

Unread 10-15-2001, 10:25 PM

I just posted you on the Minnesota board and asking about your surgery and about MeritCare.
I'm going to Fargo for surgery because they failed me miserably where I am. Have a cup of tea and I'll tell you my story.....
I have not been having problems for very long, not like you and some of the Sisters. I was having some lower abdominal discomfort on my left side since April but I put it off as being very overweight and sitting way too much at my computer. I was putting in 15 hour days---no joke!
In early June I had my first episode of postmenopausal bleeding. (I turned 52 in Sept. and I was 1 yr. 11 mos. postmenopausal.) It was a full-blown period complete with cramping. I thought it was a fluke, that maybe I had a surge of hormones somewhere. Two weeks later, I started brown spotting and ran into my GP's office at the clinic. He did a endometrial biopsy and another PAP (I'd just had one in Nov 2000). I have an extensive family history of breast cancer (Maternal grandmother, mother twice, 2 maternal aunts, 1 maternal uncle with a brain tumor, 1 maternal uncle with lung cancer, my only sibling died of Hodgekin's Disease with related lung tumors, and my dad died of rectal cancer last year-----none of these people survived their episodes of cancer.) My GP knew this and I told him that again. I was scared and worried for my family. Basically, he patted me on the head and said that it was normal, no matter that it had been two years since my last period.
The tests came back negative and my GP said, "Oh, it's something that happens to ladies your age." And never did another test. He said to wait and then maybe do HRT.
I went to a gyn who looked at my file, didn't examine me and said it was atrophy and that I needed HRT. I asked about my family history and he minimized the risk, saying HRT would protect my heart.
I then went to MeritCare in East Grand Forks. The GP there ordered an ultrasound and it found two cysts. They referred me to another gyn once again. This woman said that the cysts were too small for me to feel any discomfort from them, but she was curious about the postmenopausal bleeding. She did a very extensive pelvic exam and a two-digit exam. She said she couldn't even feel the cysts they were so small. She did order a CA-125 and an estrogen level. She was curious to why both previous PAP test showed estrogen tracings.
In the meantime, I had another gallbladder attack. My new GP ordered a CT at the hospital and they found lots of big gallstones and a very ambiguous reading of the cysts. But nothing else. My GP got the results of the blood tests and found low CA-125 (it was 8) and very low estrogren that verified I was postmenopausal.
I went back to the gyn to have her report on the bloodwork and make recommendations. She insisted that the cysts were shrinking and that there was only one now, because of how she interpreted the CT scan results. She wanted to wait two more months and do another ultrasound. She didn't mention the postmenopausal bleeding and NOW said "As you move through menopause, the cysts will shrink and dissolve."
I went back to my GP and he referred me to Dr. Wessman at MeritCare in Fargo. She read my file and all of the reports and said,"Did they tell you that you had two cysts and one of them is quite large?" She did a very cursory exam and could feel the cysts on my left side.
After listening to my family history, she recommended having the cysts removed because I was having symptoms and wanted the ovaries removed because they would contribute to future cyst formation. Having the hysterectomy would cure the postmenopausal bleeding. She would run everything under the pathologist's eyes and then we'd know exactly what was going on. She said, "We won't really know what is there until we have a look-see." And she's right.
From what I've read on this sight, no one knows you actually see what is going on in there, and then only the pathologist knows for sure.
So that's my story. The Patient Advocate called me and asked to hear my story. The Head of Medicine already spoke to my former GP and the first gyn. The Patient Advocate called me the day after I saw Dr. Wessman in Fargo and reported that. I told her about my experiences with the second gyn and about Dr. Wessman's different diagnosis and recommendation. She said that she would take that to the Head of Medicine again. I guess the second gyn will be spoken to as well. (I did not call the Patient Advocate. Someone my DH knows works in personnel and he alterted the Patient Advocate. I didn't want to start any trouble, but I was very disappointed and angry and I'm telling my story whenever anyone asks.)
I've never even been in the MeritCare Hospital to visit anyone. I'd never been to the Broadway clinic until last month. Could you tell me something about the hospital and the staff?
Who is your doctor? What are you having--TAH? TVH? BSO?
(Sorry this turned into a novel....)
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Unread 10-16-2001, 06:18 AM


Wow, you sure have been through alot in a short period of time!! I would have been very scared to have a period over a year after the "last " one. Everything I have read or been told says that is a big warning sign to have a period after menopause. Good thing you pursued a diagnosis! I know how frustrating and lonely it can be to battle doctors and find the correct diagnosis. We just returned from Mayo Clinic last month for my husband. The diagnosis in Fargo was correct but the doctor was so close mouthed that we couldn't get any info out of him and therefore felt ill at ease about the diagnosis. The Mayo doctor was fabulous, explained everything, detailed a course of action, etc. I like to know the specifics of my Battle so I can give it my all!!

As to Mericare clinic and hospital. . . many friends have had babies at Mericare and they speak highly of it. I know many of the nurses and those I know are so wonderful. I worked for a family doctor and liked the personnel and clinic very much. Not being a nurse (just clerical) my take on the medical side isn't real solid. The hospital is very professional and from what I've heard very attentive to patient's needs. I am having my surgery at Innovis/Dakota Clinic. Have always doctored there (even when employed at Meritcare) because I love my GP and didn't want to change. Never been to Innovis for surgery since it is a brand new facility.

Having had two cesareans I was concerned about adequate pain control after surgery. My gyn has assured me that she will not leave me "high and dry"! I think I want that in writing!! I have elected to have an epidural for surgery since I don't want to have any nausea issues afterwards. I am having an abdominal hysterectomy and will keep my ovaries if they are healthy. I sure hope so!! With my family history of heart attacks and disease any production of estrogen is greatly needed!! Because I am at the magic age of 44 my doctor immediately wanted to take the ovaries. I said no way if they are healthy!!

I have been hesitating about this procedure for 7 years!! Yes, I know, why so long? Well, in my family the women go thru menopause early (grandmother was 40, mother was 38) so I just assumed I would follow in their footsteps. WRONG!! After hormone tests I am not even near menopause and each year brings more and more painful periods so I decided enough is enough!! My one fibroid is the size of a grapefruit and the other one the size of a kiwi (doctors love fruit analogy). I had a pelvic ultrasound about 6 years ago and this fibroid was about golf ball size so it has grown immensely!! After living with discomfort for so long I guess you get to feeling like this is normal!! During my yearly check up last August I mentioned to gyn that I keep having peeing accidents!! As she examined me she said that the huge tumor was squashing my bladder which explains the "accidents"!! The painful periods could involve endometriosis or scar tissue from previous c-sections. Just like you, they won't know until they get in there.

I am not looking forward to this ordeal. I have three children and a DH but let's face it I run the show!! When I told my daughter about my surgery her first response was "who will go Christmas shopping". Ah, the priorities of children!! My mother, who is very frail and unwell, is demanding to come and be with me. Yikes, as if I haven't enough to deal with!! I told her if she becomes ill what would we do with me incompacitated. She just doesn't get it. Needless to say I am stressed to the max.

Boy, have I rambled. Feels good to share the frustration and fear with someone who is facing the same challenge. I will be glad when it is over. I just hope I feel better afterwards!! Ever the pessimist!!

I really commend you for fighting for your well-being and health. Pursuing a diagnosis takes endurance and strong self-confidence!! I think having a hystectomy sounds like a good idea. How long will you be in the hospital? I go in Thursday and come home Sunday nite or Monday morning. Sounds way to short of a stay for my liking!!

Take care Jane and I will remember you in my prayers.

Unread 10-16-2001, 08:20 AM

Wow! Sounds like you've been through it, too. The Sisters here say that an epidural is the way to go. I've never had one, not even for childbirth, just a pudental block that made me feel like my pelvic floor fell asleep! I also haven't had general anesthesia either. I did have some pentathol for oral surgery many years ago and something last February for a colonscopy. The nurses said it wasn't a general anesthesia, just something to make me relax. Well, it put me out --and I must say it's the only way to have a procedure like that.
I don't know yet how long the castle stay will be. I just know that Dr. Wessman will operate on Thursday morning. From what the Sisters say here it usually is a 2-4 days stay.
My husband will be down there during the day and will be driving back up here each night. He didn't want to stay in a motel. My daughter is 23 and lives in Minneapolis. She won't be coming home for the surgery--and frankly, I'm glad. She can be the Nazi Nurse sometimes. My son (20) is still here but his work schedule is all over the clock. He and his girlfriend, however, will be popping in and fixing lunch when they can.
My husband will take a few days off to help me that first week. Then he will take over the cooking (He does that now when I get bogged down with a deadline or I just feel bushed.) I am also borrowing a small dorm fridge for my bedroom. And, I'm buying an inexpensive tv/vcr for upstairs. too. Our only bathroom is on the second floor and stairs will be a problem for a while. I'll have to see what my gyn says about when to take stairs and how often. The Sisters seem to think once a day.
Anyway, all of the fun stuff is downstairs: computer, cable tv, fridge.....
I just don't want to overdo it. I'm a bit older and it takes a bit longer for the body to heal. The only bad thing about being a princess is that I'm having to put my business on hold for two months. (I'm a full-time freelance journalist.) And I'm having to work like a maniac to get stuff done BEFORE surgery.
I also have cleaning, sewing, and cooking/freezing to do before the trip to the castle. I'm allowing Nov 1-7 for all that. It will be time I can really use to concentrate on myself. I will then need to plan a bunch of light things to do to occupy myself: Christmas cards, needlework projects, etc.
What are your plans?
Unread 10-17-2001, 08:58 PM

Hi Jane,

My plans for post surgery are not very formulated yet. I will probably do Christmas cards and have over a year's worth of photos that need to be put into books. I went to Target and purchased three photobooks for just this project!!

Today I washed all my curtains, mini blinds and bedspreads. The wind was really whipping things around and everything dried extremely quick!! Don't you love our prairie winds? And they call Chicago the "windy city". HA!!

I hope to get some shopping done, Christmas photos done, etc. I have stocked up on alot of hamburger/tuna/chicken helper box dinners for my husband to use. I have frozen some meals like spaghetti and chili. Not everyone likes the same things so freezing meals is challenging.

I have been visiting the chat room daily. What a terrific group of ladies. They offer me so much comfort, support and humor in the face of my major surgery. Have you tried the chat room? I usually visit after 9 p.m. After awhile you get to know the ladies and some are so funny!! There is usually a HysterSister moderator who keeps everyone on target for subject matter, etc.

I keep praying that the airlines don't have a sale so that my mom won't be able to afford flying here for the surgery. Would love to have her about one week post-op just not before and during the surgery. She is a worry wort and will make herself sick over worrying. I'll end up having to support her thru this ordeal!!

My house is a rambler so everything but the laundry is on one floor. So moving from living room t.v. to bedroom to computer to bathroom shouldn't be too much. I am worried about the laundry though. My husband tends to stuff the washer (the more the better). I've told him the clothes need room to agitate!!

My children's extracurricular activities are proving the most worrisome obstacle for me. Two of the three have after school sports or academic endeavors. Neither drive yet and I won't be able to drive. This is a dilemma! Most of my friends have families and work outside the home so I feel uncomfortable asking for help. Plus it will be cold that time of year so walking home from school for one of them isn't an option (too far). I guess I will just have to rely on the "kindness of strangers".

Whew, I am being wordy tonite! Hope all is going well for you. Hope to hear from you soon.

Unread 10-18-2001, 10:32 PM

Gee, I wished I could get to the cleaning, sewing, and cooking/freezing I want to do before I go to the castle. I'm jealous! I'll have to wait until Nov 1. I have so many projects to finish before the end of the month, it's not funny!
My huband and son both are good cooks. In fact, my son is a cook at the River Bend in East Grand Forks. He's top quality. I would love to have him pamper me.
Well, I heard from my daughter tonight and she wants to come for a week! Sigh. I talked it over with my husband and we agreed to tell her to come the second week post-op. I'll at least have the energy to visit with her or argue with her if I have to.
My husband will work half days that first week. If I need more help, he can immediately take off time. He works for Northeast Human Service Center and can take off time for family emergencies. We are also borrowing a dorm fridge for my bedroom so that I can have juice and yogurt and a few cold snacks or sandwiches. My daughter wanted me to bring up our microwave. But I wondered if the electrical lines can handle a fridge, a microwave, a tv/vcr, two lamps, a clock, and my phone/fax, as well as a ceiling light and a closet light. It's new wiring but you sure don't want to blow something. I'll ask my husband.
But, gee, it would be like a motel room, but only with a bed that you can really fall asleep in!
My poor husband said that he'd camp out in our son's room for that first week because I'd need the whole bed to put all of my pillows in. My son has a futon and a daybed with a trundle bed underneath. We can house a whole family in there! But my son said that he'd stay at his girlfriend's anyway.
My daughter will be able to find a place to sleep, too.
Well, I really need to get some sleep. I'm such a night owl. But I have a project to finish tomorrow morning and a major one to start in the afternoon.
By the way, I write for Prairie Home. I have an article in this new issue that should be out this week. The project tomorrow is for their Dec/Jan issue. I have another to finish next week for their Feb/Mar issue. The major project is the editing of a book on Hope.
Hang in there. We'll get through this.
Unread 10-20-2001, 09:44 AM

I've had a rough couple of nights. You really don't know how your body is reacting to anything. Mentally, we think we have it under control. Then boom ! there you are.
My DH is in Minot for a convention. He left Thurs and will come home tonight. My son decided to stay at his girlfriend's Thurs and Fri (He does check in, bless him.). Anyway, I thought I'd go to bed early (1:00am) and read.
For a couple of weeks now, I've been so tired and sleepy. I fall asleep anywhere--or feel like it. Thurs. I was a wound clock. All day I was up and busy--and no sleepiness. At 1:00 felt my heart racing and figured I was overtired and decided to head upstairs. Well, needless to say, it took me 2 1/2 hours to finally get to sleep. I tried music, a good book, my new body pillow, my cat. I had a 3 or 4 second flush of panic. (I have only had two panic attacks ever and they were almost 30 years ago!)
Finally, I got up and took an aspirin (I'd purposely been only taking tylenol for pain for the past month. ) Aspirin somehow works quicker to soothe aches and pains and quiet my body for sleep. I settled back in bed with book, body pillow, and aforementioned cat. Finally, I fell asleep.
Yesterday, I was so washed out, I got absolutely no business done, though I tried. Today, I still feel punk. I have a project to finish, one to tweak, and a big one to start today. I've got to force myself to work.
I also had the strangest thing happen when I went to Kansas City last week. On the last night there, my DH got sick on something. He was up coughing and gaging for a half hour. I wondered how we would make it home and was beginning to make a plan as I kept checking on him. Finally, he sat up in a chair in his jockeys to read. The room was very warm even though we had the air conditioner on.
Anyway, I went over to check on him on last time before I went back to bed. I started shivering. My DH told me to go back to bed and cover up. I did and fell asleep. In the morning, he said that I looked like I'd went into shock. Thursday night was a lot like that.
This is stupid. I've been evacuated by the national guard in a duece and a half in the flood of 1997. We had a fire here in Nov of that same year that injured my son's hands (besides being a cook, he's also a working musician). AND NEVER did I experiece any kind of shock.
It just must be so much worry about my health and so much physical strain on my body I guess.
Did anything like this ever happen to you?
Unread 10-20-2001, 06:19 PM
Exclamation - Hello Hello


I won't meddle into this conversation very long, promise

I just wanted to say that I've never had anything like that happen to me. Jane, if you haven't done so already, please be sure to mention these episodes whenever you see your doctor. I could be nothing or it could be something he'd want to know.

It's just MHO, but I suggest that if this happens to you again, that you go to the doctor as soon as possible. It just doesn't sound like something I would want to ignore.

Best of luck. Please keep us posted.

Unread 08-08-2002, 12:06 PM

Not even sure if you still check this out but I'm east of Detroit lakes MN and will probably have surgery done at fargo too. Who was your doctor? gail

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