After my failed ablation, I had two choices: try another form of ablation (which may or may not work) or undergo a total hysterectomy. I have been pro-hysterectomy ever since being pregnant with my daughter.
My pregnancies have been anything but normal. With Logan I was hospitalized for 13 weeks due to bleeding. I spent 13 weeks on bed rest in the hospital…alone (granted my husband visited almost every day and my family and friends came to keep me company, I was still alone). Logan arrived 4 weeks early on my grandmother’s birthday.
When I got pregnant with our second child, we both knew that there was always the possibility of being hospitalized. We kept the sex a surprise, but both my husband and I agreed that this was going to be our last child…boy or girl, we were done. During one of my many doctor’s appointments I signed a paper saying they could perform a hysterectomy if there were any complications. I even encouraged the doctor just to perform the operation (hey, they were already going to be cutting me open, why not finish the job). I did end up on bed rest due to bleeding, but I was allowed to stay at home, at least until the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy. Kira, like her brother, arrived early. We were thrilled to have a healthy baby girl who was born on my father’s birthday…but I was slightly sadden that they didn’t perform the hysterectomy. (You can read my pregnancy stories HERE.)
Since having 2 c-sections my periods have been UGLY! I mean just plan nasty and uncomfortable. They would come and go, cramp like no tomorrow, and last for more than 7 days! HORRIBLE! I suffered with them for years before I actually decided to take control and fix the problem. Five years of pain, and finally I am ready for a period-free life!
My first step was to try ablation, which if you have followed my blog you know the doctor tried 5 times while I was under and FAILED. You can read about my failed ablation in detail HERE.
When my doctor gave me my choices: ablation or total hysterectomy, he wasn’t surprised when I didn’t need time to think. HYSTERECTOMY please! He confirmed my choice by saying that he felt that was the smart way to proceed.
I called the surgery scheduler a few days after my appointment and set the date: December 16th at 7:30 am. Unfortunately this date meant I had to call out sick for 4 days. Most people wouldn’t care, but I am a teacher and this was the last week before winter break. I was going to miss all of the fun holiday activities, including my daughter’s first holiday performance. But it was necessary. I had to schedule before the end of the year (you know those pesky deductibles…already met the deductible for the year, so let’s just get this thing DONE!).
Fortunately my principal was completely supportive. My hope was to only be gone the 4 days + the 2 weeks of winter break…but realistically it takes 4-6 weeks to completely heal from this type of surgery.
Preparing for Surgery:
- Finding a substitute that could cover all 4 days & writing lesson plans (I know my fellow teachers feel for me on this one…most teachers would rather drag themselves to work than write lesson plans).
- Asking my parents to come up to watch the kids (remember my surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am on a Tuesday, that meant we needed to arrive at the hospital by 5:30 am…and we live an hour away…so we had to leave at 4:30 am!)
- Per Doctor’s orders: Eat only liquid foods 2 days before surgery — soups, smoothies, etc. This will help keep the bowels empty during surgery.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight; including water, gum, hard candy or mints. You may brush your teeth.
- Take only the following of your Routine Home Medications with a small sip of water on the day of surgery.
- Hold all herbal and vitamin supplements for one week prior to surgery.
- Do not shave, wax or use depilatory creams near your procedure site for one week prior to surgery. (I remembered this from my ablation, so I felt very hairy!)
- Shower the night before surgery and again the morning of surgery with liquid Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG). Ask your pharmacy for Hibiclens/Hibiscrub/Betasept or a generic equivalent. Apply to entire body except face/head. Leave the soap on your skin for two minutes before rinsing. Dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Clean pajamas and sheets are also recommended. (Not a cheap product…cost $12 for a bottle that I used twice…luckily I had enough left over from my ablation so I didn’t have to buy more.)
- Do not put any products on our hair or skin after your showers such as after-shave, moisturizers, make-up, deodorant, perfume, hairspray, gel, etc.
- If you wear fingernail polish it must be clear or very pale.
- Clothing should be clean and comfortable. Ex: Sweats, leisure wear
- Remove all jewelry (rings, wedding bands, earrings, body piercings)
- Bring your insurance card and identification (ex: drivers license)
- Co-payment is due on admission.
- Do not bring any valuables (cash, credit cards, purse, wallet, electronic devices) unless family can keep them.
- Come to the Outpatient Care Center entrance on 12/16 and check in with the receptionist. (My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am, so I had to arrive at 5:30 am.)
- If you will go home right after surgery, you must have a responsible adult over 18 years old to drive your home.
Day of Surgery:
My husband and I arrived at Clovis Community right on time…5:30 am. I had to check in and sign a few papers. Then they did a few labs before sending us up to the waiting room. This was a different waiting room than before…actually much nicer. The room was filled with a number of family members, friends, and patients. Way too many for 5:30 in the morning! It wasn’t long before they called my name and we were lead to the pre-op room. The nurse put in my IV (I am a hard stick, so I gave her a heads up and she warmed up my arm to try and find a good vein). Time seemed to go fast, soon the anesthesiologist arrived to tell me what was going to happen once I arrived in the OR, including some “funny” stuff he would give me to help me relax. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I was ready to go! After he left two nurses came in and put on my compression socks and wheeled me to the OR. On our way, we ran into my doctor. A quick “knuckles” and I jokingly said, “Let’s get this thing done!” Dr. Mason was ready to go!
My husband went back into the waiting room. Not sure what fun he had in there, but my parents did eventually arrive to keep him company (they had to drop the kids off at school by 8:00 am).
I was wheeled into a very small operating room. They helped me transfer to a super skinny table. I told them they may need to strap me onto the table so I wouldn’t fall off. They all laughed. Then I noticed things seemed to be getting foggy. I turned to the anesthesiologist and asked him if he gave me the “funny” stuff…and said YES! I knew that meant is was almost time to go to sleep and allow Dr. Mason to work his magic. The anesthesiologist but the mask on my face and within SECONDS I was OUT…right on time…7:30 am!
The procedure was supposed to last an hour, maybe an hour and a half…but let’s face it, I am a trouble maker! Two hours later I started waking up in the recovery room. It took a while for me to realize that the surgery was over. My mouth was completely dry and I could hardly talk. Yes and no were really they only words I felt like using. I spent about an hour in recovery, not knowing how the procedure went. Questions started rolling through my head: Was he able to perform the hysterectomy laparoscopically? Did he have to cut me open? Will I have to stay the night? Can I go home today?
Finally I was moved from the recovery room to a room where my family could come see me. My husband, mother and father were all allowed to come in and boy was I happy to see them. They told me what the doctor said…basically I was the hardest, most challenging hysterectomy he had to perform in the past 6+ months! He was able to preform a laparoscopic hysterectomy, but he had to add a 4th incision site due to the scar tissue from my previous c-sections. That scar tissue had actually entangled a portion of my fallopian tube and there was a portion of my bowel attached to my uterus. Dr. Mason had to leave a small piece of my fallopian tube adhered to my bowel/scar tissue. He said it should scar over, but I may have some discomfort during my bowel movements for the next few weeks.
Dr. Mason was very please with how I was feeling after the surgery. He actually said it was up to me if I wanted to stay a night, but he thought I could go home if I wanted to…and I really wanted to! All I had to do was pee. Sounds strange, but yes, I had to pee…and so I did (oh and my pee was blue…they had to dye it so during surgery Dr. Mason would know if there were any leaks). I was discharged at around 11:00.
I was giving Oxycodone-Acetamin to take for the pain after surgery (1 tablet every 12 hours as needed for pain). Over the past 2 weeks during recovery, I have taken Oxycodone-Acetamin and Motrin for pain. I really haven’t been in pain per-say, but have dealt with some uncomfortable twinges in my pelvic area. My lower back hurts from being stuck in bed.
I’ve mainly stayed in bed relaxing…but I have been able to walk around the house several times. Problem with walking around the house is that my husband has to put our dog out so he can let me out. We have also been to the movies 3 times and I even ventured into the market a few times. Most of these outings have taken their toll on me. I have been getting tired fast.
The BIG Scare:
I know that I need to slowly increase my movement so I can get back to work…but I had a bit of a set back. On Monday night, December 29th, I had a pretty big scare. At 9:30 pm I went to the bathroom only to find myself bleeding bright red blood. To make a long story short, my husband called 9-1-1 and the fire department was on scene within minutes. The ambulance took longer; however, by midnight I was admitted to Clovis Community Medical Center. The ER was packed and they put me into a room that was technically reserved for psych patients. This made my husband laugh since he is a therapist. Around 2-2:30 am I was wheeled into a room to get an ultrasound. I went to the bathroom and passed a HUGE blood clot. After that the bleeding started to calm down. I didn’t see a doctor until 8:00 in the morning. Like I said, they were busy. We over heard that the waiting time to get into the ER was 16 hours! YIKES. Guess it was a good thing I took an ambulance down. The doctor did a vaginal exam and saw a small tear that was the cause of my bleed. He called Dr. Mason and they both agreed to send me home and resume bed rest. I was to follow up with Dr. Mason the next day to deal with the tear. After 8+ hours in the ER, I was ready to go home and sleep (let’s just say there where some CRAZIES in the ER that made it hard for me to sleep).
The next day we went down to Fresno to see Dr. Mason and he put some goop on my tear that would help it scab over. I can’t remember the technical name for the goop…but you get the picture. Now I am completely freaked out that I will have another bleed. Dr. Mason feels confident that it won’t happen again. What I don’t understand is why it happened in the first place???? I am been pretty much a model patient. Due to this set back, we decided that it would be beneficial for me to take an additional week off work. This would allow my body a full four weeks to recoup. Problem is, I now need to set up lesson plans for 7 more days! Guess what I am doing this afternoon?!?!