Friday, 3 April 2015

My Hysterectomy journey

Just a warning that there will be some things in the post that might be confronting for some, but I think with me writing down my experiences of my operation that if it helps 1 person to see what I went through, it might make it easier from them.  I hope so anyway.

Well where do I start, probably at the beginning might be a good place.
Here we go.

I am 44 year old woman who has gone on a long journey to get to where I am now.

Back in 2014 I was diagnosed with fibroids ( multiple sizes ) which were causing me a lot of pain and grief each and every month. Now period pain isn't the most pleasant thing to have , but having clotting and extra pain was so pleasant ( NOT ).

Back to the story, so off I go to the specialist , then ultrasounds galore , only to find fibroids the size of golf balls on both sides and they were all growing, as yet I don't know how many because I haven't been back to the specialist to find out any results, should be in about 1 month.

So in February 2014 I go and see my normal doctor, he ( dumb schmuck ) suggests to me a Hysterectomy, my brain went into overdrive thinking " NO WAAAAAY IN HELL" . I got home from that meeting and got very angry and upset, I rang the medical centre back to ask to speak to the "Head Doctor" the receptionist in all her glory says " Oh we don't have a Head Doctor" I said " NO! I realise you don't have a Doctor who specialises in heads ( slaps forehead ) I want to speak to the Doctor in charge of the practice" GOD HELP ME!!
Anyway an even bigger KING dumb schmuck rings me back, he then gets rather irate with me, saying its the best thing for me, well at that stage I didn't think so.
Get this , from his mouth to gods ears" You know I have to verify dead bodies as part of my job"

WHAT THE HELL!!! I say to him " what the hell does that have to do with what I am talking to you about, I don't give a rats arse about your job, I am talking about me" I thanked him for his time and hung up, by this time I could feel my blood almost boiling out my ears, I was so upset and so angry.

I decided to go back to this medical centre and ask to speak to one of the female doctors, I have never had problems like this before with doctors or since.
I go in , tell this female doctor what the " Head Doctor " had said, she couldn't believe it, I think she was a little more than shocked. I wish I had taken his name down.
Well after talking to her, doing a lot of research into the procedure, I came to the conclusion that after 30 odd years of heavy bleeding and clotting I got a referral to see a specialist. The one they had giving me the referral to I couldn't get into see for about 6 months, of course, always the way. I ask the receptionist if there was anyone else I might be able to see. There was another one and he had an appointment for April, OK , WHY NOT! so I book myself in to see this one.

I have had bad experiences before with gynaecologists who had the bedside manner of a crack in the sidewalk. I was thinking this one might be the same. So appointment day comes, he is only 10 mins late for my appointment, not a bad start ( usually you have to wait 2 hours + they charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege ).

I had prepared the day before just in case he wanted to do an internal exam ( of course ) (which he did ) always pleasant, no not really . His recommendations were to have a full hysterectomy , strange when they don't take everything, he gave me some reading material, gave me his prices ( glad I was sitting down ) told me to go home and think about it.

He also suggest to me about removing the fallopian tubes, they are doing research and have found possible links to ovarian cancer and possible cells in the fallopian tubes that might start ovarian cancer, I think about it and say " well I wont be using them anymore , so why not".

I went home, read all the stuff he gave me, including looking up on Google more info about the procedure. I rang the next day and asked to be put on the public waiting list.

Well almost a year went by and the pre-op appointment came 1 week before the operation. I had been given a prescription for Duromine the month before as I wanted to loose a bit of weight before the op. I got close to my goal of 11.4kg ended up loosing 10.2kg, which I thought was pretty good in a month. The appointment didn't last long but as anyone who has been to a specialist knows they ain't cheap.

The specialist had given me a prescription for Picoprep and Fasigyn ( 4 antibiotic tablets ),which I had to take the night before the operation. Picoprep is a lovely lemon smelling powder, which is a bowel cleanse they usually give to colonoscopy patients before they have their ops, when mixed with water turns into a milky tangy lemon smelling water drink, oh lovely, NOT, it has to be mixed with 250ml water, but no where on the pack did it say that, so I mix it in a cup ( 500ml ) water, I had read it can work as quick as 1/2hr. Well 4 hours go by, NOTHING, I am starting to think , " its not going to work!!!", well after about 5 hours IT DID, it worked 3 more times after that too, and the next morning. So lovely.

The day of the operation arrives 23rd March 2015, I had to be at the hospital at 11.30am, didn't know what time the op was going to happen. I get called about 1/2hr after I got there to do some information checks, weigh in ( their scales were wrong by the way , a whole 2kg off, I like mine better )I had to put a lovely backless gown on ( not couture, and not flattering at all ) luckily I had a beautiful white bathrobe with my name that had been embroidered on it , it was a gift from a friend of mine who I had helped with her baby shower the year before, also lovely surgical stocking, oh so schmexy,  then sitting in the waiting room, 3 hours later they finally called me in. Say goodbye to hubby, and off I go into the room where they put you into a bed ready for the operation.

They ask me all sorts of questions, most of which I cant remember. Then what seems like an eternity, they wheel me into where it seems like a million people are walking around ( was probably only about 20 ) , I have a 4th year medical student try to put a cannula into my hand, I think she was nervous, it didn't work , so Doctor smiley ( reminded me of Greg from the Wiggles ) is chatting away like we had been friends since birth, I'm thinking at this stage, who the hell are all these people. He does a better job at the cannula, the 1st attempt she did leaves me with a bruise.

 I also have another of the doctors ask me to stretch my neck back and open my mouth really wide, Not sure what that's about, apparently ( which wasn't explained to me, THANKS FOR THAT ) they put a breathing tube down your throat. I am sort of glad I didn't know that.

I feel like I am wired and tubed up to every machine they have in the theatre, off to the main theatre we go. I get asked to move across to the main operating table, " Mind you don't fall" well move the damn beds closer together, I think to myself.

I lay back, one of the people in the room starts moving what looks like a big search light above me around, made me dizzy. After that I don't remember anything. I don't even remember counting backwards. The only part I am not looking forward to is the gas being pumped into my stomach , which can take a while to dissipate, they weren't wrong, it hung around . They need a way of getting it out of where they pump it into before they close you up. Might have to talk to the doctor about them when I go back.

I don't even remember waking up in recovery ( have had ops before ) and I have always woken up.
The operation took around 2 1/2 hours, apparently I was in recovery for 2 hours. I think I had come around, not that I remember much of it, I see my little family standing there waiting for me, hubby and No1 son.

I was very happy but very groggy. I think I went out to it again cause I don't remember the ride up to the women's ward. After being put into a room with 2 other women, 1 crazy Chinese/Aussie who was having a colonoscopy and a darling Aussie woman, not sure what she was having done( both buckets of fun ). Hubby rang my mum to tell her I was in the ward, I don't remember much about talking to her but she thought it was hubby making funny sounds, apparently I had a bit of a croaky throat.

I was on a drip, which had morphine in it, I kept pressing the button ( not that I remember doing that much ) but one of the nurses said, " oh you are using a bit of that" well derr Fred, if I am in pain of course I am going to use it. I blew raspberries at him once he left.

I think I had a good nights sleep, bit hard when you cant really move, at least I didn't have to get up to go to the loo, I was bagged (  catheter and urine drainage bag ) I don't think I would have been able to get up anyway.

So the next morning bright and early around 5.30am the cleaners come in, mop the floors and of course clink against everything they touch, I think to myself " SHUT THE HELL UP" but the 4 days I was in hospital it didn't change. So Tuesday morning around 7am or so breakfast arrived, well I go to sit the bed up so I can eat, doesn't work, and the whole time I am there they don't move me to another bed, so the nurse had to move the bed at the end of it, oh well. I have had no great pain, I guess the morphine was still in my system. I finish off breakfast, then more nurse visits with different medication.

I must have fallen back to sleep for a little while, I hear the woman across from me talking to someone, I recognise their voice, its my oldest primary school friend in the world ( early 80's )I have known her for 35 years ( she isn't old but you know what I mean ) there with her son who had just turned 1, he is very cute, I think he got a bit bored, poor bubby. Anyway she bought me a beautiful arrangement of flowers and some lovely hand creams and other goodies just for me.

Was lovely to see her, she stayed for a while, bubby needed a nap, just before she left another friend who I have known for over 25 years ( I feel so old ) came in, so school friend pops bub into the pram and off she goes. My second friend stays for a while, she bought me another flower arrangement which I had until today almost 1 1/2 weeks, not to shabby. We have a great conversation for what seems like hours, then my parents turn up, 2nd friend has to go to work so off she pops as well, feels like a revolving door of loved people in my life.

My parents stay for a while, we talk about how I am feeling, I am still feeling no real pain, only gas pain when I burp which goes up into my neck and causes spasms, I tell the nurses and they bring me a hot towel which helps a lot, so far this has been the only pain I have had in 2 days, no pain from the operation.

My parents say their goodbyes, and off they go to find the car park, I am sure they will get lost, they usually do, ( SORRY MUM & DAD ).

I have lunch then have another nap, one of the nurses come to take the  catheter and urine drainage bag out, well that was an experience to say the least, to be honest I wasn't sure where they had put the tube, I assumed it was in the side of my stomach, oh boy was I wrong, no its up your urethra with a tube, then attached the tube to your leg with some tape and then to the catheter bag which is hung on the side of the bed.. She says take a deep breath, I think if I had taken any deeper a breath I would have been on the floor.

So finally that's out, I am asked if I am in any pain, still only the gas pain occasionally in my neck. They take me off the machine , so now I can walk around and go have a shower. I leave that for a little while which I wrap my head around the previous days events, still not sure if it had actually happened, I am in hospital so I assume it had.

I get asked by the nurse if I want to get up, I say ok, maybe go for a walk, I was always worried I was going to get light headed from laying down for so long, well GUESS WHAT!!! I didn't. WOOHOO.
So off I shuffle to the loo. Boy was that nice to be able to do that myself.

More of the same boring stuff goes on, we all have a giggle and a chat and find out about each other. Great women to be stuck in a room with.

Each night hubby and son come in for a visit which is lovely, I miss my boy and his big hugs.
Anyway by this stage its Wednesday, 2 days after the operation, no real pain, still gas pain in my neck. from time to time.

The doctor does her rounds and asks how I am going, I tell her ok, no pain only neck pain, she thinks I will be ok to go home , I think awesome. Well THINK AGAIN MISSY!!!  the gas pain in my neck raises its ugly head, my neck cramps so badly it feels like someone if trying to choke me, I press the button, the woman's daughter next to be can hear my struggling, so she races off to get the nurse.

I am panicking to say the least, the nurse comes in with some pain killers and a hot towel, after what seems like an eternity the pain subsides and settles, she changes the way I am lying in bed, feet more up and head down slightly, no pillow.
So guess what I am not going home, NOT HAPPY JAN!!! so another night in hospital, damn, bugger, blast.  So when hubby and son come in that night I tell them I will be in until the next day.
On the Wednesday night I have another friend and her daughter come for a visit, they stay for a while then hubby and son turn up, I cant sit up and talk to them as the bed doesn't work and I don't want to have the gas pain come back, so I stay laying down. I felt a bit rude by laying there but I wasn't going to make it worse. I am sure they understood.

Oh well.

That night we had a new bed wheel in, Oh boy , this ones a good one. She is going off her head, by this time its around 10pm, we are almost off to sleep, she is swearing like a trouper, " Tell her to come back and bring my ( she is telling one of the nurses ) ( you can put any word you like in  here , I think she used them all ) bag and money back, she stole my money. This woman had come in for a double hernia operation, she was and probably still a drug addict, 7 kids, probably multiple fathers to those kids. I think the whole ward knew her story.

They had her so out of it, it was a blessing. Well for most of that night and into the next day she lay there, not moving, thankfully.

Usual clinking and rattling of trollies up and down the halls, cleaners making noise as per usual at an ungodly hour.

Thursday morning comes, have breakfast, both original bed mates have either gone home or are on their way home which they are very pleased about. We bid each other well and say our goodbyes.
A new bed mate gets wheeled in with kidney stones ( she is only 19 poor thing ). I didn't get to know her as I wasn't there that long after she arrived.

Now to a week and a 1/2 later,  had the stitches out on the Monday 30th March, a week after the op, the doctor put steri strips over the wound, tonight Friday 3rd April, I took the strips off, I now have 4 little " X " marks the spot marks where the op was done, I have 5 in total, the other is in my belly button and you cant see it.

All in all it was a long process to get to the point I am at now but I can honestly say for me it has been worth it so far. No more periods, no more clots , no more internal ultrasound scans to measure my family of fibroids. I still am not driving or doing anything physical and I am taking it 1 day at a time. I do still have gas pain but I think now its more indigestion gas than operation gas.

I hope my story will be of some help to anyone who is going through the same thing in their lives. Please comment if you want. I would love to hear your stories about what you have gone through on your journey .

I am booked into see the specialist on the 5th of May 2015. I will get results from the pathology lab then too I assume. I did ask the doctor a weird question, I asked her if I could find out how much it all weighed, I told her I wanted to know, she told me that after they do their tests on it they weigh it, so hopefully they will do that and the specialist will tell me. Don't ask me why I just want to know. Curious cat I guess.
Thanks for reading. Have a great Easter weekend.

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