Monday, April 26, 2010

The short and the long of it

Thank you all so much for your messages of support! Below you will find a quick recap, and then an absurdly detailed account for the none of you who might be interested.

The short. As I said somewhat LOUDLY on Friday, the surgery went very well. Thanks to my buddy Lupron, my RE was able to remove all three fibroids without danger to fallopian tubes or uterine arteries. And because he didn't have to leave any tumor behind, the risk of recurrence will be a bit lower. My left tube is still intact, though eggs may never be able to find their way in. And I'm at a slightly increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy because of that stretched out tube. I asked him a few more times whether he thinks these fibroids are the cause of my infertility, and again he was non-committal. As all my reading suggested, the location of my fibroids is not well-linked to IF. But he does hold out some hope that egg pickup was prevented not just on the left side (which may not be improved now) but also on the right. (There was a fibroid on the top of the uterus that might have caused trouble when the right tube drops down before releasing an egg.) Which makes sense to me--I figure if implantation were the issue, I'd have had more chemical pregnancies. So I may or may not be "fixed". My situation is ambiguous, and only time will tell. I am charmed that some of you are already waving goodbye to me, but really and truly, I'm not just being an Eyore when I say that I may well be here long after the rest of you have moved on. On the other hand, I am overjoyed to have this surgery behind me, and cautiously optimistic that I will make progress before the fibroids return. I was in the hospital for two nights, and the whole time felt pretty good. Almost no pain or nausea! Not that scary at all!

The long. On Friday, my husband and I left for the hospital at 7:15. Interestingly, as I was waiting for my husband to finish getting ready (men take foreeeeeeeever, don't they?) I found a mouse in the living room. It just sat there when I came in. Probably it was about to keel over from some disease, but I chose to interpret it as a good omen. I love mice. Not so much in my house, but still. We checked in at the hospital and made our way to the women's surgery waiting room. The location was the same as when I had my lap, and having it all be familiar was soooo comforting. I put on my gown and got into my wheely bed. Mr. Bunny came and sat with me and we cracked jokes while my IV was installed and many doctors and residents and nurses and fellows came by and asked me the same things. Occasionally the reality of what was about to happen would intrude and I'd feel a bit of fear, but primarily I was excited to get the show on the road. A sedative was put into my IV (you know, to prevent me from running in terror when they took me into the OR), and I kissed Mr. Bunny goodbye. I was wheeled away. I remember the surgical lights over my head, and people bustling around me. Then........................waking up. A cold cloth on my forehead, oxygen tube in my nose. Answering questions (how would you rate your pain? Any nausea?) and being utterly incapable of opening my eyes. I was given a hot pack for my incision. It's amazing how good that feels. Something was put into my IV for the (very mild) nausea. My oxygen thingy was removed. I didn't feel much pain at all. Time passed. I had a button to push to administer morphine. I pushed that bitch, just in case. I opened my eyes occasionally. Eventually I was taken to my room. I kept my eyes closed most of the time but the trip seemed long. The elevator gave me a bit of vertigo. I was brought into a dark room and had to shift from my wheeled bed into my hospital bed, which was not so bad. They settled me in with my pain button and went to search for Mr. Bunny. I was lucid enough to remember what he was wearing, and even that he has a beard and glasses! I had a catheter in, and a pair of...I don't know, inflatable gaiters. My legs alternated inflating and deflating every minute or so, which was a bizarre feeling. (These are to prevent blood clots.) Mr. Bunny came in. I'd been in surgery for about an hour, and in recovery for about three hours! He told me that everything went really well, and that my doctor would be sending some pictures taken with a CELL PHONE! Sweeet. I love the idea of someone leaning over me snapping cell phone pix. The fibroids were the size of golf balls, having shrunk about 50%. So there were three objects twice the size of golf balls (what would that be? An egg?) in mah belleh that are now gone. PSYCHED! People looked at my incision, and I looked too. It's not bad. It's about four inches, low on my abdomen, so will be hidden by my underwear. I felt quite good, all things considered. I was not in any pain. I wasn't nauseated. I had horrible cotton mouth and my throat hurt a little. I didn't want to move at all because of the catheter, the IV, and the leg things. I spent the rest of that day dozing in and out. Pushing my button frequently, sipping water. When I'd been told about the catheter I was bummed, but now I appreciated the amazing luxury of being able to drink all I wanted and yet not needing to get up. And it wasn't actually uncomfortable to have it in. My RE's fellow came in and gave me the same basic report. She seemed very pleased. I slept. In the evening someone brought me some food-like substances (jello, lemon ice), but just as they arrived, I felt a bit sick. I slept. I woke up. I ate a few bites of jello. I slept. Mr. Bunny departed for the night. I was very happy that I did not have a roommate--having some stranger around had been another of my fears about this experience. All night long, every hour or so, someone would come in to check my vital signs and observe my urine output. I was a good little pisser! I pushed my magic button about once an hour, just to make sure I never gave pain a chance to catch up with me. I felt like I was sleeping in between these visits, but it was not a deep sleep. A sort of twilight state. Morning arrived. My catheter was removed! (That seemed scary but was no big deal.) I ordered some breakfast. (Coffee, yogurt, peaches.) It arrived at the same time Mr. Bunny did. I was a little cranky, partly because by now I rather needed to pee. I ate my food and then the magic Out of Bed For the First Time moment arrived. My leg gaiters were removed, which felt fantastic. A nurse helped me to the bathroom door, wheeling my IV on a tree. It took about ten minutes for my body to remember how to urinate, but AAAAHHHH, the glory of emptying my bladder! It's the little things, you know? I dozed on and off. My IV was removed and I was switched over to pain pills. Gooodbyeeeeee morphine! It felt so absolutely wonderful to be free of all tubes and restraints. I rolled over on my side and felt like a hippo wallowing in the mud. There had been some suggestion that I might be able to go home that very day! Mr. Bunny suggested that we assume not, so as not to get our hopes up. I ate some lunch. (Soup, ginger ale.) Mr. Bunny went off to do some errands. My doctor visited and gave me the same report, but also informed me that I was staying the night. Then he delivered a little monologue on how the brain is not adapted to vegetarianism. I have no idea where this came from. I mean, it started when he asked me if I'd lost weight. No, I hadn't. Then he said something about not losing any more (I hadn't lost any! Shut up!) or I might not ovulate. Dude. I know that BMI is important for fertility. And I know my BMI is a little on the low side of normal, but it's NORMAL. And I've weighed a lot less and still had regular periods, which suggests regular ovulation, ever since puberty. And I KNOW that vegetarianism is not the norm for humans. It didnt' really feel like a scolding, though, just my doctor being the total weirdo that he is. When Mr. Bunny returned, we took a walk around the floor. We did several laps, and then someone mentioned that there was a library. I was like, I bet it's full or Reader's Digests! Sure enough! There were also some romance novels, so we played a round of Find the Sex Scene. I won, encountering throbbing manhoods mere moments after opening my bodice ripper. However, the library also contained one of our absolute favorite books, one we read aloud to each other early in our courship: C.S. Forester's Beat to Quarters, from the Hornblower series. (An absolutely brilliant series, if you don't know it.) So we took that back to my room, and Mr. Bunny read me a few chapters. I was happy. I felt great. Not drugged up great, just not in pain, not sick to my stomach. Doing something I love with someone I love. I ordered dinner. (Veggie burger, chocolate pudding.) And then we watched the (illegally downloaded) Projec.t Runw.ay finale on Mr. Bunny's laptop. It was lovely. Mr Bunny departed for the night. I went to sleep. A nurse checked on me at 1 am, and again at 5. I slept quite well in between. I was now able to sleep on my side, which is my norm, and it felt splendid. I'd had Mr. Bunny bring my normal body pillow from home, which made all the difference. I woke up at 7:30, feeling great. I ordered some coffee and yogurt. My doctor checked in. I packed up my belongings. By the time Mr. Bunny arrived at 9, my paperwork had been processed. My wheelchair arrived and I was wheeled away. Fresh air! Home! Mr. Bunny tucked me into bed, and I slept. In the evening there was a tremendous thunderstorm. I lay in bed feeling so much happier than I expected to. Thus far, this surgery has been no big deal. Yes, I'm on drugs (oxy.codone), yes I can't move around too vigorously. Yes, my belly is a bit distended and my bowels are not quite in working order yet. (They are behaving hilariously, though. The moment I'm comfortably settled in bed, they'll be like, YES! NOW! LET'S DO IT! RIGHT AWAY! I'll scuttle to the bathroom and fling myself upon the toilet. Then they'll be like, Naw. Never mind. We're good. Forget it. But I' not have any concerns about actual problems in that region.) Yes, I'm still having hot flashes despite the estrogen patch I've got stuck to my ass. But I'm not hurting. I'm not sick to my stomach. I don't feel any worse than after the lap, though obviously it will take longer for me to be back to normal.  Things might get worse, I suppose, but I don't think they will. So whether this surgery turns out to be the magic bullet for my infertility or not, at the moment I'm so glad I had it. I'm feeling elated that it's behind me. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about my childbearing future. I'm even feelign okay about the fact that I've said goodbye to natural childbirth. There will be plenty of time to mourn that experience if I ever have the real prospect of a child. In the meantime, I'm going to focus on eating chocolate pudding.


  1. Three objects twice the size of golf balls. I can't believe that they didn't have something (read that: everything) to do with it. But they are GONE and I don't know why (perhaps because you had 3 objects TWICE THE SIZE OF GOLF BALLS in there) but I am feeling like this is going to make all the difference to your childbearing future. As in, now that those suckers have departed the scene, your palace of the child (that's what my acupuncturist calls it) is going to be open for business.

    Sounds like everything went really smoothly - I'm so glad. And it's hard not to take "Beat to Quarters" (not to mention your house mouse) as a sign of something good. I know you have a recovery in front of you, but I feel like your pendulum has started swinging back into the sunshine. A sunshine that's filled with wonderful possibility (and chocolate pudding).

  2. hey there bunny - glad that you're well, that surgery is over, and that your spirits are back in tact! do you have to stay home to further recover this week, or do i remember you saying that you're home for the week?

    i have plenty of girlfriends who weigh about 100 pounds and have had no problems getting pregnant. some ppl are just naturally thin, so hogwash on what your doctor said about you being too thin. as long as your periods are regular, you're good to go :o)

    i, too, have trouble believing that the fact that you had 3 golf ball sized thingies in your uterus were not the cause of you not being able to get pregnant. geez, could that sentence be any longer and more convulated?? (sorry, i'm home today, currently high on cold meds and i think i'm starting to hallucinate as the words on the screen look like they are slanted at a 20 degree angle right now. but that can't be, right?).

    anyways, glad you're better and that you're sounding like yourself again. have you started the business plan for your new restaurant business??

  3. Blooming heck, though, isn't the human body amazing? Three golf balls - and they were twice the size before good ole Lupron..? Where did they fit?

    It's great you're back and you sound in great form. Hurray!

  4. Well done, you good little pisser! :) I think the post-op report sounds extremely encouraging. And I wouldn't worry about kissing natural childbirth goodbye -- you basically know what the recovery feels like from having your ute operated on, so a C-section should be no big deal. If you ever do need IVF (which I am growing in confidence you will not), the oocyte retrieval will seem like a day at the beach. Anyway, three cheers for pain meds...

    So glad you had a pleasant recovery in the hospital and that all your biological biznazz seems to be in working order. And, by the way, when I had to take estrogen for various medicated cycles, it gave me hot/cold temp issues not unlike lupron. There are a million medicated ways to achieve that particular kind of awesome.

  5. Alright, honey Bunny! :) So glad you're home and on the mend. I am abstaining from the Hope Kool-Aid personally, but I'll tip some back for you, my dear! I agree with what everyone else above has said: it's incredibly difficult to believe that those menacing fibroids had no influence on your fertility. I mean, I'm no RE obviously, but the mechanics of it having NO impact just don't make sense, you know? I can't believe that this surgery has come and gone already. I know it was a long wait for you, but you survived the wait and the procedure with grace. (Shut up, you did.)

    Here's to oxycodone naps and a buffed up new ute! Wooo!

    P.S. I'm glad N and I aren't the only nerds who read aloud to each other. ;)

  6. Reading your post made me miss the good ol' days of courtship, where Mr. Stick and I used to read to each other (our favorite is The Time Traveller's Wife - he reads Henry, and I read Clare), and we were actually scared that sex would result in children. Haha!

    Your DH sounds like treasure for being there for you the whole time. I had no idea the surgery would be so intense as to hospitalize you for a couple of days, but removing 3 golf-ball size thingys does sound pretty serious.

    I know you're trying not to OD on hope, but I figure now that they're gone, there will be room for a baby. Because that just makes sense in my world.

  7. Bunny!
    Thanks so much for the looong version, I savored every word. So happy that it went well. I know the feeling of wanting to hear the "yes, your fertility will be amazing now", but unfortunately you can never know. And yes, your right, I do think you will get knocked up as soon as your uterus is healthy. But, I guess it is good to be cautiously optimistic.

    Weird time for your doc to get on the carnivorous high horse, but I guess you said he is odd.

    So happy you are on your way, but for now kick back, relax, and enjoy the opiates!

    At some point, we will have to collectively mourn the loss of a natural childbirth


  8. Great account of your experience-- I feel like I was there with you: carnivore doctor, lemon ice, Reader's Digest and all.

    I am going to watch the P.R. finale tonight, so thanks for not spoiling the ending! :)

    I am absolutely THRILLED that you have those monsters OUT of there, and I am absolutely filled with hope for your next couple of tries.

  9. Thanks Bunny-- no, I had never even heard of SART.

    It turns out he isn't on there. I don't know what that means....

    What would you consider a 'good' IVF success rate???


  10. I am so happy everything went so well! Perfectly, by the sounds of it. I read your long version with much interest, by the way. Your uterus sounds like a much improved baby-growing environment with the massive golf balls gone. Recover well, Bunny.

  11. That was a very pleasant account of a (most likely) not very pleasant experience, but your ability to enjoy such an uncomfortable few days is admirable. I am with the previous posters. Thank God the fibroids are out of there and I have to believe this will improve your situation. Do you have to have a few more low impact days of recuperating at home? I hope you enjoy them.

    Oh, and my SIL got knocked up super easily both times and weighs less than 100 pounds (grumble grumble no fair she gets to be the skinny one AND the fertile one grumble grumble).

  12. I am so glad that it went well and that you were feeling so well afterwards! You made it sound almost positive and a good experience. I hope that if I ever have to go through it I will feel the same way. I hope this does the trick!

  13. Bunny, I'm glad you are back and kicking. The drugs, they are wonderful, no? I see why they are illegal as that shit can make you feel good when you feel baaaad.

    The Mr. and I read books to each other much of our courtship, but that has died off in recent years. I need to revive. It was part of why I fell in love with him that he was reading "Big Bad Love" before we started dating. Also, have not read those Hornblower books, so will pick those up from the library.

    My lord, those fibroids must have been 1/10 of your overall weight, so yes, taking them out = lost weight. Seriously, that under and over BMI is mostly bullshit unless your periods are irregular. My cousin was underweight and GAINED weight to have baby only to be stuck 15 lbs fatter (her words not mine!) for almost a year before jumping to IVF. Kill that fucking noise, missy.

    I think with the new order in the uterus, that progress is in order and hope is definitely on the menu. I'll call ahead and make sure that table of fertility is open with whatever clout I still hold with that bitch Fate. I'm very happy to see you out and recovering with such speed.

  14. Vegetarianism? Really? What a strange thing to start talking about. "We removed three large objects from your uterus. Oh, and by the way, EAT A FREAKING HAMBURGER!"

    Thank you for both versions, short and long. I read the short version at work yesterday and was so happy to hear that it all went well, then this morning I finally had time to read the long version. I love the fact that the photos were taken with a cell phone. Do you think they have special sterile OR cell phones, or maybe one of the doctors scrubbed in their phone? OK, sorry, that's ridiculous.

    I have never read Forester, but I love love love Patrick O'Brian. Maybe I will get started on Horatio one of these days.

  15. Love the short and the long. Am all about the detail, moi.

    Three fibroids twice the size of golf balls??? I can understand why your doc is being non-committal, but I can't believe these weren't the problem, especially given the locations. Hurrah - they are gone!

    Glad you are well on the way to recovery, and am also feeling slightly more than cautiously optimistic for you.

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