Friday, February 15, 2013
Unexpected Time Off....I know you miss me :)
I am still here....really! I just am taking some time off....time that I didn't really WANT to take off....time I really didn't PLAN to take off, but time I HAVE to take off. As a matter of fact, this little break is really causing some hardships in my life, but hey...you have to roll with the punches, right?
So what's going on? I typically don't share all that much about my private life, but given the crazy roller-coaster I've been on over the past few months I really WANT to share in hopes that I can help other women who are going through or may go through this in the future.
Actually, I have had two different "situations". The first has been ongoing for a few months. I warn you know, if you are a man and can't deal with "womanly issues", you might want to skip this.....
I noticed over the past year that my periods had become heavier. When mentioned to my GYN on my annual about a year ago, I was pretty much told, "You're over 40 now...you are most likely peri-menopausal which can do that to you. Don't worry about it". WHAT? Peri-menopausal? I'm only 40! But sure enough I had had some symptoms (a few hot flashes, some insomnia, etc). I did a little digging to find out that some of my relatives went into early menopause, so yeah....this was probably it. Ick. This phase can last up to 10 years! Not fun....but ok...at least I had an answer.
Several months later I started having spotting between periods. I went again to see my GYN. This time I was told it was due to an inflamed cervix. Another thing that happens to the aging body. Gosh, 40 really SUCKS. Ok....move on.
A few months later my periods started lasting longer than normal. Spotting before, spotting after....UGH. Another appointment with the GYN. Yup....this is all side effects of peri-menopause. OK. I'm really starting to hate getting older. I have now accepted that my body is on the other side of the hill and need to just deal with it.
So, on the months went of my erratic, heavy periods until December when my period decided to last 3 weeks. On day 21 I went to see the GYN again and she agreed that no, this is not normal. A ultrasound was scheduled the following week and sure enough, they found a polyp. HELLO! This finding provided both relief and anxiety. Now I knew I wasn't just a crazy per-menopausal woman, but I had to deal with the scary idea of a polyp. What the hell was it? I never heard of this before....Of course my initial reaction was the "C" word. I almost felt faint as I asked the doctor if it was possible for this to be a cancerous growth. She quickly assured me that polyps are very common among "Peri-menopausal" women (Yeah...there we go again....so much for the relief of that part), and that 95% of them are benign and most can be removed through an in-office procedure. No big deal. Ok. I can breath again.
Next step was to have a sonohysterogram which is basically another ultrasound in which they fill your uterus with saline solution so they can see the polyp better and decide how to treat it. Ok. not a big deal. So I go home, and like most people pull up Google and start searching "Polyp" and "Sonohystereogram". Well, let me tell you. As much as Google helps with info seeking, it provides way too much information. The people who have had a horrible experiences, are the ones who are most verbal in the forums. The more I read, the scarier this got. All of a sudden I was convinced that I was part of the 5% that had uterine cancer and that this sonohysterogram was going to be nothing but pure torture.
I went to the sonohysterogram shaking from fear. I asked the Dr. before she started if it was going to hurt and she said some people have some cramping. (Yeah....I know - I read that on the internet.) So I braced myself for the pain..........which never came. The procedure was super simple (a little messy), but didn't hurt an ounce. It was actually interesting to watch the screen and see the inside of my uterus. The Dr. pointed out the polyp which looked like it took up 1/2 my uterus. I had never seen one before, so I just assumed this is what a polyp looks like. Until she said, "yeah, that's pretty large....that is why you are having such irregular bleeding". She then went on to tell me that my lining looked "Nice and Thin", whatever that meant. My mind kept harping on the fact that the polyp was LARGE.
After the procedure, my Dr. told me that the polyp was too large to take out in the office. She would need to perform a D&C, Hysteroscopy, Polypectomy at the hospital under general anesthesia. The polyp would then be sent to pathology which is routine to check for abnormal growths (uh...hmmm...C.A.N.C.E.R.) Someone would call me to schedule later in the week. She handed me some pamphlets asked if I had any questions - which I couldn't think of at the moment, and that was it.
Now I am faced with a surgery for an unknown polyp that is abnormally large. 4cm x 3cm large. Golf ball size large. So, home I go and turn to my friend Google to do some more "Research". DUH...why? I can't help myself. SOOOOO STUPID!
Within about 10 minutes I find out that endometrial polyps are usually the size of an eraser. Mine was SO MUCH LARGER! Within about 20 minutes I was convinced that this was indeed cancer and I was facing a long road of a hysterectomy, chemo & radiation. My anxiety went through the roof and not much could console me. My surgery was scheduled for the following month. Yeah, an entire MONTH of anxiety. I was not a fun person to live with.
FINALLY the day of surgery arrived and I have to say, aside from almost passing out from the IV, it was pretty easy. I went into the hospital at 11:30 and was home by 3:30. The surgery lasted about 30 minutes and the rest was just recovery and waiting. Doc told me that all went well, and nothing looked out of the ordinary. Pathology would be back in a week. UGH. Another week of waiting. PLEASE!
Well, at least this growth was gone...
Recovery was easy. One day of slight cramping and a little bleeding and I started feeling fine. Except my back started hurting.
3 days post surgery my back really started hurting. I started getting nervous, because I have some compressed vertebrae and the pain is horrendous when the compression happens. On Sunday evening I felt the compression happen and I knew that the next few days would render me useless. What I wasn't expecting was that this compression hit my sciatic nerve. Oh My. I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER experienced pain like this. I spent 3 days lying in bed in pure agony. I couldn't get to the Dr....heck, I could barely get to the bathroom which is 10 steps from my bedroom. I cried, I moaned, I thought that amputating my leg would be better than this. I took my pain meds from my last back issue and they did NOTHING. My poor husband and kids didn't know what to do. I knew going to the ER would be useless, but I contemplated going, but I would have had to call an ambulance to take me. Yeah, the pain was that bad.
On the third day, my friend came by to help and brought me some oxicodone. Now, I am NOT a pill taker. I question taking advil sometimes. But I was at my wits end. I couldn't get to a DR, I couldn't move. I took 1/2 of one. An hour later I was able to get to the bathroom without screaming (although it still felt horrible). I found a neuro chiropractor in town who was willing to see me that afternoon, and since he was a whole lot closer than my primary (who already told me on the phone that all she could do was prescribe me heavier drugs than I was taking), I went.
My friend got me to the chiro (I had to lay down on my side the entire trip) The chiro worked on some pressure points (I told him absolutely no adjustments, which he told me he wouldn't do anyway). Did some cold laser therapy on my abdomen as he felt that my back pain was probably a result of the surgery since all the tissues in that area are connected and my spine was already in a weakened state. And after 30 minutes I was actually able to slowly walk out of there. It's been 3 days since then and I've seen him twice. Today I go again, and the pain is much more manageable. I have not take oxycodone n an since that first one, and my anti-inflammatory meds are only used once a day (as opposed to 3x).
I still have pain, and am only at 60%, still with pain, but manageable pain and I am functioning. I'm hoping a few more days and I can at least let my husband go back to work so I can be a full-functioning Mom again.
***BACK TO THE BEGINNING***
Oh, and back to the first part of the story.....yesterday my Dr. called me and told me that the pathology report was back and everything was normal. Whoa....Relief.
So, I wanted to share this with you in hopes that it will help anyone out there going through the anxiety of having a polyp removed. PLEASE don't search the internet....you will find every horror story out there and convince yourself that you are dying.
As much as the internet is a blessing, it is a curse too. Please don't do this to yourself. It is sooooo not worth it.