June 12 (2007), a new anniversary for me.
Last April I scheduled an appointment with a new gynecologist who also happened to be an infertility specialist. I went in for the normal yearly check-up; got weighed (fun), changed into a paper towel (awesome), and sat on the wax papered table and waited for the Dr. to come in.
It was a usual appointment. She felt me up first – then laid me back, put my legs up, feet in cold metal stirrups, finger up the whoo-ha, pressing on stomach, etc, etc, etc. (yay for womanhood!)
Then she started in on the questions: What type of birth control do you use?
Me: uh – (pause) – uh, none? Pull-out method?
Dr: Are you trying to get pregnant?
Me: No. Soon. But this is pretty much the method I’ve always used and it’s ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME. [chuckle]
Dr: So you’ve never been pregnant?
Me: No. But I always pee after sex …and I heard that prevents [she’s talking over me at this point]
Dr: I’m going to do another test on you …[she continues talking and explaining the test she’s about to administer on me but all I can concentrate on is a very long plastic tool that she has in her hand and is now rolling down a condom onto]
Me: okay (nervous)
So, she inserts this condom covered long-ass plastic thingy up me and I finally realize [cuz I haven’t been listening] that it’s a camera and she’s now showing me my ovaries on an old-school black with orange text monitor. [inner sonogram] One side hurts. The other, no pain at all. She’s pointing out some large growths on one of my ovaries (the side that was hurting) and honestly, I was so terrified at this point the only thing I could concentrate on was NOT CRYING.
I was then informed that the cysts COULD go away with my next menstral flow [this is where I started listening again -HOPE] – but most likely would have to be removed surgically – GULP. [back to fighting back tears] as she explained Laparoscopic Surgery to me.
She also informed me that I had Endometriosis, which finally explained why I had such painful periods all my life and I wondered why no other doctor ever in the nearly 15 years I had been getting yearly paps and checkups had never once even mentioned it to me.
She left the room [my bottom lip started quivering hard] and I grabbed some tissues (handfuls) to wipe the enormous amount of jelly that was now enveloping my nether regions and put my clothes back on. I walked out to the front desk and the lady says “So, when do you want to schedule your pre-op?” OMG OMG OMG…tears.
I ended up scheduling it but when I got home I called and canceled and decided to get a second opinion. I called Dr. Beaver (recommended by a friend and I just couldn’t pass up a gyno named Beaver) and set up an appointment with her and she sent me to St. Joe’s hospital in Burbank for a more in-depth condom covered plastic thingy up me test …to which they found – the same thing.
I was, at this point, pretty much in denial and clinging to the hope that the cysts would simply disappear with my next period …which, of course, I learned they did not at my pre-op appointment. They scheduled my surgery for June 12 and all acted like it was no big deal. It was only three incisions; one over each ovary for the tools and one down my belly button for the camera, and out of the hospital in a matter of hours.
The dreaded day came, I was so nervous and scared and I hate hospitals.
I signed in. Got my bracelet. Changed into a gown. And laid in the waiting room for like two hours before my Dr. came. Random nurses and the anesthesiologist would come over and insert needles in me and look at me all smiley and wide-eyed and talk to me like everything was normal – and I hate that shit. I informed them that I was sensitive to medication. I was really nervous and a bit weepy and had a tissue balled up in my right hand.
Finally my doctor shows up (late) and everyone kicks it into gear. A couple of nurses come over and fiddle with me a little more then they lift the table. I say bye to Pep and they wheel me into another room. Time for surgery.
T E R R O R
The room was really bright with huge lights and machines and like ten nurses and my doctor (who looked all coked up to me – but it was probably just the I’M RUNNING LATE LOOK). One nurse on each side of me strapped my wrists down out to my sides (like I was a crazy person) and everyone was speeding around doing their jobs. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was ready to party and I said yes …counted to ten (or two).
Fade to black.
I woke up in the room where I was originally waiting with the same tissue balled up in my right hand and looked at it like “Oh, you were with me the entire time”.
Then realized I felt like I was hit by a car. I felt sick more than anything and Pep told me that when they wheeled me out of the operating room I was complaining of pain so they shot me up with some hefty drugs (not listening to my confession about being truly sensitive to meds). I was so sick that I could not leave the hospital. They were trying to get me up to go to the bathroom (because I think I was free to leave if I just urinated) but I felt like I was gonna barf. I finally said I would try and got out of the bed with the help of nurses and dropped a nice thick bloody pad onto the floor on my way there – SO HOT! In the bathroom, I was sitting on the toilet with aid from the female nurse while the male nurse (and my husband) held the door open with a trash can in front of me while I dry heaved into it. No pee yet though. The nurses had to wheel me to another room because two hours after the surgery I was so sick still and they were closing up shop. We finally left the hospital at like 5pm and the ride home from Northridge to Sherman Oaks seemed to take one million years.
but it was over.
What they didn’t really mention (strongly enough) about the surgery and/or recovery is that to insert the tools they needed to use into my abdomen (navel and each ovary), they had to inflate it (me) first with Co2 to puff up my belly. When the Co2 is trying to escape your body (post surgery), it rises to your shoulders and stays there for days and is some of the worst pain I have ever felt. So now, there is pain (and blood) in your vag, pain on your ovaries, pain in your belly button, pain from the incisions, and pain in your shoulders and neck too!
Maybe I’m just a huge baby but recovery took over a week and they all made it sound like it was no big deal – it’s just Laparoscopic Surgery!
This surgery was supposed to make it easier to get pregnant. In her words “We’ll clean you all out so you can have a baby” – Well, we’ve been trying for about 8 months now and still no baby. It was supposed to make my cramps less painful – They are the same. And my period more regular – When my flow ends, it just starts up again after a week but much lighter – but doesn’t forget to throw in a few cramps. However, my stomach is flatter because I don’t have the cysts any more. I had no choice, they had to be removed – but this last year has definitely made me re-think children.
I didn’t go to this doctor as a pre-curser to getting pregnant, it was all just by chance… and suddenly made me realize that the chance of getting pregnant may be more difficult than I had previously imagined it would be.