Saturday, October 11, 2014

What Happened.

This one is pretty gross. If you're one of my brothers or grossed out by girl plumbing, you shouldn't read this. But this is where I record what happens in my world- and maybe someone will see it some day and it'll give her a clue about what's going on in her own weird body.

This story doesn't actually start Wednesday. And, it doesn't start with the pain I was having last month, either.

This story actually started at the end of 2011. I know. But I want to record what happened because I have a tendency to forget these things. Most of what I remember from the thyroid cancer adventure comes from this blog. I choose to see my selective memory as a blessing.

At the end of 2011... October maybe? I started having a weird situation. My once clockwork-normal periods went out of whack. They actually reversed- I went from bleeding 4-5 days a month to not bleeding only 4-5 days a month. I know, gross. The really sucky part was that it came with pain. Pretty bad pain, all in my abdomen and radiating up the left side of my back. There were a lot of things going on in our world during that time, and we all kind of assumed the thyroid cancer was the cause of this mess. But it didn't stop when I went into remission, so I went to my Dr. Pittard. In the spring of 2013, I had a procedure to fix it. Well... four. I had four procedures to fix it: hysteroscopy, laparoscopy (to see what was going on), DNC (to stop the bleeding), and an ablation (to keep the bleeding from coming back).

The ablation was great! I was sore for a few days, but that was nothing new and the bleeding stopped!
The hysteroscopy and laparoscopy were interesting. They showed some signs of what might be the beginning of endometriosis. And a cyst on my right ovary. Nothing that should have been causing the amount of pain I had been feeling, but the ablation made me feel better enough that I went on with life, happy.

Endometriosis is hard to diagnose, ya know.

Fast forward to last month: the pain, that old pain I'd had before the ablation, was back. And it was angry. We now know that it was a chocolate cyst rupturing by my uterus.

*Sidenote* chocolate cyst? Seriously? Who named it that?

So, the cyst thingy ruptured (apparently, didn't know that at the time), it hurt, I was cranky, but I ignored it. Weeks passed... and then Wednesday happened.  On Wednesday, I took the kids to school, went to the bakery for a meeting, nothing really out of the ordinary. I had a little head cold... and I thought that was causing the little bit of nausea I felt. But around mid morning, it started to hurt. HURT. I don't know what all I did- I kind of went in and out. I messaged Doss that I was hurting. I called and got an appointment with Dr. Pittard for that afternoon. I remember, at one point, being on my hands and knees in my bedroom screaming in pain. I remember trying to lay down and passing out. I remember at one point passing so much blood that I wondered if I was having another miscarriage (later found out that was a terrifying side effect from the ablation).

Doss came home and took me to the appointment. My Dr. Pittard checked me out and ordered an immediate ultrasound... but the ultrasound couldn't fit me in until 9am the next day. Made it to the ultrasound after a night of nausea, vomiting, and fever. She checked me out and found a little cyst on my left ovary this time and a big blood clot-looking thing (we'll later find out this was the ruptured chocolate cyst) outside my uterus. But because the left ovary wasn't getting any blood flow, it was dying.  And it was taking me with it. That was the pain and nausea.

I was sent directly from the ultrasound to my Pittard where he did a quick pre-op check up (the usual, lungs, legs, heart). Then he sent me straight to the surgery center, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. The surgery center at EAMC is like my Cheers: everybody there knows my name. It's a familiar place that I usually associate with getting better, so it was good to be there. Waiting sucked. But I didn't have to wait too long. But I was in a lot of pain. A lot. And I was pretty freaked out. It was a tough wait.

The plan was for Dr. Alverson (who was on that day) to try to do the surgery laparoscopicly. It should have been quick and easy. He'd take the uterus, try to untwist the left ovary, and leave at least the right ovary in there so I wouldn't have to go through menopause at 37. I signed the consent for full abdominal surgery and everything in case the laparoscopic route didn't work.
Boy, did it ever not work.
The surgery ended up taking over four hours. I had stage III/IV endometriosis that had completely involved both my ovaries, my tubes, my uterus, and anything else it could get near. Dr. Alverson ended up calling in another surgeon to get the intestines that were in the wrong place from previous surgeries unstuck from the endometriosis. They took my uterus and both ovaries. I have a little bit of cervix left.

And I *just* bought a new box of tampons this week.

So, apart from the almost dying part and all the pain and the fear and stuff, this adventure was pretty great. Here's why:
1. I no longer have to wonder *when* I'll have to get a hysterectomy.
2. My kids were well-cared for by my mom and Doss and Shanna and everybody. I never had to worry.
3. Nobody got too mad at me for the cakes I had to cancel.
4. The bakery had a party without me and it was fine.
5. I felt so much love and support (and flowers!) from so many people. That was pretty great. And people came to visit!
6. Now that I'm in menopause, the hot flashes counteract some of the perpetual cold that comes from not having a thyroid. I'm almost balanced.

The List *Updated

This is the list of body parts I've had removed, not including tumors, mucoceles, mixomas, and such. I'm also not including the two times I had complete human beings cut out of me. The actual surgery list is much longer- this is just the parts removed, current as of 10/14.

This list is in chronological order, for the morbidly curious.

And no, I do not have plans to have anything else removed any time soon. I never do.

Most of my large intestine (Hirschprung's disease- you can google it)
Wisdom teeth
Gall bladder
most of my breast tissue
right side and isthmus of my thyroid
left side of my thyroid (and radiation to ablate any little pieces)
Uterus, both Fallopian tubes and ovaries