The last few weeks have been absurd. Back in September I got bronchitis. I was really sick. I coughed a whole lot. On October 7th I literally almost coughed out an entire organ. My uterus decided it didn’t really need to be part of my body anymore. Ever since it’s continued that attempted escape and in 12 days it will complete its quest with a little help from a doctor.
Did you know uterine prolapse is not an emergency? Sure, it causes a lot of pain, but it won’t kill you unless it sits in such a way that you cannot pee. And even then they’d likely just put in a catheter and keep saying wait for surgery.
The first OB/Gyn I went to was very nice and gentle (let’s just say the ER doctor was not and my uterus – that he could see immediately upon starting the exam – was bruised thanks to his useless jamming of the speculum into it). She and her office just moved at the speed of snails. I had to wait twelve days for the urodynamics test (result: I’ve got problems). Then I had to wait nine days to see her for pre-op. And then I had to wait five days for the surgery scheduler to call to schedule my surgery.
So after all that waiting, when could they schedule me for? December 15th. SIX MORE WEEKS.
Now, if I had been in no pain and not having to lay in bed a significant portion of my day, this would not have been a problem. If sitting in my recliner didn’t cause the pain to get worse, this would not have been a problem. But I am in pain and I do have to lay in bed a lot because even my recliner is not comfortable. Six weeks seemed like forever. For the first time since it all started I had a complete breakdown.
Mild uterine prolapse doesn’t usually cause symptoms. For all I know mine has been out of place for years and I never knew. Severe uterine prolapse, however, is horrible. Aside from the annoying feeling of something the size of my fist sitting in my vagina, a place it is most definitely not supposed to be, there is the pain. The ligaments that usually hold the uterus in place are all stretched and pulling so that causes lower back pain. Trying to sit in a comfortable position so the lower back isn’t so bad causes upper back pain. Because of the pressure on them, the labia ache almost constantly. And, to top it all off, I have shooting pains in my groin, buttocks, and front of my legs. It’s oh, so lovely.
So, yeah, six weeks wasn’t okay. Six weeks was awful. My friend convinced me to call a different doctor. She gave me a couple numbers. My husband called one. It was Tuesday afternoon. The doctor in their office who specializes in prolapse had an opening at 9:30 the next morning, could we make it in then. Uh, yes!
It’s not so convenient to go to her. See, we’re super spoiled. The other OB is just one mile away from our house as is the hospital where I was going to have the surgery. This one is about 20-25 minutes away. Once I realized my dad is having chemo every other week for the next four months about that far from home and they are thrilled it is that close I decided convenience is relative and to suck it up.
The OB/Gyn who will be doing the surgery is amazing. My problems are her specialty. She did a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic on pelvic organ prolapse. I think having to switch is really a blessing in disguise. And, best of all, she could get me in on November 23rd, a full 22 days earlier than the other OB. She also did something to shift around my uterus and for 4 blissful days the pain was almost gone.
She’ll be doing a whole lot of things to me in the OR. I’ll be having a total vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior repair (I also have a cystocele and rectocele), something to make my urethra stay in the right place, bladder sling, tacking up the vagina so it is less likely to prolapse requiring another surgery sometime in the future, and my fallopian tubes will both be removed. My father had prostate cancer 7 years ago and there is a link between fathers with prostate cancer and daughters with ovarian cancer so, thanks Dad and genetics for increasing that cancer risk. They now believe ovarian cancer actually starts in the tubes so removing them will reduce my ovarian cancer risk dramatically. I’ll be in the hospital one night and then on greatly reduced activity for the 6 weeks after surgery (which brings us to January 4th, not that I’ve already calculated it or anything).
I only have two problems with all this and they are minor. One, I will never be able to use my menstrual cups again. I love those things. Life changing they are. Two, it is delaying my first degree black belt by 6 months. I had to stop taking classes when I got so sick in September so I couldn’t test in October. I’m out this entire cycle so I won’t be able to test in December either. Six weeks after my surgery also happens to be the first day of the next cycle. So in January I can be back at taekwondo and I should get my black recommended belt in August instead of April.
The pain is bad and my bedroom is seriously boring (but thank goodness for my amazingly awesome adjustable bed!). My kids are pitching in and helping a lot. And, hey, I’m getting a lot of reading done (8 books just since November 1st). Just twelve more days. I can totally survive 12 more days until the doctor liberates my uterus. I’ve gotta admit… I won’t even miss it.