October 31, 2012
PER LAST WEEK'S WARNING: If you're a guy, you should stop reading now. Seriously. Don't continue. If you have a queasy stomach, you should also turn back now. If you keep reading, you'll be sorry. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Last week, I shared the story of my year-and-a-half of female problems culminating in me hemorrhaging while on vacation last week. I also wrote that I was firing my ob/gyn because this should have never happened. I felt she should have sent me a hematologist months ago instead of testing me for bleeding disorders herself. On Thursday, I still hadn't received a referral to a new ob/gyn by my family doc and I was bleeding again. So, I had to bite the bullet and call my original ob/gyn's office. I'm glad I did.
They were genuinely concerned. I could tell they were really worried, and not just paying me lip service. I spoke to the nurse three separate times and then the doctor called me herself. Turns out I was dead wrong about something very important so I'm glad I called her. She had not been testing for bleeding disorders. She had been testing me for clotting disorders because they had me on such high levels of hormones. She wanted to ensure I didn't get blood clots (which run in my family) from all those hormones. And, yes, that was smart move on her part. Before I even mentioned "hematologist," she said, "We need to get you in to see a hematologist right away." She also wanted to see me as soon as possible. I told her we were leaving Tennessee on Friday. She asked me what meds I had on hand. I pulled the pill bottles out of my purse and read the names and milligram's off to her - birth control pills, Lysteda (clotting meds), and Provera (Progesterone). She said to take three birth control pills a day until I got home. If that didn't work, stop the birth control and switch to two Provera a day. I felt very good having a plan in place and I felt great that they wanted to see me ASAP and that were very worried about me. I didn't feel like a number and my confidence in her was restored.
While I was still bleeding the next day (Friday), it was manageable so we left for Florida. We arrived home Saturday afternoon. On Monday morning, I was at the doc first thing.
After showing her pictures of when I hemorrhaged (don't worry, I am NOT posting those here), she could see how bad it truly was. I didn't know why she wanted to do an external exam since I'd just had one at the hospital but I'm glad she did. She discovered a "huge growth." I was shocked and so was everybody else in the room because the doc in the E.R. missed something pretty obvious. That growth was what had caused the hemorrhage. She sent me to another room for a sonogram, where they also saw something else higher up in the uterus. I admit I was fit to be tied. I thought I'd suddenly developed numerous cancerous tumors in only four months. You see, I was awake for my last surgery when they removed a polyp and there was nothing left in my uterus at that time. Nothing! I saw it with my own eyes. Needless to say, I was freaking out!!! I'm so glad Richard was with me to try to keep me calm.
We went back to the regular room expecting a biopsy but the nurse told me to keep my clothes on. The doc came in and explained that sometimes birth control pills (extra Estrogen) can cause polyps and, since I was on triple and double doses, she thought this growth was another polyp but she'd never seen one grow so fast. Rather than doing a biopsy, she was scheduling me for surgery first thing the next morning (Tuesday). She felt confident it was not cancer because I had numerous biopsies in the previous months and every one came back negative for cancer and pre-cancer. She also said the new growth sure looked like a polyp. She said if she suspected it was cancer, she wouldn't touch it and would instead send me to an oncologist. So, I was starting to feel better. She could not do a hysterectomy because there was still the risk that I may have a bleeding disorder and a hysterectomy involves cutting arteries.
She asked if I wanted an ablation while she was in there, which is when they chemically cauterize the inside of a uterus. She'd offered me that before the first surgery but I'd refused (big mistake!!). While I'm 45 and we are not planning on having any more children, I wasn't yet ready to be sterilized. Now, after hemorrhaging twice in one weekend, I am definitely ready to be sterilized!! There's a chance I might never have a period again (yea!!) and, if I do, it would be very minor each month. Also, it might stop more polyps from growing in the future. But, it does come with risks. I felt the benefits far outweighed the risk and I told her to go ahead.
She then sent me next door to the hospital for pre-op blood work, an EKG, chest x-ray and paperwork. The best news of the day was learning that we finally met our huge insurance deductible and the surgery would be covered 100%.
Early Tuesday morning (yesterday), I woke up with a sore throat. Ug!! But, I didn't have a fever so they proceeded. Waiting for the surgery was nerve-wracking but they finally wheeled me into the operating room. When they were about to put me under, I insisted I had to pee - BAD!
The anesthesiologist, "We'll insert a catheter as soon as you're under. I promise."
I said, "Okay, but I REALLY gotta go!"
She replied, "Okay, Angela, think of a nice place you want to be until you wake up."
I replied, "The bathroom!!! I want to be in the bathroom!!!" I then sank into peaceful oblivion.
When I first woke up in the recovery room, I couldn't open my eyes but I heard my doctor (who is a fairly young, tiny wisp of a thing and very energetic) asking, "Angela! Angela! Do you want to see the pictures?!" She knows how much I like pictures but NOT ones of my own innards.
I slurred one word to her. "NO!" Ha ha ha.
Richard did choose to look at the pictures. They'd found "several polyps" when they were in there. They got them all and the doc felt the ablation went very well and that it'll be a success. Thank Heaven! Those birth control pills were really doing a number on me! Not only did they completely alter my personality, but they gave me night sweats like crazy, and caused many other very uncomfortable symptoms. And, when I'd stop taking them for five days out of the month, all the symptoms would disappear! So, I guess it's not surprising that they were wreaking havoc inside my body where I couldn't see the other problems, too. I have since learned that another immediately family member stopped taking the pill five years ago because she couldn't deal with the side effects, either.
Anyway, in recovery, I remember opening my eyes and shivering (normal while getting past the anesthesia). I wanted to go back to sleep but I was determined to really wake up because I knew Richard was waiting and worrying. It didn't take long. Propofol (the so-called Michael Jackson drug) goes out of your system quickly. Within a hour of being moved to the final recovery room, I was getting dressed and walking out the door. I came home, took a nap, and woke up feeling like a million bucks!!! :)
Just like I asked last week - if any of you have had a similar experience, I'd love to hear from you. Angela@writersweekly.com
Oh, and I have to see a cardiologist. Through everything, they couldn't get my heart rate under the mid-90s. I've always had a high heart rate but they told me that's not normal and it's time to do something about it. Also, my platelet counts were high two months ago (445), normal in the hospital last week, but high again yesterday (495) so the Hematologist will need to delve into that, too. I can deal with all that. Anything's better than hemorrhaging while on vacation!!
This week's Masonism:
On our way to Tennessee, we were driving through beautiful Savannah, Georgia. I turned around to face the back seat, lowered my voice, and told the boys Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in America. I said, "If you look out the window, you might see some gray shadows. Those are the ghosts. People see them all the time here. You just have to look."
As I turned back around in my seat, Max got excited, grabbed his camera, and pointed it out the window. However, Mason (age 6) groaned and said, "Yeah, right, Mom. I know all your tricks!!!
Big hugs to all,
P.S. I want to "follow" you!
ANGELA ON TWITTER
HOW TO REMEMBER, WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR LIFE STORY! by Angela Hoy
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