Sunday, October 8, 2006

It is time...

Well, I feel better today then I have in a long time, so I thought now would be a good time to fill you in on everything...

It has officially been one month since my surgery, and I certainly hope today being a better day is a sign of things to come!

Anyway, here is what happened:

September 8th I went to the hospital to have my surgery at 6:00am. I was pretty calm - actually glad the day had finally come. I spoke with all the doctors. My gynecologist came to talk to me, go over the consent form, etc. We talked and said that this would be a hysterectomy of only the uterus and possibly the right ovary if it looked like cancerous growths or he was unable to remove all the tumors. I said if the left one looks bad, what would he do? And he answered that the tests showed the left ovary looked fine, and that it still has a good 15 years left to function properly. He didn't feel that the left ovary would need to be removed or anything else. He said the surgery would take about an hour to an hour and a half, then I would be in recovery.

I was wheeled into the OR, and said OMG - there are like 20 people in here running around! The doctor laughed. He was asking about my kids as I drifted off...

I was in a dream like state in the recovery room. There were all the wires on me still and I heard the doctor's voice talking to a patient about the surgery going long, and they had to call in a couple surgeons "stat" to do unanticipated bowel surgery, and how they had to remove a lot of stuff and there were a few "issues". I felt so bad for that patient, having all that crap done. I opened my eyes to see if the patient was okay and hoping that someone was with her to hear the doctor's news, and almost freaked out! The doctor wasn't talking to a patient, he was talking to JEFF (DH)!!! It was ME they were talking about!

I could barely concentrate on what was going on, and my head started spinning. Bowel surgery? Longer procedure? Issues? No one would talk to me, since I was so out of it - they just kept saying "you rest now" or "we will talk to you when you feel up to it". UGH! Then the pain set in, and the nausea... and I drifted off again.

I basically slept until Sarurday morning. I was on a lot of pain meds, meds for nausea, meds for everything. The doctor came in to talk to me in the morning. It was true - I had not only my uterus and cervix removed, but also both ovaries and had to have bowel surgery. The surgery lasted 3 1/2 hours, and they did have to call in a couple people to help.

Basically, the uterus was "encapsulated" with endometriosis (stage 4). The right ovary couldn't really be saved, as the tumors were surrounding it. The left ovary had 3 tumors developing on it, so it needed to be removed as well. My bowel had actually become enveloped in the uterus - the endometriosis had grown around the uterus and the bowel, making it so you could not tell where one stopped and the other started.In fact, my bowel was actually IN my uterus. I was actually lucky that all this was handled, since my bowel problem could have been REALLY bad among other things... so, I had to have bowel surgery and reconstruction. The uterus and ovaries had been sent out for biopsy.

I was so weak for a couple days - they said they were going to send me home Monday but I still couldn't even walk. It turns out I lost a lot of blood - over 30% of my normal supply - and I was still bleeding. So, they actually had to do a blood transfusion. Well, I ended up having to have 2 transfusions because my blood loss was so significant (one Monday, one Tuesday). I still to this day am 15% lower than I should be causing me to remain weaker than I want to be! I am on some super dooper iron pills to try to build up the supply again (doctor says it will take a few months).

Then, I started to have shortness of breath and chest pain. They were concerned about blood clots, so I went and had a day of tests for that. IT turns out the lower part of both my lungs had collapsed causing it difficult to breathe. I had been on oxygen since the surgery due to my low pulsox, but it wasn't helping. I had to see a pulmonologist and learn some breathing exercises - the hope being in six months my lungs will be completely open again.

After being in the hospital almost a week, I finally came home (on orders to stay in bed until I see the doctor again the following week). I was tired, and menopause was hitting me full force (have you ever had a hot flash or night sweats? OMG - imagine being sunburned with a fever!). I couldn't sleep more than 4 hours a night, felt like crap, etc. I went to the dr the following week and said if this is menopause, it sucks! He prescribed me premarin .625mg (Estrogen). I asked him a couple questions, to which he said, "this seems to work for most people. You shouldn't have a problem". Um, one thing I want to say is Jeanine Baechtold is NOT most people! LOL - I wish I was! But the doctor had done the surgery and obviously had no interest talking hormones. I then asked him about some burning I had when I peed along with a swollen right hand, and he said to give it time. I also asked about laundry/vacuuming/exercising/baths/driving - another 4-6 weeks he said. (this was september 26th). I said okay and was done.

Later that week the burning started getting worse, I was bleeding a lot, my hand and wrist and forearm was throbbing by an IV site, and I had a horrible junky cough (not pneumonia! I thought). I saw my primary care physician on Saturday, September 30. He told me that my hand was infected from the IV, I had a "significant" urinary tract infection, and my lungs were beginning to sound like bronchitis/infected. He put me on some kick butt antibiotic and said if I am not better by Monday I have to go the hospital (he was worried about blood clots too, since my heart rate was back up to 125 and my pulsox was low). On Sunday my UTI seemed a bit better, and by Monday my UTI was a ton better. The swelling in my arm had gone done a bit too, so I was happy! Although I felt like crap, I was getting there.

I have been on the antibiotics a week and feel better. I also started the estrogen a few days ago (there is much more to that story, involving breast cancer and other stuff, but that is for another post) and actually slept a full 8 hours last night. Yippee! I am still no where near 100%, but I am at least at 50%. Baby steps!

The doctor also said that if I work, I need to take off 10-12 weeks considering the complications. Unfortunately, my 3 bosses (Jeff, Colton and Calista) will not allow that!

Now, for the final news. Remember the biopsy? Well, the results came in. I had endometrial cancer, and I am considered "cured". Cured of cancer. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it...