Monday, January 15, 2007

Myomectomy

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.
  • YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE TO STAY AT HOME WITH YOU FOR THE FIRST 1-2 WEEKS. No exceptions.
  • 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).

23 comments:

Naomi said...

I had a myomectomy four weeks ago - and everything you said was EXACTLY right! I love the humor you put with it too! :)

BeccaD4wn said...

Hi Naomi!
Glad you liked it - and I hope you're enjoying being able to pull up your pants as much as I did by week 4 :) (ah..the little things in life...)

Anonymous said...

I did mine a week ago. Imagine all of that for me. I live alone!!!!!

BeccaD4wn said...

Ack!!! That's awful! You are a brave brave woman.

gia said...

I'm so happy to have found this site, and your story. I just found out I have multiple tumors and am going to have to have a myomectomy. i'm so scared, especially at the part where they may come back, or I may not be able to have children someday. I hope that's not the case. I'm very emotional right now and very scared. I pray that things will turn out well, and after reading this blog it gives me hope. I'm only at the beginning stages. I have to get 4 - 6 shots for the next 4-6 months in order to shrink the tumors so that the Dr. can take them out. The largest one is about the size of an orange, but the Dr. said I have multiple, 3 being as big as an orange, and the rest are in clusters. I hope he can take all of them out. I'm also heavy at the moment so now i'm hitting the gym and eating healthy in order to lose weight before surgery. I'll keep everyone posted on my status. but thanks so much to all of you who have written about your experience. it gives me hope.

gia said...

I'm so happy to have found this site, and your story. I just found out I have multiple tumors and am going to have to have a myomectomy. i'm so scared, especially at the part where they may come back, or I may not be able to have children someday. I hope that's not the case. I'm very emotional right now and very scared. I pray that things will turn out well, and after reading this blog it gives me hope. I'm only at the beginning stages. I have to get 4 - 6 shots for the next 4-6 months in order to shrink the tumors so that the Dr. can take them out. The largest one is about the size of an orange, but the Dr. said I have multiple, 3 being as big as an orange, and the rest are in clusters. I hope he can take all of them out. I'm also heavy at the moment so now i'm hitting the gym and eating healthy in order to lose weight before surgery. I'll keep everyone posted on my status. but thanks so much to all of you who have written about your experience. it gives me hope.

Anonymous said...

aaah im soooo scared.. I am unmarried and asked to have a surgery.. Was just looking out for possibilities somewhere like how to manage toilet needs etc without involving some help.. ohh this is scaaaaaryyy n how would i manage that shame...

BeccaD4wn said...

OMG! You have my sympathy. My advice is try to get a parent or close relative to come stay with you, to help you in and out of bed, etc. Afterwards, I thought it would've been helpful to get one of those long metal arms that have a pincher on the end to help me get stuff I dropped - I wonder if it would work for getting your pants/panties up? You are a brave woman doing this on your own - I hope it all goes well for you. Good luck!!!

Gia - I hope your surgery went well! If you haven't had it yet - GOOD LUCK!

Anonymous said...

hehe thanks for the wishes.. fortunately I live with my family but still too reluctant and shy but have no way out, multiple fibroids reaching 8 mm in total.. .. pain management is smthing else.. even if i might not be .. i HAVE to be brave .. was just wondering if u cant move or bend, how r the fishy needs addressesed

BeccaD4wn said...

My experience was you *definitely* can't bend over. You can walk, but only slowly. You will definitely need help getting up and down.

For wiping your "personals", get a squirt bottle (I know it sounds odd, but it works) - they'll probably give you one at the hospital. It works great.

Drying and dressing....well, you could always drip dry and go commando for the duration. Bathrobes are your friend! :)

Hope it all goes well for you!

Anonymous said...

hmm.. thanks a lot for advice.. we got showers here for washing private so that makes things easier than a squirt bottle. God bless me. And God bless you too

Anonymous said...

i am having a myomectomy in 3 weeks. I live alone and no family accessible. I am considering getting a paid carer to come in for 3 hours in the morning to help me get out of bed, wash, dress and get downstairs. She will also tidy the house and make 3 meals for me and leave them on the kitchen table before she leaves at 1pm. I plan to spend the whole day downstairs on the couch till its time to go to bed at night. I also intend to wear loose dresses the entire time so i dont need help with changing at night. Do you think this could work as an option for me. Gem

BeccaD4wn said...

That is an excellent idea - I think that it should work well. A word of caution though - I would make sure you have a neighbor or someone else close by "on call" for you during those first 2 weeks. That way if you drop something or fall, etc. you have someone you can call that will be able to quickly respond for you. Best to be safe! Also, you might consider sleeping on the couch so you don't have to try to get back upstairs every night by your self (or even go down them every morning). Stairs are really horrible even with help - avoid them if you can.

Good luck!

MERIKA said...

Thank you for all this information and humor you're putting in to the writing :) My Myomectomy is in six days and I'm so scared. It's good to know what to expect now :) Thanks again for very informative and entertaining post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this site. Your comments were very helpful. I had my abdominal myomectomy 4 weeks ago and things are going well. I did notice a little pus bubble which I had the doctor check it out. Apparently, it was an ingrown hair follicle (YUK!), but at least my incision looks GREAT. I do have occasionally cramps, but was never in real pain since I left the hospital. I have return to work ( I am an occpational therapist), so I really want to be careful of the amount of lifting I will do. So far so good. My concerns are the smell that is coming from provate area. It's like a sweaty smell which I never had before and it makes me self-conscious. Did you have this problem? When does the swelling go away? I am still bruised and numb above my incision which I know will take a while to go away. Oh the one thing you did not mention... a BURNING sensation. You will get these burning feeling from either your incision or right above it. it is nerve regeneration. It HURTS!

KipsBaby said...

Thank you so much for your blog posts. I am having a myomectomy next year, and I appreciate all your thoughts!

I notice that you had the procedure Christmas 2006 and then tried to conceive pretty soon after. My ob-gyn says I should wait a year, did you hear anything about this?

Thank you again.

BeccaD4wn said...

To the poster that commented about the nerve regeneration - you are absolutely right! I had the same thing and it totally freaked me out (sorry it took me so long to reply - it's been a nutty year). No idea about the smell (i hope you were able to get that checked out along with the swelling) - both the smell and swelling sound like a trip to the doctor to me.

For Kipsbaby - Regarding trying to conceive after the myomectomy - my doctor wanted me to start trying right away - basically as soon as I was able to have sex again. Couple of reasons. One, my age. I was 38 when I had my miscarriage and subsequent myomectomy. Dr.s start to freak out when you're over 35 and trying to get pregnant. Two, was the location coupled with my fast healing. I'm lucky enough to be a very fast healer. The myoma was located at the top of my uterus, rather than near the bottom. These two things together made me a good candidate for trying again right away. I had an HSG 6 weeks after the surgery to confirm that the uterus was healed before I was cleared to have sex again.

I would ask your dr. some specific questions about why he/she wants you to wait a year. It may be something to do with your specific anatomy or the location of the fibroids etc. Or, it might be just a pat answer they give so they can cover their bums in case something goes wrong.

Good luck with your surgery and with getting pregnant!!!

TRM said...

I love this site. I am 12 days out after having an abdominal myomectomy and it's been great to read how others have dealt with what is undoubtedly a traumatic op.

I too opted to put myself forward for the op as my symptoms were getting worse and my stomach was looking 6 months pregnant. 4 years of fibroids was my limit so I had to take action.

The op was tough and I have never experienced pain like it but now I can look back and know I made the right choice.

Anywhere, find out more about my experiences at my new blog.
http://www.nhsneedsabiggerplaster.blogspot.com/

sharon said...

I am currently recovering from a myectomy and the comments were very useful. It's good to know what others have gone through, i'm on day 12. Thanks

Paul David said...

TRM - I really think it's unfortunate that you had so much pain. With modern pain management it is rare for women to have difficulty with pain control. For women concerned about this, definitely talk to your doctor beforehand.

If you're interested in keeping up to date on fibroids, I would like to introduce my new blog Uterine Fibroids Blog - An Expert Speaks out at http://efibroids.com. Helpful information there.
Paul Indman, M.D.

A Hunter's Wife said...

This was a great post! I am scheduled for a myomectomy on January 9th. I'm actually looking forward to it due to the amount of pain I'm in. I'm currently taking oxycodone just to cope.

I'm also 36 and hoping to still be able to conceive naturally so I'm excited about the future.

I am in awe over the lack of information out there about fibroids. I attribute that to the fact that only women get them. So far, I've had a diagnostic laparascopy and my doctor is considering using gore-tex to help with the scarring since one of the five fibroids is near my fallopian tubes/ovaries.


Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

harlem77 said...

Such a true post... I am 7 weeks since my myomectamy... Just getting back to being myself. My mom was SUCH A MOM and stayed with me for 3 weeks. My boyfriend tried but stuck to making sure he cooked before he went to work for us. Thx for sharing

Vern36 said...

Hi, I'm glad I found this post. I've been home a week after having a myomectomy. I had five large fibroids removed.. I've been very blessed to have lots of help since I got home. I am experiencing the burning sensation that was mentioned and was wondering why it was happening. I was terrified before having my surgery and did a lot of research. Neither my procedure or my recovery has been as bad as I had imagined. I am 36 and am too hoping to conceive ASAP. I was worried about that but my doctor was great and I did not experience any complications. So for those of you who have your procedure coming up, don't worry. It'll be fine as long as you have a good surgeon. I am not having any trouble showering but it does make me extremely tired. The hardest part is taking it easy when you're use to being busy. Good luck to all of you. Thanks for sharing your experiences.