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Big decision to make Big decision to make

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  #1  
Unread 02-09-2005, 10:07 PM
Big decision to make

Hi, Everyone!

Just signed up today and am hoping that others who have been through this before can help me to make a decision.

I'm 49 + 2 (I flatly REFUSE to say the decade that comes after 49--grin) and have been putting up with fibroids and endometriosis for years. My gyn has been very helpful about finding other options rather than a hyst. I've had D&Cs several times, laprascopy laser work, lupron and a baloon ablation. They all helped to buy me more time in one way or another. My hope was I could coast into menopause before the fibroids or endo. caused any major problems.

I have a couple of days of bad pain during my period and just a general bloating-fat feeling while on my period. No big deal and I figure the pain isn't all that bad. My last period about 3 weeks ago seemed a little more painful--not too bad--but then I dropped something on the floor and when I bent over to pick it up, I felt this horrible pain! So went to the gyn. After doing an ultrasound, she says that one of my fibroids has grown a LOT in the last 9 months. She fears cancer and wants to do a hysterectomy.

Here's my first problem--I suffer SEVERE, SEVERE panic attacks when it comes to any kind of surgery. I'm sitting here typing this and my heart feels like it is about to come out of my chest. I am more terrified of the surgery itself than I am of the thought it could be cancer.

My second problem, please don't get mad when your read this--I believe that hyst. are a bad, bad thing. They were developed by men doctors as a way to keep us women in our place. Besides, it's easy for them to fix our "female" problems by just cutting out the source. They have no desire to find another way to solve our medical problems since they see it as no big deal--just go ahead and snorfledoodle the patient. Now seriously, if men had a similar problem with fibroids or heavy bleeding, do you think they would want the doctor to cut off their p***s? I think that doctors have brain washed all of us women to just keep our mouths shut and let them rip our our uterus! If women would just say NO WAY, maybe the doctors would find a more humane way of dealing with our medical problems once and for all.

Anyway, what kind of a decision can I make now? If I have the surgery, I'll probably have a heart attack from the panic attack. Plus, I'm going against my very strong convictions that hyst. are morally wrong. And what if I have the surgery and then find out that the fibroid wasn't cancer anyway? I think that would kill me!! On the other hand, if I don't have the surgery and stick up for my convictions that hyst. are wrong and it is cancer.........

My gyn thinks I should talk to a psychologist to try and help me through all of this but I can't imagine how that will make me suddenly turn into someone who is just begging for a hyst. I've tried talking to other women who have had hyst. and they all look at me like I'm an idiot to even consider that hyst. are bad. Am I the only one in the world who feels this way? Any advice is apprectiated--except please don't say I am an idiot! <grin>
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  #2  
Unread 02-09-2005, 11:40 PM
Big decision to make

Of course your not an idiot, I do think if you have a hysterectomy it does help to be mentally prepared and excepting that all other options have been exhausted. I fought having my hysterectomy for many years and like you it was the threat of cancer that pushed my hand, I don't think all dr's think the way you described I actually had female gynos try to push me the hardest, Only you can decided what you want to do, maybe it might help to talk over with someone your concerns and fears, I think we all fear the unknown and any surgery has risks and possible complications but also it can be very successful and give back good health and peace of mind, in my case quality of life has improved 100% and I often think maybe I should have done it sooner, but then who knows it mightn't have been the same good outcome I have now. Explore your options, can they do some exploratory surgery first ??
Goodluck, I hope you find an answer
  #3  
Unread 02-10-2005, 12:47 AM
Big decision to make

Dear Sunshine,
I am so sorry that you have come to this very hard place with all this. I thought I'd give you my experience so it might help. I was diagnosed with fibroids about 10yrs ago. The male gyn. MD, who seemed like a nice enough guy said, "looks like you're headed for a hysterectomy". As soon as I got out of there, I started reading about my options. It was very clear that I did not HAVE to have a hyster., at least not right then. I went in for naturopathics which helped alot. Since that guy, all the internists &/or gyns (males and females alike) have been very clear that I DIDN'T have to have a hyst. if it was not bothering me. For at least 8 of those 10yrs, I had no pain. I have never had dysfunctional bleeding. I had to be hospitalized once for what was called a "degenerating fibroid". But even then, the female gyn's still said..."you don't have to have a hyst. unless they have become a problem" I agree with you that I think hysters were TOO RAMPANT for a long time. Many women had them unnecessarily. But based on my experience, more and more medical professionals are making sure they are necessary before doing them. You should get a second opinion if at all possible. For me, I had hoped to cruise to menopause and just let them shrink on their own. But the last 2yrs them suckers started growing and affecting the quality of my life with pain (I was fortunate not to be faced with a potential cancer diagnosis). I am 42yo, I had a total abd. hyst. , kept ovaries on 1/11/05. Am doing very well and believe I made the right decision.
AS FOR ANXIETY-- Oh sister. I have it in spades around surgery. I've had enough anxiety attacks in my life that some time ago, I learned some things to help me deal (biofeedback, meditation). I was really nervous because I am diabetic and on an insulin pump and don't trust other people to deal with it. I think seeing a psychologist/counselor about this is a very good idea. They may also be able to help you come to terms with your feelings about the "wrongness" of hysterectomy and your current situation. I used some guided imagery tapes that I listened to every night for about a month. THEY WERE INCREDIBLY HELPFUL. They are "Successful Surgery" by Bellaruth Naparstek. Feel free to email me privately if you want more info. on those.
Know that you have come to the right place to find support. Many women have felt what you're feeling. Trust your intuition and have faith in your ability to be peaceful with whatever comes your way.
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  #4  
Unread 02-10-2005, 12:54 AM
Big decision to make

Hi,

It's very rare that fibroids are cancerous. It's not uncommon for fibroids to grow when the hormones begin to dip and surge as they do at perimenopause. Fibroids can grow up to 10 or more pounds.

Ask if the fibroid can be tested for cancer. If you know the answer then the decision might be easier. And remember, no matter what, no one can make you have surgery. You have the right to refuse.

Maralyn
  #5  
Unread 02-10-2005, 01:59 AM
Re: Big decision to make

  Quote:
Originally posted by sunshine_elaine
Hi, Everyone!

Just signed up today and am hoping that others who have been through this before can help me to make a decision. (snip) My hope was I could coast into menopause before the fibroids or endo. caused any major problems.

I have a couple of days of bad pain during my period and just a general bloating-fat feeling while on my period. No big deal and I figure the pain isn't all that bad. My last period about 3 weeks ago seemed a little more painful--not too bad--but then I dropped something on the floor and when I bent over to pick it up, I felt this horrible pain! So went to the gyn. After doing an ultrasound, she says that one of my fibroids has grown a LOT in the last 9 months. She fears cancer and wants to do a hysterectomy.

Here's my first problem--I suffer SEVERE, SEVERE panic attacks when it comes to any kind of surgery. I'm sitting here typing this and my heart feels like it is about to come out of my chest. I am more terrified of the surgery itself than I am of the thought it could be cancer

My second problem, please don't get mad when your read this--I believe that hyst. are a bad, bad thing. (snip) Now seriously, if men had a similar problem with fibroids or heavy bleeding, do you think they would want the doctor to cut off their p***s? (snip)


Hi sunshine_elaine,
I don’t think hyst is the first thing most doctors will suggest as a solution to problem bleeding or fibroids. It’s when other solutions like medication, d & c, ablation, etc have been tried, without solving the problem, or when there's a major problem, like cancer, that surgery is suggested. And there *are* men out there who've had to decide whether they’d rather get rid of their cancer or keep their testicles.

Anyway, what kind of a decision can I make now? If I have the surgery, I'll probably have a heart attack from the panic attack. Plus, I'm going against my very strong convictions that hyst. are morally wrong. And what if I have the surgery and then find out that the fibroid wasn't cancer anyway? I think that would kill me!! On the other hand, if I don't have the surgery and stick up for my convictions that hyst. are wrong and it is cancer.........

You say that you think of hysterectomy as “morally wrong”--do you mean wrong in the same sense that stealing or murder is wrong? Or is that a way of saying how extremely reluctant you are to have surgery? If you mean the former, please ignore the rest of what I am going to write. I wouldn’t try to convince anyone to go aginst a moral conviction of that kind, even if I didn’t agree with it (which I don’t, about hysterectomy).

But if that’s *not* the kind of morally wrong you mean, why not get a second opinion, or third or more? Before you agree to surgery you are so anxious about, see if you can find out what are the chances of the rapidly growing fibroid actually being cancerous. Is there any non-surgical test that can be done to determine whether it is or it isn’t? That is what I would want to find out if I were in your shoes.

If it turns out to be “just a fibroid”, and you’d rather have some bloating, and pain that “isn’t all that bad”, than surgery, that’s your decision to make. Actually if you’d rather have cancer than surgery, that’s your decision to make too. Nobody can force you to have surgery if you don’t want to. If you don't have cancer, there are some non-surgical treatments like embolization that might help you continue to stave off problems so you can coast to menopause.

My gyn thinks I should talk to a psychologist to try and help me through all of this but I can't imagine how that will make me suddenly turn into someone who is just begging for a hyst. I've tried talking to other women who have had hyst. and they all look at me like I'm an idiot to even consider that hyst. are bad. Am I the only one in the world who feels this way? Any advice is apprectiated--except please don't say I am an idiot! <grin>

As for seeing a counselor, the idea is not to turn you into somebody who is “begging for a hyst”, but for you to make your decision based on the facts rather than on your fears. You're not an idiot, but you do sound as if those panic attacks could be swaying your thinking, and a counselor may be able to help you sort out what *you* really think from what your panic attack is telling you, or even help you get rid of the panic attacks altogether.

I hope this helps,
cookie1956
  #6  
Unread 02-10-2005, 02:31 AM
Big decision to make

Dear Sunshine,
My heart goes out to you. I just want to tell you NOT to do something you feel this strongly about. My sister died of Ovarian cancer when I was 37 years old. My GYN convinced me that I had a 50% chance of dying from it also and that I should have a TAH, BSO. As you can imagine it was a very stressful time. My Mom, husband and kids didn't want me to die of cancer too so I consented. The might before surgery I changed my mind, cancelled surgery, called back to hospital and changed my mind again. After no sleep, up smoking and stressing all night I went to the hospital. My Dr said I should see a Psychologist first and sent one in. She spoke to me for about 15 minutes and I finally said "just go ahead and do it". Well, he did and I have regretted it ever since. I got sick ASAP after surgery. Within 3 months I had a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Now 13 years later I have been in the hospital 4 times with depression, had to quit my wonderful job because of severe fatigue and feel AWFUL. I have no life, no joy to live anymore. I think it's because of my hormones. I'm only telling you this because I don't think anyone should have this surgery the way you feel. If you did have cancer that would be different but it's rare for fibroids to be malignant. This is a great site for you to be on. I wish I had known about it or had done more research myself. I saw a different GYN about 3 years after my surgery and told him my history. He said "they snorfledoodled you! All they had to do was a vaginal ultrasound every 3 months". I cried so hard in his office. Don't take this surgery lightly. Read the hormone jungle and The Road Less Traveled and try not to rush into a hasty decision. Also I agree with you about Dr's and hysterectomy's although I think they've slowed down a bit on them in the last few years.
  #7  
Unread 02-10-2005, 04:32 AM
Big decision to make

Hi,

Just wanted to add that I had a hysteroscopy/D&C done a few months back and the dr. took a shaving of the fibroids (the ones she could get with the scope) and had those biopsied. That relieved my worries a LOT (I have a very, very rare unrelated cancer but they are finding a connection to later breast cancer so I worry about EVERY tumor, bump, etc.)

In fact, my dr. suggested the hysteroscopy so she could get a good look at what was going on BEFORE she & I discussed options. I also got a 2nd opinion-my dr. was not offended and seemed to expect that I would.

Anxiety attacks - Whew boy, I hear ya'. Along with treks to the Castle for day surgeries/tests for hyster related issues, I have had 7 other day surgeries in the past year + gall bladder + in-patient for a more complex surgery. (When you go to the Castle and everyone waves to you on sight and says "Now what are we doing THIS time, no, we don't need your I.D." and the other day surgery patients check you out, well, that's bad, you know?)

Anyway...somewhere in the middle of all my visits, I got half changed and decided "nope, I can't do this, I'm out of here".
DH just kept reading the paper and said "Uh-huh"...UNTIL I said "Let's go" and started pacing-with my coat on. I totally panicked.

You will NOT have a heart attack from a panic attack. You will NOT faint. Medical staff are well experienced with patients who have made a good decision, THEN change their minds for no good reason, decide they're getting dressed and escaping from the A-man.
(In my case, my surgeon caught me at the door with a "Whoa. Hey you, remember me? I got specially dressed for this date, are you standing me up? How about a little something to calm the nerves?....no, it's not silly, happens all the time..Strip..help my date get changed, she's reaal relaxed." )
small attempt at humor. It was funny - LATER.

I see someone to discuss issues and who worked with me on my anxiety attacks. In fact, she was insistent that I see her prior to my upcoming surgery to go over my fears.

Also, there are meds for anxiety. This is not the first person I've seen (due to them moving on, etc.) and not once has a psychologist tried to talk me into any procedure. They aren't medical doctors. They can't prescribe medications. They can't advise you to do this or not. (only psychiatrists are m.d.'s)

What they CAN do is help someone look at things more objectively and ways to deal with the medical community if you think they aren't listening to you and how to come to a decision that YOU are satisfied and happy with. After all, these are our bodies and it's an emotional issue. Having a good listener can't hurt and there are little tricks they can discuss to controlling anxiety besides meds if needed.

Good luck to you whatever your decision.
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