Thursday, March 10, 2011

3-10-11 What We Know

This seems to be the easiest way to communicate since I don't have the gift of brevity ;)

Thanks to everyone who has been praying on our behalf and for the concern and love you've poured out.

The short version: 99% sure I'm dealing with a very large and nasty fibroid (benign) tumor that, according to the ultrasound and MRI reports is taking up a "majority" of the pelvic area with tons of vascular connections showing up. In other words, the giant alien parasite I shall henceforth call Squishy is firmly clamped on and juicing off of my blood and it needs to stop.

On exam, my gynecologist, Dr Watt, could physically feel the mass from just pushing on my abdomen. I immediately begin having the delusional fantasy that this explains the belly roll I've despaired over all these years and now I am on my way back to a flat abs of steel after all of this.

Squishy was smart enough to grow very large tentacles that make him a bad candidate for myomectomy (the surgery that would just remove him). Basically, getting him out by himself would cause pretty massive blood loss and be quite dangerous, especially in the 1% chance he is actually cancerous, in which he'd have ample opportunity to spread his nastiness throughout my pelvic cavity during removal.

So the bad news is the safest and most surefire way to say goodbye to Squishy is to say goodbye to my uterus. Like a pocket of protection around a baby, it can be removed without sending little Squishy-ite souvenirs all over my body and its removal ensures there will be no Squishy the Sequel.

Squishy will then be frozen and a cross section sent to pathology during the surgery to make absolutely certain he is not cancerous. Should he be cancerous, the gynecological oncologist on-call will make the determination of what else has to come out (ovaries, cervix, lymph nodes, etc) and they can make it a one stop shop instead of having to return to do more surgery. If, as expected, Squishy was just a big overachieving benign fibroid at the wrong place at the wrong time, then it will be sew-up time, with two to three days recovery in the hospital, a whole lot like a C-Section.

The last time I had a C-section I learned 3 crucial things:

1. The PCA pump (Patient Controlled Analgesia) makes you feel like you are playing Jeopardy -- you hold this little buzzer in your hand with a button and mash the heck out of it when that pain flares up until you get some relief. However, they track how many times you actually press the button (even though it doesn't let you OD) so that you appear to be some drug-crazed addict who can't control herself. This time around, my goal is to not have my numbers resemble those of Charlie Sheen.

2. The steri-strips over the incision (which will be the same incision as the old C-section scar) are NOT coming off until I am darn well good and ready. Thank you Nurse Numbskull who yanked the first one off, saw the incision start to split open, and continued to pull them ALL OFF which led to a nasty infection. Step away from the steri-strips or I'm calling security.

3. Note to self: You are going to want to lie there all blissed out, just you and your pain pump, but it's not going to make getting your butt up and moving any better unless you agree to "just" the Vicodin and start rehabbing your body. GET UP SOONER. At least this time I'm in much better shape physically. The average recovery is 3 days. I'm aiming for 2 (with my steri-strips still on) when I can go home.

The main question I get is, "how are you feeling?" Here's the full confession: I'm feeling pretty good, nothing out of the ordinary, except now whenever I notice twinges or soreness or pain, instead of chalking it up to the strength training, my mind immediately goes to "yep, I'm dying." I'm sure every woman on the planet who find herself in this kind of waiting game lets her mind go there, to imagine the worst. One one hand this is absolute silliness, with much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, like Tim O'Brien wrote, "Any soldier will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it a corresponding proximity to life. After a firefight, there is always the immense pleasure of aliveness. The trees are alive. the grass, the soil — everything. All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble." ("How To Tell A True War Story")


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