Sunday, March 30, 2008

So, yes. I had the surgery. And the doctor says I have a really bad case of endometriosis -- everything in the internal-ladybits area is all stuck together with adhesions. One of my tubes is apparently stuck shut, or nearly shut. If I want to carry a baby, or if I start to have pain again, I need to get this procedure done again, with a reproduction specialist. My doctor was too nervous to start clearing out the adhesions herself. She did get rid of the cyst for me, at least. The worst part of the whole thing -- besides the fact that I may have to do this all over again -- was the two days of nausea. That, and the excruciating pain I had the first night when I tried to pee, which I needed to do every hour since they had pumped me full of fluids because I was so nauseated from the anesthesia ... That was pretty rough. I can't remember the last time I was so much pain I was trembling.

Regardless. It was about two days of hell, one day of not-great-ness, and then today was ok. Not great, but not horrible. I was on Vicodin for about 36 hours, and have been on ultra-ibuprofen since then. I can handle the pain of the incisions and the weird soreness in my shoulder. My belly is still weirdly swollen, but not as swollen as I thought it would be. Actually, during the operation, when they first inflated me my heart rate dropped due to the pressure on my nervous system. So they had to deflate me very quickly and then re-inflate me with about half the normal amount. Also, at one point they had to jolt me with atropene because again my heart was slowing down too much. Both of these things point to "not going to come out of anesthesia without problems."

[Here's the longer story of my after-surgery times, if you care or dare:]
The hospital has a just-out-of-surgery recovery area, where I had a breathing mask on and was much too awake for my preference, probably so I could tell them how much it hurt so they could drug me appropriately (I think I said 6 on a scale of 10). Then there's a secondary recovery area, where your boyfriend (for example) can come visit you. I was in that secondary area a long time. I was fine as long as my head was on the pillow. It was too noisy to really sleep. Every once in a while the nurse would try to get me up. First, sitting on the bed, and then with my legs over the side. After about 30 seconds I'd have to lie down (or else start puking, which I never did). And they'd let me lie down for a while longer. The whole time I had an IV in, with fluid dripping in. Eventually they moved me back to the just-out-of-surgery area (it was unclear why, though they said it was so I'd get more attention -- I figure the nurses in the other area wanted to go home). A very nice nurse there talked to me about getting a real room for me to sleep in -- maybe not overnight, but for a couple of hours, until I felt better. But she also gave me an anti-emetic in my IV, and after some more lying around, I sat up, stood up, and hobbled over to the bathroom (held up by the nurse), where I failed to pee much, due to my urethra being all stuck together from the catheter. And then I had to go back and sit down (the nurse wouldn't let me lie down). CJ ran to bring the car up and the nurse got me into a wheelchair, and I made it home and into my bed without actual heaving. It was close, though. Poor CJ was there through it all... I think I was in the after-surgery recovery place for about 6 hours.

Anyway. If I do this again, maybe they can give me the amount of anesthesia that someone my size needs, and not Average Woman.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So, that thing happened. I was indeed mightily nauseated. And in pain. And I still feel dizzy and weird and typing isn't helping. It wasn't a dermoid, it was the worse thing (endo). More later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I had my pre-op meeting and blood-draw yesterday. My doctor sensed my interest in Thog, and said she would be able to show me photos afterwards. (Of what, she did not say.) I'm not sure I actually want to look, but maybe she can just describe it to me... Also, she and another doctor disagree about what this thing is, so there's still a chance it's endometriosis. Whatever. Also, I'm not allowed to eat or drink or even take a painkiller after midnight tonight, so I'll be in some pain by the time I show up at the hospital for surgery, which will provide some nice incentive for me.

I tried a Vicodin last night. It was ok. I felt super anxious when I woke up at 5 a.m.; I wasn't in pain, but I was freaked out, worried I was going to barf from the Vicodin. Have I mentioned before that I don't like drugs? I don't. Y'all can have your fun with the recreational drugs, I don't judge, and in fact I wish I had the capacity to enjoy them. But I know that I don't. Anyway, the Vicodin works in that I was able to fall asleep and I wasn't in pain, so I have that going for me. I am feeling really dopey and stupid today at work, however.

It's not the barfing that worries me -- a little vom never hurt anyone -- it's the nausea. My doctor said they'll give me something to eat and drink in recovery, and when I said "what about barfing?" she said that if I felt sick, then obviously they wouldn't give me stuff to eat -- plus, the IV will still be in, and they can give me some anti-nausea medication. Sweet. She also said there would be warmed blankets available -- I had forgotten the crazy chills I felt after my wisdom teeth extraction, and how good it felt when I finally got warm (like an hour later; I was at home by the time I got cold).

Anyway, blah blah blah. Tomorrow it's a fond goodbye to Thog. I'm ok with it. At least, this minute I'm ok.

p.s. One of the sheets in the packet of info they gave me at the hospital says, "Do not make any important decisions for at least 24 hours after your surgery." I'd better block eBay from my laptop, or I could end up owning a used car in Seattle or something...

Monday, March 24, 2008

I scheduled the surgery for Thursday -- this Thursday. I am terrified. From what I've been reading and hearing, as soon as I wake up from the surgery I will be nauseated, and I won't feel un-nauseated for three days. My throat will be plenty sore, since they'll have shoved a breathing tube down into it. I will have gas pains and cramps all over my body for several days. And then of course there's the incisions, for which I will be taking painkillers that make me dizzy and more nauseated. It sounds pretty fucking horrible to me. If anyone out there has had general anesthesia without puking or some other bad thing happening, please let me know.

Of course my cyst -- I've named it "Thog" -- has been making me feel terrible, so I do want it out of my body. I wish it would just go away, somehow become the dissolving type. But no, Thog Want To Live! and so he must be forcibly removed. Sorry, Thog.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lady problems update: My doctor looked at the ultrasound film and spoke to one of the other doctors. They think it is definitely a dermoid (because it looks like there's stuff other than fluid in it - so fascinating and disgusting!) but they don't think it's related to endometriosis. So I might not have that at all, though they'll take a look once they're in there (if I don't chicken out and decide not to do the surgery, which has not yet been scheduled, still). I asked her why my belly felt bloated and she had to reason; there's no fluid in there. Am I just fatter, suddenly? Too much Easter candy? I never get like this, though, and I haven't changed my diet at all, really. (The cyst itself is only 3 inches across, so that can't be it.) She did say that exercising would not have brought on the pain, so I can at least stay active without too much fear.

Anyway, she told me that she has a patient that has had ten surgeries to remove ten dermoids, but that's super rare, plus that person has four children. And that's one patient in 25 years of practice, so.

Luckily, tonight it's on to New Jersey, where there will be egg-hiding and more candy (oh well) and lots of niece-and-nephew (and pre-teen cousins!) time. A nice distraction.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This one's for all the ladies. Seriously, it's more crap about my lady business, so feel free to skip it.

My little cystic friends have been still hurting me, off and on, and they hurt so badly a couple of days ago that I pondered another visit to the emergency room. Instead I waited, and went to the doctor today to check it all out with the ultrasound machine. Turns out I have a dermoid cyst, which is the kind that sometimes has teeth and hair inside of it (I find this secretly thrilling), and I have endometriosis of the ovaries, which is a major bummer. You know that stuff that forms the uterine lining? Of course, who doesn't. Well, some of that stuff is outside of my uterus. And like a zombie hand that still twitches and moves after it has been sliced from its zombie body, the endometrium that's stuck to my ovaries actually produces period blood every month. Ew, and ouch. Between this and the cyst, it's like my body really wants to make a baby, and I'm not cooperating, so it's just going ahead and making do with whatever scraps it can find. My body would apparently be o.k. with a shambling, crudely-formed golem of a child.

The long story short is, my doctor is recommending laparoscopic surgery. That's the kind with the tiny incisions and the little camera, and you get to go home after it. They also inflate your abdomen with gas, which is alarming, and apparently results in having gas pains in strange locations for a few days after surgery. She says that recovery will take a week. People I know who have had their gall bladders removed with a similar technique say it doesn't take as long. But whatever. The extra exciting part is, once they get inside there, they may decide to remove the entire ovary, so I shall become half a woman. Or, the problem may be bigger and more complicated than they thought, and they'll end up slicing me open like a melon, and I'll end up in the hospital for a couple of nights, and recovering at home for weeks. I am really hoping that neither of those things happen. I have not yet scheduled the surgery, I still have some questions for my doctor, who will call me tomorrow after she studies the film. (By "film" I am assuming she means the ultrasound photos, and not "College Road Trip.")

All of this means that if I want to ever have a baby, it will be very difficult for me to do so. Not so difficult that I can stop using birth control, however. Thanks, universe!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

I had a really bad dream last night. It wasn't even funny-bad. I was at H&L's old apartment, at a party, when suddenly an airplane screamed by the window, way too close to the ground. Its engines were wailing and the whine of them kept ascending and descending, like the pilots were trying to keep the plane up but were failing. We all ran out to the porch but it was soon out of view. Then we heard a huge boom. We knew it had crashed, but we were too scared to turn on the TV for a while. Somehow the rumor got around that someone had sabotaged the plane from the inside while someone else on the ground had shot at it with a surface-to-air missile. We were all sickened and terrified and feeling deeply sad. Then I was back on the porch, sitting there with H and a couple of other people. The view from the porch was an Iraq checkpoint. As we watched, a desperate man climbed one of the guard towers, and as he almost reached the top, the guard shot him in the head and the man fell to the pavement below. I started talking about how horrible it was that things like this happen in front of us every day, and what is the world coming to? How can we continue our normal lives amidst this constant violence and death? And H cut me off and said, "Can we not talk politics, please?" Like I was being a total downer.

(OK, that bit is kind of funny.)

There was more that was gross and scary (and not involving any of my friends) but people don't really like hearing other peoples' dreams so I won't share. Plus, it disturbs me to even remember it. So I've been kind of weird all day. I blame the dream, and Daylight Savings Time, which I don't like having while it's nowhere near spring. (How can we "spring forward"? We should be "wintering over" or "frost biting" or "snowplowing through.") I have no idea where the dream came from, or why my brain cast H in the role of asshole. (So random. You could be next, reader!) My stomach must have been a little upset, so my mind blamed it on terrorism.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This whole freelance-after-work thing is no joke. The problem lies in that I spend 8 hours in front of a computer, go home, and then attempt to spend another couple of hours in front of a computer. I worked out with Maya on Monday and I think it might have re-flared my carpal issues, so the extra computer work isn't helping.

Did you all know that we Spring Forward this weekend? Madness!

Anyway. I want to leave the computer now. And have a little cereal (at first I spelled that "serial;" I am losing it) and go to bed.