Almost 2 years post-op

I had my endometriosis excision surgery almost two years ago. And it was life changing. I honestly didn’t remember how being pain free felt until after the endometriosis lesions had been cut out, and I had healed up from surgery. And that’s even with the gastroparesis pain I didn’t realize I was having.

It’s been about a year since I stopped my aromatase-inhibitor and progestin. I haven’t been on any hormonal control since.

And, I am terribly disappointed to admit, I think my endometriosis is flaring again. Either it wasn’t all removed, and what wasn’t removed has grown; or it has returned; or my possible adenomyosis is getting much worse and mimicking endo symptoms. No matter the mechanism that familiar pain is returning. It started just with my periods… the rectal pain, the vaginal pain, the ovarian pain, the sucker-punch to the gut… but now some of the pain is occurring between periods as well. That pressing, cranking, outward ballooning feeling… like I imagine one of those Medieval pear torture devices must feel, is currently making me miserable.

I knew endometriosis is a chronic condition, and that my journey with it was not over with my surgery, but I was hoping for a few more years before any symptoms returned.

Monday Share – Lets talk about sex.

I’ve brought up my difficulties with sexual intimacy–particularly penetrative intercourse–here before. But I haven’t talked about it in quite some time, because quite frankly I haven’t had any interest in sex in a very long time.

But I read this BuzzFeed Article What It’s Like To Date When You Can’t Have Sex the other day, after it came up on my Facebook feed, and it made me want to speak on the topic again.

I related to the article so much. And not that I’ve really dated with my conditions (did I ever mention Mr. Liar was my first, and only, boyfriend?) but the feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, and fear resonated with me. I know those feelings. I’ve struggled with them, as has been seen in early posts here. And I’ve slowly come to terms with them.

Mr. Liar and I have had penetrative intercourse once in the past year. That’s once since we’ve been married. It was about six months after my surgery, and thus about six months after our wedding. And while it didn’t hurt nearly as bad (I didn’t cry!) as before the surgery I still wouldn’t describe it as all that pleasurable or pleasant for me. (I suspect I have vulvodynia as well as my other conditions). Now, we do have other intimate relations, but generally as far as sexual contact goes, it is almost always something I do for Mr. Liar (whether that is me bringing him to orgasm, or him attempting to bring me to orgasm–something he really enjoys doing, but doesn’t happen often), because I just don’t find it all that enjoyable. After years of excruciating pain and hormone “killing” medications, I have almost no interest in sex. I hardly ever get aroused, I don’t find orgasms all that great (I mean, at most they’re ok) and I have tons of visceral negative memories that come rushing up–even if Mr. Liar has never pushed me or been anything other than amazing and supportive. In all honesty, I would much rather have a nice shoulder or foot massage. And recently I have come to terms with that and made it clear to Mr. Liar, which I think has helped us both. It has helped us with a sense of balance and reciprocation–because I love making Mr. Liar feel good, and he loves making me feel good, and now we can both do that in a way that isn’t just about sex. It is still intimacy. And it is wholly relieving.

That isn’t to say that I don’t still have the occasional fears regarding sex or penetrative intercourse, like: trying to conceive one day and what that might entail. But it is incredible knowing I am loved for who I am, and what I can give, not what social media has made me think needs to be a part of my relationship.

 

Worse Appointment Ever.

I met with the reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. E-H, today. I almost jumped across the desk to punch her. I’m still too angry to write the whole thing out, but I WILL NOT go back to see her again!

The gist of the appointment went like this: I get taken back to her office. She starts talking about my referral notes saying I was being sent to her for osteopenia following chemical menopause to treat endometriosis, and she has my bone density scan results. And that’s were things stop going well.
ALL she wanted to talk about was my endometriosis. Which was NOT why I was there; I was there to address bone density loss- which I actually had before starting the aromatase-inhibitor – the letrozole didn’t make it go down that drastically. So she starts asking why I got of the letrozole, which I tell her is because I ran out of pills and my new insurance doesn’t cover it. Then she starts pushing lurpon. –insert collective groan–

I tell her I WILL NOT, under any circumstances, go on lupron. I don’t believe it is a sound choice for managing endometriosis, and the only reason I agreed to go on the letrozole was because it makes more sense than just shutting down the ovaries, since the endometriosis lesions can produce its own estrogens whereas lupron is a GnRH-atagonist and only shuts down the ovaries. So she tells me, “endometriosis can be activated by the ovaries so shutting them down works, and letrozole doesn’t get rid of all the estrogens either.”  Which, may be technically true, but it just because both don’t suppress all the estrogens you produce, that doesn’t mean lupron an attractive option.

So then I tell her that I don’t know how my periods will be, since I’ve been on it since I had the surgery, and the excision of my disease should have removed it. She decides to tell me the disease can’t be removed completely, and I answer that that is controversial. Her reply, get this, “No it isn’t. I research endometriosis”

.. Okay BITCH. I’m no stranger to research, and while I may not conduct endometriosis research 1) I DO have a Master’s of Science in Reproductive Physiology, so I’m not clueless, and 2) stay as up-to-date as I can on contemporary endometriosis research. And I haven’t seen your name anywhere. And I’ve seen data from surgeons that shows 0 recurrance of the disease that has been properly excised (thank you to all the talented surgeons and researchers who share their data and opinions on EndoMetropolis) AND 3) JUST BECAUSE YOU MAY CONDUCT RESEARCH IN SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I’m a PhD student – I clearly know a thing or two about research. You can’t tell me any researcher knows everything about a particular topic. And anyone who does, I know is full of bullshit.

So I’m FUMING by now. And she looks at me and goes “Well I don’t know what you want me to do, why are you here?”
UM. Because a doctor I trust thinks I have loss too much bone mass for my age, and thinks why should be investigated. Because of the OSTEOPENIA that the referral said.

So she starts talking about how if I go back on letrozole, she’ll have to add back some estrogen. And I tell her, again, that I won’t be going back on the letrozole because my insurance doesn’t cover it (I think I told her that at least 4 times).

She repeats “Well I don’t know what you want me to do.”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!

So she finally agrees to check my parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, since my thyroid panel was just checked and came back normal. And “your thyroid or parathyroid hormone usually are the cause of bone density loss, I’ll run the PTH but I think it will come back normal. So if you go back on letrozole to control your endometriosis I’ll have to put you on some estrogen and progestrone too.”

o.O

What great listening skills she has.

THEN, to top it all off, she asks me and A (he drove me, because he’s the best and the appointment was an hour away) if we’re planning on having kids anytime soon. No, not until we’re out of grad school. So she’s like “well, you’ll need some birth control pills.”  … So I laugh. I literally laugh. And tell her that won’t be a problem. We don’t have intercourse. And I look to A for back up, and he collaborates that we’ve had sex once in the past year. And Dr. E-H goes “well it only takes once.”

Yes, I know. I have a Master’s of Reproductive Physiology. I literally MADE BABIES during my master’s (cow embryos anyway). AND, OH YEAH. THERE ARE THESE THINGS CALLED CONDOMS. I don’t need to be on pills to have safe sex.

I mean, talk about pushing hormones. Damn.

I left so mad. When I seem my PCP again I will tell her I will NEVER go back to Dr. E-H. And if she is really concerned about why my bone density 80% of age matched peers, then she’ll need to send me to see someone else – maybe a regular endocrinologist would be a better approach.

Oh, and I looked up Dr. E-H’s publications. She has 8 publications total, and only 1 of those is related to endometriosis. The entire publication is 1 page long, and the study is incredibly poorly designed. Like the kind of publication I’d tear into during a journal club meeting, and throw out completely if doing a literature review. … And she says she researches endometriosis. Apparently not well …

Updates

Well, the garlic test was inconclusive. I didn’t have any bloating after eating the rosemary lemon chicken and  was feeling good the next morning too. But then I made a mistake. A and I went to the grocery store and I picked up some gluten-free pretzels AND I DIDN’T READ THE LABEL. Dumb me. So I’m really excited to eat pretzels, I love pretzels, and since starting the low FODMAP diet obviously haven’t been able to have any. I get home, start eating them with some Brie, and realize that maybe I should check the label. …Yep. Right there at the end of the list- Onion Powder. Garlic Powder.
I hadn’t even had more than 20 pretzels and my big ol’ bloated belly was back. I don’t know if it was the onion powder, garlic powder, combination of having garlic the day before, or something else entirely.

Later in the week I finally get a call from Dr. Y’s office about the ultrasound results. It wasn’t the normal nurse who called me- and all I got was “Dr. Y wants you to go off the pills for a week and then go back on them.” No other indication on if the endometrium measurements were to be expected, or concerning, or anything.
So now I’ve been of the letrozole and norethindrone for three days- and my uterus is back for vengeance. Cramps, back ache, stabbing vaginal and rectal pain that catch my breath, joint pain…oh and of course, bloating! So far just a bit of bleeding, so I know the real fun is still waiting to begin. Plus, three days of my pills and everything is back to BABIES! which always causes some emotional turmoil for me.

On top of that I’m having another breakdown about this diet. All I want is normal, easy, comfort food. But of course none of that is low FODMAP friendly.

It’s going to be a long week. At least the semester is over, now all I have to worry about (academically) is my prelims.

Hello Uterus. (And low FODMAP Day 8: Chicken with Green Chili Currry and Roasted Veggies)

I missed my low FODMAP entry yesterday because I felt awful. I’ll give you a warning here, if you’re just here for the low FODMAP recipes, and are uncomfortable with menstrual related talk,  then you’re going to want to skip to the bottom of this post.

Continue reading

So easy to forget.

It’s so easy to forget just how much pain you were in. You’d think when you were in severe pain, or pain every moment of your life, it’d be something you’d recall easily, but it’s not. Once you get a taste of what it’s like to be pain free, or really, just in less pain) you quickly forget how hard it was.

I noticed this before I was in constant pain- when I’d have two weeks of horrendous period related pains and then be pain free for two weeks. It was like every time my period came around, I was floored- not just from the pain but that I’d just done this two weeks before. Like my body was tricking me, to make it not seem so bad, until it was here again.

After my surgery most of my constant abdominal pain was gone, or greatly diminished. I started noticing my joints, all over my body, really hurt- especially when it turned cold, and my ocular migraines were picking up in frequency again. Dr. B prescribed me amitriptyline; 25mg before bed each night. And that really helped. I’ve had two ocular migraines since I started the amitriptyline two months ago (two months ago tonight, actually!), and much of my joint pain and body aches were reduced.

That is, until recently.

The sharp stabbing pain in my lower right quadrant has returned. I think it might be ureter pain, since its the same pain as before surgery and clearly wasn’t resolved with the excision done in that area (right uterosacral ligament; although my hip had been feeling better!). And the fatigue has been creeping back into my life. This past week, my uterus has been crampy and angry. It’s an awful beast. Even on letrazole and progestin I spot every day, and for the past few days have been spotting pretty heavily with pain shooting down my right leg and cramping. I’m blaming the full moon.

I forgot just how bad I could feel. I crawled into bed the other day, curled tightly into a ball, and though “and this is only part of what I was dealing with a few months ago. HOW DID I DO IT?”

It’s so easy to forget how much pain we’ve be in. Sadly, it’s just as easy to forget how we were able to deal with that pain.

In closing, although my new year has started off painfully, I hope it has been relatively pain free for you.

My First Surgery – The Surgery, and Recovery.

I know, this post is far overdue. This semester has been kicking my ass, and because my surgery was two days before the fall semester started I haven’t had a break to actually write this up. So, this will be like taking a little trip back in time.

August 22.

I had to be at Dr. Y’s office for my pre-op appointment at 8:00 a.m., and we live approximately 2.5 hours away from his office and the hospital where I’d be having my surgery- which meant it was a very early morning. I walked the dog, got dressed in my long stretchy skirt and “Ova achiever” shirt, snapped a quick photo to post to Facebook (as seen below), gathered up my things and climbed into the car.

My “Its far too early in the morning, and I’m nervous about this whole surgery thing” look. Please ignore the super messy house in the background.

The hardest part about the morning was not being able to have anything to drink (except a tiny sip of water to take my omeprazole- the only medication I could have, and was told to take, before the surgery), so I had really bad dry mouth.

The pre-op appointment lasted maybe 20 minutes. The nurse took my blood pressure, temperature, and weight. Dr. Y explained where the incisions would be, and asked if I had any questions. Then they sent us over to the hospital to check in.

It took a little while to figure out where we were supposed to go, but we found it and I checked in. That’s when I got my id-bracelet, and the sheet of stickers to give to the surgical nurses. From there we were directed to the women’s surgery waiting room on another floor. We had hardly found a seat when the nurse came to get me. I had to leave A waiting there.

Once we were back in the pre-op area (it was a lot of beds around the walls, surrounded by curtains), the nurse took my weight and height again. She led me to my bed, gave me a gown and socks to change into, and then directed me to change into them. She also gave me a little bag to put my glasses in, so that they could put them back on me as I woke up.

After I changed she opened the curtain up again and had me get into the bed. I sat there a while before another nurse came by and started my IV, and hooked it up to some saline. She was a sweet-heart, and made my experience much more pleasant. Another nurse came by to get my pre-op information again. It was the third time I had given information to the hospital (twice on the phone), but apparently they had just switched to a new system and kept having issues. The nurse who was typing in my information kept getting called away, and then would have to come back and start again, so taking down all my history took a long time.

Another nurse came by and took some blood, and they made me pee in a cup for a pregnancy check- even though there was no way I was pregnant. Better to be safe than sorry I guess. After about an hour, they when and got A for me, and he got to sit with me until they started to take me in for surgery. The really sweet nurse who put in my IV asked me if I get motion sick, and I told her I get very motion sick, very easily. To help me feel less nauseous from the anesthesia, she gave me three different anti-nausea medicines. The first was a patch behind my ear. She also put some stuff in my IV. She said that people had told her that the IV medicine felt kind of like CT contrast (that burning feeling), so she was going to put it in suuuuper slow to avoid that. She spent about an hour putting it in my IV, and I didn’t get that burning. I’m really thankful for that particular nurse.

Just a few moments before I was going in for the surgery Dr. Y stopped by and told the nurses that he wanted me to be awake when they brought me into the operating room, and to put my legs in the stirrups first, to make sure it didn’t hurt my hip. Everything went pretty quickly after that. The nurses brought me the final anti-nausea med. It was this liquid which tasted like a really salty warhead candy. It was pretty gross, but it was certainly better than the bowel prep stuff! Then I had to take a pain pill. It was too big for me to swallow so they had to cut it into quarters and get meme extra water. The nurse who did my IV and anti-nausea meds then gave me an initial sedative, I said goodbye (and I love you) to A, and they wheeled me into the operating room. This part is all a bit fuzzy. I had to switch from the bed I was in, onto the surgery table. It was very padded. They had me put my legs into the stirrups (which , the position for this surgery is like sitting in a chair, but laying down, with your knees bent up that way) and confirm it didn’t hurt my hip. Then I put my legs back down. My arms had to be by my sides, and they strapped them and my head into these padded things, and put the mask over my nose and mouth. Apparently that is when the anesthesiologist put me under, because I don’t remember anything else. I don’t even remember seeing the Da Vinici machine.

I woke up in a recovery room that looked similar to the pre-op room, but with less beds. It was really slow coming out of anesthesia. I’m pretty sure I drifted in and out for a while. The nurses checked my blood pressure a few times, and encouraged me to breath deeper- I apparently was breathing far too shallow.

Once I was more awake, they took off the leads to monitor my heart and had me sit up a bit. And they brought me a Coke, which was amazing. And, thanks to the really sweet nurse, I didn’t have any nausea at all.

After being awake for a bit, they went and got A.  He said the surgery had taken about 2.5 hours, and Dr. Y came and talked to him after the surgery, but he didn’t really remember what he said, he just wanted to know I was okay. The nurses then came by and took me to the bathroom to encourage me to try to pee. I was having a lot of trouble trying to move around with my IV still in, so they took it out. I also made a bit of a mess everywhere, as one of my incisions was bleeding a bit and I had some vaginal bleeding from the manipulator they use to get the uterus in the correct positions. The nurses were really kind and helped get everything cleaned up. They asked if I wanted A, and went and got him for me. I don’t know how long I sat in the bathroom, leaning against A’s leg. It took a long time for me to relax enough to pee. It was really nice having him there for support though.

After I managed to pee, I was allowed to go sit back in the bed. I had heard that after the lap. many people experience really bad shoulder pain from the gas they use to inflate your abdomen, so I was expecting that. Instead I got incredibly sharp pain under my left ribs, and a really hard time breathing. The nurse recognized immediately that it was from the gas, and reclined my bed back further, which really helped.

I’m not sure how long we stayed in recovery. But before I knew it, I was being released. I changed back into my loose maxi-skirt and t-shirt, and was taken in a wheel chair by one of the nurses out to the parking garage. Then A helped me slowly navigate back to the car and drove us home.

I think we were home by 5:00pm that night. Maybe a bit later. I climbed right into bed. Since we have a dog and two cats, we built me a protective “fort” around the bed. We blocked off the edge I was laying on with our 48″ x-pen (you know, those fold-able metal gates to contain dogs or other pets). Then I had my adjustable laptop table over a really soft pillow on my abdomen/pelvis, so none of the pets could step on it if they got on the bed from the other side. All and all, the set-up worked pretty well. I don’t remember much else from that day. I think I ate something, but I’m not positive what.

Initial Recovery.

My mom came down sometime the next morning. She and A went and filled my pain prescription for me, and she made me some soup. She also made me get up for a bit and move around- which I really didn’t want to do. For the rest of the weekend she made me move around and eat things. I really didn’t have an appetite and was pretty nauseous from the Percocet I was prescribed, so I mostly picked at food. The Percocet also made me really itchy and feel awful. And, it after taking it for a few days I noticed it also made me stop breathing periodically- which is pretty frightening. So, after four days of higher pain management all I was stuck taking naproxen. It didn’t quite help the pain, but at least I didn’t stop breathing.

The first week after surgery I was useless. I couldn’t think clearly and just wanted to sleep. I did walk around the house a bit each day, and braved going really slowly around the grocery store a few times. I also took a short shower everyday, to help keep my incisions clean. I had four incisions: one at the top of my belly button, two on my right side, and one on my left. They were closed with surgical glue, so there was surgical glue all over my abdomen. My belly was a bit swollen, and a little bruised, but nothing too bad.

I took the week after my surgery to initially recover, but in doing so I missed my first week of classes. So I couldn’t miss the next week. I wore a lot of dresses and loose skirts for the first few weeks of recovery, and took everything extra slow.

On the second weekend after the surgery (Sept 6), A and I got married. That was a really long weekend, but I was already feeling better and in less pain than I had been for ages. I didn’t need to take any pain killers that day, and didn’t use my cane either. I did have to take rest breaks, and forgo dancing though (not that I would have danced anyway- I’ve got no dancin’ skills). And, needless to say, there was no honeymoon.

I had my post-op appointment three weeks after the surgery, and finally got to see the surgical images and pathology report. Dr. Y used the CO2 lazer to cut out areas of vascular abnormality. Cutting out endometriosis is far more effective than having ablation or burning it; those types of procedures can actually make endometriosis worse. Dr. Y cut out 7 areas that he sent to pathology, and drained a large endometrioma (chocolate cyst) from left ovary. The pathology confirmed that I had endometriosis in my right uterosacral ligament, and in some recto-vaginal areas.
Since Dr. Y and I suspect that I may still have adenomyosis, and pain related to that, he also kept me on the letrazole and progestin pills.

Continued Recovery.
I’ve had some aches and pains which felt very similar to before surgery, but have to remind myself that I am still recovering. I had large sections of my body cut out and that takes time to heal. Slowly but surely my appetite is increasing, and my fatigue is decreasing. I still bloat though, so I’m not sure if that is going to end.

A couple of weeks ago, I did start having some joint pains with the cold weather, and with my continued migraines, my primary care physician started me on amitriptyline. I have not felt better in such a long time. There are days that are mostly pain free now, which I hadn’t had in over a year.

I’m not sure of Dr. Y got all of my endometriosis, or if any endometriosis will come back and I’ll need another surgery for it. And I’m sure at some point I’ll need a hysterectomy for the adenomyosis. And while I am not eager to have surgery again (boy did recovering with that Percocet really suck), I am glad I had it when I did. I can’t imagine getting through this semester with out it. And it’s so good not to feel absolutely awful all day, every day, anymore.

What is Endometriosis Anyway?

I realize most of this blog centers around my struggle with (suspected) endometriosis, and yet I’ve never explained what endometriosis is.

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition. The inflammation is caused by tissues which grow in areas they aren’t supposed to- specifically, when tissue like the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. (Adenomyosis is closely related to endometriosis; it occurs when tissue like the lining of the uterus grows within the muscle of the uterus. It is suspected that I have this condition as well).

These tissues form lesions which produce their own estrogens and other inflammatory compounds, agitating and damaging the surrounding tissues. The agitation and damage can become so severe that the body builds adhesions- or scar tissue bridges- hiding the lesions and gluing tissues and organs together.


To get a simplified idea of endometriosis- think of pimples. A pimple is caused by local inflammation as the body reacts to something (bacteria, dirt, etc.) trapped in the pores. As part of the inflammatory response the tissue grows red and swells, becoming painful as there are local areas of damage. If you pop a pimple, a scab will form to seal off the damaged area. Eventually pimple resolves as the immune system takes care of whatever caused the inflammatory response in the first place, and the pain from that pimple disappears with it.

Except, with endometriosis this is an internal process, and the tissue that is causing the inflammatory response never disappears (unless surgically excised), and the ‘scabs’ over the damaged tissue still form- as adhesions, which don’t resolve but stick the surrounding tissues together (unless surgically removed). And endometriosis can be much more painful than even your worse pimples.


There are numerous theories about how this aberrant tissue gets to locations outside of the uterus- most commonly on the peritoneum (abdominal lining), ovaries, and bowels, but also possibly the diaphragm, and even areas outside of the abdomen, such as the lungs.

The most common and persistent theory is Sampson’s Theory of Retrograde Menstruation.This theory states that during menses, shedding endometrium (uterine lining) and blood doesn’t always flow out of the uterus through the cervix and out the vagina- but rather some of that shedding tissue flows up through the oviducts (Fallopian tubes) and out into the pelvic cavity. There are a number of holes in this theory though- the largest being that studies have shown that both women with and without endometriosis experience retrograde menstruation every time they menstruate, and those without endometriosis never develop it. It’s also been shown that endometriosis lesions follow somewhat predictable patterns, and once the endometriosis lesions have invaded one area of tissue they can invade further locally (and with more depth into the tissue) but not spread to distant tissues. If free-floating menstrual products were causing endometriosis lesions, then a more unpredictable and structurally diverse location of lesions would be seen. Finally, Sampson’s Theory makes it incredibly difficult to explain the cases of endometriosis which have been confirmed in males undergoing estrogen treatments for prostate disease, or fetal tissues- both cases where exposure to menstrual products never occurs.

The far less popular, but more plausible theory, is that endometriosis lesions arise as a result of abnormal embryologic patterning and development. The aberrant tissue is always there, but becomes active as puberty is reached and after years of exposure to estrogens.


Regardless of origin theory subscribed to, endometriosis is a troubling and difficult disease to bear. It can only be diagnosed through surgical biopsy and pathological examination (adenomyosis can only be positively diagnosed by a tissue biopsy or hysterectomy), and many doctors are not trained to find the subtle and vast possible appearances of the lesions. Most people who are suspected of having endometriosis are rather given hormonal treatments (birth control pills, GnRH antagonists such as Lurpon, or aromatase-inhibitors like I’m on) to try to manage symptoms. However these treatment options do not actually treat the disease at all. For some individuals, they do work to effectively manage symptoms- but for others, like myself, they do not. And we must push for surgical treatment.

My First Surgery – Prep.

As the days creep closer to the surgery, I’m trying not to think about it too much, lest I become far too anxious.

But of course, the surgery will be taking me “out of the game” for a while, so there have been a lot of things I’ve needed to prepare for.

First, comfort after surgery:

  • All summer I’ve been on the look out for loose clothing, like maxi skirts and dresses, and loose dresses I can wear with leggings. I’ve heard laparoscopic surgery will leave you bloated for quite a while, so I wanted enough loose and comfortable options to last longer than just a day or two after surgery.
  • A couple of weeks ago, when I first found out we’d be moving forward with the surgery but I still didn’t have a date, I bought a wedge pillow to use during recovery. I also bought some Arnica gel, which I have heard is very useful for resolving bruises and reducing pain while healing. Once my incisions are completely healed, I’ll have that on hand.

wedge pillow

  • I’ve also stocked up on Thermacare Heat wraps, to apply to my shoulders following the surgery. I’ve heard the gas pains that travel up to your shoulders can be awful.

thermacare heat packs

  • In the same vein, I bought some Gas-X and some Miralax to help things get moving after the surgery, and hopefully keep from having any bowel gas build up. After a bowel prep (yes, I did get the go ahead), surgery, and narcotic pain meds- which are known to cause constipation… and given my current bowel workings… I’m sure I’ll need these two products.
  • I also checked my cabinets for some peppermint tea, and peppermint candies, that I can sip or suck on after the surgery. Peppermint should not only help with the gas, but with any nausea- which I’ve heard can be a problem after surgery.

Second, arrangements that need to be done BEFORE surgery:

  • One of the most important things I needed to have completed before surgery was find someone to watch the pets. We’ll have to leave the house by 5 am to get to Dr. Y’s office for the pre-op appointment at 8 am. And who knows when we will get home- could be Friday afternoon or evening- or they could hold me for longer. My mom is coming down Saturday morning to help out, but couldn’t make it Friday- leaving one day unaccounted for. The dog has to go out, get fed, and take his pill after all. And the kitties would like their wet food- though they would be fine if they didn’t get it.Thankfully, A worked it out with one of his coworkers that we both trust, that they will come over and take care of the boys throughout the day Friday.
    OrionDr. PepperIcarus
  • Of next importance was writing up a sort of living will- except nothing official or legally binding. Just something that I’ve put together to give to my mom and A before the surgery, so that if anything goes wrong they know my wishes. Growing up my dad went into a coma after an aneurysm ruptured; there was A LOT of drama about what he would have wanted versus what various members of his family thought was best or what they wanted. I don’t want that kind of drama if anything ever happens to me, so wanted to make sure there was at least a document somewhere where I made my wishes known.
  • And wedding stuff. Since we will be getting married two weeks after the surgery, I realized there would still be a lot I would be limited in doing- and would therefore have to get done before the surgery instead. This past week we got our marriage license. Then, this past weekend we went and did the venue (campus horticulture gardens) walkthrough. And tomorrow I’ll be mailing off the photographers list. Plus our last few deliveries should all be here before Thursday. Although this isn’t all that needed to be completed for the wedding, the rest I should be able to easily manage even while resting and recovering- or A will have to do it.
  • Laundry! Last night I washed all the clothes that needed to be done, and a bunch of blankets. Although I won’t be needing all the laundry I cleaned, it is nice knowing they are all taken care of.
  • A bit of cleaning. My apartment is a mess. Between the dog, the cats, graduate student mess (papers, binders, books, and school work everywhere), wedding mess (there is little stuff everywhere and the cornhole boards are taking up a lot of space), and generally not feeling well enough to really clean… well you can get the picture. I’m not going to spend a lot of time cleaning or organizing (like I usually would before my mom comes to visit) because I frankly don’t have the energy… but I will make sure the bathroom is at least nice and clean.

Odds and Ends:

    • For a bit of confidence boosting before surgery, I bought this awesome shirt to wear to Dr. Y’s office and to the hospital.I’ll post a picture of me rocking it day of, sometime after the surgery.

Ova Achiever Uterus Shirt

  • I also bought a giant plush ovary (I named her Penelope) to take with me in the car.
  • Thursday morning I’m going to go get my hair cut and my layers touched up. A bit of pampering has to be good, right?
  • I bought a little sleep mask and some aloe socks to take to the hospital to make me feel more comfortable (and hopefully prevent any light sensitive migraine triggering with the bright florescent hospital lighting).

For my hospital “bag” (some things will stay in the car), I’ll be bringing:

  • Loose clothes for leaving the hospital
  • Comfortable, non-binding underwear
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Gas-X
  • Peppermint tea bags and candies
  • Penelope, the ovary
  • A soft pillow for the car ride home- to go in between the seatbelt and my abdomen
  • Eye mask
  • Aloe socks
  • Normal socks
  • Phone Charger
  • Heat packs for shoulder
  • A few cloth pads of varying absorbancy (they will be using a uterine manipulator during the surgery, to keep it out of the way; this often leads to some bleeding after the surgery)
  • Chapstick
  • My inhaler
  • My usual meds, in case I do have to stay the night.

There are just a few more things I need to do, like pick up the things for bowel prep, show our lovely pet sitting coworker the routine, pack a hospital bag (in case I need to stay longer than I’m expected), and actually do the aforementioned bowel prep.

Just a few days left to go!