Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3-16-11 Surgery Scheduled

It's official, Squishy has hijacked the blog. (But I am sure I will return to wandering shortly!)

When we went to buy my car in 2008 I did a TON of research. I even brought my own 4-square into negotiations with the dealer with the amounts already filled in mostly just to avoid that discussion altogether.  I think he called 10 people over to show them. No one had ever done that before.

So while I don't usually turn the blog into a grocery list of stuff, today, just to focus and feel like I'm doing everything I can to get organized and ready, here's a peek behind the scenes of what I am prepping.

Pre-Op day, April 5
10:00 another ultrasound to see if the mass is any larger than a few weeks ago
Next: Blood work, vital baselines, etc
10:40 pre-op appointment with Dr. Watt to include:

                   Questions About Surgery
  1. How many surgeries like this for my diagnosis do you do each month?
  2. Will you make a bladder tack?
  3. Do I need to bank my own blood? 
  4. How long will surgery take? (average is 2 hours)
  5. Will you use absorbing sutures or staples for the incision?
  6. Will I need any preparation before surgery? (enema, stool softener, liquid diet, etc)
  7. What kind of anesthesia will I have? Is a spinal an option?
  8. Will you write the order an On-Q pain management system to be put in place?
  9. If I provide a disposable camera, will you take pictures of the surgery (I WANT TO SEE
        Questions About Recovery
      1. How long before I can get up and walk?
      2. What are the indicators I am ready to go home?
      3. What medication will I be on for pain in the hospital and when I am home? Can you write the 'script now so it can already be filled and ready for home?
      4. Will the doctor use a tummy binder on me? Will I need one?
      5. If I am keeping my ovaries, how will I know if they are working post-op? if they shut down temporarily and I experience hot flashes, how long will I endure menopause symptoms before the ovaries kick back in?
      6. When will I be able to resume driving?
      7. How much can I lift safely at 4 weeks, at 6 weeks?
      8. When can I return to normal activity? Working out?
      After the pre-op appointment, I have enough time to grab a bite of lunch before heading over to the Swedish Medical for pre-admissions work at 12:30 so on Thursday we can head on up directly for surgery.

      Surgery April 7
      Arrival time to admissions by 9:30, fasting, surgery scheduled to start at 11:30
      The two hours prior to surgery will be prep, getting cathed, sterlized, shaved, etc. and anesthesia work.
      Anesthesia will also involve intubation.

      The surgery will involve:
      1. An incision through skin and abdominal muscle made to reach the uterus for removal.
      2. Detachment of all connections to ovaries, cervix, etc and sutured shut.
      3. Uterus removal and large attached mass (aka Squishy) frozen. A cross-section will be sent to pathology.
      4. Pathology report provided within a half hour. If cancerous, gynecological oncologist will take over and recommend further removal.
      5. If benign (expected), the incision will be closed up and I will be moved to recovery.

      Several hours afterwards I will be in the recovery room until I am conscious before being moved to my room. With luck I will be the only person in the room. More likely, I'll end up with the roomate who snores like a freight train and requires the television be on all night because it "helps her sleep". Note yesterday's blog: sleep mask on its way. It comes with a pair of super duper ear plugs, too.

      The rest of the day I will be in and out as the anesthesia wears off completely. Looks like my streak of never missing a day of blogging might be in jeopardy . . .  we'll see. Tori on massive narcotics might be an entertaining read.

      Everything will have been "put to sleep" including intestines and bowels. The sooner I am allowed to get up and walk, the faster everything else will begin to wake up and begin to recover.  And with that, I'll spare you the recovery tips list, as it's a whole lot more about bowels and incision care and all that lovely stuff. I remember showing a video on Walt Whitman to my literature class in which Alan Ginsburg was relating how worried Walt was over his daily bowel movements, the general ennui of daily living, might infect his writing. Too late for me, I guess. :)

      So many women I've spoken with have gone through this, and told me it was the best thing they'd done. I'm looking at this a bit like training for a marathon, prep for each step, discipline, training, and arrival at my goal: pain free, Squishy free, healthy, and ready to get on with life.


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