July 27 – 31, 2015
Disclaimer: This is a super long post and is the first “big event” of our “in pursuit of baby” journey.
It’s Monday, 27 July. The big day I’ve been waiting for. The day JM and I have been preparing for. We’ve been so busy. Too busy. Busy enough where I didn’t have time to think about being angry about my recent endometriosis diagnosis. A serious blessing and a curse all in one.
Since 4th of July weekend, JM and I have been busy taking care of my Dad and getting him to numerous doctor appointments. I can’t make this up, but between the time my father arrived to my house, we’ve taken my him to eight different doctor appointments. Besides taking care of him and while suffering through daily chronic pain, I’ve attended a farewell party for a close friend moving across the giant pond called the Atlantic Ocean, attended a farewell party for a friend moving to Florida, and attended a bachelorette party weekend which was a 7-hour drive away, all while in the middle of trying to get our rental property prepared for tenant turnover for the 1st of August.
Needless to say, July 2015 has seriously been one of the most challenging months of my life. If there is anything I learned this month, it’s that my husband is seriously a Saint and the most patient creature I’ve ever met. Boy am I blessed to have JM. *sigh*! Moving on.
I’m not one to often admit or ask for help when I need it. I knew my recovery after surgery would be roughly 5 days, and I knew I couldn’t ask JM to take care of me AND my Dad at the same time. I decided to call my brother Tyler and asked him to come stay at our house and help us out with our Dad. I’m forever grateful Tyler’s job allowed him to work from my house and be away from the office for over a week. I manage to set up six doctor appointments for Tyler to take our Dad while he’s here. Aggressive? Probably. JM and I were feeling the insane stress from this month and needed a break from life for just a minute.
Who am I kidding? We needed a break from life for a couple days! Minimum.
My mother decided to also come stay with us, too, during my surgery week to help JM take care of me and to see Tyler. (My parents are divorced.) So, needless to say, it’s a full house, but this is why JM and I have 3 guest bedrooms. (Finally, I can “humble” brag about something positive!)
So about my surgery. It’s the 27th. The big day. I decided to go to work for 3.5 hours in the morning since I didn’t have to be at the hospital until 1130AM. I needed to close out some things at work before being off for the entire week, plus I needed a distraction primarily from food since I wasn’t allowed to eat anything since midnight. You, know, the usual surgery preparation. Here’s a first for me. I went into work with no make-up and yoga pants. Somehow I managed to dodge everyone from seeing my scary naked face. My face was so pale from the chronic pain this morning. I didn’t care what I looked like at this point; I just wanted the pain gone.
Once I got to the hospital, I see my mom and JM. They arrive together so that one of them can drive my car back afterwards. A nurse calls me in to get me prepped for the procedure and says I can bring one person back with me. I find myself starting to get a bit nervous about the procedure and choose to have my Mom come back with me. My mother has a 30-something year career as a registered nurse and I know she has the eye to be able to determine if something is done right or not. (No offense, JM!)
The nurse starts getting me prepared for surgery with the IV and begins asking a ton of questions and goes over everything discussed from the pre-op interview. The anesthesiologist comes in and asks me even more questions and explains what will happen in the next few minutes. Then my OBGYN comes in and goes over everything with my mom. My little 8’x6’ tiny room is like a circus with all these hospital staff members coming in and out of my room. Can we say “overwhelming”?
My mom gives me a hug and kiss and leaves to get JM so he can see me before they wheel me back into the operating room. Next thing I know immediately after JM gives me a kiss, the anesthesiologist and nurse begin to wheel me out of my tiny room towards what I think is the operating room. Last thing I remember is how fuzzy things begin to look. The anesthesiologist must have put the good meds in my IV drip. “FINALLY,” I’m thinking. FINALLY I CAN GET GOOD SLEEP WITHOUT PAIN WAKING ME UP! Then, I’m out. Cold.
Fast forward to about 2 hours later. My surgery lasted roughly an hour. My OBGYN met with JM and my mom to deliver the not-so-good, but good news. Good news? I did great in surgery. Bad news? Just thinking about this makes me so angry. Get ready, it’s a butt-load of crap. Not literally.
After my OBGYN delivers the bad news to JM, he asks my doctor if he can be with me when she tells me the news. From JM’s point of view, she said he can, but this didn’t quite happen. Once I was finally awake from the anesthesia, my OBGYN came to talk to me. I quickly realize how groggy and tired I am from the anesthesia and do my best to make out what my doctor is telling me. She goes on to first tell me the good news. Both of my ovaries are still in tact. (Thanks, lady!)
I know, I know. I’m stalling on the bad news. Augh. Basically my OBGYN started off the conversation with, “it’s a mess in there.” “There” being my pelvis, ovaries, bladder, colon. Yup. All of it. She then continues to go on with the bad news. She couldn’t do anything except drain the cysts because it’s such a mess. She then continues to tell me I definitely have stage 4 endo and it has spread and developed adhesions everywhere. Everything in my pelvis was connected to one another and my bladder and colon have endo everywhere. Awesome. Well isn’t that just fabulous.
So now what?
My OBGYN said she didn’t want to mess with the adhesions close to my colon because she believes I should see a urologist first about it and it was too close for her comfort. She explains to me that the cysts will likely come back, but hopefully this will be temporary relief from the pain I been having. Next she shows me the photos she took of my insides. Talk about a wild sight!
My doctor continues to explain that if I don’t get pregnant soon or begin with fertility treatments, she recommends I go on Lupron for about 6 months. EXCUSE ME? Lupron? As in, the “menopause” drug? No. Absolutely not. I absolutely did not like the sound of that and absolutely terrified of hearing the three-syllabol word “memo-o-pause.” I’m not going there. Besides, isn’t that the exact opposite of what I want to be doing? I basically ignore her as she goes into the Lupron discussion.
Finally she delivers the worst of the worst news. She said, as soon as JM and I are done having kids, she recommends I get a hysterectomy because my endo is so aggressive and she is afraid it would spread beyond my pelvic region and cause even worse damages.
\Lovely. Just lovely.
I’m still feeling a big groggy and all I want to do is vomit at this point. I’m not sure if I feel nauseous because of the news I just heard or because of the anesthesia in me. JM is allowed to come back into the recovery room and immediately he can tell I got the news from my OBGYN without me even saying a word. He just looks at me and holds my hand and says, “I asked her to let me be with you when she delivers the outcome.” I said it was okay. But really, it was not okay.
This was all just too much for me to handle at this point, and all I want to do at this point is to throw up, but also get a fruit smoothie. I’m not sure where or how the vomit bag got into my hands, but next thing I know, I’m throwing up some sort of fluid that is in me. I’m guessing it’s the IV fluids. I realize this is only the 2nd time JM has been around me when I’ve gotten sick. For better or for worst, huh? At least the first time I threw-up in front of JM it was more entertaining and after eating red velvet cupcakes at an open-bar wedding. I’ll save that story for another time when I need to lighten the mood.
My mother, JM and I get back to the house roughly around 5PM. The best part about leaving that hospital, is that I got to walk out of there with no boot on my foot for the first time in over 2 months. Damn, it felt good.
After we got home, JM went to get me the acai smoothie I’ve been wanting all day. My mom must have asked me 20 times what I want to eat. Food is the last thing on my mind after anesthesia and not to mention after throwing up 3 more times after the initial time in the hospital. Lesson learned. Jane and anesthesia do not get along. Not at all. My mom (being a mom), insists I eat. I told her whatever she makes, I want it to be bland, simple… and GLUTEN FREE. Why suddenly gluten free (GF), you ask? I’ll get to that in a minute. My mother decides to make my Sito’s (grandmother’s) chicken and rice recipe. No matter how old you are, you will always still need your Mom.
For the rest of the evening I laid in bed. The only time I got up was when JM or my mom had to help me get up to use the bathroom. My ab muscles are non-existant after the surgery. It felt as though I did a high intensity interval training ab workout for 72 hours straight and then got punched in the stomach until it bruised. I have no other way to describe how weak I felt after surgery. On the plus side, I had no ovary pain. And, no boot.
For the next 4 days, I pretty much stayed in bed or laid on the couch and remained on the pain killers my OBGYN prescribed me. Honestly, I couldn’t do anything that required me to walk or move around even if I tried. I still couldn’t use much of my ab muscles and required the help of someone to assist me so I could get up every time I wanted to use the bathroom. I felt pretty helpless and super antsy because I couldn’t do anything productive. It was a nice distraction whenever friends and family members called or texted to see how I was doing. Also, having my mother around was a huge help. She stayed to help so JM could go back to work. She cooked every meal and even stocked up the freezer with homemade meals. She did some grocery shopping for staple gluten free items, and helped clean my house.
So about the gluten free thing. Remember I said in a previous post I have a degree in “Google”? In the weeks leading up to my surgery, I did nothing but Google, Google, Google. I Googled everything possible about endometriosis and fertility. To make a very long Google search history very short, I came across a lot of blogs, studies, and articles about certain foods causing endometriosis to flare up which results in pain and inflammation. I even read the book, It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Lets put it this way, the pain I was experiencing from my endometriosis was so bad, I was desperate and willing to do anything to get rid of it – even if it meant giving up pizza. GASP! A New Yorker give up pizza? And bagels? Yup, I was about to commit a sin.
I went cold turkey. I decided days leading up to my surgery that I would officially give up gluten for at least a couple of months and see if I notice a difference. Looking back, I probably should have given up dairy as well, but I didn’t want to make myself go too crazy. I already do eat a limited amount of dairy, so I decided to just start with gluten and go from there. I’ll be sure to update you in later posts on my gluten-free situation.
Finally on Friday, 31 July I was beginning to feel “good” and didn’t need the prescription pain meds anymore. My mother went back to her house, and I was able to finally move around pretty well to the point where I was able to drive to my rental property to let the cleaners into the unit. That was the most exciting thing about my day.
Actually I lied.
Fast forward to the late evening. My period was right on schedule and started Friday night. Yes, you read right. Getting my period on the Friday after my surgery was a really positive thing. It meant I could move forward with additional fertility testing and possibly an IUI next month with our reproductive endocrinologist (RE). I make a mental note to immediately call my RE Saturday morning to schedule an appointment for blood work and ultrasound for day 3 of my cycle.
I couldn’t have been happier to check the box and put my laparoscopic surgery behind me. Moving on. Let’s go. I have no more endometriosis pain. Let’s make a baby!