Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Myomectomy: Recovery Update

We're 5 weeks out from the surgery now and I would consider myself to be fully recovered. I've got a lovely scar that stretches from hip to hip (I plan on telling people I was attacked by an alligator and nearly disemboweled, but managed to fight him off with only a nail file and some kitchen twine). I've been able to workout without pain (30 minutes on an elliptical, 20 minutes gentle yoga stretching, including cobra pose) and I can work a full day without falling over exhausted. All good things! I've lost 6 lbs (only 1 was from the fibroid) and I'm starting to feel like myself again (as opposed to a deranged teenager). My face still breaks out but it's getting better.Next week, I get to go in for an HSG. This is an interestingly uncomfortable procedure that lets the docs take a good close look at your parts - specifically, your uterus and fallopian tubes. They want to make sure I'm "all clear" before I try to get pregnant again. Ought to be interesting!

Monday, January 15, 2007


The day after Christmas (just a month after the miscarriage), I have a myomectomy(http://www.myomectomy.net/). When they removed it, it had grown to be over 6 inches in diameter (large grapefruit). A nurse walking by the surgery unit popped in to yell at my doc for doing a c-section outside of labor and delivery - apparently it was so large that she thought it was a baby's head coming out of my abdomen. Forunately, the biopsy came back negative for cancer. If you read up on the internet, they say stuff like "you'll be out for 2-6 weeks" and "there will be some pain" Stuff that everyone should know about this operation (at least, stuff that happened to me - I'm no medical expert):

  • You are not allowed to have any ibuprofen, asprin, or naproxen sodium for a week beforehand. This particularly sucked for me because the stupid fibroid started to die (as predicted by gyn #1) and I was utterly miserable. You can take tylenol, but that did not even touch the pain.
  • When you wake up, your throat will be sore (from the intubation) and you will be catheterized. Both are unpleasant but will probably be gone the next morning.
    Everyone wants to know when you fart. I have not ever seen so many people both interested and delighted about my ability to pass gas in my life.
  • Farting hurts. Ok - that's not entirely accurate. The gas pressure before you fart hurts. A lot. And there will be a lot of gas pressure in you.
  • They will not give you any solid food until you fart.
    The only thing that makes nurses happier that knowing that you farted is knowing that you have urinated. Hooray for pee!
  • Peeing hurts. Do not push (you will be tempted, just please don't do it - it hurts). Try to relax. Get a book or something. And ask the nurse to step into a different room - they'll forget and try to hang out with you in case you fall over or something.
  • They have to measure the amount you pee 3 times, at least, before you leave.
    You will bleed. Not from the incision (at least not from mine) but like you are having a very very very heavy period. I was actually having my period when I went into surgery (oh joy), so it was even heavier than usual.
  • You need to take iron supplements and stool softeners. The iron is to build up your blood. The softeners are to make you have NORMAL stools because the iron and the pain meds will make you constipated.
  • They will give you a sponge bath the day after your surgery while you sit on the toilet.
  • They will get you to walk the day after you surgery.
  • How well you handle the pain is dependent on several things: 1) your attitude - if you think it will hurt, it will 2) your health - the heavier you are the more pull you have on that area - if possible, get skinny first. 3)your support system - my husband stayed with me both nights and it made all the difference knowing I could get him to get me an apple juice instead of having to pester the nurses.
  • You will have hormone surges like puberty after the surgery. Your face will break out, you will cry for no reason, etc. This will go away (I'm told) after your body adjusts to not having the fibroid. Talk to your doc about taking an antidepressant if it gets bad.
  • You will not be allowed to drive for at least 2 weeks.
  • You will not be allowed to pick up anything heavier than a glass of milk for 2 weeks. After that, you will not be allowed to pick up anything over 20 lbs for another 2 weeks.
  • For the first 1-2 weeks you will not be able to:1) Put on your panties or pants unassisted,2)Wash or dry anything lower than your knees,3)Pick up anything you drop (if it gets past your knees, kiss it goodbye),4)Wipe your butt like you used to (twisting hurts as much as bending over),5)Touch your toes6)Stand for more than a few minutes at a time7) Walk at a normal pace or very far
  • When you are at the hospital, they will give you the following fashion items:1) Thigh high support hose - these keep clots from forming in your legs2) Diaper-sized max pad with matching mesh granny panties - hubba hubba3) Leg massagers - like at Sharper Image (very nice) - again for keeping clots from forming4) Socks with gripping strips on the bottoms for your walks
  • Laughing, coughing, and sneezing hurt. Hold a pillow tightly to your belly when you do these things - it will help a lot.
  • You will feel a burning (highly unpleasant) sensation along some parts of your incision as the nerves grow back together. This is almost as painful as the gas and may be exacerbated by laying on one side or the other.
  • Stairs suck for at least the first week. Did I mention we live in an upstairs apartment?
  • Nurses are exactly as nice to you as you are to them. Be nice to them - they have all the pain meds.
  • Some pain meds will make you sleepy, some will make you loopy. Be prepared to be unable to think straight or remember things for 1-2 weeks. Do not plan to work (even from home) until you are off any narcotics they give you (like Vicadin).

Friday, January 12, 2007

First pregnancy and miscarriage

Our story quiet mundanely in the office of a local gynecologist.
"Hmmm...looks like you've got a fibroid (http://www.4woman.gov/faq/fibroids.htm)"
"Ok - is that bad or good?"
"It's about 3cm."
"Once again - bad or good?"
"Well, neither, really. We'll just have to keep an eye on it when you get pregnant. Sometimes these things can grow. If it does, it might outgrow it's blood supply and die and that is really uncomfortable."(note to our dear readers - "really uncomfortable" in doctor speak = "incredibly painful" in normal person speak)

10 weeks after getting a positive pregnancy test, back at the gynecologist office.
"How far along did I say you were?"
"10 weeks"
"Uh....can you come in for an ultrasound tomorrow?"
"You feel like you're 16-18 weeks"
"What does THAT mean?!?!?"
"Well, it could be the fibroid has grown. Or, more likely, it could be that you've got multiples."
"Multiples? Like twins?"
"Uh, yeah, it could be twins and a fibroid."(holy crap!!)

The next day, at the ultrasound.
"Whoa! That's one big fibroid!"
"And there's just one baby, right?"
"Yep, just one. But look at the size of that thing! It's like 10 cm!"
"But just one baby?"
"Yeah, yeah, and one giant fibroid. That thing is huge! No wonder the doc thought you had multiples."
"Well, that's ok right? I mean, it's not going to hurt the baby is it?"
"The doc will have to talk to you about that."

My water breaks and we have a miscarriage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage).[My water broke the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I went to the emergency room where they told me the amniotic sac had burst beyond repair. Since the baby was only 17 1/2 weeks along, his lungs were not developed enough to be able to survive outside the womb, so, although he was still alive and healthy at that point, we knew he would not be able to live, no matter what we did. They gave me some drugs to induce labor, set me up with an epidural (it took them 4 sticks to get that in - not nice). My gynecologist left to go to Aruba for her Thanksgiving vacation and I was passed through 4 different doctors. I ended up being in labor for 30 hours. They wouldn't let me have anything except crushed ice the whole time in case I had to go into surgery. When I finally delivered, our baby boy had passed away. We were able to hold him and touch him - I have his footprints. He was 8.5 inches long. I didn't even know him, but I miss him so much my heart hurts. ]

2 weeks later, at my new gynecologist's office (I switched to the doctor who delivered my baby - she was the most wonderful lady I ever met, even though the circumstances were grim).
"You're recovery is amazing - I'm so pleased. As soon as you feel up to it, I'd like to get that fibroid out."
"Out? What do you mean "out"?"
"Well, I'm pretty sure it's what caused your miscarriage so, before you try again, I'd like to do a myomectomy."
"Can you do that with one of those little bitty incisions?"
"No, it's too big. Plus, I want to biopsy it, so we'll need to do this abdominally - it's like a C-section."
"Biopsy?? Why?""Well, it grew awfully quick and I just want to make sure..."