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Unread 04-28-2012, 02:00 PM
surgery and survivor issues

I posted earlier about my surgeon not setting a date for my abdonimal hysterectomy until I had a complete endometrial biopsy with a D&C and hystercopy. This is supposed to allow her to decide whether she will take my ovaries. The date for that surgery is growing closer (May 15) and my prep-op meeting is on Wednesday (May 2). I am suddently overwhelmed and overcome with anxiety but differently from many of the posts here. I have a very extensive history of abuse (age 2-21), complex PTSD and I am terrified of being vulnerable and unconcious and not knowing if someone is going to harm me. I am afraid that I will have flashbacks while coming out of anesthetic and them being misinterpreted as some form of psychodic reaction and being sent to psyc...I have been working with my therapist on this but since I don't have a clear picture in my head of exactly how things proceed it is hard to anticipate (although I did appreciate one of the ealire posts on what to expect when you arrive at the hospital).

Are you naked under a sheet when you go into surgery or do you have your gown on? do you get restrained in any way? the thought of having my arms spread and strapped to get an IV while I am laying flat on my back sends me into a panic and I am afraid I will freak out! Has anyone ever been allowed to bring in a grounding object (e.g. small rock or stuffed animal)? For the D&C, I know that is obviously vaginally but do you have to put your feet in the stirrups before your are unconcious? I can barely do that for a Pap....

I know I have to get this done as it is an important step towards the full surgery and is safer to know if cancer is present or not and how extensive but I almost feel like cancelling and just living with the pain and bleeding...

Any insight is helpful.
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Unread 04-28-2012, 02:23 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

I am praying for you. I do not go in until June but I am sure if you tell your dr you concerns they should be more than accommodating for you.

Good luck
Unread 04-28-2012, 02:47 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Hi there ,

First let me congratulate you on being able to survive something so horrific. I am glad you are in therapy and working hard to sort through this.

When I went back to surgery I was in a gown and I had socks and a head covering on. I was kept warm with a blanket. My IV was put in in the preop area. I didn't put my feet in stirrups. I have no recollection of being tied down. I doubt it's necessary. I am a physician myself though not a surgeon. I don't recall patients being restrained during any surgery I attended as a medical student.

I think your best bet is to discuss your history with your surgeon if you haven't already. And let your anesthesiologist know too, since he or she will be managing the medications including anything for anxiety before or after surgery. If you don't feel comfortable telling the doctor, speak to your nurse in preop and they can pass the information if need be.

I don't think you can bring a rock or stuffed animal into the OR because of infection control. But you could have something with you in preop and in recovery while you wake up. If you have a friend or loved one that will be with you, have them be in charge of your talisman while you are back in the OR.

Remember that the people involved in your surgery the doctors and nurses and techs, have all dedicated their lives and made many personal sacrifices so that they can bring their skill for your benefit. You will have to trust them.

Nobody is going to cart you off to psych for a reaction that occurs while you are emerging from anesthesia. If you are agitated or frightened they will help you.

Your abuser and your abuse are in the past. Your health and your healing are in the present, where you are in charge.

May many blessings come your way including recovery, healing, and new beginnings. Let us know how you are doing.
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Unread 04-28-2012, 02:58 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

I have had several D & C's and an Ablation (in addition to many many knee surgeries). I have never been strapped down to the operating table! I have also never awakened to being strapped down.

From the gynecological surgery aspect, I have always been rolled to the operating room in the gown, little hat and usually the skid proof socks. NEVER been naked or even felt like I was going to be "getting naked". As for the stirrup question- I never even saw the stirrups for the D and C's but I did for the ablation- however, I was not made to put my legs in them. For me, being rolled into the op room and sliding over to the table were no different for the gyn surgeries than the knee surgeries. I don't know how they put anesthetized dead weight into those stirrups- but they do! I have also always been fully dressed upon waking up.....
Unread 04-28-2012, 04:10 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Your situation is complex and requires some planning so that you are comfortable with what's happening regarding your procedure(s). I would arrange several meetings with your physicians, your therapist and the hospital staff so your procedure(s) can be explained to you and your questions answered and so the staff can be made aware of your concerns and so you can let them know your specific areas of concern. This process happens for anyone having surgery; your case just requires a more detailed visit. I am curious, with your history, as to why your surgeon is requiring two separate procedures. I would think she can asses your ovaries while performing your hysterectomy. If not, have you considered having them removed, no matter what, during your hysterectomy? It seems it would be the best option for your comfort to have only one surgery. Meetings and tours of the hospital, pre op room, operating room and recovery room are available sometimes to patients that need an extra bit of assurance so they can be as comfortable as possible about their upcoming procedures. In pre op, you will be given a gown to put on and a hat to cover your hair. Some places allow those very lovely socks too It's chilly in these rooms and you will be given warm blankets. You will have an IV started and you will sign lots of forms. You will be informed each time something is to happen. For example: "my name is Sharon and I'm here to start your IV" or " I'm Betty and I'm going to put your clothes in a bag with your room number on it so they are waiting for you after surgery. Norhing happens without your consent. You will be given meds to relax you and help with any anxiety you might feel. You may be so relaxed that you don't remember the trip to the OR, but be assured that you will be treated with respect from the moment you enter the hospital. In the OR, you will scoot yourself on to the operating table and the doctors and nurses will get you settled and off to sleep before any positioning takes place. The next thing you'll know, you will be waking up in the recovery room in a gown and under blankets. Each hospital and team is different in what rules are in place regarding visitors and items allowed with the patient, but the patient's comfort and dignity are always of utmost concern. I'm confident that you will be able to go through this process with no trouble as long as you are educated on what's happening and that your care team understands your needs. Take care and
Unread 04-28-2012, 04:46 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Hi. I would definitely discuss your fears with your doctor before your D&C. Personally I would prefer to have that discussion in her office, just the two of you. Let her know your concerns about waking up so that the RN in recovery with you is aware and prepared to comfort you and also the anesthesiologist may choose to give you something for anxiety before you even wake up so that the transition is smoother for you.

I really doubt you can take anything like a stuffed animal into the OR with you but it is a good idea to leave it with a friend to pass along to you when you're in recovery. When my son was 7 he had surgery and I made sure his new stuffed doggie would be with him when he woke up.

My personal experience (from 2 D&C's and a vaginal hysterectomy): You are not naked. You will be in a gown with a hat to cover your hair. You will have blankets on you and maybe socks. Your IV is put in while you're in pre op and you're awake. I was wheeled into the OR, met my surgeon, he held my hand and spoke reassuring words to me while I wept. I scooted onto the operating table and my blankets came with me. There were no stirrups in view. My arms where not spread out or strapped down to my knowledge. They keep things moving at a good pace in the room so you don't have time to think about it much. I had a mask placed on my face and was asked to take two deep breaths. For some ridiculous reason I thought it was oxygen and breathed in. The next thing I knew I was waking in recovery. I was groggy and barely conscious but I remember asking "what did he take?". The next thing I remember was waking up in my hospital room with DH beside me.

I never at any time felt naked, exposed or restrained in any way. The catheter was inserted and my pubic area was shaved after I was asleep. It really bothers me thinking about what they did with me while I was unconscious so I have to make a mental effort to not think about it.

I hope this helps.
Unread 04-28-2012, 04:47 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Thank you all for your words of wisdom and I am relieved that it seems like most of the 'positioning' etc is done after I am asleep. I have arranged for my therapist and doctor to speak to the surgeon and I will bring some of these issues to the table on the wednesday meeting. I was also upset about having an additional surgery but was told that was standard procedure and would prevent a more extensive one later on if the endometrial results came back as cancer....

I will try and take a deep breath and not be ashamed of my past and get up the courage to let the folks at the hospital know what is going on.
Unread 04-28-2012, 10:36 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

I just wanted to wish you the best of luck and reassure you that everything will be fine.I'm so sorry for what you went through and I hope you know what a strong women you are for fighting your past while moving forward with your life.

Just to confirm what others have said.I have had several gyno surgeries and I promise you will not be naked.You prob will not be allowed to wear your panties but will be completely covered in a gown,and of course the very fashionable blue hair cover.I have never had to put my feet in the stirups myself nor where they ever pulled out.If you let them know your concerns ahead of time Im sure they will not have them out when you enter the or.Like someone said earlier nothing is done while you are concious toeven let you know you are having a gyno surgery,and I have never been strapped down at all.Knowing your past I believe they will go out of there way to make you feel comfortable and in control.
I wish you the best and we are here for you
Unread 04-28-2012, 11:30 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Just a thought: would it be possible to draw up a plan specific to your situation, put it in writing, have your dr sign it, and have it put in your chart? For example, your anesthesiologist might be able to sedate you a bit more before you arrive in the or (pre-op nurse told me they start pushing the meds as you are being wheeled down the hall), they could position you after you are asleep (I did feel them doing something with my legs). It might help to have everything spelled out ... And give you more of a sense of control.
Unread 04-28-2012, 11:42 PM
Re: surgery and survivor issues

Very good idea Anle

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