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TVH - "You're Not taking My Uterus!" TVH - "You're Not taking My Uterus!"

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Unread 02-25-2003, 07:30 PM
"You're Not taking My Uterus!"

“You’re Not taking my uterus!!”,

is all I could think as I left the Doctors office in May 1st of ’02 after my follow up visit from a D & C. and a two unit transfusion. I was so angry with the Dr. because although he said I had fibroids and he wouldn’t discuss any other treatment besides a total hysterectomy, he didn’t really explain why I’d had almost a month of uncontrolled bleeding. I vowed to see some other doctors and at least get a diagnosis and try an alternate treatment before resorting to surgery. After undergoing two painful knee surgeries, I knew from experience that doctors aren’t infallible, and surgery is the last choice for treatment.

As far as background, I was 52 years old at the time, had been in perimenophase for a few years, and just started having heavy or erratic periods in the last year. . My main goal was to get through to menopause keeping all my female parts. Some people might have considered me weird, but with my extensive reading on the subject I believed they still had a function, even after menopause.

I talked to my parents and some co-workers and got two names of GYNs that they really loved. I made two appointments and went about getting a copy of both my Dr. and Hospital records, along with the lab reports. The hospital was no problem, but getting all that I wanted from the doctors office required two trips. At my 1st Dr. I spent much time discussing by options including Endometrial Ablation, but couldn’t do an internal examination because I just had my D & C. We scheduled another appointment and he gave me Premphase to try and regulate my periods.

The appointment with my second Dr. was much more fruitful. She did a sonogram right there in the office and discovered a large polyp hanging in my uterus that the Dr. who did the D & C didn’t even mention! (or didn’t notice) She said this was probably the cause of the uncontrolled bleeding and after much discussion we scheduled a hysteroscopy to remove the polyp and smooth out the fibroids if possible. She said she couldn’t remove the fibroids because of where they were imbedded in my lining. She was worried about my anemia, and hoped to get my periods regular(with medication) and keep the bleeding under control so I could build up my blood. She definitely didn’t want me needing another transfusion. June rolled around and she removed the polyp and gave me Promethium and Menest to try to control my cycles. Well to make a long story shorter, the hormones didn’t help much since I was still having very heavy periods that would last up to three weeks with spotting in between all summer long. Really fun since we spend most of our summers up in the mountains camping! I’d get a break for maybe 1 week, but even then, I had spotting. I went in for a blood test in October and of course I was anemic again. She upped my iron and I left to visit friends in New England. Then I had no period from Oct 14th to January 2nd. I thought, WOW!, maybe I’ll beat this! No such luck. January and the New Year brings more out of control bleeding even with new hormones. She put me on Provera for a week to stop the bleeding and then as a last ditch effort we decided to take no hormones to see what happened. February 1st, here I go again! Back to the Drs. Worse anemia, more iron, schedule a TVH if possible. After almost 10 months of fighting to keep my uterus, I was too tired and discouraged to fight anymore! We scheduled for February 17th and all I needed to do was build up my blood by taking iron 3 times a day. I felt a strange sense of relief after the Dr. told me my date and went about preparing myself for my trip to the Castle. I discovered Hystersisters in January and was already spending many hours reading all the posts. (mostly pre-op)

Pre-op was uneventful as well as blood test, but I felt proud when the Dr. came up to me and told me that I was the best informed patient she’d ever had! Monday rolls around after a nervous weekend and DH and I arrive at 6:00 AM for a 7:30 surgery time. The anesthesiologist comes in to discuss drugs, and after much explanation, I decide to go with an epidural mainly because you wake with no pain, and they can repeat the process while your staying in the hospital. I was pretty relaxed (without drugs) as they wheel me into the operating room. They gave me something to relax me, like a dirty martini the A man and I joked, installed the epidural and I was gone until 10:00 AM.

I woke to find they were able to do a TVH instead of a TAH even though the size of my uterus was a problem. Yippee!! The weirdest thing in recovery was not being able to move my feet no matter how hard I concentrated. Then one leg fell off the gurney and I couldn’t get it back up. I had fun making the heart monitor alarm go off when my heart rate went down to 40. I work out a lot and have a slow heart rate anyway and I’ve found that if I really relax, I can lower my heart rate even more. Something to do. The best thing about recovery was feeling NO PAIN at all! Also I felt pretty lucid, although I know I wasn’t really.

They took me up to my room around 12:00 and I found I had a roommate with a room full of visitors to contend with. I had given explicit instructions to my family and friends that I wanted NO ONE (except my DH)to visit me the first day. Oh well, I called my husband on the cell, he brought my bag, helped me unpack, and I listened to my CD with my sleeping mask on all afternoon. I bought some relaxing CD’s and some of my favorite classical music along with extra batteries. The CD player and music, and mask were the best ideas I had as far as my hospital stay. I also had a watch to keep track of time and a journal within arms reach to record everything of note that happened to me, especially administrations of drugs, what they were and time given. I found this invaluable later on the next day when I became nauseous. Although I had no pain I developed an itching problem which was treated with shots every two hours. Also I was dizzy, but not too bad. Liquid dinner came at 6:00 and I ate everything, no problem. I was made to sit up on the side of the bed later that evening with a little dizziness, but nothing major. I tried to keep my bed up, except when sleeping, to avoid developing dizziness. Thank God for the catheter and not having to get up to pee!

Didn’t sleep much all night, but I felt OK (except for the itching) and kept busy writing things in my journal, listening to music and trying to shut out the moans of my roommate. All those visitors meant no rest and her Dr. wouldn’t change her pain meds and they weren’t working! She’d been there two days already and didn’t seem to be progressing. Lots of throwing up, moaning and arguments with the various nurses. Very restful for me! Ha! Ha! 6:00 AM rolls around along with the removal of my catheter. Breakfast comes , liquid again with chicken broth, tea, and lemon jello. I ate it all! 7:30 AM got up to pee with help and did all right. So much fun pushing the IV drip everywhere. My back is really itching and they gave me some more newbane to help. Pain starts up about around 11:00 and since the A man wasn’t there they gave me some pain meds in my IV.(Thorasin?) A Big Mistake! The A-man comes in around 11:45 and gives me another dose of epidural. . I told him they’d given me something earlier, but he felt it would be OK. He said it should last until tomorrow , which it did until 11:00 AM. The gas starts up and I’m able to pass a little, but not much.

Dr. calls and tells me she can’t get by until evening. Asked if I was passing gas and I told her, “I just got off the phone with my mother, and that was helping” Ha! Ha! My mother is very talkative, and I often have to visit the bathroom when she calls. She also informed me I better get the epidural needle out or I wouldn’t be able to return home tomorrow. I had the nurse call the A-man to come take it out. Lunch comes and I get my first solid food. Ate some vegetable soup and tea, but couldn’t eat any more. My DH comes by to help me get up to try to walk in the hallway. As soon as I stood up, put on my robe, and started to walk I got all sweaty, weak, and nauseous and could only make it a little way down the hall before having to return to my bed.

The nausea didn’t really go away, dinner came and I drank some tea. Then I had to quick find something to erp in which was a too small kidney shaped container. I hit the container, but managed to splash all over my gown. I sat there in bed wondering what to do with the barf as my oldest daughter walks in to visit. She promptly got rid of the container, washed it out and helped me change my gown. My dinner was taken away uneaten, and the nurse gave me some anti-nausea (Zofran) medicine. My oldest DD gave me a foot rub which felt great. My youngest DD walks in with my 3 week old grandson and we had a pretty good visit together. I got to hold my grandson, since he’s only 8 1/2 lbs. As she gets ready to leave I quick grab the container and throw up again. She helps empty it since my older daughter had just left, while I hold my grandson. Luckily I didn’t get any anywhere else this time. Wonders!. At 6:30 the Dr. comes in and I look and feel like crap! She thought the nausea was caused by the combination of itching medication and the epidural. No more itchy medicine! It wasn’t that bad any more anyway. Dr. ordered different anti nausea medicine (Reglan?) which seemed to finally work. 12:00AM I got up to pee a little but not much. I was dehydrated from being sick. 5:30 AM the nurses come in and start threatening me with the catheter again if I don’t start peeing more. More water please!!

7:00 AM Breakfast and I ate and kept it down, my first real food. Still don’t have to pee and now the nurses are trying to get me to have a BM. Like where’s that going to come from? I gave these nurses the tittle “suppository police”. They give me a suppository and tell me to wait 10 minutes before going. I wait 15 minutes, and nothing comes out except the suppository! A little while later some prune juice arrives, which does the trick. Now if I could only pee enough I could go home. The “pee nurse” left and they stopped bugging me. I left enough urine in the hat to overflow it, along with some floaters. I made the mistake of flushing the other BM. I offered to describe it, but the nurse wasn’t amused. Called the doctor at 3:45 to release me and my DH finally arrived at 4:00. Got home after being freaked out by each bump in the road, and crashed in my own bed for two hours. This was the first decent rest I’d had since waking up from surgery!!

My Castle stay was mostly very good. I believe having a sense of humor helps you get through any bad situation, and laugh at yourself later. The nurses, especially some that were in training, were wonderful. I especially loved my evening nurse and made sure to give her a big hug when I left in my wheelchair... I know this is long, but it includes my background and my stay in the Castle, which I understood was part of the story. I’m now 1 week and 1 day into recovery and off of pain killers and sleeping like a baby. The first few days I had trouble with gas pains but I’m fine now. My DH and 3 children have made this last week a very restful and relaxing time. Now I’m ready to start walking more and joining the real world minus the horrible periods. Thanks to all you wonderful women giving support to all of us so we know what to expect. Long live HYSTERSISTERS!!

Shel Liz
D & C, Polyp, fibroids, hysteroscopy, TVH
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